It’s an odd thing to first, bring you this blog after yet another surgery, and, second, to announce that this is a very, very special quilt that my quilting partner, Joyce Hite, meticulously pieced, applique’d and blanket stitched on her wonderful Bernina. This quilt was just juried into Road to California, 2020 and we are totally excited over this news. This particular quilt also received an Honorable Mention in it’s class at AQS Spring Paducah 2019 and just last month took a 2nd in class at IQF Houston. It is a very special quilt for Joyce, as it represents her memories of growing up on a farm here in Ohio. I will give a few more insights on this as you scroll through the pictures and this blog will be FILLED with quilting photos with an immense amount of custom freemotion (with ruler work) quilting!
“Memories” is a “taupe” quilt, designed by Joyce using many EQ (Electronic Quilt) patterns and a few blocks from one of her favorite quilters, Yoko Saito, using Japanese fabrics. Here it is as it arrived to my “factory”:
Joyce created the beautifully wide border for some intricate quilting on my part…she really wanted to give me a space to have fun in and it didn’t take me long to channel my love of Sharon Schambler’s work and create a border for this quilt. The remaining blocks took a bit longer…over 40 hours of designing on tracing paper with pencil over images that I printed out of each quilt block. I would later use those drawings to record arc sizes and thread choices, as this quilt used somewhere around 45 thread colors on the top and around 7 colors on the backing.
Here’s a look at the beautiful quilt as it came off of my longarm. Over 1.3 million stitches and about 450 hours of work:
And a few closer looks, with the batting combination of Quilters Dream Blend and Wool giving such nice stitch definition. Three colors of Glide 40 weight trilobal thread were used in the border to bring a slight hue of color into it. A different frame was placed around each of the 7 different applique blocks:
And, here is the quilt winning it’s Honorable Mention at AQS Spring Paducah 2019:
You can see the three colors of thread in the border here….An off-yellow, a lighter grey and a darker grey:
And, here is my mass-dump of all of the detail photos of the blocks within the quilt. Joyce is a remarkably talented quilter and her work is just something incredibly special to see up close. Her sense of color, care with her applique, and level of stitching talent is truly special. Her machine blanket stitch is just breathtaking and I am so thrilled to have her as a friend and partner in national show quilts. Joyce and I have worked together since I was longarming for just 18 months (about two years ago!), placing nationally at that time, and her faith in me is something I will ALWAYS treasure. She believed in me when I didn’t, and it means the world to me to be supported in that fashion. She is truly an amazingly wonderful, kind and talented quilter!
Joyce’s first block she ever made was a churn-dash block, so this was a significant block in this quilt:
Joyce’s Mother was very skilled at flower arranging and all of her flower applique blocks pay homage to her memories of her mother’s very special talent:
Now, Joyce doesn’t know this, but the acorn block here has a very special meaning to me and my family memories. I grew up on a small parcel in Mentor, Ohio. We had a HUGE Scarlet Oak in the backyard that dated over 200 years old. The property, and that tree, were once owned by our President, James A. Garfield with his “Lawnfield” homelocated just to the west of the top of our street. Our childhood was spent using that tree as “home” in games of tag, left us huge piles of rust-colored leaves in the fall that we jumped into, gave us acorns for acorn fights and painted acorn people with painted acorn “hats” and dropped on us sticks and leaves to form make-believe house outlines in the back yard in which we “lived”. When one Memorial Day found a teenage version of me at the window, hearing a huge crack and shaking the picture window, I exclaimed to my Mom that the tree was literally cracking in front of me. An emegency Arborist’s crew cinched it back together with a huge chain link cable system, but about 5 years later found the tree too bad to keep and it was, unfortunately, cut down. The crew on that fateful day consisted of men who asked to be on that job crew, because, they too, loved the history of that tree. It was a sad day, but I will never forget what that tree meant to us kids and my parents.
The “J” block is, obviously, a monogram for Joyce:
Joyce spent her childhood growing up on a farm, and this barn block represents that special time in her life:
This flower applique happens to be my favorite block on this quilt. It’s hard to actually pick a favorite, but this was just such a gorgeous block with such dainty leaves that bent in the wind. I loved the fabrics used on this one and I loved the french knots Joyce made in the stamens of the flowers. Add to this that my first collegiate degree was in Horticulture and with my Master’s degree and the passage of my State Boards, I became a Registered Landscape Architect, and, well, it all makes sense:
I loved using Cindy Needham’s Ultimate Background Stencil set to mark out the basketweave on the flower basket and I think it turned out beautifully:
Well, that does it for the eye candy! I thank you for taking the time to pop in for a visit! I’m excited to announce that Joyce and I are currently working on the next show quilt (well, Joyce is done piecing and waiting for me to finish the longarming…which is taking a lot longer than first anticipated, but all good things must come in due time)!
May this Holiday Season fill you with warmth, love, support and kindness. Take care and I hope you get a little time today to be creative!
Patricia Heinrich Hechler