I’ve known this about myself… commissions frighten me. I’ll do them, but it really brings out the worst in me as far as being an artist is concerned. For some reason, despite the hundreds of quilts I’ve made, despite my popularity as an artist and despite my adherence to top notch standards with regards to making quilts, I still experience a sense of self doubt. It’s not just me; it’s pretty universal according to an informal poll I’ve taken with fellow artists. “Will they like it?” “Will it approximate what they imagined?” “Do I have enough free time to devote to a commission?” … on and on the questions come. So when I was approached to make this memory quilt, despite all my questions and worries, I surprised myself by taking the job. The person who passed was wheelchair bound for quite some time, and this quilt was for her caretaker who cared for her for the past ten years. Her loss was sudden and unexpected, I could tell this was someone who will be missed.
When my friend handed over her garments, I was relieved to see it was mostly cotton fabric. These muumuu’s were worn everyday by this woman. I could imagine her dressed nicely yet comfortably in them. I was also happy to see that I had not only prints to work with but also solids and I had a variety of values to play with as well. So without knowing what to do, I started cutting.
It took me some time to settle on a motif. I looked for clues to what type of person she was through the pictures that were sent to me by my friend and that were featured on FB. One of the photos I came across was of her funeral table. On it I remember seeing a photo that hinted she might have liked to gamble. With that in mind, I blew up the Queen of Hearts card and started to recreate a giant Queen of Hearts card using her fabrics. It was a disaster! I hated it! I have no business appliquéing… I’m a piecer. What was I thinking? My idea tanked and I was deflated.
Meanwhile, at work, my friend asked again about the quilt. He had wanted to give it as a Christmas gift and clearly, I blew that deadline. Of course I felt awful. Frustrated with this process, I went back to the studio and just started strip piecing. I sewed and sewed giant panels of reds, purples and dark blues and blacks. I figured (and hoped) something would come to me after this new fabric was made.
Looking at these panels and wanting to do something interesting yet not too “artsy” I again thought of this woman. Maybe “Queen of Hearts” is not an option, but “Queen of Diamonds” most certainly is! Cutting these panels into diamonds and arranging them according to value seemed like a doable task. The diamonds, set on point make for a visually interesting quilt; the straight lines contrast with the hand-cut ones of the panel, the strips of solids inserted into the patterned pieces help to tie everything together. Working this motif also answers the question of how to quilt it… I’ll use an overall grid pattern, following the seams of the diamonds.I had a “moment” before I started cutting these shapes. I had never made a diamond quilt before! Thank goodness for pinterest… and a few quilting friends who put up with me when I asked them questions 😉 It’s really very easy! I fashioned a template from a file folder and cut, cut, cut. As I write this, I have over 100 diamonds and I figure I’m about two-thirds there. Next will be the placement and finally the piecing. I’d like to give a special shout out to Jessica at Urban Patchwork… thank you! Your tutorial on making a Diamond Quilt is most helpful!
I hope to finish this quilt soon! I have work to do on my upcoming lecture and class with The Maui Quilt Guild. I posted info about my class on this blog a few days ago and see that they have not yet posted info about my class on their website. Not to worry… if you are attending the meeting on February 1st or March 1st, you can register there! Otherwise, feel free to email me and I’ll get you the info you need.
Some of you have been very kind to “wish” to take a class from me, but are unable to do so due to location. I have thought about doing a virtual class, but have not worked through the details enough to give it a go. Teaching virtually for me makes sense! I’ve been making quilts for over two decades, I have followers from all around the world, and like me, I suspect there are many people who find themselves unable to travel to take a class for various reasons. With the recent popularity of “modern quilting” I feel like my own brand of quilt making will be kindly received. In a nutshell, I need to get on it… someday, Robin… someday.