…but Bigger can be Better!

A marvelous ad dition has been made to my quilt collection. This patchwork masterpiece one is truly exceptional. It embodies everything I love most about quilts. First of all, it was made by my grandmother, and I love how quilt’s offer a sense of history and family ties, how they’re passed down through the generations (the quilts themselves as well as the love of quilting which I clearly inherited)! Then there’s the fact that it’s made from scrap fabrics- and it’s just stunning. Sometimes I feel like those are the best quilts, the ones where you’re making the most of what you’ve got, and as a result end up with the most unexpected combinations. Finally, this quilt is huge, easily king-sized. As I pulled it out of of the big brown cardboard box that my grandmother shipped it in, my breath was simply taken away. And my first instinct was to wrap it around myself- exactly the impulse a quilt should encourage! Naturally, getting it all in one photo was no easy task but I took a few shots to try to capture as much as possible:

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I love the star design, all the contrasting colors and patterns. I even recognize some of the fabrics from quilts my grandmother made for me and my siblings when we were younger. It’s a little hard to see but there’s also a lovely, simple  border of strips around the edge. Of course, I emailed my grandmother instantly to learn more about the story behind this one and she described the quilt-making process so wonderfully, I’m going to quote her directly:

Yes, I  made it several years ago from scraps I had when I was heavily into quilting and learning to do paper-piecing.  On this particular quilt I was working on joining the points on stars.  I always make my quilts long enough to go all the way to the floor, so they are comfortable as a comforter on top of a blanket.  Sometimes this means adding two to three more rows of Seminole edging, or whatever pattern grabs me at the time. This also adds length so they easily cover the pillows when the bed is made and covers your toes when you’re sleeping.  Also, I seldom back my quilts in white, because I like the contrast pattern when the quilt is turned down.  Quilts are so open to whatever strikes your fancy at a particular time. As you use them and look back at all the memories of fabric and pattern selection, it’s like you just made it.

That pretty much sums up all that I love and admire about quilts- that they should be large and comfortable and full of memory. Clearly, I’m inspired. And apparently this quilt gave me the motivation to finish the top of my Log Cabin with a Twist quilt. Let’s just say I spent my Sunday churning out log cabin squares, and all of Monday morning piecing the different blocks together. I just lost myself in a quilt-making rhythm, totally absorbed and loving every second of it. Upon finishing the original design, however, I realized that it wasn’t quite long enough- and my grandmother’s words about a quilt covering your toes while sleeping were reverberating in my mind! So I added a simple square border to the top and bottom. Now it drapes beautifully over all sides of the bed. Once again, it was hard to capture in one shot but I did my best to get a few different angles:

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I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. The juxtaposition of circular and geometric motifs is precisely what I’d imagined. And thanks to my grandmother, it’s just a little bit bigger- which I’m sure will make it that much better. Of course, it’s not ready to be slept under quite yet. I’m awaiting the delivery of some flannel fabrics for the back. Which means I found myself with a few free hours yesterday afternoon, and not wanting to start on my next big quilting project quite yet, I continued my log cabin obsession on a slightly smaller scale- proving that bigger isn’t always better, as is the case with this 16 inch pillow:

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I dug into my (ever-diminishing) fabric stash for this one and pulled out my soft flannels and corduroys so it’s soft and homey. I like the contrast between the patterns, and between the front log cabin square and simple patchwork back. And, since I’m all about spreading the joy of patchwork, this is on sale in my Etsy store!

With my Log Cabin with a Twist quilt at least nearing  completion (never underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete the final stages) I’m getting ready for my next full-size quilt. I’m even considering working on two at once- yes, this my idea of Senior Spring heaven! One will be using the antique fabrics that I got for my birthday- old feed sacks that are still in their original bag-like form. I’m in a quilting frenzy these days and it’s no exaggeration to say I fell asleep last night contemplating different designs- since these fabrics are remarkable enough on their own, I’m imagining something simple… I’m a little indecisive, but confident that I’ll know when I’ve found the perfect design! That’s another wonderful thing about quilts; when they hit the spot, there’s no doubt about it.

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1 Comment

Filed under history, quilting

One response to “…but Bigger can be Better!

  1. I love all your quilts they are really beautiful. Unfortunately for me all my Great Grandmothers Quilted. SO no ancestral quilts for me. Your grandmothers quilts are gifts to be cherished.I love the circle one. Do you do them all by hand? If I ever have a baby I expect a quilt ;P

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