Saturday, November 7, 2015

Autumn Glory - A Blast From My Past

...for Throwback Thursday, on a Saturday!  Oops, missed it again, but yay, Jenn, at A Quarter Inch From the Edge, keeps the linky open until Sunday night, so I can add this quilt, one of my top 3 all-time favourites (I know that because we had to do that at the guild in September).  I photographed it October 8 in preparation for the November linky (yep, guessed it, missed the October one, sigh).
Full sun in hopes of catching some of the texture as well as the glorious colours
Bahaha, on the shadow in the bottom corner...had to leave it, don't you know that technique (pinky extended just so, à la tea-drinking well-bred British lady) is very important when taking photos?

In shade.  I'm always intrigued by the difference the lighting makes; this one really shows the rich Moda Marbles purple background for the leaves
So this quilt has a story, as pretty much all do.  It is currently on my bed, my November quilt.  I am aiming for a bed quilt a month, and I think I am nearly there, nearly 20 years after making my first quilt!

It was the Birthday Block exchange I was involved in with my guild at that time, 2001.  Twelve of us gave a fat eighth of fabric to the 11 others, each of whom made a block using that fabric and some from their stash.  When it was your birthday month, everybody brought you the block they'd made.  They kept any leftover fabric of yours, as you kept leftover of theirs, which was a great way to add a bit of scraps (ha ha, in retrospect) to your stash.
Here's the back. All flannels, all except one, leftovers from a quilted jacket I made (which my darling brother likes to ask when I wear it, which I haven't, for about 5 years, how many couches I killed to make it).  The lovely rich brown and burgundy paisley strip second from the bottom on the right is a Jinny Beyer I used as backing for a Stack 'n Whack tablecloth.  It is the first quilt I went this crazy with piecing a backing, but I knew otherwise those flannels would languish in my stash, and hey, being a frugal person, this was a great way to save $$ using fabric I'd already purchased at several quilt shops around Alberta.  It is so warm and snuggly.

The pattern is one I adapted from American Patchwork & Quilting August 2002.  Peggy Waltman's version is very spring-like.  I wanted an unusual setting for the 12 blocks, and this was perfect. Hers had flowers where I have leaves.  Wow, I found the magazine (I have every issue but for two, we won't go there, since 1998) and I even had my graph paper sketch and figurings tucked into the magazine!
I had to slightly modify the inside frame so the outside border would fit.

I hand appliquéd (are you impressed, Lara? Shocked?!) every leaf and the entire stem, and then hand-stitched with embroidery floss the veins.  That was when I could see very well up close, and my stitches are pretty amazingly tiny, if I do say so myself.

What adds so much to the story of this quilt is that I did all this appliqué and hand-stitching of veins during weekly get-togethers with my dad for coffee at a local coffee shop we both loved, which became a victim, sadly, to the likes of Tim Horton's and Second Cup and Starbucks...

Here you can see the texture, and the all-over meander of ribbons and leaves I FMQ'ed
I was teaching part-time, and usually had a period or two off in the morning.  My dad didn't live too far from Sherwood Park, so we'd meet, and chat about many a subject.  So many times he'd tell me stories of his younger days, and I did take notes many times.  I treasure those meet-for-coffee times, and when I look at this quilt, I'm transported back...

I relied on those notes when my brother and I wrote my dad's eulogy in 2008.
One of Kathy Sandbach's leaf motifs in the purple triangles
This was quilted on my Bernina 180 using motifs from Kathy Sandbach's books.  She it was who turned me onto the possibilities of drawing with my sewing machine, showed me the freedom of using motifs from nature where no two leaves or flowers or trees, etc. are the same, so it just doesn't matter, and taught me that echoing by weaving back and forth over your shape would soften the edges.
I'm so glad I'm such a nut when it comes to labels on my quilts.  This is my preferred method: making the label as an integral part of the backing.  Ain't nobody gonna steal this girl's quilts, nuh-uh!

When I look at this quilt, front or back, I see the girls who made each block (I still remember so many! --Shirley's, Janie's, Helen's, Pat's, Penny's...), I am transported back to the coffee shop, can hear, see and smell my beloved dad, remember fondly the shop hops with the guild and with my best friend around Alberta, gathering flannels for our jackets, see myself at the design wall in my beloved sewing room in Alberta that MacGyver built for me, piecing together the chunks of leftover flannels like a jigsaw puzzle...ahhh.

Quilts are so much more than hunks of fabric cut apart and stitched together.
Hmm, you might see my house in this shot, well our half of the duplex, not the closest one, but the one with the hose hanging on the side!
My block?  It's in the middle row, last one on the right. ;-)

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Adapted from "Serendipity" a pattern by Peggy Waltman in AP&Q August 2012
Size:  75X62"
Fabric: pieced from 2001-2003; quilted in 2005
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: Sulky Blendables and Sulky Rayons

Yay! Finally linking up with Throwback Thursday!


  1. A beautiful quilt and I love the story and the memories that surround it xx

  2. The story is as beautiful as the quilt. I love the inclusion of purple in a fall quilt. I need to remember that.

  3. Such rich colours and lovely quilting. But it's always the story that makes the quilt in a Throwback Thursday post! Thanks for linking up @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!

    P.S Shadows can be so tricky for photography... as well as just the right light. A photographer that came to a recent guild meeting of ours suggested indirect light (preferably northern exposure) for best results. It's something I've been playing with every since!

  4. P.P.S The next link up is December 3rd... you know, it case you want to mark your calendar! :)

  5. Well, better late than not at all, Sandra! : ) What a beautiful quilt for November. My favorite aspect is the way the colored leaves just glow against that marbled purple fabric, even in the shade. I love the story behind it-- that you are taken back to having coffee with your dad, to your former home and your guild friends--and I'm tickled that you found the graph paper design tucked into the magazine. The pieced back looks so cozy. I hope you will be able to snuggle under this quilt for many more years. I think these TBT posts are becoming some of my favorites to read because the stories and history just add so much to the quilts. I'm glad you got this in before the linky closed!

  6. Oh how I miss Dad.....I remember the coffee dates you're referring to :'( and :)

    Beautiful quilt, treasured memories. <3

  7. That is a gorgeious quilt, Sandra, and so wonderful that you have special memories that go along with it. That truly is always the best thing about a quilt - our stories that go with each one. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  8. Another wonderful story to go along with a beautiful quilt.

  9. The colors in this quilt!! Wowsers, seriously loving this quilt!! Great story to go with the quilt too :) Hmmm... I need to stop giving quilts away so I can have different one on our bed every month ;)

  10. Loved your story behind this quilt . A bed quilt a month ..... I still only have the one bed quilt I made way back in 1994 for my bed

  11. Sandra, the sentimental connections and memories tied up in a quilt like yours makes it the treasure of a lifetime. And that isn't even taking into account how gorgeous it is. And Yes indeedy! I loved your appliqued vines and leaves immediately, LOL. I really admire anyone who can do such beautiful hand applique' work!

  12. I have beeen toying with the idea of an autum quilt and I really like the colours and feeling in yours . Love the story behind the stitches - we had a great mom and pop donut shop as s kid and it was our favourite hangout as teend. They had the best back bacon on a hun ;)

    1. Hi Denise! You are a no-reply blogger so I have no email address for you...This made me smile! The mom and pop cafes are the best, sorry Starbucks! It's funny I'd never have put oranges and purples together but that leaf print I gave everyone dictated the palette and I just love it.

    2. What a beautiful quilt, and full of memories that make it even more beautiful.
      (Now I'm going to be checking my fingers when I take a photo, to see if I do the pinky thing, too...)


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