Friday, July 20, 2007

A quilty week

All writing, editing, and research can make Marijke a dull girl. So, I spent my spare moments this week putting together a baby quilt. I wasn’t planning on it, but my daughter is going to San Francisco on Saturday and she’s staying with her friend’s sister who has a baby. So, what to bring to say thank you? A quilt made by your mom, what else? In one week no less, because you don't give your mom any more notice than that.

This quilt was a pattern that I adapted from Australian Patchwork & Quilting, Vol. 15, No. 6. Autumn Swirls, page 38. It looks nothing like the one in the magazine at all – that one was a sedate adult quilt. I rather like the way it turned out as a bright child’s quilt.

I’m an avid quilter. I have been quilting for about 18 years or so and have made over 100 of them. I almost exclusively hand quilt because I don’t enjoy sitting in front of my sewing machine. I have a wonderful machine, a Husqvarna Iris, but I really consider sitting in front of the machine to piece my quilts a necessary evil. I did hand piece one quilt, a double wedding ring quilt for my husband’s niece.

The arcs were paper pieced, but the rest was put together and quilted by hand. I’m very proud of that quilt; it turned out beautifully. But if I hand pieced all my quilts, I don’t think I’d have gotten past two or three.

I have a few favourite quilts, and this one was an accidental favourite. I call it my nine-patch colour wheel. It lives at a friend’s house now and I think it was one of the quilts that I found hardest to give.

While I was putting this baby quilt together this week, I was reminded that I haven’t been working on anything calling for that type of creativity for quite a while. As I’m trying to build up my freelance career, I’m working day and night, well, more night than day – that’s the way I prefer to work. But the creativity of working on quilts was just not coming through. I have a real talent for taking fabrics and colours, and combining them into beautiful patterns and designs. I don’t think about it, I just take fabrics and combine them by instinct. But as I was using my imagination and creativity in writing, did I have enough left for my quilting? Was that why I wasn’t putting any of my fabric creations together?

There’s a quilt on my hoop now that’s been there for several months. I’d made it for last August, for a friend’s 50th birthday. I only had the top ready by her birthday and I promised her I’d get it quilted quickly. Problem was, the quilt wouldn’t “talk” to me. I rarely follow patterns when I’m quilting; the quilt tells me how I should quilt it. I’ve tried pushing the issue and quilting whatever pattern I decide to, but I either end up very unhappy with the end product and not liking the quilt, or I give up and tear it all out, to start all over. I can’t say how a quilt talks to me. My nine-patch colour wheel quilt top sat in a cupboard for over a year. I’d pull it out every so often and look at it, trying to figure out how I would quilt it. Nothing would come to mind, so I’d fold it up and put it away until next time. Finally, one day, as I looked at it again, I knew how I would quilt it and it turned out beautifully. I know, it sounds odd – but what can I say? It works.

So, maybe instead of working this weekend, I will finish the quilt for my friend. It’s very pretty and not doing a heck of a lot for her sitting here in my living room.
News for today:


Dawn said...

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! I can't believe you made that baby quilt in such a short time. And I like the motion of the pattern and the colors and the fun print. Good choices all around. Now I'm wondering what you quilted on the nine-patch quilt that lives with your friend. I visited my craft room this week, but it has been so long, I couldn't find anything. Time to clean and organize and get back at it! Thanks for the inspiration. I think writing and quilting go hand in hand. While you're quilting, you can dream up ideas for writing!


Marijke Durning said...

Thanks Dawn. YOu can see more of my quilts here and I there are a couple of close ups of the quilting on the 9-patch:

Dawn said...

Your quilts are staggeringly beautiful, Marijke. You have a real talent for it. Have you ever considered turning it into a business, or what would that destroy part of what you love? I'm thinking more along the lines of a website, advice, selling quilting things rather than an assembly line!

The Dawns are out in force today!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dawn. Your work is absolutely stunning, and I love
the fact that you prefer "hand quilting" rather than machine. That makes each quilt even more special.



P.S. Thanks for the visit. :D