This is a small quilt (about 2 feet/ 60 cm square) which I am proud to say I made on Saturday afternoon.
I am proud of this because it demonstrates expertise. I wanted to make a quilt as a demonstration piece for a talk I am doing and I didn’t want to spend hours on it, so I used what I have learned over the years about quick techniques. I suppose I pressed my 10,00 hours of practice into service. The 10,000 hours required to make an expert is coming under fire as an idea, but this quilt came out of a lifetime of practising a skill, not just an afternoon’s work, and I think there is something in the idea. I know, from some much practice and prototyping and going to workshops over the years, how to get the effect I want. So, this is largely fused and it has very free-form stitching over the top:
I really like this strong graphic line, which is done with Mettler quilting thread in black The fabric is fused with heat and bond which is great, but the combination of that and the thick thread did for the needle which eventually gave up and snapped. The new needle worked much better, but that snapped on a subsequent project so I switched from an 11 to a 14 and have had better results. My sewing machine is wonderfully patient with me, but even it has its limits.
So, I sat down to make this piece on Saturday afternoon, intending to trace a pattern in a quilting magazine which had caught my eye. I had even bought the fabric for that design in Copenhagen on my last visit. Of course, the pattern and the magazine had disappeared. I went to exactly where I had left them but they were gone. So, having looked at thousands of applique quilts over the years, I decided to make my own pattern. When I drew the pattern it looked a lot like a daffodil, which would have been nice, but I had bought nice traditional looking red fabric for the piece, so I decided that it would be an amaryllis, greatly simplified as three or more flower heads were more like a botanical drawing exercise than a quick quilt. I remembered the blade-like leaves, though.
The background is some scrap linen with a sepia print:
A toile really, but not an antique one. I was going to use the back at first, but I thought the print added to the vintage look of the block. The quilt is deliberately a bit wonky with some stems longer than others and the leaves cut freehand and differently for each block.
The quilt is a piece for my new talk on Friendship quilts. This one is an example of a Solomon Quilt. I had never heard of these, but my October guest, the wonderful Marybeth Stalp, has one. When a quilter dies, sometimes the remaining members of the family get part of her quilt – probably a quarter – as a separate piece. It is form of keepsake. I thought that an applique design like this would be a good example of a mock-up Solomon Quilt. Although you end up with a small wall-hanging, this is a good way to try out some ‘quarter’ quilts if like me you will never have time to make all the full-size pieces you would like.