Wednesday, January 10, 2007

HST's to the max

I think I told you I seem to think I need to post only WIP and new quilts. But I have a plethoria of quilts I can share with you. Let me dig into the archive and post a few that remind me of finn's quilts.

I call this little quilt Memory Triangles. It's the only hand pieced quilt I ever have (or ever will) make. I was laid up with back pain and laid on the couch day after day. If I hadn't had this little quilt to cut and patch pieces for I think I would've lost my mind! I pulled pieces from my scrap bag, circa 1989, clipped them to a magnetic board normally used for holding counted cross stitch patterns and traced the cardboard template, all while lying flat on my back. Then I hand cut the triangles. As I recall, I laid the pieces out on the back of the corduroy couch near my head like a design wall, picked the pieces up as I pieced and replaced them in their sequence once they were sewn. It worked quite well. The irony of all this is that I machine pieced the blocks together and added the borders by machine, sewed standing up with my sewing machine on the kitchen counter as I recall. Necessity is the mother of invention...

I entered it in the Sonoma County fair and was pleased to receive second place. The rosette ribbon is from the local quilt guild "For Best Use of Color and Design." That was *very* nice to receive. I gave this quilt to my best girlfriend at the time, who was having a late life third baby. They moved from California to Nebraska a few years later but I know she cherishes this quilt. That is to say... it lives in a drawer safe from children's hand!

So later that year I decided to use the same quilt pattern for a Memory Quilt for me. I had a great time sorting through my scraps and stash fabrics and collecting into boxes marked: Light, Medium and Dark. Not being a quilter that likes light fabrics, it was a challenge to find enough variety. I asked my quilty and seamstress friends for donations; which made the tapestry of memories even richer.

I saved and sorted, grouped and regrouped for a long time... longer than I'm willing to admit. But I found out many things about myself as a quilter. I love the memories associated with the prints. I love the way the different fabric styles and motifs tell me their age, era or previous origin and I love the memory prompting power a small triangle of fabric can have. One time when I was talking to Su about this she said, "You know all your fabrics by name." =) I loved it! Yes, that's it...

This quilt also contains hand-cut triangles. The HSTs are not speed pieced, because I wanted to maximize the number of combinations and increase the random-ness and at that point in my piecing methods I didn't want to overcut the triangles for HST piecing to square-up. It felt like a waste of fabric. (!) I've never been afraid of the bias edges involved in sewing a HST either. Maybe all this practice is the reason!

I worked on this quilt off and on for *years* - ten, to be exact. In that time I mused on a name for this quilt. Originally I wanted to call it "No Dogs in This Quilt", because I carefully hand picked every piece that went into every block and I didn't want any "dog" fabrics, uglies, blah prints that didn't say anything and didn't inspire the heart. But over time I learned that many fabrics that looked like *dogs* became transformed once I cut them, pieced them with a light or dark and put them into a block.

This is one of my all-time favorite quilts and it's on my bed during the summer months. I was so pleased once it was finished. A large chunk of my life had gone into making that quilt. I often think of the quote from "Anonymous Was a Woman"

"I sat over that quilt while the babies were a-growin' and I sat over that quilt when times with Jeb were good and times were bad. It took me 20 years to finish that quilt. I shudder when I think of all it knows about me."

The label on the back reads:

Triangle Memory Quilt

This quilt is pieced using 5,184 hand cut half-square triangles. It represents 20 years of sewing and patchwork memories. Some of the fabrics include pieces from my honeymoon dress, Nathan and Hollin's play clothes, Frank's first suit, as well as pieces from quilt friend's projects. It was begun in 1989 and completed in March of 1999. Machine pieced, machine quilted.

A few months after the quilt was finished and I'd toted it all over everywhere showing it to my friends and family, I received an offer from one of my long time friends to buy it. "The colors are so special, the pattern is so cheerful. I'd love to have it on my bed. I can give you as much as $250. for it. Please let me know what you think." (!)

I can tell you... it's not for sale. Not at any price.


Cheryl said...

Absolutely love the quilt, but love the fabric stories and memories most! My scrap quilts mean the most to me for the same reason...each little piece of fabric has special meaning and memories! Your label on the back is perfect.

Fiona said...

That is a spectacular quilt, no wonder you couldn't part with it. Just what a quilt should be - scrappy and full of history.

Finn said...

Hi Leslie, thank you for letting me know about your quilts...*VBS* I'm am sooooooooooo impressed with the outcome, and the devotion to choosing the right fabrics. Not to mention piecing while laying on your back.
You are truly a dedicated scrap-a-holic and quilter, of the very best notch, first class. I'd give you and A++++++++++++ on both the wall hanging and the bed quilt. The gals who make the Baltimore Beauties or the Feathered Stars only THINK they have done it all.
In reality, I feel scrap quilts are MUCH harder to make, but when it's done with love and joy, it doesn't seem that way.
Actually I think it's a way of thinking, as much as a talent.
You have just the right blend of lt, med and darks in there. I know because it "shimmers" which is what it should do.
SO happy that you chose NOT to part with it. I know the quote well, about shuddering to think what the quilt could tell about us and our lives. I think the Anonymous was a Woman is perfect for it. A piece of this and a bit of that...hard to define. BIg hugs and pats on the back for a really great job well done!! Hugs, Finn

Leslie said...

Tx Finn, I know what you mean about it being a way of thinking. Spot on with that comment. =)

I'm filing your comment away in my *hugs* folder. If I ever doubt my scrap-ability, I'll re-read your kind words. (hugs)

Rosy said...

My dear friend, you never cease to amaze me. You are the epitome of a true dedicated quilter! I am so honored that you would share this magnificent "quilt adventure" w/us!

bingo~bonnie said...

what a labor of love - especialy for the one you made while on your back all taht time! wow! Good thing your sofa wasn't leather or you woudln't have had a design wall LOL :)

I know know I'm not gonna throw away any of my HST sraps. Wow 20 years... now that is something!

and to think you were offered $250 - I'd say even a price of $25,000 still would not be enough! I also love that you use it on your bed in the summer... ;) so special!

I hope you don't mind that I saved your photo in my "Inspriation" folder ;) and will print it out and hang up in my sewing room...

Love from Texas! ~bonnie