Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Sister and her Quilts

I have been thinking about today's post all week because February 7 is my younger sister,Denise's birthday- I am the eldest child she has always been my little sister.

Denise is a wonderful floral and horticultural designer - she has a great knack with plants. Denise shares her love of gardening with my father. She is also a terrific grandmother to her daughter's two little girls. There are lots of special things I could say about her, but first I want to thank her for her many kindnesses.

I thank for her loving thoughtful ways with others, especially our parents. I don't live in the same city as the rest of my family (I live about 2 hours north).I appreciate all the little extras she does to make life easier for our parents. For example,she and my sister in law share the hosting of family events like Christmas dinner. This makes it so much easier for my mother and father. She will come and take my parent's dog for a walk with hers. I know she is also wonderful to her partner's mother, who is elderly.

Denise is a lovely photographer- she often will take their dog Buddha( a very cute pug) for a walk and bring along her camera. Lately she has been exploring with nature shots and has taken some real beauties.

Have you ever made a quilt that you tried various things but no matter what you did , the quilt didn't work for you? Well I have, and, unfortunately, my sister was nearly the recipient of both of them.

Let me back up- a few years ago I set out to make quilts for each of my siblings ( I have 3 -2 brothers and 1 sister)as well as my husband's siblings( he has two sisters and had two brothers- but lost one of his brothers in car accident many years ago). As an aside, yes,I have given them all queen sized bed quilts. When I first quilted, I made quilts and then gave them to someone I cared about that I thought would enjoy that particular quilt. For the last couple of years, I have created the quilt based on what I know about the other person's color preferences as well as design. Recently I have reverted to my original way of quilting- I am exploring the techniques that I enjoy and putting together the colors that I want to put together without having a specific purpose for the quilt. I will still create a quilt for someone to mark a special occasion that is based on their preferences. It is kind of fun to just make quilts because the design and the fabrics appeal to me.

I think that I told you before, that I love Kaleidoscope quilts. When I saw the Stack and Whack book by Bethany Reynolds, I thought what a cool technique!!! What pretty quilts I will be able to make using her patterns.
Well, here on the left, you can see my sister's Green and Pink kaleidoscope stack and whack quilt. It is probably one of the most frustrating quilts that I ever made. I chose the colors carefully( people have actually told me that I am good at finding the right colors) Something was wrong with my color sense when I was making this stack and whack quilt. I ripped this quilt apart more than once- I removed the whole border after getting it put together and made a new one- It still didn't work for me!!! No matter what I did, I could not get this quilt to sing to me-
The colors were colors that my sister, Denise enjoys so that is how she was the poor unfortunate that ended up with it - I still do not care for her quilt - And She says that she likes it....
I learned some valuable lessons- one, your family will lovingly accept your gifts no matter whether you find them beautiful or not, and two, sometimes, no matter what you do, some quilts are not going to work in your eyes whatever changes you make to them. Unfortunately, this quilt has put me off using other stack and whack patterns (which is too bad) because I have loved some of my friend's quilts using this technique. They are fabulous and work out wonderfully... I am not sure what is wrong with me, but I have not figured out how to make a stack and whack quilt. Recently, I was looking at Bethany Reynolds new book called Stack-Whack-iopedia and considered buying it and then I thought about Denise's quilt... I am still thinking....

The other photo is another variation of Ricky Timms Harmonic Convergence pattern. Denise is shown here with the second attempt that I made for her. Originally, I had put a top together of fabrics that I thought would work well together. It just ended up with mush. I quickly decided to put the first version in a box of orphans and orphan blocks and started all over again. My lovely sister deserved more than to get a second quilt that was not up to my standards. I do love this convergence quilt- the colors are soft and looked liked Asian fabrics (they were an older line of Fantastia that Fabricland had).

So the question remains- what do you do when you make something that you think is pretty ugly and you don't have a generous loving sister like mine to take it off your hands???? :D
I have been known to take the whole thing apart, and start all over with only the pieces I like.. It is a hard thing, when you have an idea in your mind's eye and the quilt doesn't work for you- Start all over - change parts - it is a dilemma..????

In the meantime, I want to wish my dear sister, Denise a very Happy Birthday - you are the best and I love you very much. I hope you are having a great birthday- May your year be rich with wonderful things that you so deserve - and perhaps one day I will give you another quilt that is nothing less than stunning - I am thinking about next year's birthday already...
I have appreciated your comments on the posts and I do try to send you a comment back.
This past week Nancy commented about the fact that orange cats are usually male. We thought so too - that is why her name is Mars- the god of war. Then we discovered that he was really a she. For a long time she was a very small kitty too!! We have decided she has enough attitude to be the Goddess of War!!! My mum in law used to say that the males were orange and the females were usually tortoise shell rather than orange. I don't know if its true or not but maybe somebody out there does. It is really interesting to me how many quilters do have cats and how many of them are orange marmalades!
I was visiting Bonnie Hunter's wonderful website ( or use the link on my bloglist quiltville quips and snips). Bonnie has posted some very funny cat videos of Nora the piano playing cat from You tube. That is one talented cat- Mars has some interesting habits like being able to flush the toilet but Nora the piano playing cat is on a whole different plane. Nora has her own website and her own blog... If you love cats, do google it or go to the link on Bonnie's blog.
I know that you will also be inspired by Bonnie's wonderful designs and quilts. I visit her blog regularly: Bonnie often has a new pattern that she is sharing or an interesting story about the places and people she meets while she is teaching her wonderful scrap quilting techniques. Thanks Bonnie, for sharing you knowledge and love of quilting.. not to mention the funny cat videos..
This weekend I finished the binding and label on the texture quilt and a good friend, V. is taking it with her to the West Coast where her mother in law will pass it on to my mother in law. I never did find my original bindings so I have made a whole set of new ones. Perhaps I will get the quilts bound now, that they are all trimmed. One of them I had to get trimmed before Mars decided to be a shredder extrordinaire with the batting. Man, does she love to sharp her claws if she finds loose binding.
Time to get some school work done..
Have a great week...
Until next time,
Happy quilting,
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