The time has finally come! I feel like we need a drumroll! So many folks have been following along with the making of the pineapple blocks here and on social media, and today is the day I get to show you the completed top! Sit tight because there are a lot of pictures.
I finished the last of the blocks on Wednesday or Thursday of last week, and I don’t think I showed anyone the last six or ten….
I used one of my all time favorite Liberty “basics”, (okay, Liberty is never basic, but I mean because its a versatile two-tone) Capel in the mustard color to create a sashing and border. These blocks alone or altogether have A LOT of busy Liberty prints. I feel like they all deserved their own spotlight, so surrounding each with a contrasting sashing gives each block an opportunity to shine. This arrangement also makes the quilt more aesthetically pleasing for the eye to take in the whole look and be able to move about and appreciate the qualities of each unique block.
The quilt top is a bit over 60″x70″, which is perfect for the couch, where I intend to use it. Or it may end up at the foot of my bed since we never seem to use our TV to watch various episodes of BBC (currently Endeavor, which pushes the limit of the amount of scary I can handle), but rather my laptop on the bed because its much cozier.
I just love the way the mustard Capel makes these blocks pop. Its so vibrant! I also love the nod to traditionalism with the design of the pineapple block, but I think the choices of fabric give it a modern twist. I love quilts that marry the classic and the new; its a beautiful balance, holding hands with those who have come before us, yet being able to infuse a bit of today’s style into the overall work.
I’ve told you time and again that my grandmother is my creative inspiration. Creating in this way feels as much a part of my DNA as my red hair or green eyes. This is the sort of quilt I imagine we would have created together had she stayed on this earth long enough for us to share our love of needle and thread. I don’t recall her having any Liberty, but I’ve never met a soul who loved flowers more than she did. She was the kind of woman who could revive a dead plant, and her house was surrounded by beautiful pansies in beds that were on all sides of her yellow house. The purple ones are the ones that stand out most in my memories, perhaps why I love that color so. Maybe I overemphasize things. I don’t know. But I see so much of who I saw her to be in this quilt top, and I wonder if subconsciously that’s what I was creating all along? Flowers and color planted in tradition. On the surface, these scraps tell the stories of past projects made over the years- anything from garments to quilts or bags, but I think the narrative goes deeper than that.
In the same way that Tolstoy said, “Music is the shorthand of emotion,” I believe that creating art in whatever form, for me its obviously sewing, is much the same. I think what comes out, when given total freedom to express my creativity, is something my mind can’t express otherwise. Its a safe and totally open ended way to pay tribute to what I love. I’m not overcome with a daily sadness or mourning over not having my grandma around. I’ve now lived longer without her than the time I spent with her, but there is no doubt that those feelings well up especially around milestones or holidays or even the days when I look out in my yard and wish she had taught me a thing or two about gardening. No, now my thoughts of her feel like gifts, and I hope those memories never leave me. Sewing is a way to bring her back here. To introduce her to my children who never had the privilege of knowing or being spoiled rotten by her , something she was quite good at. The colors and motifs that adorn my home, that I wear, are carrying on a legacy, and its easy for me to think its just who I am until I explore why. Its so much more than textiles and thread and things. Its a story, an identity shaped by experiences.
Of course I will quilt it by hand using Perle cotton because that’s the only justifiable way to handle an all Liberty quilt (my opinion because I am so not good at machine quilting that’s not straight line quilting). Plus I adore the texture of the enlarged hand stitches. For me, hand quilting lends a time to reflect on the work- I spend ample time running over the quilt with new stitches, adding texture to the work. Its a labor of love that only causes my affinity for the quilt to grow, making it all the more precious. Quilting is not about a quick output for me. Its about the story, and about giving life to each one that I make. I want my quilts to last a lifetime, so I’m all about spending time carefully planning and building each one until they are ready for use. I’m thinking of quilting around the sashing with a cream or mustard thread, and then perhaps corner to corner on each pineapple block. I’m not sure yet.
I also need to figure out what to do about the backing. I generally go for something really striking with a lot of colors since the back of a quilt is basically a large canvas for a big, bold print to shine. I mean, it is me we are talking about so I’ll probably stick to my guns, I’m just not sure what print I’ll use yet.
Whatever I use, I need to decide quickly, because I want this quilt in rotation soon! No languishing on a shelf waiting to be finished! I’m so looking forward to the time I spend quilting and binding it. Those are some of my favorite parts of the process.
Now that I’m finished assembling this quilt top and the gallery quilt top, both of which used a lot of scraps (this one is almost entirely made of scraps), I’ve been able to clean up the studio space. (okay, actually this quilt top wasn’t sewn together until the space was cleaned) When I am knee deep in creating, my space is normally rather a mess, at least when working on a quilt. I’m great with that, especially pertaining to scraps because if I haven’t cut everything up front, I like to be able to see what I’m working with. In the case of these two quilts which we worked on concurrently, the floor of my studio was totally covered in quilt blocks and scraps of fabric. My poor husband was so stressed out to pass by the room, I know he’s so thankful there’s a door and that its not on the same level as our main living area. Still, he did humor me and come to take peeks at our progress on the quilts. I just told him “look here, and try not to look at anything else” and that seems to work. ha!
I spent Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning doing a total cleanup of the space because I do like to start fresh with a clean slate. The remaining strips of Anna Maria fabric have been ironed and organized by color and placed in a basket. The Liberty scraps have been sorted and organized for a giveaway (just keep reading), and my floor is clear and swept. No thread scraps remain! I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m knee deep in the next project, but starting fresh with a clean studio space really does help my mind to clear as well, and frees up space for new ideas unencumbered by any remaining mess to distract me.
In fact, after it was cleaned up, I was able to finish two dresses for my niece and assemble these blocks into a top yesterday, and that felt productive, like tying up loose ends. And of course, she now has two new dresses, and I have a quilt top to work with. I have several other mostly finished projects that need to be completed before the week is over, and it ought to be easier now that I can see everything and there aren’t scraps scattered about.
I’ll be sure to show the finished quilt when the time comes. I’m excited at the prospect! But until then, how about a little giveaway? I have filled up a gallon size bag with Liberty scraps- some are small and some are larger, but they are true scraps, so you’ll want to be creative if you get them. To enter, just leave me a comment- tell me what inspires you or what you might want to make with a bag of Liberty scraps. I will choose a winner on Friday, so I’ll leave the comments open until my next post. I will ship them free to anyone in the US, but if you want to enter and you are outside the US you’ll have to pay for shipping- its a good size bag!
Thanks for popping in and reading. It means a lot to me that so many of you follow along with my creative journey! Good luck on the giveaway- I look forward to reading your comments!
Edited to add: congratulations to Pam, our winner! The random number generator has chosen you as our scrap bag winner.