I’ve been posting a lot lately about being in the office and the shop getting a new website launched and new templates manufactured… and that’s great but also kinda boring. Are you thinking to yourself… Where’s the Quilting? I agree… where is the quilting? I want more quilting too. Well… occasionally there is sewing going on around here… just not as much as I would like. Sound familiar? I think we all struggle with that fact… even those of us that do this for a living.
Here is a little SNEAK PEEK at what I am working on in the studio… and I hope from time to time to post a little of what I am working on… even if it’s someone else’s pattern that I am making just for me. You can find them referenced under Studio Sneak Peek in the category section.
During my lectures I like to show the quilts and try to tell the stories (hopefully in shortened form) that accompany the designs or their inspiration. Here is a photo of The Belles of Tara quilt in my applique collection. The quilt is needle-turned applique with embroidered arms and shoulders and made with scraps of civil war reproduction fabrics.
This quilt was designed in memory of my Grandmother, Marian Lillian Gates, who I used to spend almost every summer with when I was little. Just like my mother, my grandmother tried very hard to teach me to sew and knit and can… just about anything she could in the summers while I stayed with her. She also used to have me read to her while she knitted or crocheted in her chair. I used to love reading aloud… even when I was little and didn’t mind reading to her at all. Every summer when it came time to picking a book to read… she almost always chose Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. She also dearly loved the movie… and whenever I dressed up she would take a picture and pose me just like Vivian Leigh in her iconic role.
When I was little she had a quilt made for me and I used it to death. It’s this quilt that made me want to learn to quilt for myself. Here is a photo.
As you can see… the quilt was in pretty miserable shape. The backing fabric was two sheets sewn together and the seams were coming apart. The batting wasn’t needled so it wound up in clump in the corners… probably due to a lack of proper quilting width.Each of the girls were made from leftover pieces of polyester fabrics from clothing. They were whip stitched down to the cotton backing squares and the shoulders and arms were embroidered with two strands of sewing thread. The binding was the backing fabric folded over the front. The cotton backing squares were so worn they looked almost like cheese cloth… you could see right through them. I hung it and photographed it one last time before I took a seam ripper to it and took the whole thing apart.
I patterned it for others to be able to make it because it’s such an adorable design but I have been working on putting those blocks shown above in a new quilt for me. So here is the project in progress in the sewing room… a real labor of love.
I have been pinning the girls (cut around eat girl from it’s original fabric to preserve the pieces) to scraps of muslin from the leftover backings of other quilts (so still scrappy). I have been machine stitching the blocks to the fabric and a piece of batting.
Eventually I will stitch in the arms and shoulders and put all blocks together to be quilted… but I have been taking my time getting these babies stitched to new fabrics. This time they will be stitched within an inch of their life to make sure they are stable and of course the machine quilting will be much more stable. I may even stitch patterns into the girls dresses.
Here is the stitching on the back. I attached them with a zigzag stitch to stabilize the edges of the polyester. Hopefully this will keep them nice and stable.
If this was your quilt… what would you do with it? How would you have planned it’s resurrection? I have kept the backing fabrics, borders and sashing but have not yet decided whether to use them. I would love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy the sneak peek.