Sunday, March 1, 2020

Lynne & Julie: Swapping Duds and Making Magic

In late 2010 I was planning a class on free pieced letters, and I wanted a sampler that showed different kinds of letters.


The quilt Nine x Nine was the result.

As usual, making the quilt generated a lot of dud letters.

 "Send them to me!" Julie wrote, "I'll make a quilt out of them. They are duds to YOU, but your students need to know it's still possible to make a great quilt!" I sent her all my dud letters, and then I prepared another box full of ALL the leftover bits I had squirreled away - mini trees, asterisks, butterflies, some free pieced houses and anything else I could find.

Julie had no negative associations with my box of duds, and she made this quilt. There were so many pieces Julie would make a second quilt. She said it would be the back. While she worked on that, I had an idea.



 I had been making a Rules quilt for myself, and made this black and white RULES word, which wouldn't work in the quilt. I looked at it and saw "jULiE" and "chRiS". OH HELL! Chris would quilt the quilt Julie was planning... so I went into the studio...

Using the letters from RULES, I made JULIE and CHRIS. I put them in the box, sealed it up to mail it to Julie the next day. Then I went to bed.

I'm lying it bed and it hits me.. SHIT!

The next day after work I went into the studio, and prepared something else for Julie and put THAT in the mail the next day.

Two days later, Julie wrote to me, "Lynne... I just got your box... I have an idea...."

"CHECK YOUR MAIL TOMORROW!" I wrote back.


We had BOTH had the same idea. Since the quilt would be made from my letters and bits and pieces, and JULIE would be putting the pieces together and CHRIS would be quilting it, it would be a three way collaboration. It only made sense to have all three of our names on the quilt.

 As soon as I saw this picture of the "back" of the quilt, I told Julie I wanted a second quilt, and that I'd pay for the quilting. This was too good to be only the back of something. Julie included three houses in the quilt, and her explanation was: "Our houses have brown on the ground because we don't have any snow here in the winter. Your house (with the red roof) has white on the ground because you have snow right now."

I didn't have the heart to tell Julie that I when I made that house I envisioned it as a house on the Mediterranean Sea in bright sunlight with a tiled roof and surrounded by flowers. Heck, I'd take that as my house! Funnily enough, years later I would buy a house surrounded by flowers with a red door.

This is the picture Julie sent me back in 2011 as she enjoyed the quilt before sending it to me.

I was thrilled when the quilt arrived.

I went home that night in 2011 and put the quilt on my bed, and it has stayed there ever since. If that isn't the highest compliment you can give a quilt, I don't know what is.

But don't feel bad for the "Hidden Potential" quilt Julie made. It comes with me to every quilt class and lecture I give. I want students to know that even things they think are "duds" (I no longer consider them "failures") have potential.


I was going to show this photo later in the story, but as Julie pointed out, it really belongs here. This is me, Julie & Chris (l to r) and the Magic Happens quilt. Julie reminded me that Chris quilted the quilt with black and white variegated thread, because my cat Millie is black and white and "her furs will be right at home."

8 comments:

Sewgirl said...

I love your story. You have a great way of putting things together...in words and in quilts!

Quiltdivajulie said...

The photo in my book of you and Chris and moi with Magic Happens is one of my all-time favorite photos -- plus the fact that Chris quilted it with black and white variegated thread so Millie's furs would feel right at home.

Linda Swanekamp said...

What a great story. It really lifted me up today. Thanks.

Dorothy said...

I love the story and I love the quilt. You 3 are a great team. I learn so much from you and your sense of humor :-)

Nann said...

The magic happened, indeed. What a wonderful quilt and a terrific backstory.

Ann said...

A fabulous backstory for such a personal quilt. What fun to work with friends.

Mystic Quilter said...

A wonderful post Lynne on your friendship with Julie and the story of the quilt. I second the comment from Ann on the fun of working with friends.

Jaye said...

I really LOVE your color quilt. The names you chose really makes the specialness of colors stand out.