I like having a theme for each year of quilting. In 2017, we were Quilting Fearlessly, and in 2018 we were Quilting with Excellence. Each of those themes were a deliberate choice on my part. In 2017, I wanted everyone to realize that they had the power to change things up in their quilting – no one was holding them back but themselves. In 2018, I had a strong desire to make sure that everyone – new quilters and experienced ones alike – had the basics down pat. But for 2019, I want passion involved in everyone’s quilting.
There are a couple definitions of Passion. When you Google the word Passion, the first meaning that comes up concerns the life of Christ and more specifically that concentrated time just prior to and during His death. This is obviously not the definition we’re looking at. It’s the second definition of passion that I want to emphasize this year: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Synonyms for passion are fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal, zealousness, vigor, fire, fieriness, energy, fervency, animation, spirit, spiritedness, and fanaticism. If you’ve hung with me for the past several years, you know that I am incredibly passionate about quilts, quilting, and quilters. In the words of my husband, “She’d rather quilt than eat.”
That’s true. And I love a good meal.
I’ve always loved quilts. From the minute my mother gave me my great-grandmother’s quilt, as corny as it may sound, that quilt whispered something to me. “I have a history,” it said. “And it involves your kin. Your blood.”
So, I set out to learn as much as I could about the fabric in the quilt and then about the maker. I can’t describe how excited I was as my mother would point to certain patches and tell me, “That was from one of my grandpa’s shirts,” and “That was from one of my grandma’s dresses.” Those feed sack remnants quilted with heavy cotton thread on top of a castoff Fieldcrest blanket sang a song that completely bewitched me. In return, I learned as much as I could about the quilter.
Annie Elizabeth Wolfe was born August 4, 1890 in Virginia. Her father was Marcelle (Sell) Wolfe and her mother was Susan Buskell. She had four sisters, three brothers and two half-brothers. She married my great-grandpa, Felix Gather Perry on May 13, 1908 in Johnson County, Virginia. By 1910, they were living in Leaksville – which used to be a small town in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Years later it was swallowed up by Eden. Her husband died in 1958. She had four daughters and three or four sons. My grandmother, Cora Perry Forbes, was her third daughter. Annie passed away on October 21, 1971 from pneumonia at Annie Penn Hospital. She was 81. She’s buried in Roselawn Memorial Garden Cemetery in Rockingham County.
And between birth and death, she quilted.
Since the time of gifting of her quilt to me and now, I’ve had the extra-ordinarily wonderful opportunity to meet so many quilters and see so many of their quilts. When I started researching the quilts and their makers, I had only the intention of making one or two quilts. But as I talked with quilters, their passion for the craft rubbed off on me. While a great deal of my passion for the art still revolves around quilters and their quilts, most of my excitement now is making my own quilts that, hopefully at some point in the future, will tell their own stories to my children and grandchildren.
What drives your passion for quilting? Is it a certain type of pattern? Fabric acquisition? A color? Or the euphoria that comes from making something with your own hands? Is it the creativity of the art? Is it the fellowship with other quilters? Or is it a combination of several of those and some I haven’t mentioned? There is probably as many reasons for loving the craft as there are quilters. This is what I want us to focus on in 2019 – what puts our own personal zeal behind the art of quilting.
I enjoy most steps of the process. The one I like least is cutting the quilt out. After that, I’m good with most everything else. That’s why I cut everything out at once when I start a new top. That way I don’t have to go back and re-visit the cutting table! I can just keep stitching. What I enjoy the most is changing up a pattern to suit my tastes and needs. Take this quilt:
This quilt is from Our Best Seasonal Quilts. These are quilt patterns that have been published in Fons and Porter Magazine. The name of this little beauty is Winter on the Ohio. The original quilt measures 21 x 21-inches. And that cute, mitered blue border? That was mitered off the quilt top and appliqued on.
Who came up with that nonsense? If you’re constructing the mitered border off the quilt and then appliqueing it down by either hand or machine, you’re dealing with some serious bias. So, I began playing with the pattern. There were some important factors involved.
- I really liked my November wall hanging. It was a nice change. The same pictures had hung in this spot for several years, and it was time for something different.
- As a result, I decided that I wanted to do a winter wall hanging that could stay up until March. The size of the original quilt was a bit small for my entry way. To make the quilt bigger, I sewed the original 5-inch borders the pattern called for to the edges of the background instead of the insanity of mitering them and appliqueing them on the white fabric. This increased the quilt size by 10 inches, a size much more suitable for a wall hanging.
- Notice the little, curly white pieces around the blue border. These are cut separately and appliqued down. Of course, there is a pattern for these in the book, but it is for the original quilt size of 21 x 21-inches. Since my quilt now measures 31 x 31-inches, I knew I would have to play with the pattern – make it a little bigger and a little longer. It didn’t help matters that my quilt’s dimensions are prime numbers. Prime numbers! What was I thinking! However, I did the math just right, and pulled it off without too many mishaps. I also had to reverse part of the pattern to pull off the corners just right.
Did it take more time than I thought it would? Absolutely.
Am I glad I did it anyway? Absolutely. I love it. I took a pattern, changed it to suit me, didn’t sacrifice any of the basics, and made that quilt mine. Although a bit difficult to execute, my heart and mind soared through the process and I found myself a bit disappointed when it was done.
That is the feeling I am pushing for this year. I want that feeling of soaring and loving what you’re doing with your quilts to dominate this year. In a world where we are constantly barraged with negativity, this should be the area where your heart and soul takes flight.
Until next week, Quilt with Passion!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam