My three-generation quilt which was the beginning of my quilt journey was completed in early June 2002. During that spring, I had started a major project of scanning all my old photos into the computer. When I ran across a funny picture of me and a friend from college, I mailed her a copy. Although Ava and I had not talked in a while, she and I had taken a road trip from Tennessee to Oregon in the early 80’s which had cemented our friendship. When she got the photo, she called me and in the course of the conversation said she had a cold she could not get rid of and was having some tests to see if it might be cancer. It was.
So it turned out that my 2nd quilt was a rush job. I wanted to get it to Ava before she started chemo. To complicate matters, I had foot surgery in late June and was on crutches. My mom drove me to buy some fabric (I got to drive an electric shopping cart for the first time!) Ava’s favorite color was purple and she had told me her new theme song was George Harrison’s Give Me Love. There is a line in the song that goes “Give me hope, help me cope with this heavy load.” I wanted to incorporate both purple and the song into her chemo quilt. She was also a gentle spirit who loved animals and flowers. She had spoiled a mockingbird to peck on her window every day for a peanut butter and cornmeal treat. Even though I still barely knew what I was doing, Ava loved her special quilt. The birds are from a 1935 Nancy Page pattern–Laurel Wreath Quilt–that I found in QNM May 2002. I don’t remember where I got the flowers. I had never used fabric paint so I had to practice that technique before proceeding (I decided on the silver over the yellow). I wrote out the Harrison verse on white packing paper before painting on the horizontal purple strips to make sure I sized it properly.
Now, although I was chomping at the bit to make a quilt of my own, my friend Judy was expecting her first grandchild any day so I decided a baby quilt was in order. My dad’s mother (that’s her and my granddad in front of the house he built by hand when I was 12 years old) was fond of blanket-stitch applique and had several patterns she used for baby quilts. She had sent me copies of them in 1992 and now I have some of her originals in a scrapbook. I had occasionally done some stitching on some baby blocks but they were nowhere near resembling a quilt until I caught this quilt fever. These first two baby quilts went to Judy’s first two granddaughters, Abigail and Mackenzie. Notice my foot is still in the surgery boot. All this quilting helped keep me entertained during my recovery. I worked on a third baby quilt during that time (rabbits) which was later given to my friend Donna when her first grandson Jackson was born.
Now it was time to think about a quilt for me. At the time, each room in my house was painted a different pastel color. I had bought some pastel pillow cases I thought would be perfect in the quilt but my mom told me the fabric would be too tough to hand quilt. So I bought some other fabrics and a pattern. The instructions were for rotary cutting and strip piecing which was a foreign language to me so I had to do some serious studying before proceeding. Some of the fabric is a bit sheer for a quilt but I was thrilled with how it looked in my house. I used the pattern “Yellow Brick Road” by Atkinson Designs. Note the narrow strip of wall to the right of the quilt where I painted 8 inch blocks of my pastel colors and then blended them by adding glaze.
Now I was on a roll and I was drawn to a Grandmother’s Fan picture from my only quilt book because my mom had made one when my sister and I were younger and I never tired of looking at all the fabrics. I wanted the same scrappy look and didn’t know about fat quarters so I started collecting some remnants. I used a an Easy Dresden template by Darlene Zimmerman to cut my wedges. I was fearful of the curves so I experimented with sewing the fans to a muslin foundation with fancy machine stitches but nixed that idea. Next I made a paper pattern for the negative space and cut that from bleached muslin. Sewing the outer curve was no problem for me but the quarter round fan base was a different story so I just decided to zig-zag that to the wedges. This is still one of my favorite quilts and one of the few that I have kept for myself. For binding, I folded over the backing and hemmed but now that I know how to do double continuous binding, I have plans to change that.