Changes Over Time…

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Time is Non-Linear

That was the theme of this year’s Saskatoon Quilter’s Guild quilt show and I was extremely inspired to work within that theme, as there were so many different ways to interpret it. After much consideration, I decided to combine the past and the present into a piece of work that kept creeping into my imagination, with the resulting quilt shown in the photo above.

Here is the story of how it all began:

A few years back my dear friend, Tammy, handed me a shoebox containing some vintage 1970′s ninepatch quilt blocks. She wasn’t too sure where they originally had come from or who had made them, but she knew for certain that she was not interested in making anything out of them (and to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t convinced there was anything I could do with them either).

You see, these blocks were absolutely scandalous by today’s quilting standards and the quilt police would have a heyday with the unmatched corners, wacky seam allowances, lack of pressing, and crazy mix of non-quilting fabrics obviously sewn by a novice quilter. The pieces appeared to have been cut with scissors from all sorts of clothing and leftovers from other projects, some of which looked like nylon nightgowns and kitchen curtains. Without a consistent seam allowance, the blocks were various sizes and to make pieces fit together, sometimes a pucker was stitched in here and there. In other words, these were true gems! and although I say that with a hint of sarcasm, I also truly admired the tenacity by which this seamstress fearlessly produced these unique blocks, even though she hadn’t seen it through to a finished quilt.

But that’s where I come in! I took those crazy blocks as is, flaws and all, and began cutting them up and inserting some bright orange quilting cotton, in an attempt to ‘modernize’ them. My original concept was to interpret the show theme, “Changes Over Time”, by not only simply combining the past with the present, but by making it appear as though time was layered, rather than linear.

Time on the design wall

Time on the longarm machine

My intention for this quilt was to have it appear as though two quilts have merged together to form a double layered piece. The background areas created with the vintage blocks were tied with yarn and the areas created with new fabric were quilted on my longarm, using some intense custom designed stitched freehand. I hope that my quilt demonstrates the connection we all have to the quilters that have come before us, and how everything we do now is built on the path that was forged by them. When viewing this project it is difficult to tell if the new quilt is layered on top of the old one, or if the old is layered on top of the new.

My own work has changed over time, as my skills and experiences have grown and developed, giving me the courage to experiment and create from my imagination the quilts that haven’t been seen before. This piece was awarded first place in the Unique Textiles Studio Innovative Quilt Challenge and I am currently awaiting the arrival of my brand new Husqvarna sewing machine!!!

In the meantime…

Nine more blocks

...and nine more

... and another nine!

It appears that I’ve been making a few more blocks. This quilt may end up being a tad larger than I had originally thought! The blocks have been a real treat to make and they are certainly addictive. I’ve enjoyed digging through my scrap bags, ‘kitting’ them up, and then sitting down to do some mindless sewing in small snatches of time, in between real life daily activities. At some point, I’m going to have to decide on a size and get them all up on the design wall for final positioning, before sewing them together. I’ll keep you posted.

As always, happy stitching,

carol

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4 Responses to Changes Over Time…

  1. Tammy says:

    First place!!!! A new sewing machine!!!! I can’t believe those old, hideous blocks evolved into this award winning creation! You are amazing! A new sewing machine!!!! Go, bubby, go! xoxo

  2. carol says:

    Thank you, Tammy! for always being in my corner and for always being my cheerleader! I know it’s a cliche and everyone always says it but I really didn’t expect this piece to win or to receive any awards or recognition at all. I even referred to it as the “weirdo” quilt because it’s just so different from anything I’ve ever made. And for it to win the big prize, well, I’m still in a state of shock!

  3. Janine says:

    The concept is definitely unique and I would have guessed you would win with this! Congratulations once again! A beautiful quilt Carol!

  4. carol says:

    Thank you so much, Janine, for your lovely comments. I’m actually still in a state of shock from all the excitement surrounding the quilt show. I had five quilts entered into judged categories and four of them received ribbons. It’s going to take a while for it all to sink in. Cheers, carol

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