In 2002, as an honor for work in the organization and creation of Mississippi Quilt Association and serving as its first president and other volunteer positions, I was given 18 exquisitely hand-appliqued blocks made by former officers and dear friends. I had personally appliqued and hand-quilted my own Baltimore Album style quilt (This Is My Story, This Is My Song) several years before but was not up to hand-quilting this one. After I made two more blocks and assembled and bordered the quilt, my good friend Diann Loper taught me free-motion machine quilting and convinced me I could do it on a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 in 2010. This was the first of hundreds of free-motion quilting projects I have enjoyed. See story on my blog Oct. 28, 2010.
I began quilting in 1984 in a very traditional way, following patterns and learning to draft my own for hand piecing and machine piecing as well as applique and hand quilting. Earliest were bed-sized to miniature quilts. These skills were used in Baltimore Album style quilts and innovative Log Cabin style variations.
65 x 65
An expanded mariner’s compass class taught by Judy Spahn at a GSQA Educational Seminar in Long Beach, Miss. in the early 1990s was the beginning point of this quilt. Over the next fifteen years I resisted advice to make this a rectangular bed quilt, and inserted hand-pieced 8-inch Mariner’s Compass blocks and borders, finishing it in a square format. I had to follow my own instincts, which accounts for its name, Finding My Way.
44 x 44
An early experiment in color value moving diagonally across the surface of a quilt. Inspired by Bev Young’s Spring Garden. Fainting Spell is pictured in Joen Wolfrom’s Color Play, 2000.
64 x 70
A Pine Belt Quilters guild challenge in 2014 required us make a quilt in round robin fashion (receiving size instructions and another fabric each month), while working on our own quilt. We began with an 18” x 24” rectangle in which we used four assigned fabrics, then continued each month as the assigned fabrics and instructions were added. Round Robin Pathways won Best Quilt by an Individual in the Greater Jackson Quilt Show in 2015.
75 x 95
Original design. Friendship blocks in various sizes received in a friendship block exchange in Pine Belt Quilters are added to a large tree block and surrounded by Log Cabin blocks to create a bed-sized pictorial quilt.
76 x 96
The Inner City pattern is made up of half-hexagon shapes. Six of these half-hexagons are joined into an interlocking “Y” pattern. The careful selection and placement of colors and values creates a design that is suggestive of buildings. By keeping the lightest value on the top, the medium value on the right, and the darkest value on the left of each “Y” a three-dimensional effect is achieved. This illusion of depth reminds one of buildings clustered tightly together, common in the inner city.
The hundreds of different fabrics were gathered over several years from purchases and as gifts shared by many quilters. The colors are clustered into purples, reds, blues, greens, and black, and they melt into one another as they move across the face of the quilt, symbolizing “neighborhoods” which touch and interact to make up the whole. The lightest yellows and white create a light source that seems to be shining in to wake up the sleeping city.
The hand-quilting design begins with an expanding spiral from the brightest area and changes to other geometric patterns as the colors change. A clamshell design fills the darkest area including the black outer border.
The quilt won a blue ribbon in Pine Belt Quilters’ show and Gulf States Quilting Association show, was juried into AQS in Paducah and IQA in Houston in 1997. It is pictured in Joen Wolfrom’s Color Play, Lucy Fazely’s Quilt Style, and Maggie McCormick Gordon’s The Quilter’s Resource.
In 2013 the quilt was part of 25 Quiltmakers in 21st Century America, an exhibit to six venues in China sponsored by the US Embassy (Beijing) and Arts Midwest (Minneapolis) and SouthArts (Atlanta). Rise and Shine, Inner City was selected for the catalog cover, and Martha traveled and spoke in Beijing and Dalian.
77 x 93
This counted cross-stitch quilt was the transition from avid counted cross-stitcher to avid quilter. In the 1980s daughter Linda Ginn and I discovered a pattern book by Dale Burdett featuring traditional quilt blocks. As we began to stitch the blocks (using six strands of floss over two squares on 14-ct Aida cloth), I realized to do the beautiful work justice would require a trained quilter. So I began to learn all I could about quilting, leaving her to finish the squares. The quilt won blue ribbons in quilt shows in the early 1990s.
Click to view detail images larger:
84 x 104
After making several traditional album blocks from patterns by Elly Sienkievicz, Nancy Pearson, and Pat Andreatta, I began designing my own blocks to commemorate important events in my life:
–My church and a favorite scripture (“And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8) for my religious heritage
–Texas state seal for my native state
–Great Seal to acknowledge my love for my country
–Ship block representing the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage
–Magnolia logo to commemorate the formation and my presidency of the Mississippi Quilt Association
–Double Happiness symbol to celebrate the love for special Chinese friends
–Cotton Boll for my beloved adopted state of Mississippi
Some of the blocks patterned after antique quilts took on special meaning as they reminded me of my father’s love of roses, my mother’s love of teapots and flowers, my daughter’s love of birds and singing, my son’s precious family, and the heart blocks for the love of a dedicated husband.
The quilt won viewers’ choice in Hattiesburg’s Pine Belt Quilters show, first place and viewers’ choice in Gulf States Quilting Association’s New Orleans show, and was juried into AQS in Paducah and IQA in Houston in 1995, and C&T’s Baltimore Album Revival Quilt contest in 1998. It is pictured in Lucy Fazely’s book, Quilt Style, and Mary Elizabeth Johnson’s Mississippi Quilts.
Click to view detail images larger:
Detail – Original design, Great Seal to acknowledge my love for my country
Detail Original design, Double Happiness symbol to celebrate the love for special Chinese friends
Detail Elly Sienkievicz design