Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden!

Hi, all!   

Just a peek!!

I'm so glad you've stopped by to see my entry into this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival!  I haven't actually committed to the Process Pledge, but I'd like to share a little bit of the process I went through to create this quilt.

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about why I quilt.  (Hang in there - there's lots of pictures to come!)  About a year ago, a group of women from my church met to make a quilt for a young friend who very unexpectedly found out that she had cancer and had to have radical surgery.  We had never made a quilt before, but it was what we felt led to do.  Now flash forward to today - we have made 47 quilts since then, all of them distributed to people with serious medical problems, or in distressing life situations, and also to newborns in our church.

The quilt I want to share with you is one that I made recently for a young woman who was also facing devastating surgery.  She had conquered lymphoma at age 17, but after some difficult times in her life had just about reached the end of her rope.  She made good decisions and started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to find out that she had a possible return of her cancer and needed to have surgery.  Needless to say, this took all the wind out of her sails.  She was a member of the Bible study group I was leading, and I knew a little about her - she is very contemporary, likes whimsy (she has eyelashes for her Volkswagon Beetle!) and trended toward vibrant earth tones in her clothing.

Artistic design is not my forte - but I knew where to start looking for inspiration!  I headed off to Flickr to see what I could find.  I bookmarked many pictures, but this is the one that stuck in my mind...  So I dragged out the design journal and started sketching.  (Again, not my strong suit!)  With a vague idea in my mind, I went to check out my stash to see what fabrics I had available to use.  I found several earth tone fabrics to use, paired with some lovely saturated jewel tones.  For the base fabric for the quilt top, I found a piece of 72" wide Irish linen that came from my grandmother's fabric stash.  I cut out circles in various sizes from each of the fabrics I chose for the appliques, and located some strips of deep green in my scrap bin.

Then my granddaughter and I got busy.  We spread out the linen on my bed, grabbed those fabric pieces and started arranging them on the linen.  (Let me tell you, this was quite an experience with a nearly-3-year-old!)  We layered some of the circles, cut "snowflake" type designs in some, and this is the design we ended up with...

My "design bed"!

With this rough beginning in hand, I solicited the advice of a friend whose design skills far exceed mine.  Collaboration is a wonderful thing!  I slimmed down the stems, making them slightly curvy, and appliqued the design to the linen.

Loopy hearts stitched on this flower....

Click pic to see
detail up close!
Next came the quilting process.  First thing was the flowers and stems.  Each flower has free motion quilting in it, and it was a great way to try out lots of different designs. 
Echo quilting and flower designs!


On the back of the quilt, those quilting designs echo the design of backing fabric I chose - which was totally unexpected but wonderful!  The stems have long organic lines quilted up and down them.







Then I moved on to the background quilting.  My inspiration piece had lovely echo quilting around the flowers, and that's where I started.  (I did learn that the echo quilting is much easier to do as free motion quilting - I started out with a walking foot, and that did not work well at all!)



Fiddlehead fern design -
I wish I'd had better light for these pics!

 Once I had done the echo quilting, I had large areas that were unquilted on either side of the design, and also above it.  What to use to fill in the space?  Well, on the sides I did a "fiddlehead fern" design - long stems up about halfway, with spirals at the top.

Once that was done, I turned to the top of the quilt.  I really felt that this needed a sunburst, so I fiddled with where to work it in.  On paper, I sketched it in at the top corner, but really didn't like the way it made the design look - a little too stretched.

I'm glad there was a sun on my quilt -
There was not much available for these pics!


Then I tried the design in the center top, and that worked.  But it still left a lot of blank space at the top, so back came the swirlies!  This time they hopefully represent wind and clouds - at least that was my intention - but they give the quilt a beautiful texture.  Of course, by the time I was done, I was making swirlies in my sleep!!

Back detail

The back of the quilt is rather plain, compared to most of my quilts.  I just couldn't come up with a design that I liked in coordination with the front!  I did find a great mandala print fabric that coordinated with the colors, and amazingly coordinated with the reverse image of the quilting, too!  Panels with Bible verses written on them were appliqued down the center of the quilt as an added touch.

So here, in all it's glory, is Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden......

My little photography assistant has her garden boots on!!

(And on a happy note, the recipient of this quilt had a very good result from her surgery, and the tests came back showing that her cancer had not returned as feared.  God is good, all the time!!!)

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival!  I hope you take time to visit many more of the wonderful entries there - so much beautiful work to see!!

Later!

Sarah

PS - if you are looking for the winners of my birthday giveaway, check here!

43 comments:

Hillbilly Handiworks said...

I think it is wonderful!!
I am moved to call my church to see if I can quilt for those in need!

pamela said...

Love this quilt and was very moved by your quilting story!!! You have come a long way in one year. God has really Blessed you.

harleywife57 said...

Oh how lovely it all is ! The story ; the quilt ; and the results for the owner of the quilt ! PRAISE THE LORD !!!

beth said...

Wonderful quilt with a wonderful story!

snippetsandyarns said...

This is such a great story, and beautiful quilt! I love that your little granddaughter is able to get into this with you. I believe you may have a quilter-in-the-making there!

~ Meagan

Wendy said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Beautiful quilt :) and wonderful work! Thank you for sharing!!

verobirdie said...

This is a very touching story! I hope your friend will get her health back. I'm sure knowing she has such good friends helps her a lot.

