August 31, 2006
Finally, I have a new quilt to show. I made this one for someone who saw my little mushroom quilt and asked if I wanted to sell it. I didn’t but offered to make her something similar if she’d pay for the materials, and from that e-mail exchange this quilt came to be. It’s quite a bit bigger than the piece that inspired it–this a lap quilt, about 48 by 60 inches–but I think it has the same feeling (see them together here). It definitely has some of the same mushrooms, but the bigger format gave me a chance to have fun with making many more mushrooms than would fit on the smaller quilt.
I got the initial idea for the layout from seeing a kit for a quilt called Holiday Beauty. Based on that, I made this mockup using Paint (yes, I’m a simple girl). Once I got started working with the fabric, I soon decided to get rid of the borders so I could fit in more blocks and thus more mushrooms. I made big ones and small ones and reddish ones and blueish ones. Fusible applique is a wonderful thing; I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to needleturn all of those pieces . Once I got the mushrooms fused, I highlighted and further secured the edges by outlining them in rayon thread, choosing whichever color of thread blended with the mushroom the best: red, yellow, orange, olive, lilac, or blue.
When it came to deciding what went where, the rules for this quilt were:
1) Single mushrooms in the center; multiples closer to the edges.
2) Orient the more realistic mushroom print right way up (though this wasn’t possible for one side of the binding and I see looking at the pictures that I accidentally got at least one of the squares in the four patches wrong way round).
3) Pay attention to the placement of the more artistic mushroom print (from Cultivated Cottons by Lonni Rossi for Andover) as far as where pieces with gold highlights were placed.
4) If one batik is good, four–no, make that five–are better.
I had enough of the realistic mushroom print to make the backing, but using three fabrics was more interesting and also gave me a chance to showcase the artistic mushrooms in bigger pieces (the print has a story on it about a grandmother’s pickled mushroom recipe, and it was nice to be able to keep that in readable form). Because there’s so much going on in the blocks, I kept the quilting simple, just straight lines with dark monofilament. I put the binding on in four strips and make faux miters at the corners rather than doing on continuous piece as is more common for me; this made it possible to get the mushrooms growing the right way up on three of the sides.
After the label went on I took many pictures (the best I uploaded here, only some of which I linked above) before packing it up, sending it off, and waiting to hear if the recipients liked it. Fortunately, they did.