Happy Wreath, a long, long tale

8 04 2016

I just spent 15 minutes trying to find the first posting of the beginning pieces of this quilt.  And wow—it was in September of 2012 !!  No wonder I hate it when people ask me how long it takes to make some of my quilts.

Click here for the link to the photo of  the first flowers, way back when I had no idea what I was going to do with them and just kept sewing away.

And here’s the shape they finally took.

Happy Wreath, 2016 68" x 68"

                                         Happy Wreath, 2016
                                                  68″ x 68″


Along the way, the border for this quilt was going to be some pieced 1″ squares, but when the center was finished, that border did not work.  Soooooooo, off I went making 36 more flowers for the vine border.  And, after all this hand sewing, I still love needle turn applique.

artwork by Susan Dague

Happy Wreath, Detail A

The next challenge was what to do with the middle of the wreath.  Add a vase with flowers, add more flowers, quilt flowers ??  None of these worked as well as the leaves, which disappear enough to allow the wreath flowers to stand out.

Many challenges, but I like the final product.

artwork by Susan Dague

Happy Wreath, Detail B

And look closely at this crosshatch background fabric.  This fabric gives the flowers a fun place to play.

This quilt, along with Awake At Midnight, was shown in the EBHQ Voices in Cloth 2016 Show last month.

Awake At Midnight

1 04 2016

May I say I loved working on this quilt and that I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I named it “Awake At Midnight” for two reasons:

—when I am awake at midnight and in my studio, I just want to sew, not design, cut, hand-sew, do quilt math, etc.  I talked about this in a previous blog post here, the same post in which I showcased the half-square triangles I was mass-producing.  Those triangles turned into this quilt.

—when I am awake at midnight, my brain sometimes feels as frenzied as these patterns look to me.


Awake At Midnight, 2016 66" x 74"

Awake At Midnight, 2016
66″ x 74″


Two important things happened during the making of this quilt:

—First, I found this navy fabric printed with winding vines of flowers and leaves.  Until I found it, I had no idea how I was going to balance all the wild energy of the patchwork.  The “weight” of this print helped to balance everything.

Awake At Midnight, Detail A

Awake At Midnight, Detail A

—Secondly, I realized that adding rust (the complement of the navy) inner and outer borders of sawteeth gave the quilt some pop.

Awake At Midnight, Detail B

Awake At Midnight, Detail B

The center of this quilt was originally going to be just like the outer border, Broken Dishes.  While on the design wall, this did not look so interesting, so I inserted the 16-patches between the dishes.  This makes ones eyes fly all over the place trying to figure out the pattern, which is quite simple but appears complicated.

I love it when putting two simple blocks together makes something exciting.

I also love it when a quilt looks wonderful and intriguing from a distance AND gives the viewer a little bonus when he or she comes in for a closer look.

Rebecca Rohrkaste did the wonderful fan quilting.  I knew it had to be quilted this way, and she made it happen much sooner than I would have been able to.