Its Autumn ... I know it is because I have had to put the heating on the last couple of evenings. I like Autumn though. Its my favorite season. I love the colder mornings and the mist that floats off the hills with it and seeing a wardrobe of wooly jumpers hit the streets before they get covered up with winter coats. This morning was bright and sunny and I sat, coffee in hand, watching a rather fat wood pigeon gorge itself on the seeds of a spent sunflower and I was inspired to share with you a quilt I finished for my cousin Emma over at quiltfish. Its called Fields of Gold. I should probably show a quilt that is made entirely by me for Amy's Autumn Quilt Festival but I love this quilt and I think its appropriate for the season.
Emma is an excellent piecer and has a eye for design and colour but flounders (in the nicest sense of the word) when it comes to quilting as so many people do. The phrase Quilt as Desired can give even the most accomplished piecer a dose of the 'hibby-jibbies'. What does it mean, Quilt as Desired ... I dont have a clue... help.. Thats when she and many others have handed their quilts over to me.
As a longarm quilter I've quilted lots of quilts for other people and with it comes an expectation that because you quilt all the time you will instantly know how to quilt it. Well I hate to dispel that myth but we need time to think too! Sometimes a quilt will speak to you straight away and it shouts how to be quilted. Other times it clams up and says nothing for the longest time. Fields of Gold spoke to me quite quickly - it said Sunflowers almost immediately but I also saw barns and a vision of a scene from Witness in my mind. Something I probably could have quilted but not a scene that Emma, the owner of the quilt, wanted. As a 'for hire' quilter, even when you have a working partnership that allows you to quilt whatever you want, you have to be mindful that this quilt will never belong to you. It will be on loan to you for a while as you work on it and you may be lucky to share a place in its provenance if it travels a show circuit. But it will never hang on your wall or rest on your bed, so the relationship you have with the quilt will always be different to the one the owner has. You need to be respectful of the owners tastes and quilt vision (if she has one) but occasionally it is possible to take a risk and quilt a design that you really feel would suit the quilt, even if it means 'pushing' the owner slightly outside of their comfort zone. Not always an easy decision for the contracted quilter. Anyway in the case of Fields of Gold I was fairly sure what Emma would and would not go for and I think the 'dropped jaw' and teary eyes said it all when she saw it fully quilted and I can tell you, for me, there is no better reward than this reaction.
Fields went on to enter the UK Festival of Quilts 2008 and took a 3rd place in the two-person category and also a 3rd in the longarm quilting section. This year Emma tried for a juried place at Houston but sadly it didn't make it. I do think she should try for another show though - what do you think?
The quilting designs btw are mainly my own and available here