Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don't Your Wish You Were Down Under?

This was a wedding present for my lovely niece, Julia, and her beloved, Andres, AKA, Dre - unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to do the accent on the "e" on this computer, sorry Dre.  Sometimes, I get to make and plan quilts especially for specific people for special occasions, while at other times, I happen to have a finished quilt I have made because I wanted to make it and then an occasion comes up and the quilt fits and I give it away.  Either way works for me.  But it is fun - and sometimes a challenge - to get to make a special quilt for somebody you love. 

Of course, in this case, I did have plenty of notice of the wedding and thus enough time to make a special quilt just for Julia and Dre.  However, whereas I have known Julia since she was about 3, I actually only met Dre after the two got engaged.  Julia lives in New York City now and it is there she met Dre.  It is there they have made their life together and I didn't know very much at all about that life; what they had in common or what Dre was like.  I knew that his family was from Colombia, that he was born there but had lived in this country since he was a small boy.  So like me, Dre is an emigrant.  I liked that.  And, of course, I liked that Julia loved him and he loved her.  Now that I actually know Dre, I have learned that he is a very nice man indeed, very kind, funny, smart and sweet.  And not only is he good for Julia, we are all very lucky to have him in the family!

I had already made a quilt for Julia when she graduated from college which focused somewhat on her acting interests, and since Dre is not an actor, it didn't make sense to repeat that theme.  So I finally decided just to use what I thought was some beautiful fabric and not do a theme at all!  In 2007, while I still lived in Atlanta, my BFF, Michelle, and I took a great trip to the quilt show in Paducah, KY, and I purchased a bunch of "Australian fabrics" with aboriginal theme prints.  If I am not mistaken, these fabrics were new at the time and I had taken a fancy to them.  Then, when I left Atlanta a year later, at a going away party, my friend Sue May, gave me a bunch of fat quarters of the same type of prints, so I actually had quite a collection of these fabrics which had waited for an opportunity to be used.

They seemed just right and I only had to purchase a couple of additional fat quarters to finish the top, which I hand-pieced.  I used a simple but nice pattern called "Box Step" designed by Daniela Stout and distributed by Cozy Quilt Designs which I had bought at some other occasion.
 I didn't want the entire quilt to be Australian, but thought I'd continue with the "foreign" theme at least, so I went to IKEA and picked out some beautiful fabrics which reminded me of my own Scandinavian background for the back.  Unfortunately, even though they are 100% cotton, these fabrics are not quilting fabrics, but are quite a bit heavier, almost canvas like, so they gave poor Regina quite a challenge. Having such different weight fabrics on the top and the back is apparently not a good idea!  Without Regina Carter, super machine quilter extraordinaire, none of my quilts would amount to anything, so I felt terrible about that.  But, of course she did a beautiful job and didn't complain at all. 

I also owe Regina credit for helping me come up with the name of the quilt.  I really like the dual meaning of it!  I usually print my labels on my ink jet printer and that generally works very well for me.  But in this case, there was an unusual amount of text and I didn't seem to be able to make it all fit and look right.  So I asked my friend, and fellow quilter, Bev Sullivan, who with her husband owns a retail store which, among other things offers custom embroidery on the items they sell, if she could make the label for me - just this once, since it was a special quilt.  And she did.  So the label on this quilt, is especially nice having been embroidered in nice green thread to match the green in the print on the back of the quilt.  I wish I could make all my labels this nice!  But alas, I don't have an embroidery machine and cannot pay Bev to do this every time I make a quilt.  So it's back to the inkjet printer!
I usually make a point of taking pictures of all my quilts before I give them away.  This is something I learned from my very first quilt teacher, Dana Stewart.  She actually counseled never to give away any quilts, saying we would miss our quilts if we gave them away!  In the alternative, she said, we must photograph all our quilts so we would not forget them.  I immediately knew I would follow her second piece of advice and have done so.  This quilt, however, it was too big for Steve to hold alone, so I didn't get to take a picture, but as Dre is quite the photographer, I felt sure I could count on getting some later from him and Julia.  So in this case photo credits go to Julia and Dre.  Thanks for the pictures :)

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