Spring !

It is Christmas Eve and the shortest day of the year is over and the days are getting longer, now. Last year I had a bad case of spring fever so I went a little wild and did two art quilts with no rules. There are new inquiries about the quilt because it appeared in the winter issue of Quilter’s Home magazine. The quilt is shown on the wall of my studio.

SPRING ! The Process and the Story

by Virginia Robertson

I collected the antique templates used in these quilts at a quilt show 25 years ago. They are cut out of oatmeal boxes and used cardboard of different colors. Some of the original shapes are rounded from use. Others are bent and torn and one of them is stitched together. I left the photo copies “as is” to tell the story. I love the history that they portray. I always meant to have them framed for hanging on my studio walls.

This March, we still had six foot snow drifts around the house. The late spring blizzards just kept coming as late as May. In response to the protracted winter, I made these two quilts using the old templates. I used the wildest and brightest fabrics in my stash with” no rules folk art applique” and design. I worked directly with the fabrics… no preplanning or drawing. The idea was to bring spring into the studio by expressing the feeling of new life via light, bright textiles and simple botanical shapes from nature.

I backed 1/4-1/2 yard pieces of the applique fabric with paper backed fusing web. I took off the paper in large pieces to use again as tracing paper and applique pressing sheets. I even used some of the paper behind the appliqued areas to stabilize the fabric during the free motion applique process. I traced around each applique design and stacked several layers of backed fabric together for cutting. (Don’t place the fusing web sides together!) I did lots of different images this way, then set up to work on a design wall next to the ironing board.

Bright backgrounds were cut and different images were auditioned on each block. I did not fuse them at first. I just used a dot from a glue stick to hold the appliqu├ęs in place until I was satisfied with the results of the separate blocks and all the blocks together as a quilt top. I changed the backgrounds several times to get happy results. It was hard to use all the busy fabrics together on the cover wall hanging sample. I used a lot of Art Gallery, Free Spirit and Kaffe Fasset fabrics in the sample. I finally had my friends, “The Art Girls” over for a session where we fiddled with the fabric choices. I like the results! It is a happy quilt.

The queen sized lime green sample on the back cover was all made from Princess Mirah batiks by Bali Fabrics. I had a large amount of designer sample cuts from a visit to the Bali Fabrics warehouse in Sonoma. I just can’t get enough of lime green and I consider lime green a neutral.

Well. I got my fill after completing this quilt. Now where will I find a place for such a quilt as this? Both quilts make me think of early spring greens, flowers and warm, tropical breezes. When the quilts were hanging on my walls this spring, they made me smile. One guest commented “My, it has been a long winter!” Click here to purchase the pattern.

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