Today is the first day of my annual three day, pre-birthday quilting weekend …which includes the annual trip to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival (MAQF) in Hampton. It was to coincide with a girls weekend for out of town friends, and a trip to VMFA for the Picasso Exhibit.
Alas, real life stomped on those plans, and one girlfriend is with her fiancé during post-op, and the other is dealing with the possibility of unsettling job issues that all of us fear….
So, today I decided to work on a quilt. I pulled this quilt out of the nether reaches of my UFO pile last month.
It was a quilt that I decided to do about a decade ago. The pattern was, to say the least, challenging. Jack’s Chain is pictured here. I should point out that a decade ago, I was a relative newbie to quilting. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, I explained to Timmy last night. I totally didn’t realize what I was asking of myself.
Now, a decade later, my skills are probably up to the task, but I am also more aware of my frustration level and desire for torture. (VERY low and VERY small, I assure you.) I also know that I am NOT a precise quilter, and that this pattern requires precision.
Therefore, last month I redesigned the quilt to a far more acceptable and FINISHABLE pattern.
This is how far I got today. I took all the pieces I had previously cut and worked up this quilt. I am going to locate a very dark blue or green antique patterned fabric for a sashing between the main pattern and the triangle border.
Tomorrow, Timmy will chauffer me to the quilt show so I can spend my birthday money and dream of many more quilts I probably will never make!
(I even think I may know of a special someone that I will need to FINISH this for!)
This quilt is entitled Emails From China. It was designed for the 2009 Hoffman Challenge. (While it didn’t win anything, it DID get made!!!!)
The story (there is ALWAYS a story, isn’t there??) goes like this.
My daughter Arlie was off on the other side of the world in China. As I would get up each morning, she was settling in for the night over there. Part of her nightly routine was to email everyone about her adventure du jour. Often, we would be passing emails back and forth at that time, checking in.
I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival down in Hampton, VA on Saturday morning, as I do each year right around my birthday. I had been reading Arlie’s messages, and generally thinking about her and her trip, while wandering around alone being awed by the fabulous art!
I saw the challenge fabric being sold in a booth. I decided to buy a piece and see if I couldn’t finish the challenge in time this year. (The last time I
attempted the Hoffman Challenge, I finished the quilt about 3 YEARS
after the deadline!)
(The Cherry Fabric was the challenge that year in this quilt, SUMMERTIME)
As I fondled my new fabric, walking around the show enjoying myself, I
glanced at it every once in a while. Suddenly, this brown and green and grey paisley started to take on the shape of fish. My mind started thinking about what I could do with fish. Then, Arlie came to mind.
And China. And Oriental fabric. Yes, the paisley were no longer inanimate, they became KOI fish. I started searching the booths for oriental fabrics that complemented this fabric, that reinforced the koi idea.
And so, I came home with a handful of complimentary fabrics, got it all washed and then. Nothing. Else. Happened. (Well, nothing with that fabric. I actually came home from the show with a pattern and had the resulting pocketbook finished before I went to bed that night!)
I put it to the side, in the dreary February light, and promptly forgot about it. In June, I finally decided to look at it again. Still had no idea about patterns, or what other fabrics would work.
While digging through my prodigious stash, I discovered this incredibly perfect fabric with handwriting, in the EXACT odd shade of taupe I needed. The fish…they moved. The koi pond, it radiated.
Having NEVER attempted the curved piecing of a Drunkards Path, the
ever-growing collection of fabrics quickly gelled into a Drunkards Path Variation, no matter how I tried to talk myself out it.
And the writing on the fabric, suddenly represented the communicating that Arlie and I did ‘virtually’ each day while she was away. The idea of the writing substituting for the typing, the circuitry of computers echoed the ripples in a fish pond, moving information and communication.
The quilt, EMAILS FROM CHINA was born! Arlie brought me a Chop back
from China. It says, LOVE. I used that on the label.
The quilt is 40×40, and quilted with outlines of koi over the surface extending beyond the shapes on the fabric. It is quilted with ENTHUSIASM but not necessarily skill, lol. But overall, I am very happy with it, am no longer afraid of curved piecing, and actually plan on making another in this same pattern, which is a first!
When it arrives home, I believe it will be hung in the bedroom….
((Please, leave a comment!! I love to know what people think!))