Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Give Me Liberty (fabric) or Give Me (more) Liberty Fabric

I am madly in love with Liberty of London fabrics. I've been to London twice, and during each visit, went to the beautiful Liberty store every day, spending an hour or two in the different, wonderfully bohemian departments.
This quilt, a WIP, represents much of my cache of Liberty. Every day I'd buy a little bit--usually quarter metre cuts--and gaze at them til the next morning when I'd set out again. I simply couldn't buy everything during one visit--it would have been like a sugar overdose and I would have collapsed in a pile of fabric. So: I purchased in installments, which kept me returning day after day after day. And happy.
I find it tremendously difficult to cut into Liberty fabric but really wanted to create a fabric collage, so I decided on largeish squares and rectangles, so as to keep the integrity of the floral patterns intact. I began this quilt when I had only one child and found it difficult enough then to do all the hand piecing and quilting (I designed a maze pattern for the squares, a simple grid for the rectangles).
And so, and so, my quilt is about 1-2-3/4 quilted, five years and two more children later. If I complete the Bento Box quilt top (below), I think I'll tie it, because I would love to finish a project during this decade. I have more unfinished quilts too, these begun when I was a graduate student, sans children, and still needed more time for the intricate quilting I had started. I'll show them soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sister Embroidery

A few months ago I made this embroidery of my two daughters, inspired by an 1818 oil painting by Jacob Eichholtz of the Ragan sisters, housed at the National Gallery of Art in DC and collected in a lovely book, Young America: Childhood in 19th-Century Art and Culture.
I just LOVE nineteenth-century formal and folk portraits of children and have been embroidering some for my own three wee ones. The girls have a couple in cross-stitch and now this one, with Liberty of London edging. The boy's is yet to come, but perhaps this summer I'll have some time.
I'll probably frame this one day, a pillow being too fragile for our rambunctious household.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bento Box quilt

I've never been a matchy-matchy person. The very idea of an "outfit"--you know, something that's meant to go together, or something that's carefully thought out--makes me squirm. I think I fall into more of the English Eccentric mode, happy to wear mismatching patterns, content to be put together in a non-put-together way.

So I was very happy to dig into my stash of fabric and begin a completely unplanned quilt. I just don't like going to the fabric shop and choosing fabrics that will complement each other--too matchy-matchy for me. Rather, I like "found" fabrics, things I've had in my cupboard for awhile that engage in various conversations with other fabrics.

Here too, I'd rather not use groupings from one fabric designer. When I see quilts in shop windows, and they are supposed to have a bohemian flair but all fabrics come from the same designer, then all of a sudden it doesn't seem so radical to mix the plaid with the flowers because--they're from the same color chart.

For this Bento Box quilt top, I've used my three favs--Anna Maria, Heather, and Amy (see links in an earlier post) and am adding bits from other, nameless collections too. I love how all the fabrics work together, especially because they aren't supposed to do so . . .