A friend visiting in our home said, “what are you working on now?” I spread this quilt top on the floor in the den. His comment, “Oh, boy! That’s just Mom, and Apple Pie, and more, isn’t it?” I agreed, mentally noting that this project now had a name.
The appliqué for this quilt was done based on patterns from Alma Allen and Barb Adam’s book, Celebration of American Life. Today most quilt makers change something about the pattern as they work, and almost always change the name to represent their interpretation.
The patterns for the blocks are like those in the pattern except for the lower left block. I personalized that one, substituting a watermelon slice for their orange, and added some figs, using the broderie perse technique (an age-old method of using designs printed on fabric). My border and sashing are totally different, too.
The appliqué is something I typically do at night in front of the tv, or when sewing away from home. One the fabrics are selected and the pieces are prepared, I keep just the supplies for that block (these squares measure 20” on each side) in my sewing basket so the work is portable. Once all the blocks are finished and sewn together, the big unit is a stay-at-home project.
Another work habit of mine is to select the fabrics at the beginning of a project and set them aside in a basket so they are designated for this quilt and don’t get used in another piece before this is done. I like to repeat fabrics across the quilt to make the design cohesive, so the same greens used as leaves in one block appear again in several others. It’s easier to do this if I have a limited selection of fabrics as I prepare each block. It may take months to complete the appliqué on a big quilt such as this.
I quilted this using 100 weight silk thread, echoing the appliquéd design with stitching lines 1/4” apart. I refer to hand-guided, freemotion quilting as dancing with my sewing machine, even on a project this large. This quilt measures 75” x 95”. I start in the center, working outward block by block on a quilt such as this. My large table supports the weight and bulk of the quilt as I work.
I don’t normally keep up with the time I spend working on a quilt, but for some reason, I did do that on this one. The time I spent sitting in the chair pushing the quilt around under the needle while it was moving up and down was 65 hours. That was spread over 3 months, I think. I work in 30-45 minute intervals and more than two sessions a day is exhausting. That’s why I have another sewing machine set up so I can be piecing or sewing on something else during those weeks that a big quilt is under the needle.
The finished quilt measures 75” x 95”, covering a queen-sized bed. It has made a few public appearances, winning ribbons at our local guild show last March, at the Georgia National Fair in Perry last November, and was juried into the AQS Show in Paducah, KY last month. It is currently en route to the East Cobb Quilt Guild show in Marietta, GA, scheduled for June 8-10.