Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Tale of the 3 Sister Quilts

So this story has an interesting (if long-winded) start…

I have been on a mission for the last couple of years to make scrap quilts, or at least use as much of my stash as possible before buying more.  As all you quilters know…NOT buying fabric really goes against our grain. However, being sustainable is my new mission in life and keeping thing simple is a cornerstone of that philosophy.

So I saw a picture of a very simple pinwheel quilt and thought ‘Ooo, I would only have to pick up some white fabric and that would be fun”.  It wasn’t something that I had to figure out a lot of math or layouts.  It was just going to be an easy, no-brainer project that would be an easy one to come down from after the one I had just finished.  I changed the plan for the borders and some and whipped up a bunch of blocks.  It was that sort of sew until you thing you have enough method that works so well for these types of projects.  Being the over-achiever that I am, it turned out I had enough blocks to make 2 quilt tops.  I still to this day have only quilted one of them.  I have never made the same quilt twice before this either.  There are just SO many that I want to make that I never think about doing the same one again. You can see those here.

The one I DID quilt was pretty cute and it was the only quilt that I had at the time that seemed nice enough to put in our quilt guild’s annual quilt show.  That was 2 summers ago.  Anyway, a very nice woman saw that quilt on display and inquired about buying it.  I was pretty surprised as, truth be told, it was not my favorite quilt.  She really liked it though and so I gave her a price, she said great, call you tomorrow to work out picking it up.  Tomorrow came and she asked if it would be possible to have a quilt just like the one in the show but in a King size bed quilt.  Now it is already a HUGE compliment when someone likes your art enough to pay for it but when they ask for something to be made special for them, it’s like a big sloppy kiss!

So I set out to make the quilt she asked for.  When it was done, she was quite pleased.  She bought it and took it home.

So I still had the quilt that had hung in the show.  I decided that maybe, since she liked it enough to buy it, maybe someone else would too.  I listed it for sale on Quilts for Sale and what would you know…a collector bought it.  That was kind of a big complement too because it was purchased by someone that KNOWS quilts.  It wasn’t someone that just appreciates them as ‘pretty blankets’ or says ‘oh, I like it because it’s pink’.

So now I have made this quilt 3 times and sold 2 of them, you can imagine my surprise at all of these developments over a quilt that I personally wasn’t in love with.  Mind you, the pattern is really starting to grow on me. ;) I was completely blown over when I received an email inquiring about the quilt that had already been sold on the QFS website.   See, even once you sell a quilt there, the photos stay up so people can see what your style is and commissions are arranged through the site.  Yet another very nice woman asked me to make this quilt yet again, this time for a twin size bed.  We discussed pricing and color details and whatnot.  The fun thing this time was, she wanted 2 additional quilts that were similar in style but not exactly the same.  Her only real requests were that the main color was to be blue in all three and that she would like them to have varying borders.   So I set out to buy some fabrics (yes, I needed to even with my impressive scrap stash) and start to the washing, cutting, sewing and pressing routine.  I made the pinwheel blocks first since I have had so much practice at them.

DJ says this quilt pattern looks like alien toes...makes me like it even more. 

Then I started scouring the internet for inspiration for the other 2 complementing ‘sisters’.  I narrowed it down to about 6 options and then sent them off to their soon to be owner for input.  She picked out the two she liked best and I ran from there.  Of course I just used those as inspiration as I was using my own scrappy bag of fabrics and making them to fit her beds.  I used the same fabrics in all the quilts.  The pinwheel quilt has fewer fabrics in it than the other 2 and now I have enough of those left over blocks to make the quilt all over again…that will be another story I am sure.  There is a total of 130 different fabrics is each of the star and square quilts. 

So it took me a couple of months to get the tops made.  Then came the fun part of deciding the borders, they are all blue but vary a lot.  My style tends to be fairly traditional piecing but the colors and quilting style tends to lean toward the modern movement.  So these borders are very old school.  One is a checkerboard, one is a piano key and the last one is a sawtooth.  I simply love pieced borders; I think they make the quilt into something entirely different.  Obviously the quilting is unique.

Anyway, here are the ladies…I had a great time quilting them, it was very time consuming but I think the result was worth it.  I truly hope that they find themselves in a great home where they will be loved and will keep others warm in return.  


Anonymous said...

Great job on the website! And always on the quilts awesome. You are very talented .

Nana B said...

Congratulations on your commissions. The quilts: colors, piecing and quilting are beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

Wow! Those are so beautiful! I love the blue pieced borders and the scrappy bright colors are amazing! I really enjoyed reading the story behind the quilts and all of the pictures. The quilting is really spectacular!

xo -E

Mary Jo Leonard said...
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