Saturday, May 31, 2008


Yes, she's lived in all of these houses. Sue is one of my longarm customers and I can always count on her to give a challenge with every quilt. Sue definitely qualifies for the TIF (Take It Further) challenges I read about in so many other quilting blogs.
(Note: you can click on any image for a larger more detailed view.)
One time she used all of her husband's silk ties to create a quilt/wall hanging that was all circles. I've seen other tie quilts, but Sue took it a step further and used raw silk for the background fabric. Another wall hanging was done using up more of the ties but adding coins from all of the different countries where her husband had worked as an embellishing element.
This time, it is the "HOUSE QUILT." Sue used old photos for creating the houses and then asked her kids about their memories from each house. Sue interpreted those memories with bead, buttons, trim, and embroidery embellishments for each block. She forgot about needing to attach the embellishments after I completed the quilting so the challenge was double as I worked around each button and bead hoping not to hit them with the needle or catch them with the hopping foot.

For me, the quilting challenge became a question of how to enhance the memories of each block. The quilting became a freehand fill sampler using ever fill I ever seen and even dreaming up a couple of new ones.

I started with completing the obvious ... the sky areas and the grass or ground areas. The houses were a little more difficult because of the beading and buttons. But the detailing on the houses was so much more defined when I did stitch in the ditch where ever I could. Sue will have a few areas to complete on her own either by hand or with her domestic machine.

Sometimes the fabric was a good guide in dictating the fill pattern to be used. After I finished all of the sky/ground areas I went back to look at the roof of each house. Sue was very careful to pick fabrics that looked like the actual roofing material of each house. I followed her lead and quilted shakes, shingles, and swirly curvy roofing tiles. It is always difficult to use a two dimensional representation look three dimensional, but Sue did a good job by using proportion and scale, piecing lines, and embroidery stitches, and floss color to help create shadows, forward projecting roof lines, and under eaves areas.

Sometimes sky fill was easy because of the embroidery Sue had done to begin with. The fireworks in the sky gave me a theme to follow continuing with swirls and "shadow" fireworks. I also created a shadow forest behind the tall evergreen tree on the left to help enhance a single lone tree.
This building has a wonderful story. It was the only time Sue had to live in an apartment building. The building is located in Chicago ... hence, Lake Michigan in the foreground. And, of course, you'll notice the absence of any green, landscaping, flowers since Sue was living in the "concrete canyons." For one who loves her yard and gardening, the single lone ornamental tree she could see from her second story window was what helped her to keep her sanity.

The other item of interest with this building is an embroidered motif. This logo wasn't really on the side of the building, but Sue added it to help remember the other building tenants and to explain interesting visitors she may have met coming and going from the building. You may have to look closely at the picture on the left side of the building to see the embroidered Play Bunny logo - their headquarters is located in this building in Chicago.

No, this is not a giant peach or orange tree with only one orange. Sue could see the town water tower from one of her windows which was painted to look like a peach. What Sue remembers most about this water tower was, if one were approaching from just the right direction ... how much the top of the water tower looked like a bare baby's bottom.

Ah, Glasgow Kentucky ... where they actually created a mosaic of the town name and the state embedded right into the street!

Such a family treasure - a unique way to capture the memories and a great conversation starter for family gatherings. Sue, how are you ever going to decide who is the keeper of such a wonderful family heirloom? Is it time to get started making one for each of your children!
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