Note: The pattern for Four Little Birds (mentioned below) is available as part of Quiltmaker’s All-Time Favorites~Spring 2006. This issue is available as a digital download. [9/1/10: We have some technical problems with the digital version of ATF Spring 2006. It is currently not available to download--we'll let you know when it's been fixed.]
The Sept/Oct ’10 issue of Quiltmaker (No. 135) will be in subscribers’ mailboxes shortly and on newsstands August 10. On its inside back cover, Spotlight features a quilt by Lorry Chwazik from Norwich, New York. Lorry’s statement about the quilt and the process by which she made it was thought-provoking, and her ideas about designing the quilt were contagiously inspiring. I wanted to share them with you.
“Inspiration for this quilt came from ‘Four Little Birds,’ originally patterned in Quiltmaker Jan/Feb ’96 (No. 47). I absolutely love the zen-like appeal of hand piecing, and this pattern provided the perfect challenge with which to use that technique.
But how to provide my own spin on that design? The curves of the ‘birds’ made for a strong graphic right to the edge of the block, and naturally led me to wonder what secondary designs might pop up if the blocks were joined without sashing. And then what would happen if they were set on point? And what fabric choices would make it look like a period piece? So many interesting things to consider!
“I drew out a rough sketch for placement and started collecting and cutting fabrics. Little Birds and I were ready to spend many happy hours together, waiting at my daughters’ piano lessons, play practices and swim meets.
Lorry continues, “Life seems way too hectic. The feeling that my life is hurtling past is one I experience often. This quilt, which was hand pieced and hand quilted, was all about the process. It took nearly nine and a half years from start to finish. Although some people might have found it to be tedious, I found it to be liberating! Finally, something I could take my time with! And then, after all those thousands of stitches—the sense of accomplishment when that last stitch was placed was a fantastic feeling.”
Based on Lorry’s thoughts, here are some questions to ask yourself in regard to your next quilting project:
1. “What would happen if I ____________________?” Fill in the blank with options such as “rotated the blocks,” “rotated half of the blocks,” or “used fabrics in hot pink and purple.” Rather than making a quilt look exactly like one that has already been made, how could you put your own twist on it?
Actually, we choose Spotlight quilts based not only on their overall appearance and quality of workmanship, but also by asking “what did the maker do to make it her own?” A submission that looks exactly like the original quilt is less likely to be used as a Spotlight. Asking yourself “what would happen if I…?” is a great place to begin.
2. “Do I need to be in a hurry to finish this quilt?” If it’s for a 50th anniversary and the party is next month, you probably do. But how about reconsidering the sweet simplicity of taking your time and enjoying every step of a project? If there is no need to hurry, let your quilting be one area of life that quiets you and soothes your soul. Whether you’re working by hand or on the machine, relax, enjoy and savor every stitch. Think of the nine years Lorry spent on Little Birds—and get back to slow.
Note: The pattern for Four Little Birds is available as part of Quiltmaker’s All-Time Favorites~Spring 2006. This issue is available as a digital download. [9/1/10: We have some technical problems with the digital version ATF Spring 2006. It is currently not available to download--we'll let you know when it's been fixed.]