Friday, November 06, 2009

My Hexagon Crazy Quilt

I accepted a commission on Halloween 2008 to make 3 crazy quilts for an 83 year old woman, one for each of her 3 daughters. She had sewn all her life, but was not a quiltmaker. She wanted me to use all the fabric she had sewn with as well as suits from her deceased husband. She had taught for Stretch and Sew so her fabric collection included polyester double knits. When I went to her house on Halloween 2008 she had the fabric sorted into these 8 tote boxes. All the fabric in the boxes with a zero on them had to be in all the quilts. After that I was to use fabric in the number one boxes and if I still needed fabric I was to use the one in the boxes marked 2. This woman had given me enough fabric to make 12 quilts!!!
She had carefully taken apart each piece of clothing. I would have cut off the seams. She opened each seam and pressed it flat. I had an entire skirt and all the fabric from each suit!!! I promptly cut three smaller chunks from each of the largest pieces and put a safety pin it it. I cut a chunk from each and every piece in all the boxes. The safety pin was my way to keep track of the fabric that had been in the zero boxes.
I was glad to have a lot of tables in my studio at QSDS because I needed room to spread out all the fabric and sort it by color. There were a large variety of greens which didn't all go together. There were a lot of plaids and some went together beautifully and some clashed. And the double-knits...using a ball point needle for this entire project was my secret defense. Above you can see for yourself some of what I had to deal with.
Here is a picture of the finished quilt. This one was a twin the other two are to be queen size.

Why a hexagon? The last thing she said to me was not to make it in blocks. Could I make it all in one piece? While at the Mancuso Show in Schaumburg, IL, I saw a hexagon crazy quilt and decided that would be a good not-a-block format. As you can see some of the blocks flow into each other. I started to think my client had never seen a crazy quilt. Last fall there was a show of antique crazy quilts in Madison. I sent her to this show. The queen size quilts will be in a block format.
Here is a sampling of some of the hexagons blocks I made.
This one was all plaids. I use a lot of hearts in my work. Luckily she loved hearts as much as I do. She didn't actually give me the red buttons. She was a sewer, so I took artistic license and sewed them on. She like them too.
The red one below is from her husband's silk suit that he had custom made in Hong Kong. On this piece I left the pocket open and surrounded it with other reds. And on this one I used some of the many suit cuffs that had buttons on the cuffs. All in all she was very pleased with this first quilt. It was delivered Aug 1, 2009. The next one is due Feb 1, 2010. So I have to get going on it soon.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More Reasons I Didn't Post Much This Summer

I was at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium for a week. I signed up for a private studio because of a commission I needed to complete. Usually the private studio is a hotel room with the beds removed. But QSDS had an extra classroom that week. QSDS runs for an entire month. The classrooms floors are covered with clear plastic to keep the floors free of paint, dye, threads and whatever else fiber artists use that can damage carpets or cannot be easily vacuumed off carpeting. Because they wanted to keep the classroom set up that extra classroom became my private studio. Below is a picture of a class room full of students. The picture below is of MY studio. It was way cool to have so many tables because I was working on a crazy quilt commission. To learn why I needed all those tables come back tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why I Didn't Post Much this Summer Con't

Another thing I did this summer was go to the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, OH. It was just a short hop up from there to the Dairy Barn where Quilt National was hung. I had always wanted to go to see Quilt National. Because we arrived shortly before the QSDS bus arrived and some of the quilt creators were at QSDS and on the bus, we got to hear them talking about their quilts.
It was amazing to hear what inspired their quilt and how they captured it in fiber!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Why I Didn't Post Much This Summer

There were many reasons that I didn't do much rust dyeing this summer. I spend a lot of time stripping the paint from the woodwork that had been in the girl's room.
Here is a picture of my studio assistant helping me strip the woodwork. I REALLY didn't have any work for her to do in the studio that day. She is a collage student, who has been working for me since she was in high school. I asked her if she would mind helping me stripping paint from the woodwork. I told her I would pay her the same hourly wage she makes as my studio assistant. She readily agreed.
I had planned to stain the woodwork but I felt the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX was looming on the horizon. I needed to get some rust dyeing done to fill my double booth. I asked a woodworker I know, if he would finish up the job I had started. He agreed and told me I have saved myself about $400 by doing the stripping myself. I was relived to hear that because I prefer rust dyeing to stripping paint!!!