Sunday, July 18, 2004

Every quilt has a story.

I got a complaint once that I should try writing up some information about each of the quilts that I've posted pictures of on my website.  Well, this blog seems like a good mechanism, so over the next few days I'm going to try to write up the stories behind each of the quilts I've made.
Alex Wedding Quilt is, I believe, the oldest quilt I have a photo for on the website.  This was made about 4 years ago, and in many ways, represented the starting point in developing my own personal quilting style.  This quilt was based on a quilt I saw in the JR Homestead Quilt Shop in Bethel, CT.  This quilt was a raffle prize, and was quilted with concentric circles in each block.  I thought the quilt was quite intriguing, but was a bit disappointed to learn it was done with special guides on a longarm machine, and would be difficult to reproduce as well on a home machine.
Anyway, what really fascinated me was the use of the bands of color traveling across the quilt.  At the time, I was in the midst of some revelations on quilt color, and had just picked up Jinny Beyer's Color Confidence for Quilter's book as a learning aid.  To make up the quilt, I turned to Jinny Beyer again, and ordered a bunch of fabric from her RJR Basics line for the colors.  At the time, I was not real confident in my own fabric selections, so I decided to lean on the expert.  In general, I was pretty happy with my fabric choices, although the RJR Basics fabrics are a little on the grey side for my current tastes.  I'm also not real happy with the light green square in the corner.  It ended up too light to blend in to the sequence well.  Now, I would fix a problem like that by just grabbing something else from my fabric stash.  Back then, I didn't have a fabric stash yet, and the only downtown Boston fabric store with any selection had just closed, so I just went with what I had picked.
The quilting alternated between an on-point diamond design and a Celtic cross.  The diamond design was easy, and only use a walking foot.  The Celtic cross was interlocking rings, and was a bit more complicated than anything I'd ever attempted.  I used a technique my friend Marcia taught me, and Quilted over tracing paper with the design punctured into the sheets using the sewing machine.  This worked ok, but I don't have really great control over my machine when it comes to freehand quilting, and it took FOREVER to pick out the little pieces of paper from the tracing pattern!
While we're on Alex, here's a baby blanket I made last year for Alex and Lynn's son Isadore.  This was one of the easier quilts I've ever done.  This is a faux-chenille style quilt created by stacking 3 identical flannel panels and sewing diagonals back and forth across the top, batting, and backing all in one step (using a walking foot). 
The top two layers were then cut using a slash cutter to create the chenille effect.  Not counting the binding, I had this whole thing done in less than 2 hours.  The hardest part of the process was finding any flannel panels to use.  There are really not a lot of examples out there. 
This quilt was inspired by similar quilts I saw at the Bernina World quilt shop in Raleigh, NC.  The examples they had in the shop did not use flannel, but regular cotton panels.  While they were very soft on the surface, I decided I wanted to use flannel for the baby blanket, so I began my search.  I believe I found these panels at Bighorn Quilts.


At 10:10 PM, Blogger RhymeMan1978 said...

Hi, Rick,

I adore the quilt that you have posted here as Alex Wedding Quilt. I was wondering if you might tell me what size square you used for this quilt? I'm looking to make one similar to it.

Thank you for your time.


At 7:26 AM, Blogger Rick McGuire said...

Whew, now that's a memory test. I think they might have been 12 inch blocks. Certainly 10-inch at the minimum.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger RhymeMan1978 said...

awesome.. thanks!


At 11:15 AM, Blogger valarie poitier said...

Just to a spin around your Blog. What a joy it was. Thanks for adding all the links in the body of the writings, which I enjoyed so much.

You definitely have a particular style. More power to you, as we use to say. Happy Quilting days to you and yours. Ms. V


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