Peace is...a world in which women are inspired to hope and imagine.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger’s Quilt Festival - The Joy Quilt

I'm so excited to participate again in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival | Amy's Creative Side!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
entry #: 76  75!!
Finished quilt measures : 90ish" by 96ish"
Special techniques used : applique, pieced back, spiral paper piecingQuilted by : My mother and myselfBest Categories : Applique Quilt, Scrap Quilt, bed quilt, group quilt, home machine quilted, ROYGBIV (color wheel) quilt;hand quilted quilt

I had hoped to have this quilt done for the Spring festival, but it was not to be.
There is, of course, a story to this quilt. Which is why I saved it for the festival.

I have a sister. Well, I have a few sisters (and a brother). Of all my sisters, the one next up from me, was 2 years ago the only one of us still living on her own. She seemed to enjoy it, mind you. Great was our surprise when she called us in October 2 years ago saying she had met someone. Greater yet was our surprise when she called in January 2011 to say they were getting June 2011! The event called for a quilt.

Several years back, when visiting the youngest sister down in North Carolina, I visited a LQS in Sanford, North Carolina, and found a fabulous selection of Kaffe Fassett material. I had never seen material like this up in the Toronto area (in Ontario, Canada). I grabbed a bunch of it, with no project in mind. When my sister announced her wedding, this was immediately the material that came to mind. She's an artist, and loves colour. I immediately called it the Joy Quilt, even though I had no idea what the design was.

I found the base design in Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking" - Swimming Pool. Doesn't look much like it, does it...Of course there was not enough of the Kaffe Fassett material to make the quilt, and that quilt shop had closed. I wasn't comfortable ordering additional material online, in case it didn't match. Off I went to Creative Sisters, an LQS that has a great selection of batiks. And didn't they happen to have a great set of batiks that beautifully fit with my Fassett prints. Gorgeous. The DH and Toby the Wonder Dog helped me lay out the blocks.

I also wanted to get my family involved in the quilt in some way. Initially I thought I would take the quilt with me to her wedding (in Victoria B.C. - I'm in Ontario), and have everyone quilt on it with me. Crazy idea. There was no time for it! However, what I did do is send my mother (who was visiting the youngest sister in North Carolina at the time) the left over batik material (after cutting the squares) - and asked her to do something with them. And she did! She made around 35 hearts of different sizes. When I got them back from her, the next trick was to figure out what to do with them. I finally realized that they were not going on the front of the quilt. So they had to go on the back. And with all these colours, what would I do with the back, anyways? Did I need a border? How was I going to quilt all this?

The border went through many iterations of ideas. I initially had thought a small green border, with a larger border of Fassett's Blue Chrysanthemum. I asked the DH what he thought of that, AFTER i bought and cut the fabric for the border and back. Big no. So we selected a Kona Red instead, which just popped the quilt. He has such a good eye for colour. The back - well, while visiting another LQS - Greenwood Quiltery - I put my quilt top against all the Kona solids there, and the Chartreuse just yelled at me. So home it came with me.

Now what do to with all the hearts? Again, many idea. This is when I started trying to understand how I was going to quilt the darn thing, with the bright back and the colourful front. Arghh. and then my sister (the bride to be...well, by that time she was the bride already) saw my post on my peace bag, and asked - could I have those on my quilt? (those being a spiral, from Ranae Merrill's Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts and a Mariner's Compass block). She thought the Mariner's Compass block would be a representation of her husband's love for sailing, and a spiral for her art. So the back was rethought yet again. Since I had done a 3 sided spiral already, I wanted to branch out - thus the 5 sided spiral.

By this time, it was well, almost a year after the wedding. I was pretty sure I was going to have to mail it out. Wow, didn't want to trust the Joy quilt to the mail!! There were good parts of the year that I was making this that I just couldn't work on it. After naming it the Joy Quilt, I found I had to be in a certain mind/body frame in order to work on it.

