Sunday, June 10, 2012

They're here!

"Enigma Variation" 2012, by Andrea Balosky
The two Andrea Balosky quilts from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative have arrived, and of course, I'm thrilled. They are beautiful, and I love seeing what's on the back as well as the front. So I thought it would be fun to share pictures of the backs, too.

"Enigma Variation" 2012 (reverse view) - click to enlarge
Andrea likes to add little notes, and this time there are removable notes with contact information, as well as inscriptions on the "fast finish" corners. I'm not planning on removing the removable notes, though. You may also notice the numbers on the backs of these quilts. Those are the AAQI numbers. One number is assigned to each quilt when it arrives. "Enigma Variation", which was inspired by Edward Elgar, is number 9937.

"This is It" 2012, by Andrea Balosky
"This is It" is number 9938, and the quilt was inspired by an Alan Watts book, a pivotal read for Andrea. She told me she hadn't intended to include the word "It" in the quilt. It just happened. I hadn't really noticed it at first, but sure enough, there "It" is!

"This is It" 2012 (reverse view) - click to enlarge
I just love seeing the backs of these quilts. The hand quilting shows up well, and Andrea always uses some interesting fabric on the back. When I was working with the "Small Wonders" quilts, I made sure to photograph the backs of each quilt. There was a story she told about how the women in the "Pine Needlers" quilting group in Camp Sherman would get together for meetings. Andrea would bring her latest doll quilts, and she says they would all cackle about the back fabrics. One of them has glow-in-the-dark banana fabric, and it still glows. What a hoot! The polka dot fabric on the back of these two quilts is relatively tame in comparison, but it still has the fun factor.

If you are interested in participating in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, either as an artist donor or buyer (or both!), there's a lot more information on their web site. Their June auction ends tonight. Good luck, bidders!


  1. Those would certainly brighten one's day!

  2. Fantastic quilts!! Wonderful you get to add them to your collection.

  3. They are wonderful! I got mine the other day and will post about it as well. It has that same polka dot fabric and I love the little notes!

    I was wondering, I have two from Andrea now. I seem to recall seeing something on the earlier one that she had used cotton picked right from the bush for the batting, but this newest one almost seems to have no batting at all. As I've learned a lot of new techniques from Jude Hill (who never uses batting), I've come to prefer no batting or only a thin layer of cloth as the middle part. What do you think Andrea has done in these new pieces? I may send her a note about it, but haven't done so yet.

    As I get older my hands are less able to take the force needed to get a needle through batting, and I've tried all sorts of types. I've been working with silk batting lately and even that is hurting my hands and arms. I use batting for my machine quilted pieces, but need to find a solution for hand quilting.

    1. I've since learned that Nyima didn't do the picking, but the cotton was harvested locally. She probably got wads of raw cotton and pulled it out to make a thin batting. I know she reads the blog, so maybe she'll chime in.

  4. They are absolutely beautiful! And I love being able to see the backs! Gorgeous and so much fun! Oh, I love them! You are a dear and lucky man!

    1. The backs are definitely part of the whole experience for me. I love that they're numbered, and all the other inscriptions. Such wonderful surprises! Some day I'll do something more with the pictures of the backs of the Small Wonders quilts. I can see the Pine Needlers all looking at the backs, in stitches! I mean, glow-in-the-dark bananas! Who does that?!? :)

  5. Here I am, chiming in ... Yup, "it" just happened.

    No, I donʻt pick the cotton balls off the bush, just the tea leaves!

    Re the thinner batting. The source is still the same: lumpy wads of near-raw cotton balls. From previous batches of AAQI quilts, I decided that the quilts would be visually smoother, the stitches more even if the batting is thinner. A matter of proportion: heck, these quilts are small! Hence, I comb the wads until the layer is a mere whisper of cotton. Who says you canʻt teach an old dog new tricks.

    Glad you like the quilts. They are a joy to make — for me, for AAQI.

    p.s. Ask Bonnie Hull to describe the back of "Dahlia Rag".

  6. wonderful quilts. are they all displayed together in your house. Love this discussion in the comments too. I have a lot of big black floral fabric on my early quilts. and one has a Batman fabric and another pigs' behinds.