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I always wonder what a quilt top would say if it could talk—and what would a house say about the parties and dinners and get-your-homework-done and washing dishes and folding laundry. And then there’s generational stories; stories told by older family members to younger ones; some about their younger years and the way things used to be—and then there’s the ones that are still inside.

This is my donation piece for this year’s Alliance for American Quilts. I wasn’t able to give one last year as I was still too ill and working on recovery. It is the first art piece I have done since being so ill—and while it is not the best I’ve ever done—it meets my approval as my first timid step back into the waters of art.

Several things come to mind with this piece. I had done the drawings shortly before I became ill, thus the rendering in fabric was challenging. Rendering the face and hands was difficult due to the size.

As always, I select a photograph (of mine—this one was of a gracious Honduran grandmother dressed in her traditional every day apron over her dress), make a drawing—you can see this in the photos. Then it’s on to the fabric selection. I used as a background a vintage quilt top—minutely pieced with 1/8 inch seams, cut individual pieces for the face, hair, arms, dress, apron, skirt, and pockets and hand-appliqued them in place. This is an extra step that I think improves the final result. I use no glues or fusible in my work. The ‘batting’ is a piece of reject lime green corduroy—I have tried a lot of different fabrics and materials but like this the best. The features and shading are done with a variety of threads with all threads pulled to the back—another item that takes more time but I like the end result.

I did a pillowcase turn with some linen as the backing and folded over the top quilted part; added the ring at the top as required along with a four inch sleeve at the bottom of the triangle.

It was sent along its way yesterday with the mail clerk asking me if there was anything hazardous or liquid inside—although she could clearly feel it was soft and squishy.

All the pieces will be on the auction block sometime later this summer.

More photos of the entire piece and it’s creation are on smugmug at:!i=1878663776&k=LmqzLPx

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cynthia St Charles #

    I love this piece! Wonderful! And it is good to hear you are on the mend!

    June 1, 2012
    • Thanks Cynthia–it’s been a long road in retrospect and I’m surprised myself at far I’ve come and what I can do now. I’m really looking forward to returning to art–but now it is more deliberate and thought out as it is physically more challenging.

      Sometimes it feels pretty lonely in my sewing room and it’s hard to make art when local folks are doing more traditional things–and even the local artists get caught up in the media rather than the artistic merits of a piece. But it’s always so good to hear from others who are on the same road.

      June 2, 2012

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