Nellie"s Needles

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Out of Chaos"

I would like to share the story behind the making of one of my first quilts. It was begun when I really had no time to sew, nor was I unpacked from the seasonal move from Michigan to Tennessee. I was climbing over and digging through boxes to find fabrics. It was "stop the world, I've got to make this quilt!".
There was much chaos in my studio at the time. Although this starry universe of hand-dyed fabrics depicts orderliness, you can see hints of chaos in the batik printed blocks. Thus, the title "Out of Chaos" ... both figuratively and literally.

The strange thing is, is that it was several years between piecing the top and quilting it. Somehow, I find it difficult to finish a quilt until I know who will be getting it. This one was a wedding present for my nephew and his wife. She and I had become close friends during their courtship. I felt as though I was gaining another daughter-in-law when they married five and half years ago.

It is machine pieced and hand quilted. I did a lot of the quilting while on vacation in Colorado. As you can see, I like to piece the backs of my quilts.
Following is what I wrote in the letter that accompanied this gift:

This quilt, like your relationship, has been in the works for several years. Building a lasting relationship parallels the process of creating a quilt. Both require a lot of time, commitment, work, and love.

First, there's finding a fabric that you just love without really knowing why ... you've just got to have it. Then there's discovering how it can work into a pattern that you want to commit time and energy into developing. Then comes the excitement of building patterns, selecting compatible fabrics, and realizing a theme or meaning that emerges in the process. And then, there's the passion of arranging and rearranging the colors and design elements to get it all just right. Then the real work begins ... sewing all those small separate pieces together to make a whole cloth. But it is not yet a quilt.

Decisions must be made about the other layers that will make all of this yardage into a quilt. What batting to use? What fabric and design for the backing? Now, it must all be layered and basted together in preparation for the long process of quilting by hand. Each stitch binds the layers together as well as gives a richness of texture to make a functional quilt that will give warmth and add beauty to the world. Finally, a well worn quilt with a legacy of comfort and love will be passed on to the next generation.

It is signed, "made with much love".

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Dianne said...

Gorgeous quilt, Nellie. Like a fine wine, it needed time to mature! And what a wonderful gift. I'm sure nephew and wife love it.

I love pieced backings, too, and you did a fabulous job on this one.

Norma said...

I loved reading this story--in particular the letter that accompanied the quilt! Well done! This was truly a labour of love!

Anonymous said...

This is not only a truly beautiful quilt, but beautifully worded piece. I appreciated so much your comment on my blog. You are an inspiring quilter and amazing fiber artist, as well as a meaningful writer!

Diane said...

What a beautiful quilt, and what a wonderful gift!

Karen said...

Beautiful quilt. I love that you piece the backs as well! Thanks for sharing all of the story with us too!!