Miss Lily’s Baskets

 

Miss Lily's basketsThis little quilt is a special treasure.  It was made with strategies I don’t normally employ.  I bought a charm pack of French General fabric (red is not usually my go-to color), came home and started stitching (I often mull over design plans for quite some time before I start cutting and sewing), I appliquéd baskets in front of tv several evenings until it was done, assembled the top and quilted the project all in about a month.

I had drawn the basket pattern for another project using Granny Zee’s scrap bag.  So I pulled out that plastic template, marked a square as the background, another as the basket fabric and started stitching.

As I made baskets, I placed them on the design wall and a color scheme began to emerge.  I played with several arrangements, but saw a light to dark progression forming in the background fabrics while the reverse was happening with the baskets.  I had always been intrigued by some of Judy Dale’s work where she accomplished that and suddenly, it was happening for me.

A neutral little check worked as alternate blocks and a sweet little quilt was born.  Oh, I did add my focus block that I focus block Miss Lily's basketlove…a basket sitting on one square, its
handle on three others.  The handle became a wreath with a perky little red checked bow.

img292 copyThe quilt is named to honor a sweet perky little lady I knew in my childhood.  Miss Lily.  Here she is pictured beside the love of her life, Mr. Charlie.

Details of quilt: finished size:  25” x 31”, wool batting, free-motion machine quilting.  30-weight polyester thread was used to quilt the vine and leaf motif in each alternate block, echoing that with 50-weight, 2 ply cotton thread

Sharing the Journey

I read where solitude and reflection are necessary for creativity to bloom.  I know that to be true.  I can work on my art with conversation, podcasts, or a television – if my art is in the stitching phase, or adding details to a drawing.  In other stages, I need alone time.

But the memories are made when the experience is shared.  The conversations, the podcasts, the music my husband is playing while I stitch, all find their ways into the eye of the needle and are easily recalled when the piece is finished.

Sharing the journey sometimes means the expedition reaches its destination.

imageWhen I first conceived  “Fifty-Two Tuesdays” I proposed to make a mini quilt each week for a year.  I planned a written journal to accompany it, thinking that at the end of the year I would have a finished quilt and a book. I shared this vision with my writing group at the outset.  They embraced the idea and as the year progressed, they asked questions about the structure of “the book”.  My creative focus was on the quilt itself and keeping a journal of the details; fabrics included, threads, batting, techniques.

Since some members of that group knew little about quilting, their questions forced me to think more about the writing element.  The take-away message here is to share your journey with people who don’t follow the same path that you do.  They force you to see your destination from a different point of view.

And if you are easily distracted, it helps to share your end goal.  My darling daughter, DJ, who loves all things fiber as I do, loves to quilt vicariously through me.  She sews and knits, but being a working mom, her fiber pursuits are now confined to shorter projects.  In phone conversations, she puzzled fabric choices and “how am I going to resolve….?” dilemmas with me.  And.  Every Tuesday night, she expected to get a text message with a photo of the completed hexagon.  That kept me on schedule.  The lesson here is to engage a taskmaster.  Deadlines are good.

And, finally, share your success.  During the year, I took a few completed hexagons to show to members of my drawing class. Comprised mostly of non stitchers, this group overlooked the bunched up binding and skipped stitches, providing positive feedback.  A reminder to look at the big picture.  “Perfection is the enemy of creativity.”

With help from all these cheerleaders, I accomplished something that I had dreamed but might not have pursued to the end.  And when I look at the finished products; a quilt and a book, I see these people who supported me as well as the events that inspired the designs.