By Edie McGinnis
A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Alma Allen called and wanted to know whether we could meet for lunch. And, by the way, did I want an old quilt she wanted to get rid of?
Do I want an old quilt? That’s like asking me if I would like to keep on breathing.
After lunch, she handed me a black trash bag. The quilt was inside and she said, “It’s old, and I want someone to have it that will use it. And it probably needs to be laundered.”
I am not sure of the name of the pattern. At first glance, Hands All Around came to mind but that’s not an exact match so I will have to call it a variation.
The quilter who made this used the same fabric for the center square and two of the diamonds on each corner of the block. The green fabric used surrounding the center square and for the corners is all the same print. For each of the setting blocks, the maker used a white and red print. All the setting blocks are the same.
When so much of the fabric matches in an antique quilt, you rather expect the rest of the pieces to follow suit. That’s not so with this quilt. The light pieces used in the blocks are as varied as can be. If you don’t look closely, you might miss that point. And that would indeed be sad because that is one of the most endearing features about this quilt.
I think this quilt is one of the best examples I’ve come across that illustrates the point that as long as the fabric used reads the same, or appears to be alike from a distance, the quilt is going to look great. So even though fabrics might not match, it blends well.
I would have enjoyed sitting down and sewing with this quilter. I think I would have learned quite a lot from her. Maybe I would have known early on that it was OK if your pieces didn’t match. It took me quite a long time to learn that lesson.
I am more comfortable about using a variety of fabric now then I was when I was a beginning quilter. Now if I make a quilt that is red and white, I will use many different reds and many different whites.
It pays to listen to good advice and to learn the basics. Good workmanship is always important, but each quilter is unique and the quilt should reflect his or her choices no matter whether their best friend, grandmother, mother, kids or husband likes it or not.
One thing I know is true: I stitched with the quilt police for far too long. I sure am glad those days have ended!
Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.