Monday, April 6, 2009

Nostalgia: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I have a hankerin’ (hey, I’m from Texas; it’s part of the required vocabulary, along with y’all and fixin’ to) to make a larger quilt. Everything I’ve been working on has either been small—samples, journal quilts, mixed media pieces; or experimental—painted and dyed fabric, painted canvases, stamps, screen printing. The only larger pieces I’ve made have been for class projects.

So all night I had thoughts/dreams/ideas about creating a larger quilt. I hadn’t decided whether it would be a wall quilt or a “bed” quilt (ok, I haven’t yet made anything large enough to cover a bed, so I guess mine are technically lap quilts).

Then, early this morning, I remembered a quilt top I made a long time ago and never quilted because I was afraid I would “mess it up.” It came about because I had made my first quilt, which my lovely partner immediately claimed. And when I say first quilt, I literally mean first quilt. I had no clue what I was doing, but I read everything I could get my mind around regarding free-motion stitching, appliqué, and piecing. I had no skills, but I was armed with information and self-confidence.

I look at that quilt now and I’m amazed at what a good job I did! I think it was because I didn’t know enough to doubt myself. Here’s my first quilt (35x47”):

first_quilt

This is a combination of basic piecing and raw-edge appliqué. I used commercial fabrics that I really loved, along with early experiments painting fabric. I sewed the binding on by hand, something I still love to do because it relaxes me. Here’s a close-up:

first_quilt_closeup

I even stitched an “M” on it as a signature!

For my second attempt, I decided I better learn to make a “real” quilt, which of course in my mind meant piecing, no raw edges, and a traditional pattern. I made it for my grandson, who I knew wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t be completely traditional even with this one, though, and opted for the “wonky” blocks:

brandons quilt3

That meant my two loves had quilts, so I needed one for myself. I started with a Ricky Tims convergence quilt center, then added appliqués cut from batiks and the batik borders. This was the largest quilt top I had made to date—35x53”—so of course I panicked and was too afraid to free-motion quilt it.

garden_path

Here’s a close-up:

garden_path_closeup

So, it’s been hanging in my studio closet for a couple of years now.

I’m not quite as in love with this quilt now as I was back then; I think it has some design flaws, the colors aren’t what I use now, and I’m battling a desire to paint something on it or over-dye it. But I do have the confidence to free-motion quilt it, so I think I'll just leave it alone, quilt it, and make a nice lap quilt for the den. It’s 35x53”, so it will technically be the largest quilt I’ve made to date.

Of course, the close-up shot makes me think I could trim the border, add some painted or stamped pebbles to the path then stitch those, do some thread painted flowers . . .

1 comment:

StegArt said...

These are all wonderful quilts Michele!