22 September 2009

Custom Heirloom Applique Quilt Project

Two years ago when I was packing for my move from Santa Fe back to Chicago, my mothers friend Helen commissioned me to make a quilt for her using some beautiful pillow cases that her mother had embroidered. She was interested in having an heirloom that she could pass down to her children, some thing that would incorporate a piece of her past. When she handed me the pile of pillowcases she told me that there was "no rush", she knew that I would be consumed for months with the upcoming move.

The pillow cases languished in my fabric cabinet reminding me every time I opened the door that a challenging project was waiting for me. After a year went by every time I saw that stack from Helen I was consumed with guilt. When I mentioned this to my Mom she said..."Helen will understand, just wrap them up and send them back to her and tell her you don't have the time."

One thing that I am not...is a "quitter"...and my Mom knows that!

Last Winter I decided to unload my enormous quilt stash. At that time I considered wrapping those pillowcases up and sending them back but one day I pulled out my box of antique fabrics and suddenly was inspired to give this challenging project a whirl....timing is everything!

About this same time I made a new quilting friend in Australia...we became friends because she was responsible for purchasing the bulk of my fabric stash on Ebay! Isn't that ironic...just when I thought I was through quilting...she drew me back in! Meredith, my new pen pal, sent me a pattern for a center medallion quilt and that became my jumping off point to make this quilt. She gave me the encouragement that I needed during a creative dry spell.

Most of the center applique is done in antique Civil War era fabrics, many of them were tiny scraps that I have saved for years. Helen wanted a blue and white quilt but I convinced her that we needed that touch of pink to really highlight the pink in the embroidery. I was afraid that it may look too busy (even though I LIKE busy) but I think it really hangs together. I will continue to build this quilt out from the middle adding as much antique fabric as possible to give it a real heirloom quality. I will keep posting pictures as my work progresses.