For those of you who remember the I love Lucy show, one episode featured her returning from a massive shopping trip with Ethel proudly announcing her score of a hundred pounds of dog food ….and they did not own a dog.
So why did I buy a quilt kit at a quilt show ten years ago?
It was batik.
I liked the colors.
It was on sale.
I liked the pattern–it was simple and looked fun..
I took that kit to a retreat with some friends along with a lot of other projects—it is easier to cut out things with a nice big table. Cutting always takes time and once you have all the tools out–the rulers, a nice sharp rotary cutter blade—and folks to chat while you do one of the more boring parts—
so I cut out the pieces. Except I decided to use part of one version and part of another version offered in the pattern. I discovered the quilt store staff did not cut straight; there were some of the dreaded v shaped strips. But I got it done.
Six months later, I pulled out that bundle. Did I remember what I had planned?
Thought for a bit; slung a few pieces up on the design wall.
Moved them around some.
Sewed it together–does not look anything like the pattern–either version—but it is together; now it is quilted, trimmed and in the queue for binding. It is destined for the guild’s quilt auction in March.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a live rhododendron shrub/bush. I’m not sure they grow in this part of the country. Just like there are no lilacs here, crepe myrtle trees are the closest…alas no fragrance just a constant dripping of nectar attracting bumblebees and honey bees.
Each year a mystery quilt is offered by Bonnie Hunter who lives now in southern Virginia mountains. She selects a color scheme from something in her travels or now around her cabin home somewhere near the Appalachian Trail. It starts Thanksgiving and ends a bit after New Year’s, something to keep those of us who are not with family occupied.
Last year’s was Rhododendron Trail. Her quilt featured some pieces that suggested butterflies but those pieces were tiny and I opted to omit them. I did include several embroidered magnolia blossoms on a handyed white on white. Sometimes I use the back of a fabric I’ve hand-dyed—the patterning being much more subtle.
For those of you with sharp eyes, yes, those are John Deere tractors in those yellow centers of the lower blocks and a few others as well.
And in an effort to use up fabric I already have and not buy anything I pieced a backing to include a large floral.
Now it is done, bound, labeled, photographed—I don’t do formal portraits for quilts destined for beds and to keep folks warm.
Digging through that box as noted yesterday, I found a panel along with some four patches and some strips and lengths of fabric from my mother’s quilting days.
Somehow on social media, I had connected with one of my parent’s neighbor. She grew up next to my parents who treated her with the same dignity and interest as their own grandchildren. She had fetal alcohol syndrome and life was not easy for her.
One day, Mom needed some help in working on a particular quilt. She asked the girl–a teenager at the time to assist her. After some time, the quilt was finished and Mom gave it to the girl.
She treasured that quilt but lost in a house fire.
She is now married with children of her own.
I thought I might give her this quilt—made from Mom’s fabrics, panel, and some of her patchwork.
and the back
I hope she will like it; it will travel to Wisconsin on our next trip hopefully in a couple of weeks.
I’ve been working away at the Quilt Show’s block of the month. One section each month seems a doable sized activity and you would think I could crank it out in just a day or two.
However, I decided to try machine applique on this piece—and I chose a wiggly linen as the background. The center is now complete. There is supposed to be a border all around the outside–and since this linen frays readily, I serged the top and bottom.
And June is now here—with a new block or two to complete.
When I bought my Gammill several years ago, it was with the intent to finish all those quilt tops my mother had made for her grandchildren—to be gifted on the occasion of their wedding. It has been a long process—but during the pandemic, I finished them all up–bound them and sent them on their way—although some of those grand-children are still not married and there doesn’t seem to be prospects for several of them.
However, I am now working on those tops I have completed over the years, including the annual holiday mystery quilt offered by Bonnie Hunter.
The quilt for 2021 was Rhododendron Trail with lots of tiny pinwheels resembling butterflies—-it was beautiful, light and airy—-but I did not want to make those pinwheels—-so I just did the ‘flower’ parts, selected a large floral for the backing—and loaded it up.
when I load a backing I pin to the top roller, roll it carefully until I can pin to the bottom roller–and then re-wind to get back to the top. I check for wrinkles and folds along the way and leave that backing under tension at least overnight—I have yet to get any wrinkles in the backing using this method.
I do not pin the top to a roller—I use those magnetic tool strips to hold the top in place. I think it creates less strain and i still get a nice not wrinkly top.
the top is now completed, folded up, awaiting it’s turn to be trimmed, and binding.
Several weeks ago, I loaded a large backing onto Vivian (Gammill Vision). My bars are about 96 inches long so that limits the size of any quilts–no king size–queen size is a stretch—but good-sized lap quilts are perfect.
This backing was a 108 inch wide and I loaded it with the selvedge on the leaders; then the batting to cover it all and THEN two quilts with one pantograph pattern of circcles; and then on the leftover part, two smaller pieces individually quilted. I’ll show those when they get their bindings.
Evenings we spend with Netflix or other streaming services; and it is my time for hand-work—and bindings are perfect. The first stitching is done by machine and the last by hand.
When I first bought that Gammill I had several dozen tops to quilt.
I now have just eight waiting. And a backing is loaded for three of them.
Getting to the point where I can finish a top and immediately quilt it is not far away.
Earlier this week I showed a photo of the current month’s installment. I am still working on the first two months’ work. I am doing some hand applique around those flowers. I am not sure I am going to do the stylized flowers or just go for the large circles.
Blogging is a natural progression for someone who enjoys the written word and beautiful imagery. My photographs are hosted at sylviaweir.smugmug.com. I am slowly transitioning all my photographs to this site and will hopefully edit them to a manageable number. In the meantime, I have organized my blog photos by year and so you may wish to merely sample the blog photos
Feel free to contact me for any questions. My website here has not been fully populated but as I work on my smugmug site, I will update these pages.
My work begins with a word, a thought, an idea, or a bit of a poem. I search through my library of images mostly on Smugmug or sometimes I go out and photograph new images. A pieced quilt pattern is sometimes chosen, sometimes I use a piece of fabric I have altered in the past. The imagery is added on using hand applique and then thread is used to add details.
Each piece is meant to draw the viewer inward providing them with ample opportunities to add their own story to the piece. If the piece evokes the emotion or thought I wished conveyed, then I consider the piece successful.
Sometimes I play 'what if' with fabric and paint and imagery. These might be considered equivalent to scale work in music--something I always enjoyed.