Oh, this one was so much fun. But to understand how it came about, first a little back story....
Here is a picture of this year's Silent Auction at Point Bonita. Everyone brings quilt-related items that they wish to pass on, bids are written on the slips of paper next to each item until the bidding time is up, and all proceeds go to charity. Some great stuff shows up every year, and the bidding wars get quite intense as the last few seconds are counted down.
This year there were some vintage Grandma's Flower Garden blocks that just spoke to me, I had no idea why. Fortunately, the lady I was bidding against and I decided to cooperate: we would split the blocks (there were 300 of them) and not bid the price up further. This worked like a charm and we were quite smug with the deal we got...we each paid $20.00 for 150 hand pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks from the 1930's.
And here they are. They are lovely but I can't imagine how boring they would be to make, much less set together. When Barbara Brackman saw them, she commented, "That is why quilting died out in the mid 20th Century..."
They were made by a very proper Methodist lady sewing on her porch after church on Sunday afternoons, this is what I was told.
She could have very well looked a lot like this lady, also a proper Methodist woman. She is my grandmother. She was busy banging out hymns on the piano after church; she didn't sew, but if she had, I like to think she would have made blocks like these.
But I have a new embellisher, right?
Catherine Smith was kind enough to send me some reprints of articles by the Japanese fiber artist, Nobuko Ema. This talented lady uses the embellisher to applique cut out printed flowers...
Now this is talking my language, big time. I have done a TON of appliqued flower collage quilts, but always using the technique of free-motion machine zigzag with clear thread. With the embellisher, you get a different look, but wow is it fast. No thread required.
So I laid out the beginnings of my collage, using those Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks as elements to applique. Why not? For my base I have used that all cotton drapery lining that usually serves as batting for my crazy quilts. I like how it functioned here.
Here everything has been felted around its perimeter.
I have a stash of old quilt blocks...I dug through them to find a block for the center, thinking it would tie in with the flower blocks. I felted some flowers onto it too, also to help the composition. Then I free-motion machine quilted everything down.
I do not often machine quilt but I enjoyed this very much.
After the fact, I decided there should be some background fabric around my wreath, so I could square this up. Next time I would lay out my collage on the fabric over the drapery lining. We live and learn. But that fuzzy edge that the beige toile made when felted along the edge of the wreath was kind of cool, too.
Fast forward....after the background was felted in place along the edges, it too got machine quilted. Then I had to add some lace, a little embroidery, a few beads, a printed border and some piping....
Here is a detail....