Thanks to Amy at this site, http://www.amyscreativeside.com/2010/05/bloggers-quilt-festival-spring-2010.html, for the chance to talk about K's wedding quilt. K was the first one of five to get married, and I really wanted to do something special to celebrate hers and T's marriage. I hadn't been making quilts very long, only about 6 months, and had never done applique before, but I started looking at books, and the quilt had to be applique. I really couldn't imagine a more perfect wedding quilt.
These are some of my favorite squares and border pieces in the quilt. The wedding was planned for April 2009 at a little church in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I explored several ways to do applique. I did some zigzag stitch by machine, but wasn't crazy about how it looked, and I wanted this to be an heirloom. I also tried fusible, but again, it was too stiff and didn't have the old-fashioned feel that I was going for. I suspect that it still seems odd that I quilt to folks who knew me as a young woman. I never willingly picked up a needle and was totally lost in home ec classes as a kid (yes, I am old enought to not have had options in the 8th grade, it was home ec, period). I had resisted for a long time. I have friends that quilt and they had wanted me to try it, but I couldn't imagine myself really liking it (I was wrong). I was hooked when I saw a Laurel Burch panel of a mermaid and since C is a scuba diver and part fish, I knew she had to have a quilt that included that panel. My friends said that I had to do it myself, they weren't going to make it for me. But back to K's quilt... the wedding date was set and I still didn't really know how to applique, so I bought books, many of them, Elly Sienkiewicz mostly, of course the most complicated, and then took a 2 hour class to learn how to hand applique. Ok, I can do this, I just have to modify it for me. I didn't like the glue or the overlay, so I just eyeballed the placement and started in the middle of the square. I had no idea how long it would take, but I bought about 25 yards (yeah, I know, way to much) of fabric for the front and started. I (really) simplified patterns from the many books and I had made about 3 squares when I decided that I really didn't like the colors very much so I bought more fabric and redid them. I know I made every square at least twice, some of them 3 or 4 times. I started in March 2008 and after a couple false starts, appliqued like a demon all summer. Every night, I would work on it, many Sundays I worked all day. I was slow and not very good at the start, but by vacation time in August I was much better and faster. I appliqued all week of vacation and finished in September. It was a blast to think about K and put things into the quilt that I knew she would like. She had always wanted a bunny as a kid, so it had to include a rabbit, and then a squirrel and several birds, including the funky red one with the golden topknot. She also loves green acorns, so the acorns with the oak leaves had to be green. I knew that I didn't want a formal border so I just appliqued a vine with lots of leaves and different kinds of flowers and birds on the edge. I took it to a machine quilter (I know, all real quilters need air at this point in the conversation), but it really never occurred to me that I could hand quilt it too. Now I know better. The machine quilter said that she would be done the first of January. I called the middle of January to ask if she needed anything and then stopped over the end of January. It was still in the same pile it had been in October. Not a good sign. I called my friend, the real quilter, and she found a machine quilter who could get it in right away. It is beautiful and the machine quilting hid any piecing imperfections. Of course, I wish now that I had hand quilted it, but there are two more daughters and two sons, so I'm positive that I will get the chance.