Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's About Time!



“Well, it’s about time,” I hear you muttering at your computer screens. “You’ve been taunting us with photos of that same red and green quilt since before Christmas!” Quite true… so with apologies for what may now be an anticlimactic reveal, let me tell you all about it.

I made this quilt at my first Gwen Marston Beaver Island Quilt Retreat in 1997. Gwen's topic that year was Four-Block Quilts. I brought along four Oak Leaf & Reel blocks I'd made ahead of time so that during the workshop, I could focus on design and assembly. Much of what Gwen taught is outlined in her subsequent book, Classic Four-Block Applique Quilts: A Back-To-Basics Approach.

My blocks are framed with appliquéd dogtooth and vine and berry borders. As Gwen instructed, instead of having borders elegantly turn the corners as they traditionally would in a medallion format, mine are unresolved, marching boldly off the edge of the quilt in a far more casual manner.

I can’t tell you how challenging this was for me. My quilting style back then was as stiff and formal as those Oak Leaf blocks, and even though Gwen assured us there was historical precedence for this treatment in many antique quilts, the technique just rubbed me the wrong way!

So did some of Gwen's sewing methods. If you look carefully, you might notice that while leaves and berries are appliquéd by hand, the vine itself is top stitched by machine. “What will people think?” I worried. “They’ll call me lazy for combining hand and machine appliqué in the same quilt!”

But you know what? I have yet to hear a critical peep out of anyone. Little by little, I’ve embraced Gwen’s relaxed, no nonsense approach to quilt making. The few quirks in this quilt that used to annoy me, now make me proud of my personal growth as a quilter. It’s about time!


Oak Leaf and Reel 
30" x 30"
hand appliquéd, hand quilted
© Diane Burdin, 2000


17 comments:

  1. It is a beautiful quilt with its own personality. I like it.

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  2. It' so great you must be proud of this. I love the liberated style of it. Congratulations on finishing.

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  3. Love this quilt...love the border!!!!!
    will email you later.
    Kathie

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  4. Woohoo! i love the dogteeth (dogtoothes?) - their individuality and how they just end where they end. wonderful quilt!

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  5. It's just gorgeous. That's the thing I love about Gwen . . . . make a beautiful quilt, simple and straightforward - there are no rules *s*

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  6. OH my GOSH! I LOVE it! it is stunning!

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  7. WOW! Woah! Absolutely unreal and what a truly fetching tale.

    Thank you for giving of your time to share this thoughtful post and amazing quilt with us all, Diane. Plus, I never knew what a Dog Tooth was.

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  8. Beautiful... I don't know if I like the toothy border or the sweet cherries better...It looks just so good!

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  9. It is beautiful..well done for getting it finished. As for mixing techniques, my attitude is "why not" No one is going to be looking at your quilt as closely as you have while you've been making it...I think we get critical of our work because we have been looking at it 6 inches from our nose :o)

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  10. hi there! thanks so much for commenting on my blog. sorry you didn't win the giveaway, but keep checking out my blog. i love visitors and comments! have a great day! lora

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  11. I think quilters long ago had the advantage of not reading all the quilting books with all the quilting rules! Love the quilt! I'm jealous you got to go to Gwen's retreat!

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  12. Your quilt is beautiful, and my neighbor Mary Schafer would have been so tickled to see it. It's lovely! Love the hand quilting, too!!!!

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  13. It's breathtaking Diane! I LOVE it

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  14. What a wonderful, beautiful quilt!

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  15. What a beautiful quilt - a masterpiece!! The quilting is wonderful.

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