I totally forgot I had this photo, and, if this space is going to be where I record the history of my art, it must include this dinosaur, creatively named Blue and Brown Stars.
Staring at this image brings out a flood of memories. This is what happens when one makes a quilt totally BY HAND!!! Sewn into the quilt is either a time or a place or a situation or a conversation or a person or an event or all of them combined.
My memory of the timing of this quilt is sketchy. It was started sometime in the mid-1970’s, but I remember many of these emotional connections quite vividly. I had asked my friends who sewed to donate blue and brown fabrics to this project, and I received many, since I was working at a fabric store at the time I started, so I tried to get all of the prints into the quilt. One of my favorite pieces was the pima cotton brown check fabric found at Britex out of which I had made a shirt. Yes, folks, all ginghams used to be 100% cotton, says this ancient one, but they were getting rarer and rarer in the late 70’s. And good cotton muslin was the appropriate background for pieced stars, or almost any patchwork, for that matter.
Also, let’s review the techniques involved here: I cut templates out of sandpaper, traced around them onto the fabrics, and cut out each piece individually. No rotary cutters here. And no design wall either; everything was laid out on the floor to see how the pieces would fit together.
And how proud I was that I was piecing these mini-stars using 1″ diamonds, all done by hand. They took FOREVER!! I remember the distress I felt when, after stitching the quilt together as far as the large diamond border, I realized that the best choice for finishing the quilt was to make another border of the mini-stars. (Today, I could probably come up with something different and easier.)
And then I began hand quilting. Since this quilt was made at a very busy time in my life, I can understand why quilting was not my first priority and took a long time. I know there is a zen to hand quilting, just like the hand embroidery, and I will still do these while I’m able.
More recently I have become fascinated with the medallion format for quilts by working on more modern versions, and now I see the Blue and Brown Stars as the seed from which this fascination may have sprouted.