Monday, October 4, 2010

Design Wall Monday and Signing Quilts

I'm finally quilting my hexagon star quilt and should have that done tonight, if all goes well. I have some embroidery that needs to get done this evening, but I'll do that on one machine, and quilt on the other. (I love having two machines!) I'll post a picture of the finished wallhanging as soon as it's done.

As I mentioned yesterday, I making some flags/banners for my nephew's school and this is what they look like.

I want to make a few more and hope to finish these up by mid-week, but we'll see. If they want more, I'm going to have to buy black fabric because I've just about depleted my stash of solid black. It's funny, but I've been using a lot of black fabric lately. I've used it with my guild retreat quilt that I have yet to bind, the hexagon star quilt and misc. other projects. Isn't funny how we tend to find a "comfort color" and use it when we're just not sure what else to do?

Do you sign or label your quilts? I usually do, but every now and then I don't. Something happened this past weekend that has made me vow to sign or label everything that leaves this house. In 2001, deciding that I needed to get over my fear of plaids, I took a class called Stepping Stones, from Quilts and Kreations in South Amherst, Ohio. The quilt was made up of lots of 7 1/2" courthouse step blocks and since I was a relatively new quilter I didn't think about how it would be to work with 1 1/2" strips of plaids - all different plaids.

Of course the sample wasn't made with plaids, but I just knew that the quilt would be awesome in plaids. As with many classes that I've taken, I didn't get the top done by the end of class and the project was tucked away to be worked on at a later date. I'd pull it out every so often and think about working on it, but something else always caught my eye and would take precedence.

Fast forward to 2004 when a close friend Tom, was struggling with some health issues. When it became apparent that he didn't have long to live, I decided to finish that quilt and give it to him. Tom had seen it resurface a few times over the years and he always said that he loved the plaid look. I finished that quilt, signed it and made a special notation to him and his "next adventure." He used that quilt every day for the rest of his life and was wrapped in it when he passed away. Jack and I were there at the house when Tom died and I had such a good feeling knowing that the quilt I gave him had provided him comfort in his final days. (Isn't it a bit funny/ironic that the name of the class was Stepping Stones?) The man who inherited Tom's house (Caesar) asked me to add a sleeve to the quilt so he could display it in the main room of the house. Of course, I did and was again very happy that this quilt would provide comfort to it's new owner.

Fast forward again, to this past Saturday morning. I received a phone call from Liz. (I met Liz a couple of years ago when she called me up out the blue and asked if I would give her private quilting lessons. She'd seen a couple of quilts that I made for a local shop and she and her friend Tammy wanted to learn to quilt from me. I said yes and we spent a couple of years getting together every week to make LOTS of quilts, pillows, and other projects. We had a blast and we're all still friends.) Anyway, Liz had just been to an auction and bought a quilt that she knew would be perfect in her living room. As she was leaving the auction, she noticed something on the back of the quilt and decided to open it up and take a closer look. Liz saw my signature and note to Tom and called me.

At first I was taken aback by the fact that quilt was not still in Tom's house and that I wasn't given first dibs on it when Caesar didn't want it anymore. It didn't take me long to get over that and recognize that the quilt was now with someone who would love and appreciate it just like Tom had. If I hadn't signed that quilt, Liz wouldn't have known anything about the quilt's history or the fact that her first quilting teacher made it. Isn't it really a small and wonderful world?

By the way, I have a picture of Tom's quilt but it is on the other computer and I'm having trouble transferring it here. I'll post a picture later if I can get it to work for me.

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls by going to Judy L's Patchwork Times.


Bonnie said...

I spent a lovely 2 hours plus at the Virginia Quilt Museum and we were all commenting about how little is known about the quilters of the quilts in their collection. So, like you, I really like the idea of signed quilts. But, unlike you I've been making so many quilts these days I haven't been doing a great job signing then or labeling. Your story is wonderful -- it's so unusual for a quilter to know where her quilt has gone once it is given away. (hum, did that beautiful trip around the world I made for some newlyweds end up a dog blanket?) Thanks for sharing this story.

Charlene S said...

A label is as important as the design...the difference between a dog mat and an heirloom is the label. Your story proves the point I made in my presentations on labeling.

Chris said...

I am bad about not putting labels on my quilts for my kids. I really need to change that and add them. You are right on both counts, you should have had first dibs, but at least you know that the quilt has a good home. How ironic that it ended up with your friend.

Vicki said...

Ok I need to lable my quilts. I have never done that and keep saying Later on. I am glad your quilt found a nice home.

AnnieO said...

Great reason to label. Lovely story of a quilt that is well loved. I do label most of my quilts but what I really need to do is put the label on and quilt through it so it can't be removed...

Kate said...

Glad Tom's quilt ended up with someone who could appreciate it. I haven't made a lot of quilts, but I've labeled all of them. I think the biggest lesson I've learned is to keep good records on when quilts were started and who was teaching the class. I finished a couple of early quilts (2001) this year and could not remember who the teachers were, which was important because the patterns were ones they made up for the class.

Vivian said...

Wow, what an inspiring story. I am glad your quilt didn't become one of the anonymous ones like so many antique quilts end up being. And how special your effort was rewarded by the quilt winding it's way to someone you knew.

I always try to label my quilts. Whenever possible, I try to incorporate a label section (like a block or a light strip or square) into the backing, this way a space is already there and ready for writing when the quilt is done.

That said, I am reminded that I finished two quilts this year that I had planned special "add on after" labels for but haven't done so got to get to those pronto!

Thanks again for the great story.