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

I'm glad you chose this one to share. It's such a cheery quilt and a great story:)

Deb said...

Have already said in a previous post I think this is an amazing quilt. The quilting is incredible. I loved hearing more about the story behind it though. And so pleased to hear that the recipient had a good outcome.

AND....Happy Birthday, Sarah. May you have a fabulous day. Best wishes from New Zealand :-)

NancyinSTL said...

I think your quilt is different enough from the inspiration quilt that wee buttercup should be flattered and not mind. I also have a friend who was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and she is never far from my thoughts. I think a quilt is a wonderful way to cheer up a friend and make you feel helpful.

felicity said...

Wow - what a gorgeous quilt! It goes to show that a simple design is often the most effective. Thanks for sharing it!

AllieKatMom said...

adorable!! I really like the quilting you did

that ninch said...

Wonderful! And made with love for a positive outcome--I'm sure it's appreciated so much.

Hazle

Francis said...

Just as many others have commented, your story has inspired me to quilt for a deal friend who was recently diagnosed with her second round of cancer. Thank you.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what a fabulous quilt! Love it!

ladybugquilting said...

Stunning!

Michelle said...

Such a fun and happy quilt. The quilting is fantastic. Really compliments the design.

So glad the recipient got a no cancer result!

Bec Clarke said...

Oh love it, the story, the quilt, the whole shebang, how wonderful of you to do great things for people who need a pick me up.

Megan said...

What a fantastic quilt - love the quilting especially!!! I'm so happy the story has a happy ending:)

badlandsquilts said...

Gorgeous quilt & phenominal quilting!

Ann Flowers said...

That is the most stunning quilt. I love how it looks, I think many would just love to have your gorgeous quilt.

I had to show my daughter and my hubby, you did a amazing job on it.

What a very loving and kind reason to quilt for people. You should be very proud of yourself for such a well done job and for such a very kind way of showing compassion to someone going through a lot.

You are on such the right track with a way to comfort. I was in the hospital last week, very ill learned I have a brain tumor, it is causing my illness, thankfully it is not cancerous but must come out. I was admitted in the wee hours of the morning. But the next day my hubby right away asked if I wanted my blanket from home. It just a normal blanket, but he knew it would be comforting to have it from home. Now I am at home confined to bed and couch and the first thing he does each day when he helps me to the couch is say you want "your" blanket. So I think what your doing is such a perfect idea:)

Well done!


Ann flowers
flowerscrazyq@gmail.com

Lee said...

A beautiful quilt - a real work of art. I love the fabric on the back and the quilting is WOW. Thanks for sharing it with a person in need of comfort.

Mary said...

This is so lovely Sarah! I love the sun quilted on this quilt - such a nice detail! Your quilt ministry is so awesome and you spread love to so many people! What a blessing.

Aunt Spicy said...

The quilting is gorgeous!!!!

Rene' said...

Lovely quilt and lovely story! So glad your friend is doing well. I'm in awe of the quilting you did on this! So beautiful all the way around. Thanks for sharing!

Leslie said...

your quilting really makes this quilt come alive

Shannon at Monkey Dog Quilts said...

I LOVE this quilt and especially love the quilting design done on the quilt. Awesome share and inspiration Sarah! Sew On!

MomBrose said...

I love this quilt!! I also love to quilt verses onto a quilt. Just makes me feel like I'm wrapping myself in God's word and his goodness! ;D

Carol said...

Fabulous story (and tutorial). The quilt looks lovely and your little helper certainly looks like she enjoyed her input :)

Joanne said...

Lovely quilt, powerful story. I love the challenge of making quilts for others. To make a quilt that is them and not necessarily me. I l;ove the challenge of the color choices and design challenges, It is a process of love that pulls outside MY box. Excellent job !!!

Ms Muffin said...

I am completely stunned! This is SOSOSO amazing! The quilting is awesome. I love the design. Beautiful!!!

P. said...

What a great story behind this quilt, and a happy ending! Love the swirly quilting! It's so nice that you took the time to design a quilt that fit your recipient, taking note of her personality, favorite colors, etc. I'm sure she'll treasure this quilt!

Angie said...

The fun designs in the quilting really help bring this quilt together.

Sandra said...

What a funky cheerful quilt. I'm sure it has brightened many days of the owner. Thanks for sharing it.
Come see my 1890 antique schoolhouse quilt and
black/white/pink scrappy miniature

em's scrapbag said...

Sarah this is an absolutely fabulous quilt. I so happy to hear things are going well for the recipient. Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Your quilt is stunning. It has made all the work worth it. What a great gift!

Christine said...

I love the flowers and the swirly stitching. What a perfect gift!

Angela Flicker said...

What a sweet quilt. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I especially love the quilt job you did on this piece. So pretty. It really adds to the applique instead of distracting from it. Gorgeous!

Kit Lang said...

Love the quilting on this fun quilt!

schmidt1016 said...

This is a charming quilt! Love your assistant's boots, too.

Eileen said...

what an absolutely adorable quilt and little helper to showcase it! love your story and your journey. the quilting is also great and such a wonderful addition. thanks for sharing and have a great day. glad to hear your friend is doing well. God is indeed always good...even in hard times.

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Oh my goodness me, thank you so much for choosing this one, I can totally see why it's your favourite, it's just stuning and so quirky and original too.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Sarah, I appreciate the close-ups of the quilting as I have yet to quilt an appliqued top...this post gives me confidence.