A couple of weeks before Market, my friend Victoria asked me if I could quilt something for a special exhibit featuring her Double Wedding Ring quilts. She needed some help, and I was glad I could step in. Victoria had originally envisioned this quilt as a marriage between traditional and modern, blending the two together, and I thought that was a perfect lead-in.
The day it arrived, I had plans in my mind for what I’d do: feathers! frills! something moderny! Victoria loves all quilting! These were vintage blocks that she had recombined to make a new top. The melons weren’t perfectly melon-like and were a little wonky.
I liked the deconstructed look, with the melons in a line rather than working as interlocked circles, but didn’t think more about it. I started quilting with the idea that I’d start off making the bias tape like the edge of a vintage apron, with lace hanging off. At that point, though, my quilting took a turn. That night, two people very close to me, reached a point in their relationship where they were not sure it would go on after many years together. Suddenly, the feathery frilly things I had envisioned became wrong for the design, and the melons, spaced as they were, became symbolic of the rift between these two people I hold dear.
As I quilted, I couldn’t help but think about how there were two stories in this relationship, together for so long, but still seeing things through their own perspectives, together but distinct. I added a second row representing the other person, angular and contrasting, but still sharing the lacy loops. Different people, still sharing important elements that link them together. I wanted the center of the diamonds to have an interior space like the melons, so I quilted that very densely, and it was symbolic of the way I felt this person defended the inner self: hard lines, opaque.
For the interior of the melons, I chose a different tack: I left the center empty, as if it was a moment of clarity and space. The lines around it though, swirling and almost but not quite chaotic, tell a different story.
I had originally thought about nice, neat crosshatching, but the diamonds on the fabric were variable in size and location, and my feelings about the turmoil were too intense to allow for it. Instead, I started off on the outer edges of the quilt, putting in random plaid-like diagonal lines at a 30 degree angle. As I worked my way towards the very center panel, I made them more and more to where they were almost 45 degrees, almost. The look of “good enough”, but subtly off kilter. When is it close enough to be OK?
That’s my story for this quilt: the story of two people I love dearly, who are looking for a way to be true to themselves and still be true to each other. Its quilting is full of heartache and hope. I am proud of it, and hope that, in some way, it tells that story even without me explaining it.
Do make sure you check out the other quilts from her post! There are some amazing things there!
ETA: m You can also see a slide show made available by the Quilt Show of all the quits and the wedding gowns, as well as the descriptions for each quilt.
Kat Scott says
Wow…. I will never look at the quilting on a quilt the same way again! Thank you for sharing the story. It is easier to ‘get’ the stories told in the piecing and design – for me – but to be able to see another whole layer of meaning… love it!
I think everything we do is infused with who we are at the time, to some degree. This quilt just happened to be the recipient of much more than usual! Thanks for commenting!