Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seasonal Quilts

In one corner of my kitchen I hang a series of quilts. Not a series like Artists make, where they explore a theme in color and design; but a group of wall-sized quilts that I've made through the years that I rotate throughout the seasons.

This is the quilt I hang during the winter months. It has wonderful subtle colors, brick red and cadet blue, black and teddy bear brown. It's made from reproduction fabrics designed to represent the turn of the 19th century. I made it in 1992 when reproductions were relatively new on the market. Judi Rothermel and Harriet Hargraves and the Smithsonian were not yet in the business of making reproduction fabrics. I hand quilted it in straight rows because I wanted to mirror the utility quilt look of the era.

The biggest compliment I ever received on one of my quilts was on this one. It came from the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild's self-taught Quilt historian, Wyn Reddall. She was the woman that people went to when they wanted an old quilt to be dated. She could look at the prints, the colors used and the style of construction and give you a circa date as good as the best of 'em.

I was showing the quilt to my friend before the meeting had started and Wyn came over all excited, "Where did you GET that quilt?" "What do you mean, where'd I get it? I made it..." The look of confusion on her face spoke volumes. "You MADE this?" "Uh-huh..." Once she understood that it wasn't a genuine vintage quilt she pointedly said, "Well you be sure and put a label on that quilt." She was concerned that it might confuse the quilt historians at some point in the future. 😊
This is the quilt I hang during the early summer. I made it for Frank for Father's Day in 2003. Completely surprised him! I hang it in June and July so it's up for Independence Day.

I've had a love affair with Mariner's Compass for over twenty years, so a few summers ago when I found myself between jobs with time on my hands, I decided to attempt one. I was just going to test the freezer paper method that Judy Mathieson has perfected and I didn't have any plans for the thing... in case it didn't turn out. Well it did turn out and that led to all sorts of creative fabric choices and solutions because I'd started with small bits of fabric from my stash. I had it commercially quilted. A first for me because I'd been such a purist up till then. Here's a close-up of the stippling and compass design element that Sharon the quilter created for me.

I label all my quilts and have even before Wyn took me to task about labeling my Reproduction Sawtooth Star Quilt. But I don't hand embroider them anymore. I've moved on to laser-jet printed, hand applique'd.
  When August comes I'll change the quilts again. Maybe I'll remember to blog about that change too. It's interesting to see the evolution of my construction techniques between the Reproduction quilt in '92 and the Mariner's Compass in '03. I guess this is more than just a changing of the seasonal quilts, this is a chronicle of my quilting methods.

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