Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Believe" has reached its new home

Emma left a message on my blog this morning saying she'd received this, so I think it is safe to post a few pictures. I was not expecting this notification so soon - thought for sure mail to Australia would take more than 5 days! Here's the 22" mini quilt I sent her as a part of the ALQS (BTW...the pictures on her blog are by far clearer and more detailed than mine). Emma sent me my summer 4SQS quilt, so asking Kate if I could have her for a partner was kind of so I could return the favor. Once she said yes was when all of the nerves and trepidation kicked in. You see, Emma is quite the master quilter - she always knows which colors to pair together. Then again, she has nearly 1000 yards in her stash to select the best color combinations from! She's a fantastically accurate piecer -- a very technical piecer, and a spectacular machine quilter. I was kind of daunted by my choice.

So I took off on vacation in August with my sketch pad. All I knew was that I was trying to design a "scene" and I really wanted it to be Christmas-like. Kate told us to actually avoid something like this, but when I have an idea in my head, that's about the end of it! What I sketched up was a view from outside of a house window, looking in at a family's Christmas tree. Other details were yet to be determined.
The scene has a fireplace with stockings hanging. The "E" and "J" are the initials of her children. These were previously Photoshopped out of my cryptic sneak peek so as not to give the surprise away. Above the mantle is a wreath done from tiny beads. It just adds the right amount of shimmer. After all, it is about Christmas.
The tree is made from about 10 fairly small paper-pieced units that use lots of the scrap greens that I have in my stash bag. Why I chose to actually paper piece these is beside me now. They could have been free pieced just as easily! I quilted the garland in metallic thread over the tree, and added red Swarovski crystals as ornaments. There is a present done from a shiny red fabric. Again, a little more subtle shimmer. I hope Emma likes it. FYI - These were applied with a glue which is clear and hand washable.
And here is the overall piece. I apologize if the mullions which define the window panes appear to be a tad wonky at times...these are very hard to hand-sew perfectly straight! I wanted the candle in the window. In December, I love to see the window candles in houses. To me, they just symbolize hope. And that is what this quilt was intended to be about...that youthful, hopeful optimism that is most commonly seen in the eyes of a child at Christmas. Pure Joy.
I don't profess to be a great machine quilter, and quite honestly, I procrastinated on the quilting of this for weeks because I was timid of screwing it up, and giving Emma something well below her standards. Finally, I chose to do much of the quilting with stitch-in-the-ditch around the window panes and shutter slats. In each pane, I free-motion quilted with a white rayon to portray the illusion of a frosty pane, as though it has just snowed.
I entitled the quilt "Believe" because as much as I may sound like a Christmas curmudgeon, I was a long-time Santa Claus believer. I think everyone needs to believe in something hopeful at that time of the year, whatever your beliefs may be.


Valerie said...

Margaret -- What can I say? Stunning as always. I love all of the details and thought that went into it. You are an amazing quilter!

And I loooooove dress in the other post. Your daughter looks adorable in it! I'm very impressed with your smocking skills -- I'm too intimidated by it to try, and since I have a little boy, right now it's not high on my priority level. ;)

Emma said...

Nerves and trepidation are a pretty accurate description of how I felt making yours, too! And I still think I ended up with the better deal!

Amy said...

Yours was the first quilt blog I'd wandered onto. Your work is amazing!