And I Will Make Thee a Bed of Roses...

People who know me hear me complain about not having enough time to sew. "I write about sewing all day, but I hardly ever get to do it!" goes the whine. It's often true. But last Friday I got together with some friends at Inspirations, a newish quilt shop in Hills, Iowa, to sew. The shop has a sunny classroom space where we gathered, and I managed to make 45 pennants for three more holiday garlands, which I finished up today.

Garlands are one thing, but it takes me an awfully long time to complete a quilt. I've slowly come around to the idea that a quilt doesn't need to be quick and that it's fine to have more than one project going at a time. So I'll try not to feel too terrible about showing you something that took me more than a year to complete. It was worth the wait.

The quilt started out in October 2010, when I took a French Roses class at Common Threads. (The pattern is an old one by Heather French—sorry, I can't find a link to her site.) I was excited about the colors and fabrics, and took the quilt to Lake Tahoe to work on. It was there I realized what a creative bunch I was sewing with. The pattern is traditionally put together without sashing, but someone suggested I add some and someone else brought over some black and white options to audition. Keystones punch it up a bit more (I fussy cut a few of them ato highlight the mushrooms, birds, and chairs). And finally, over the summer, I added the "strata" border (a Mary Lou Weidman term). It is such a great reminder that it's okay to change up a pattern and to do some things that take a bit of extra time, rather than rush to finish.

Linda Duncan quilted it and I just love what she did. She used a pink thread that really gives the quilt spark, and she tried a new technique on the flowers. Rather than quilting around each layer, as she's done on French Roses quilts in the past, she stitched "spokes" in hopes that when the quilt was washed it would create "petals." Indeed, it worked just that way.

I am once again a bit giddy, and I can't help but pat myself on the back for taking a pattern of long-standing and giving it a different twist. I can't bring myself to put the quilt away (and it goes with absolutely nothing in my house). So I've got it hanging over the stair rail, where I can admire it daily and force unsuspecting visitors to tell me how much they like it, too.