Monday, March 25, 2013

My quilts (so far)

My first quilt top, still a top, c. 2006
Over ten years ago I experimented with sewing by making a quilt block out of Hawaiian shirt batiks. It was terrible.

bad quilt block, c. 2002
Clearly, I had no sewing talent. I put the block away and forgot about it. Several years later, I got the idea that I'd make a denim quilt in the improvisational style of a Gee's Bend quilt - since I'd never be able to afford one - and in a day I cranked out the warpy, wavy top seen above and as the wallpaper of this blog. I wasn't exactly sure I knew how to finish it, and the whole thing seemed like a disaster, so I put it away and forgot about it. I pulled it out a few years later and came up with a plan to quilt it, but still haven't done it. Maybe this year.

"Escape from Palm Beach" 2012
I used some of the same batiks seen in my first quilt block to make my first completed quilt, "Escape from Palm Beach" for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Later in the year, I bought the quilt back, so I have it. Within the next couple weeks, I did a few other quilts, "Happy Place" for my friend Sarah, "Julie Silber" (for Julie) and "House of Wonky" for the Small Wonders Challenge of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

"Happy Place" 2012
"House of Wonky" 2012
"Julie Silber" 2012
All three of those quilts are in new homes. I gave "Happy Place" to my friend Sarah; I gave "Julie Silber" to Julie when I met her in Bellingham at the Whatcom Museum- the quilt was made on her birthday; and "House of Wonky" sold to a person in California after winning the Viewer's Choice blue ribbon at Sisters.

"Marvelette" 2012
The next quilt was also for Sisters. It was called "Marvelette" and was made after show director Ann Richardson saw "House of Wonky" and invited me to be part of a new exhibit called "ManLand" for quilts made by men. The quilt needed to be larger than anything I'd ever made, so I stitched together large pieces of fabric until it was big enough, and got it long-arm quilted and bound. Both quilts were done to surprise my mother, who was visiting from Maine during the time of the quilt show, and yes, she was surprised!

"Wild-Eyed Susans" 2013
The latest two quilts have been on my blog during the last week, and both were started in Sisters during a workshop and retreat with Gwen Marston and Sue Spargo. "Wild-Eyed Susans" is my wool "Flower Power" challenge quilt for the Northwest Quilters annual guild challenge, and "Center Star" is my wink-and-a-nod to quilt history- a liberated rendition of a classic American quilt.

"Center Star" 2013
It's fun to look at this work as a group. Even though it really isn't a body of work, it's connected and shows a clear progression. The projects have gradually gotten more ambitious, and have drawn more inspiration from quilts, quiltmakers, and quilt history. At this time, I have just two projects I think of as UFOs- the denim quilt top at the top of this blog, and the one called "Oregon July" (below).

Friends have teased me about my no-UFO policy, but really, my college art background squelched the inclination to let visual projects sit for long. Even though I still need to get back to the denim top, I plan to do something about that this year. :)


  1. I think your college art background it great....comes through in the quilts and in the finished item.....LOL we all sort of envy you such discipline.

    I finally moseyed over to Off The Wall - Maverick Quilts.... so happy I went and enjoyed seeing your quilts "live"! I was also happy to see the museum....will probably never go again, cow girls just are not my thing. My daughter went with me and reminded me that a great part of this is the woman as a serious contender in life..... I must take that more for granted than I realize.

  2. Love your first quilt top 2006 and all the others you have made in between but the Centre Star 2013 takes my breath away. It is brilliant!

  3. I agree, Mel!! The composition and the detail on the "Center Star" are amazing! "Julie Silber" caught my eye, too (as well as "Wild-Eyed Susans"!!!)