At the moment, I’m so far behind that I’m just sure I’ll pass myself on the street soon! However, the last couple of weeks have yielded two finishes! The first finish was a surprise for my mom for her 80th birthday gift. For my mom’s 75th, we gave her a trip to Paris with her daughters. Last year, Mom gifted us with a trip to England and, in a mere 11 days, we three are leaving for Rome! (I know, I’m spoiled and I’m amazingly grateful!)
So, I wanted Mom’s quilt to commemorate our travels and I happened to have a “cats in Paris” and a “cats in London” fabric. Equilter had the “cat in Italy” fabric on clearance and I was on my way! After all, what better sign that something is meant to be than fabric on clearance?
I love working with the letters from Tonya’s “Word Play” book but wasn’t really sure what to say. Now, understand that I usually start a quilt with a pretty clear vision of where I’m going but this one was more like stepping out in faith. I picked out a background color that went with the fabrics and a color to represent each trip. I chose pink for Paris, green for Rome and a tan with what looked like old stonework for London. The Paris fabric had tiny flowers that reminded me of the gardens and the Rome fabric had sandals.
Then I sat and looked at my fabric and drew an absolute blank! Not one idea seemed to be able to form so I finally just cut strips and pieced the word “Paris.” Then I waited for inspiration that didn’t come. Then I pieced the word “London.” Waited again for inspiration. Then I pieced the word “Rome” and began to get a little tickle of inspiration. I was a little tired of Sawtooth Stars so I pulled out my tri-recs ruler and cut out some long, skinny star points. The design on the cat fabrics were pretty large so my blocks were going to end up 15″. Did I mention that this quilt had to fit on an existing quilt holder with a maximum of 43 inches?
Here’s an idea of what the quilt looked like at about this point.
I had decided that I wanted something more than just the names of the cities so I toyed with different word choices. I thought of pubs, croissants, Stonehenge, but didn’t feel I’d gotten what I was looking for until I came up with, “The ladies do…” That was something we’d joked about in London so in it went!
Everything still looked a bit empty, though, so I began piecing some pinwheel blocks. I also pulled a couple of motifs from the cat fabric…an Eiffel Tower, a kitty sitting pretty on her luggage, Big Ben.
(There is supposed to be another photo here but I try to load it, it hangs up the whole system…guess my quilt doesn’t want to be seen at that stage!)
After the pinwheels, I thought I’d just need to add enough strips of brown fabric to fill in but it was still looking a little barren. “What do you think about some checkerboard,” I asked my younger daughter and away I went making pink and brown checkerboard. I tossed the row of checker board on the design wall and couldn’t grab my seam ripper fast enough…too much pink! I took the checkerboard apart and changed it to a multicolored checkerboard and suddenly everything fell into place.
I made two rows of checkerboard and wantonly cut them where I needed without stressing over each square being exact (those who know me well will understand what an accomplishment that is!) Then I added brown strips where necessary to create three large rectangles which turned into the top. At one point I thought I was going to have to use partial seaming but I managed to avoid it!
I quilted it with an “all-over” design and bound it in brown and, just about as soon as it was finished, I tucked it in my carry-on and away we went to California for Mom’s birthday…but that’s another story!
By the way, here’s my favorite picture of Mom from the trip…we should all look this good at 80!