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.
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.