An Accomplished Applique’-er

I just got some quilt photos the other day from my friend Louann, and I wanted to share them with you. We met when we both moved to Colorado; she returning to the state as a native and me, repatriating from some years living in Asia. We settled in a town in the Foothills where there was a great Newcomer’s Club, with many fun activities. We might have met at a potluck dinner; or through a mutual friend; I don’t remember. She and her husband had retired and Louann was a bit at loose ends; wondering what she might do. There were quite a few ladies like her and I persuaded them to take quilting classes from me.

We did all sorts of fun classes in my wonderful mountain studio, with coffee and treats and often a potluck lunch. One day I hung a new quilt in my sewing area, a contemporary sort of Baltimore Album quilt that I made in Japan using some of Elly Sienkiewicz’s patterns and some of my own design. The ladies loved it and we decided to have a year-long class, as Elly does it in her books. (Another group started soon after Louann’s did!) Here is Louann’s completed Baltimore Album Quilt – isn’t it a glory of Autumn Mountain Colors???

One of the best things about teaching a sampler sort of class is to see what colors the quilters choose and then how they put them together in each square. As I recall, one of Louann’s difficult decisions was choosing the background fabric. It is an important decision for sure, as that fabric holds the whole quilt together. Certainly she didn’t want anything too busy to compete with the intricate applique, but she wanted something interesting to work on and for the viewer to enjoy close up. This fabric was a great choice.

And isn’t this square spectacular? I must say that cornucopias are not a favorite design of mine, but it was such a good choice given Louann’s colors. I think making large complex quilts like this must be like writing a novel. I often hear authors say that the characters “told them what to write” after a time, and I think a quilt like this does the same thing. (Foe instance, a pale pink and blue and lilac quilt would not lend itself to making a cornucopia…) Look at all the amazing fabrics she chose to make the delicious fruits and the many browns for the cornucopia layers.

Go back to the large photo and look at her lovely border. Louann designed that after much discussion because the border is so important. The first decision was the sawtooth design. As I recall, she asked her husband to help with the math! (I don’t know what I would do without Peter to do that hard math either!) Then we spent a lot of time looking at books and brainstorming. She finally came up with the asymmetrical vines and all those grapes. She might remember how many grapes she appliqued! It is a special and unique design, isn’t it?

I am proud to say that I taught Louann, and it is a case of the student out doing the teacher! She is a careful and patient stitcher (and she finished things!) and the result is always a wonderful, well crafted quilt! Thanks for the pictures Louann, and keep on stitching!

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