Personal Style Ah-ha

26 10 2012

Just now, after all these years, I am beginning to acknowledge and appreciate my personal style in the art of my quilting.  I will call this style “more is more”, in contrast with the old adage “less is more”.  I began to develop this style early, starting back when I discovered Roberta Horton’s book Calico and Beyond:  The Use of Patterned Fabric in Quilts.  Prior to reading Roberta’s  book and doing the exercises in it, my quilts were simpler.  Here is a quilt that is an example of the earlier quilts I’m talking about, a quilt in which all the patterned fabrics are bordered in plain muslin.  I remember searching for just the right muslin.  Oh, how things have changed.

Spool Quilt

Spool Quilt, 1988
91″ x 91″
Photography by Sibila Savage

This quilt won a blue ribbon at the California State Fair in 1989, and I remember being hugely pregnant with my daughter Maggie when we drove up to Sacramento to put it on display at the Fair.  The motivation for this quilt was making a quilt for myself.  Previously I had given away as gifts many of the quilts I made. I also wanted to make a whole quilt from fabrics I already had in my collection.  Guess I was playing games and solving fabric puzzle problems even then, challenging myself in this way.  This quilt was machine-pieced, but note the hand-quilting in the detail photo. Good times!!!

Spool Quilt, detail

And then

Shortly after making the Spool Quilt, one of the first quilts I made, having become aware of these new concepts about pattern, prints and plaids, was this one, for my son Patrick, who chose the three colors and the star pattern for this quilt.  At the time I thought it quite daring of me to forgo the muslin and substitute patterned fabric.  As I look at this now, it doesn’t really seem like such a jump, since the patterned fabrics almost read as solids, but this change in my way of working felt significant back then.

Three Favorite Colors

Three Favorite Colors, 1991
60″ x 77″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Also significant in my personal quilting history is that this is the first quilt for which I used a rotary cutter, for making the border here.  These devices are another amazing milestone for patchwork folks;  what would we do without our cutters now—unthinkable!!  Again, machine pieced and hand quilted.  In fact, this is the last large quilt that I quilted by hand.  For you, Pat.

Three Favorite Colors, detail

Thus endeth the ancient history lesson for today.




3 responses

26 10 2012

So much fun to read! I love the combination of your quilting history, the industry history and the family history. So rich and colorful. Thanks!

27 10 2012

I have learned so much from you, and it is fun to find out about your early quilting design decisions.

30 10 2012
Sonia Callahan

Fun to see your early quilts. The spools are wonderful. Sonia

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