This Tuesday for the queue post I sheepishly admit to designing quilts and then never making them. Again we have a slight issue with the brain writing checks that my skills can’t cash: my skills have not always been enough to produce these in reality. So I keep them, waiting for the day when I have the skills and time to finish what my brain started.
First up, the Quilt My Brother Asked Me To Make in 1999. Or maybe that was 1998. It was supposed to be black with flames. At the time we were 24 and 23 or thereabouts, and we both favored black, so you can see where the design came from. These days the kids all seem to be “emo,” but the two of us were, at times, old school goth. Nevertheless, I believe Jeremy still wants me to make this, and I’m still interested in trying to figure out how turn this drawing into something textile.This is the drawing I made of how I was going to lay out those flames. Sorry Jeremy! I will get to it! When we’re 40!
This second project is even older. I think this dates back to maybe when I was 17 or 18 years old. I saw an advertisement for a book called The Techniques of Japanese Embroidery by Shuji Tamura (a project of the Japanese Embroidery Center) in one of my mom’s sewing magazines. You can see the ad I cut out in the picture, top left. I never read the book (Amazon has only one copy, used for $241 so it’s not in my future), nor did I investigate Japanese embroidery (this was pre-Google days) but the cover picture fascinated me.
So I created the Applique Quilt That’s Not Really Quite Japanese. I invented a quilt based on the visual style I thought I saw on the cover of the book. Bold with large motifs and strong colors. It consists of four large motifs (right side and top left side) in abstracted floral shapes, to be placed in an overlapping layout and finished with embroidered fabric panels. The layout is bottom left (sorry, it was cut off). The motifs, I must stress, are big, this was intended to be a full size quilt. Again, still intend to do this someday, however, really didn’t have the skill when I drew this.
Finally, the Quilt That Resulted From My Fascination With Grimm’s. I love fairy tales – not the modern sappy Disney version that strips the story of all its zing. No, I like the old European folk tales where people met bad ends and got tortured, and people were dreadfully rude to one another, and everything had a moral, and sometimes animals talked.
I have a long-term personal connection to Grimm’s Fairy Tales in particular which probably eventually resulted in my interest in medieval studies. I owe the Grimm brothers, really. I used to get the flu badly a whole lot when I was younger, and I’d get dehydrated. One time I got pretty dehydrated, on the verge of going to the hospital, couldn’t keep even water down. My joints hurt so much I couldn’t walk or sit or lie down for very long. I was walking around crying it hurt so much. My parents sat with me and read fairy tales to me, and listening to them was the only thing that helped me get through that.
Years later, I still occasionally like to draw fairy tales. This drawing below is a basic sketch, one that could use some scale help. The second sketch was better. This is the very first draft of a very elaborate embroidered quilt design based on a fairy tale. This is intended to be a small art quilt. The design is meant to convey the entire tale in one frame. Can you guess which fairy tale this is?
So there you have it. Completely different from last week’s plastic canvas and crochet tiny villages. Yet still hiding out in my pile of Stuff I Really Seriously Will Get To Someday.