Saturday, May 8, 2010

Garden of Stitches - The Ashley Quilt

Hurray!  I'm done!!!
So here's the whole story on this quilt.  There's a quiltshop in McCall (Huckleberry's) that years ago only carried what I consider "muddy colored" fabrics. (They've expanded a little in recent years, but still love earth tones.)  They had Garden of Stitches by Lisa Bongean displayed.  I loved the shape of the flowers and bought the pattern with the plan to make it in bright colors for my younger daughter.  The next spring, a family member was diagnosed with cancer and I spent a lot of time waiting in doctor's offices.  This became my waiting room project and for a time I referred to it as "the chemo quilt".   Meanwhile, I finished 2 quilts for the daughter, so the need to finish this one was eliminated and  it remained a work-in-it-whenever project.

Then in 2009, I decided to make quilts for each of my nieces and nephews with a self-imposed rule that they had to be made with "stash" material.  Fortunately, my niece Ashley liked the colors I was using for this quilt and it became hers.  The applique was nearly done, but last summer I had to figure out how to piece it together from the stash.  I decided that the half-square triangles in the original pattern were too busy and distracted from the applique.  I framed the flowers with a pink print that is not noticeable from a distance, but makes a subtle frame on close inspection.  Which is a good thing b/c I ran short and had to make some adaptations.   I also am not a fan of scrappy quilts (they make me anxious for some reason), so I set about taming the outer border to just 2 colors.  My other challenge was how to quilt it.  With all that pink space b/w the flowers, I felt it needed a lot of interest, so decided on echo quilting.  That decision then creates a new problem in that lap quilting works best.  But it was summer.  So I tried something new.  I sewed the quilt into 4 panels, quilted those up to 2" from the joining edge, then sewed them together and quilted using the approach used for Hawaiian style quilting.

The other interesting story that goes with this quilt revolves around a quilt retreat in June 2009.  Joanne invited several of us to her cabin the week of the Council, ID quilt show. The evening before the luncheon, I was working on this quilt and trying to convince Diane that she'd like applique if she just tried the back-basting method.  She agreed to try and was working on a flower from this pattern to add to the back of a quilt she'd planned to finish that week.  We got to the luncheon.  I hadn't paid any attention to who the speaker was since I don't know any quilt designers.  As I was looking over the display table before the trunk show...I had to laugh.  It was Lisa Bongean, the designer of the flowers we'd been working on.

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