Inspiring Quilters, Stitch by Stitch
"There is no remedy for love but to love more." (Thoreau); "A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short." (Andre Maurois); "Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backwards." (e.e. cummings)'; "All, everything that I understand, I understand because I love." (Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace); "No one has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold." (Zelda Fitzgerald).
These are the five quotes about love and marriage I have monogrammed on the back of my daughter, Becky and her husband, Todd's wedding quilt. There should be one there about the long and winding road because this quilt has been a two year exodus. It began sometime in 2015 when Becky and I picked out fabric for her wedding quilt at the now defunct Hancock Fabric store in Plano, Texas where Becky and Todd live. As the main fabric, Becky chose a marbled gray, black and brown. We selected coordinating fabrics, some of them really wild and I took it all home with me to start the project.
Soon enough though, I discovered I had a problem: the coordinating fabrics did not look well together. How could I have missed this? Certainly I have been selecting fabrics and quilting for some time (40 plus years). I made a few blocks of each color scheme, the black and white and the brown and creams and had it verified that these block were not going to live together on the front of any quilt I made in this life time. I just could not do it.
Somewhat discouraged, I put the quilt away and decided I would make Becky and Todd a different quilt and attempt this one for them at a later date. I had just discovered digital fabric and I was dying to make a window quilt with them. Significant time has passed by now and it is March 2016. I am making good progress on the quilt top of the window quilt before we head to California for Easter 2016 and our grandson’s fifth birthday. We rented a house near Yosemite National Park and on the Saturday before Easter, the entire family took a 4 hour hike through the park with thousands of other tourists. It was a great day and as we were walking along, I was telling my oldest daughter Jamie about the challenges with her sister’s wedding quilt and my digital fabric solution. I remember telling her that the fabric reminded me very much of this beautiful park we were enjoying. She looked a bit puzzled and then said, “Mom, I just can’t imagine Becky taking a hike in a National Park. It’s not her thing.” In that instant, I realized I was making the wrong quilt for the wrong daughter.
Back to the drawing board.
So when we arrived home after the trip, I pulled out the original fabric and the completed quilt blocks and told myself this had to work somehow. My solution was easy once I discovered it: I would make one side black and one side brown. Piece of cake with one small hitch; I did not have enough quilt fabric to make an entire black quilt top and an entire brown quilt top but I had plenty of the marbled backing material. What to do?
My solution was to make each side both the front and the back of the quilt. One half would be blockwork in each color way and the other half would be “plain” like the back of the quilt so that you would see piecing in the blockwork half and quilting in the plain half on each side, hence the name “Both Sides Now.” A simple, elegant solution, I thought, until you came to the pinning where you would have to make sure the blank half was perfectly lined up with the blockwork half on the other side. Oy vey!
Well, it all worked out, sort of. The line up is perfect on the horizontal line that divides blockwork from plain but I was about 3 inches off side to side. I managed to make it work by quilting stitch in the ditch on the black side, following the pattern of the square blocks and stitch in the ditch on the brown side, following the pattern of the diamonds that are made when the square blocks come together (an optical illusion).
The quilt is finished with buttons of peachy pink (the color from her wedding) flowers, black and silver, and gray embossed between the sayings. The dedication reads, “In celebration of their marriage, this quilt was made for Becky and Todd Newcomer with love, Mom and George.” It is signed at the bottom “V.B. Allmendinger Leiner, May 7, 2017, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.” Over all I am very pleased with it. I am still not 100% sure the “front and back” on both sides works from an aesthetics point of view but it is what it is. Definitely outside the box for me. As always, I am so glad it is done!