January: The Trunk Was Full!

I’ve been a quilter for almost twenty-six years! Prior to that I was merely a wannabe quilter with a dream of having the time and energy to make quilts. I am a life-long fabric lover, as was my mother. Yes, I do believe it is in my genes. That has not changed. I’ve long been a collector who readily gathers things to “feather my nest”. My house is full to the brim of baskets, plants, shells, fossils, doilies, cork, bark or glass vases, pictures, folk art and more.

What has altered? What has changed since I began quilting, is my own increasing quilt portfolio. I enjoyed reading this definition of portfolio: “a portfolio usually represents a portable showcase of your talents”.

Quilts are portable, to some extent, but as my portfolio increases moving the collection requires muscle and roomy transportation. My truck (our 2009 Honda Ridgeline) was quite full last week for the trunk show at Cuttin’ Up. Sharing my quilts and the lessons or challenges I experienced with each quilt is always a journey for me too. I get to see old favorites. Sometimes I relearn a lesson!

“Fire Pink” grew from my desire to feature the shimmering red batik. Note how I extended that red diagonal into the border at times. To satisfy my own eye, I reduced the size of the block and the sashing as presented in the original pattern. I had sewn two blocks and realized they seemed too “chunky”. Those blocks now appear on the back of the quilt as a reminder to evaluate each step of the way.

“Paisley Lily” was a pattern that intrigued me–found in a magazine. I sewed all nine blocks with the consistent light background, but found it quite boring. I replaced that center block with this one. It is the exact same block–only colored with lights and darks differently! Yes, value does the work!

“Spring Beauty” features a vibrant panel of an Iris flower. I broke up the panel by inserting the strips of charteuse dupioni silk from a thrift store gown I’d found. The wide asymmetrical border around the iris is a “coping strip” to make it fit the surrounding blocks I wanted to use. The blocks were inspired by a quilt made by Adele A. using the same color range of fabrics. Not until I found this panel did I find a way to highlight the blocks I’d pieced two years earlier! The machine quilting I did on the iris and the background adds interest and texture.

“My Deer-Proof Day Lily” is the companion piece of panel to “Spring Beauty” (above).
The block called North Wind or Corn and Beans is the same block use in Spring Beauty–just different color combinations. Note how effective the bit of plaid is here. One quilt leads to another–this is how a “quilt series” begins!

“May Day Baskets” was inspired by a red & blue string-pieced wallhanging I spotted at a flea market in the late 1990’s. At the time there was a lot of interest in “low-volume” quilts meaning minimal contrast throughout. I pieced the baskets on a foundation and appliqued the handles, then went to my stash for fabric for the setting triangles and the borders I chose to create. My goal was to turn the center square into a rectangle via interesting borders–a trick I learned from studying antique quilts, especially lone star quilts.

“15 Years of Applique” was a hand work project I carried to meetings for about fifteen years. The block is Tobacco Leaf. Some of the blocks display a strong contrast, some are “fade-out” blocks. The use of both helps to keep the viewer’s eye moving. With the thirty-three blocks set on-point and then joined together with the narrow silk sashing it became a large quilt. The tiny squares of vibrant green at the corner of each block becomes what I call punctuation points. I’m especially pleased with the dark diagonal line of blocks and with the green stripe in the setting triangles that appears to weave behind the edge of the blocks. This was my original setting. Picking my favorite fabric from this “library” of fabrics would be difficult. I quilted all of these quilts on my vintage home sewing machine, a Bernina 930 from the 1980s.

Ten days ago at Cuttin’ Up, I had the opportunity to display an array of my quilts and talk about the various boulevards, avenues and alleys that my quilting journey has taken me. I mentioned some of the unexpected twists and turns as I wandered around the quilting world. I appreciate all of you who joined me–it would not have been the same without each of you! And thanks for these photos!

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2 Responses to January: The Trunk Was Full!

  1. Lila Rostenberg says:

    Loved this, I especially noticed the explanation of “portfolio “.
    So many rich and beautiful fabric combinations in these quilts! It really is a “showcase of your talents”!
    Each quilt has some unexpected or innovative element to delight our eye!

    • Paula says:

      Thank you for your compliment! It looks like “you have my number”! I truly enjoy searching for “rich and beautiful” fabric combinations. And then searching for additional candidates to create a “community of fabrics”. Other quilters are enthralled with sewing miniatures or doing elaborate piecing projects, or intricate applique, or perfect quilting designs. I’ve been amassing “fabulous fabrics” for more than two decades–each just waiting to be included in my next project. Some favorites are included over and over.

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