The hearts found their way on to the back, with fusible interface and a lovely Amy Butler thread for the applique work. Hearts. Everywhere. and even more problematic, how to make sure the back fit the front, and no hearts were cut off. My facebook math buddies helped me out here, as they do from time to time on my projects. Unfortunately, I was not aware at that time of Elizabeth Hartmann's great free Craftsy class on Pieced Backs. That would have been useful.

Initially, it was going to back with my mother, who was to visit in August 2012 from Victoria B.C. This started to put a rush on finishing the quilt. One day, I got a call / email from eldest sister - my mother was hospitalized with an infection and needed surgery. A very long story made very short - instead of my mother coming to visit me, I went out to help her out when she got out of the hospital after two weeks. She was on an antibiotic feed for a month, with an ankle in a walking cast, and homebound for a while. The Joy Quilt took up a good part of my suitcase, with my cutting mat, sewing supplies...etc. I hastily "basted" it (good old 505) and off we went.

I thought that my mother would be able to help me finish this baby. By this time, my quilt and I were feeling pretty close to each other. When I asked my mother for help, we ended up figuring out how to do the quilting, and what to do with the hearts. I had thought we would do a primitive hand quilting around the hearts from the back, and that it would look like hearts on the front. I think we did about 10 of the hearts, and realized it just wasn't going to work. Out that came. Luckily, my mother has a janome and a walking foot, and I had brought quilting thread along (King Tut - Joseph's Coat -  a beautiful rich variegated thread). And there I went - ditchstitchng from border to border. And oh, the things I forgot about machine quilting already. And realized well after the quilt was done.  I didn't quilt through the hearts, so that gives an interesting feel on the back. The gap doesn't show on the front, unless you go looking. I also did not quilt through the pieced blocks. I left them alone.

And so it goes. We ended up quilting hearts in the borders. And some embroidery for the label work. My mother did most of the hearts while sitting out in her garden patio. Mind you, there was some serious napping going on. Good thing we only had a little deadline going on.

and on the last day of my vacation, I finished the binding. Washed it. and pictures. and gave the baby away.

 If you want to see the pieced blocks in detail, let me know and I'll add them to the blog.

This is a Queen size quilt, about 90 X 95". Trust me, I don't recall the measurements exactly. They kept changing. The blocks are 5X5", 14 blocks wide by 16 blocks long. The border is 6". I love the way that some hearts crept into border area on the back. Really. That was on purpose. This is used as a bed quilt.

I hope you enJOYed the story of the Joy Quilt!!

What joyous adventure are you having today?


CitricSugar said...

That's a pretty special quilt! Thanks for sharing it!

Sunshine Girl said...

What a fabulous quilt - I love the way the hearts turned out in the end! Thanks for sharing. #263

Anonymous said...

Beautiful quilt with a great story. I love (and I'm sure your sister does too)the idea that both you and your mom worked on it.

Lenore said...

Hey Liz, such a great story. As the bride in question (now just an old married woman), I get much joy from reading all the bits of the story I did not know, and from experiencing the liveliness of the quilt every single day. What a treat. My husband's words, "neat!"--no small praise, believe me.
To finish the story, Liz needed better photos than the ones she got the day she handed it over to me. That day was blindingly sunny and the 7 nieces she got to hold the thing were of such varying sizes that the only place they could all stand was in dappled sunlight. So I waited until my brother came to stay and help our mother some more (still on intravenous antibiotics). He's as tall as my husband, so I got the two of them to hold the quilt over the edge of our balcony in the sun. No shady bits, but men being men, they had trouble pulling it taut and holding it evenly. Eventually I got some decent photos, one of which is the top one in Liz's blog.
I am currently using the green side as a throw over our couch, where it greatly livens up the room, and I can look at the two symbols of my husband and me: the spiral and the mariner's compass.
Such joy from my li'l sister!

Rene' said...

Thanks for sharing your quilt and its story. Beautiful.

Liz, Quilt Adventurer said...

thanks all for your comments! Especially Lenore...i thought for sure you had the whole story...

Sam said...

What a great story. I really enjoyed how you worked with your mom. By the way I'm tagging you, check out my blog for instructions/rules