Friday, July 22, 2016

The making of an Heirloom

Every quilt I make has a special meaning to me.  I've often talked about this here on the blog.  My quilting designs are inspired by the world around me, good and bad.  Every quilt has a story to tell.  So when someone asks me to make quilt just for them... it can be quite the challenge.  This quilting project has been years in the making.  It's shameful that its taken so long but that's my process.  I need to be inspired.  And if it takes years then that's what it takes.   The quilt below you've seen many times over the last couple of years.  It's the third quilt I've made using men's shirts.  If your interested in reading more about them you can use the search tool in the sidebar, search Connie's shirt quilt.  It will bring up a list at the top of the blog of many posts.


A little history on this quilt before continuing.  My friend Connie made the shirt quilt blocks.  I was asked to put them into a quilt.  I wanted it special she would be happy with anything.   The center applique is my own design, representing their marriage. And the baskets, one for each member of her family.

When quilting for someone else you need to know what they want.  Well Connie gave me quilt design and quilting freedom.  You would think that would make my job easy.  NOPE.  What she really was saying is " We're friends you should know what I like".  And I think do.  She's a simple down to earth kinda gal.  The little things in life make her the happiest.  So here's what I took into consideration when designing and quilting this quilt.    
  1. She's not a quilter
  2. She may want to cuddle with this quilt to comfort her missing her husband
  3. This quilt will become a family heirloom
Now I need to translate those 3 facts into a quilting design.
  1. Not everyone likes heavy quilting, especially non quilters
  2. Quilted to death doesn't cuddle and she may use it as comfort when missing her late husband
  3. Pantographs and all over quilting designs don't make nice heirloom quilts.
Several design ideas and about 3 days later a design was finally marked on the quilt top.


You would think straight lines would be easy but when the fabric shifts....things won't line up!  UGGG!  Well all that's over and I'm super excited about the design and that I'm finally nearing the end of this project. Delivering these quilts to Connie will be an exciting and emotional day.


 Here's the other two quilts made with the shirts.  Both were quilted super simple. My thoughts when quilting them is they could be used as everyday couch quilts or gifts to her children.  No need for fancy quilting if it's a utility quilt.    I'll be doing machine binding on the two below and hand binding the quilt above.


So you know I love to hear feedback from my followers so here's my questions for you.  
  1. When making a quilt for others do you consider their likes and dislikes or do you just pick fabrics you like and quilt what suits you.
  2. Do your quilts reflect emotion?  Example...when I'm sad I tend to add more browns and blacks to my quilts.  When I'm overwhelmed by daily chores my quilt designs are simple patterns such as charm quilts with simple quilting.
Happy Stitching!

~ Lea Anne ~
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14 comments:

  1. I make 2 types of quilts.... one is just learning the process and one is magic. I believe that anything we create with intent be it a quilt, a story, a meal has a bit of our own personal magic in it and carries a bit of us in it. And I believe that when we do that for someone else it ties it all together.

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  2. I have only made two quilts specifically for a family member - if someone wants one of my quilts they will need to look at what I have and see if there is one already made that I am willing to give up. I do not like stress and do not want my quilting to be stressful in the least. I made a wedding wall hanging for one niece who asked and she had a lot of input but gave me a lot of freedom and I still found it stressful. One sister wanted a log cabin quilt in specific colors which I had found pretty easy to pick - at the time burgundy/green were popular colors and there was a lot to chose from. I like to make a quilt from beginning to end but I do not want the stress of making something specifically for someone else if that makes sense.

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  3. I quilt for my pleasure and if I give quilts away to others--it is my choice. I don't think I would ever want to make a quilt 'by order' for someone else; I would lose the fun of the process and it would be too stressful.

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    1. By the way, I love your thoughts on the making of an heirloom quilt. Very true.

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  4. If it is for family or friend - it is a mix of them and me into the quilt. If a commission - it is solo theirs, although a lot of discussion goes into the design, fabric, quilting to make it all work. As for general quilting - it is the mood that dictates pattern, color, and quilting. I quilt on my home machine, so my quilting is pretty basic - no show quilts here.

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  5. When I make quilts for others, I do take their likes and dislikes into consideration. My mom does not like the bright, bold fabrics, so I would not make her a quilt with Kaffe fabrics. I haven't noticed if my emotions play into the quilts, but will have to pay attention. This quilt you are working on now is going to be a show stopper...a family heirloom for sure!

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  6. I have only made quilts for myself so far, but I have a quilt top made for my son for a few years now. I was going to have it professionally quilted as it is queen-sized, but now I am thinking about hand-quilting it. Your comments did make me decide not to put an all-over design on it either way. I think a quilt to cuddle with is perfect on this occasion.

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  7. What a lovly quilt and so personal when make from old shitts, very popular here at the moment the charity shops aare doing very well with thir shirt sales! I do not seem to have any plans if I like a BOM etc I take part and just what I have in stock, usually only make for myself but have done some for the girls and then Helen is very fussy picks the colours etc herself and makes it plain exactly what she wants! tend to rush in like a bull in a china shop rather than having proper plans then live to egret the rushing, though have not done any stitching for over a wek seem to have lost the mojo

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  8. Gonna be stunning, forcsure, as it's already well on it's way! I absolutely do consider the tastes of recipients when creating, but somehow, I find some of me always sneaks in. I always find a real somewhere, as a specially chosen snippet, or sometimes just an embroidered heart. I don't typically use dark fabrics (well, maybe a dark purple, green or teal) so all my quilts appear to be cheery I guess. Can't wait to see your finished quilt tho!!!

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  9. Gonna be stunning, forcsure, as it's already well on it's way! I absolutely do consider the tastes of recipients when creating, but somehow, I find some of me always sneaks in. I always find a real somewhere, as a specially chosen snippet, or sometimes just an embroidered heart. I don't typically use dark fabrics (well, maybe a dark purple, green or teal) so all my quilts appear to be cheery I guess. Can't wait to see your finished quilt tho!!!

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  10. I made my daughter a quilt and my son a quilt and I because I know them, I chose the colors and style quilt I thought they would like. Since neither of them quilt and I am the one good with colors, I made all the decisions. I made table runners for my sister and again all she asked for was holiday runners, and I chose the colors and created the designs because she isn't a quilter and even if she told me exactly what was in her head, I know what my mind would see would be completely different anyhow. Unless some has a photo, you never know how they are seeing it in their mind's eye.

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  11. I love your quilts and I love how you are thinking of the person and her life. It is so nice of you.

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