Old places exist on sine waves of time and space
that bend in some logarithmic motion
on which I’m beginning to ride.
~Frances Mayes, “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Pieced Together.
Seamed in history.
Each remnant having a former life, a former narrative.
Each scrap salvaged and patched together to make a whole.
A pattern of color, shapes, lines and texture.
Re-purposed to a new purpose.
Patterned together to a new life, spinning a new story.
Stitched by a gathering of many hands, over many tales and much gossip, with laughter and tears.
Creative, yet mundane.  Mundane, yet beautiful.  Utilitarian.
Animated with color to arrest the eye and give pleasure to the beholder.
Using what was available, making do with what was at hand.
Capturing the scent of the summer sun while dancing in the breeze.
Unfurling the fragrance of warmth on a cold winter’s night.

I vaguely remember, as a child, playing under the quilting racks as my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunts and the neighbor ladies quilted.  The quilting racks were hung from four hooks in the ceiling (still in the old house today).  The racks were taken up and lowered as the quilt work progressed, and as life, meals and the end of day interrupted.  I recall being allowed to make a few stitches by patient hands – which no doubt were ripped out and reworked as soon as I returned to my play.

I learned many things from my Grandmother, but quilting cannot be counted among them.  She was creative and crafty, making beauty out of what was at hand.  So, in a way, maybe she did instill in me at least the basic knowledge of the art of quilt making.  As I am soon to be a grand-Mama’, I purposed that a quilt I would make – with the help of a community of hands.

This was the inspiration for Baby Penny’s quilt.

The quilt is a modern half square triangle (HST).  The placement of blocks are just shy of forming any “pattern”.

quilt mosiac
The palette for Penny’s nursery is deep royal blue (almost navy) and gray, with a touch of golden yellow and a splash of other bright colors. These were our color selections:

The material was cut to obtain as many squares as possible out of each 1/2 yard.  Each square was then cut into a “half square triangle”.

I then combined color combinations, using more of the royal blue and gray and less of the brightest colors.

The seams were then ironed to the darker side of each square

and the corners and threads snipped.

Then came arranging and piecing the squares together.  My first attempt was far too “patterned”.

The next attempt was a little better.

But I realized I was lacking a few blocks and that all of my gray and blue was too close.  I made a few additional blocks, and made several “drafts” before I settled on a final placement.  This is the final pieced quilt top:

I actually debated quilting the top myself and considered quilting on my sewing machine.  My mother-in-law, a seasoned quilter, talked me right out of that notion.  Better yet, she offered to hand quilt the piece.  I accepted.

Doris quilting
Even she was a bit reluctant to tackle this quilt as we wanted straight-line quilting with the lines running at a different angle from block to block — purposefully not having any pattern.

She did a wonderful job interpreting our vision.  In some of the blocks she decided to quilt two directions within the same square. (see green/white block below)

In a couple of the blocks she quilted the lines very close together (see gray/teal block below), giving each block visual interest.  No two are alike.

I then machine sewed a bias tape binding in navy onto the front of the quilt, and my mother hemmed it to the back using a blind stitch.  I was very proud of my nicely mitered corners which I achieved by using a method found here.

I only made the one photo of the mitered corner process as it is very hard to hold both a camera and the binding.  Here is the little mitered corner, although it is a bit difficult to see as the binding is navy.

We used a small dot as the backing of the quilt to tie together the color scheme.  Gray and blue seem to coordinate with most all other colors.

And finally, here is a photo of the completed quilt.  It is approximately 40″x56″.


Penny’s new little quilt already has a story, a history pieced and stitched with loving hands, waiting to fulfill its intended purpose.