While finishing up a lap quilt for my uncle I was thinking back to when I started making Whimsy Quilts, for real. The first one (not counting the monkey blanket) was for a young friend of mine who was expecting her first baby. She showed some of us in the office the comforter she liked online, and I said, “I can make one like that for you.”
That started it all.
Here is the picture of the online comforter she liked; she really only wanted sea turtles, not land turtles; following that is a picture of the one I made, the first of all to come.
So here is where I am today with probably the most complicated quilt yet.
Each block represents something from my uncle’s life. I designed the black and white referee-shirt stripes along with his favored University of Oregon Duck for the countless high school games he refereed over a span of many years. I used the Fat Cat Patterns applique Eagle for my uncle’s deep patriotism also knowing that the local school in Yoncalla has the eagle for their mascot. My sister had made our uncle an autumn themed patchwork quilt a few years ago, but when he saw the quilts I made in memory of my brother-in-law he turned to Sis and said, with a twinkle in his eye, “Why didn’t my quilt have a flag?” That comment struck the original spark of making him a quilt, so he got a whimsical flag from my scrap bag! After retiring from his regular job in and around Yoncalla, Oregon, my uncle and aunt went to Stanley, Idaho to manage a tourist motel as seasonal work for several years. During that time, Uncle became an amateur photographer, made reclaimed wood frames and had a nice little side business going on. Row 2 of the quilt has my interpretation of 2 of his most popular and favorite photographs: “Idaho Mountains” and “Birch Trees”.
I don’t have great pics of his photos on hand, but these will give you an idea of what I worked from. Btw, the little white square may be recognized by some as the flash/lens from my old flip phone when I took the pic of the photo of the mountains.
Row 3 came into being when I wanted some more length. I modified a design that I had purchased in a Row by Row Experience shop by making huge flying geese from half-square triangles (HSTs). I’m thinking he must have seen many flocks of geese flying overhead while in Idaho.
I pieced the back of the 45″ square lap quilt with the remaining dark green fabric (given to me by my sister), the remaining Oregon Ducks fabric I brought home from Oregon a couple of summers ago, some more huge geese, and a bit of red from the flag scraps.
Now that I know something about quilting it was fun to decide how to quilt this project. I used straight lines and gently curving lines depending on the section of the quilt. Some areas are lightly quilted, others are more dense.
I made the quilt label by using my ink jet to print on fabric, then added an inch wide frame from some mountain gray fabric. I washed and dried it once, so it is beginning to get all soft and crinkly.
I think Uncle will be happy with his surprise next week. After all, it passed the first test here.
From the beginning until now, I love Isabella’s Whimsy. I love the opportunities to learn, the creative flow, the people I meet – everything.
Janie / Isabella