Circle circle, dot dot. I got my chemo shot.

Although at my age I don’t recognize birthdays, this year I did celebrate the fact that I am a 10 year cancer survivor.  This quilt helps me remember that.  The quilt is a combination of block projects, all in bright colors.

 

My Worker Bees designed an exchange that required participants to make 12.5″ blocks (any pattern) using dot or circle fabric. The block in the upper-right corner looks like just a solid white but it is actually a white and pale pink 9-patch.  No matter how much I fooled around with the exposure, I could not darken it enough to get a good image.

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I happened to have enough fabric from over 3 decades before from the Delta Xi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Greek Sing costumes.  I know we did songs from 42nd Street and I think we wore black leotards with cummerbunds made from pink and white polka dot fabric.  42nd Street became my favorite musical and my kids were subjected to the entire score throughout their childhood.

 

These two designs are a sample of the exchange blocks. You can see one was two simplistic swirls and another was a candy popper design.

 

When I got sick, I started getting super-cute 6.5″ cupcake blocks around my next birthday.  They were sent to me anonymously through the mail and I loved each and every one.

A couple of months after the first post-diagnosis birthday, the American Cancer Society had come up with their One More Birthday campaign which made these blocks even more meaningful.

I actually had to use 2 green fabrics in this quilt as I did not have enough of either.  One was random swirls and circles on a bright green background, the other was a Kelly green calico from the 1970s that my aunt had given me when she was cleaning out a closet.

 

Although it was machine-pieced, I did hand-quilt the entire quilt which ended up being about 77 x 77 inches.

Ponce De Leon constantly on The fountain of youth, not Robotron

This quilt was made for a baby boy named Leon. He was born on March 15 of this year. His mom used bright vibrant colors for the nursery.

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As any student of history or Shakespeare knows, March 15 is the ides of March, the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate.
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The design was inspired by the 2002 USPS stamp designed by Michael Osborne.  With 3 of the letters overlapping in the words love and leon, it was an easy switch.  The N is the logo that media network NBC used in the mid 70s.
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“Beware the ides of March.” (Shakespeare, 1998, 1.2:103).

I’m flowing prose to cons and cons to pros I’m like Toucan Sam when I follow my nose

 

This quilt was made for the first child of parents with very eclectic tastes.  The parents are big fans of Dr. Who and Star Wars as well as being birdlovers of the toucan species.

Making a tardis quilt took some work on graph paper but as it was all rectangles or squares, it was not terribly complicated.  Instead of pure white fabric that would have better emulated the warning sign, I found the I Love Mommy/Daddy fabric in blue shades.  It also comes in pink for girls.

 

The two upper windows of the police box revealed parrot fabric which is as close as I could originally find to actual toucan motifs.Then I discovered that Kelloggs Cereals had licensed their characters and I was able to find a Toucan Sam polarfleece which made a great backing.

 

I was also able to find a small tardis repeating design fabric for the lower panels.  It was a very stretchy Lycra so it had to be backed as I would do with a t shirt.  This quilt had a variety of different materials. The parrot windows, the planet background fabric, the Police Box sign (which I actually used Star Wars designs) are all cotton.  The warning sign and the cobalt blue are flannels.  And as mentioned before, polarfleece and Lycra were also incorporated.

I wanna be a Pi Beta Phi. Boom, Boom, and honey that ain’t no lie.Boom, Boom, I wanna be a Pi Beta Phi. Don’t you, don’t you, don’t you, Won’t you?

This quilt is made for a very loyal alumna of Bradley University. She pledged the Illinois Theta chapter of Pi Beta Phi as an undergraduate and is currently very involved in her local Pi Phi Alumnae Association. She also is a dog trainer extraordinaire and volunteers with her pets at local hospitals.

 

These shirts are quite vintage but they were in remarkably good shape.  Most of the sorority shirts I come across nowadays are t shirts that commemorate a formal or mixer.  I haven’t seen a football jersey letter shirt in years except of course on this circa 1980s shirt quilt. 🙂 Of course fraternity little sisters are not allowed anymore either.

 

The athletic teams at this university are known as the Bradley Braves.  The recipient was able to find a tiny applique patch of the original mascot.  The Native American mascot was ultimately considered offensive and is no longer in use.  They currently use the same team name but the mascot is a gargoyle.

 

How can you laugh? Because you know I’m down!

I recently participated in an art quilt challenge.  Each participant had to pick a different song from the Beatles discography and interpret it in a 24″ by 24″ wall quilt.    The results of this challenge were compiled in a book called Inspired By the Beatles.

 

All the quilts are presented in alphabetical order and we each had a full page for the picture and accompanying narrative.

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The following questions were part of the submission package:

Why did you choose this song?

I’m Down was released by the Beatles in 1964.  Michael Jackson owned the rights to the Beatles vault in the 1980s and refused to let the Beastie Boys sample I’m Down.  This song went out as a demo to various radio stations of that era but was not allowed to be a track on the Beastie album.  I never was a MJ fan, but this made me even less of one.

What inspired this quilt?

Obviously  I’m Down needed directional arrows.  The seven arrows represent the 4 Beatles and 3 Beastie Boys.  The Beatles arrows either have beetle insects, beetle cars, or London double decker buses as motifs.  The Beastie Boys arrows represent each of the members of the group: crowns for King AdRock Adam Horowitz,  guitar-playing buddhas for converted Buddhist MCA Adam Yauch, and diamonds for Mike D Michael Diamond.  The downward pointing arrows are arranged in the shape of a capital letter I.

The sequin thumbs-down hand with the NO sign represents that bad decision of Michael Jackson’s not allowing the sample.  The HA! represents the “How can you laugh because you know I’m down?” that is on both versions of the song. The HaHa fabric is from the curtains in my oldest child’s bedroom.  The fact that I still had them 20 years later just shows what a packrat I can be.

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Materials used in your quilt: Cottons, Flannels, Sequins, Beads

Do you consider yourself a Beatles fan?  I am a moderate Beatles fan.  I like their original albums, really did not like their later work.

Do you have any Beatles memories or stories to tell?  I wasn’t even born after the British Invasion had already occurred but at the age of 8 when I was given a portable record player for Christmas, my parents included “Introducing the Beatles” album which I alternated with my Partridge Family album.

What effect does music have on your creative process? I do have all the Beastie Boys albums on permanent rotation in my car.  I tend to design quilts in my head during my commute.

Tell me if you have a musical background, or experience. 6 painful years of violin and orchestra, 3 of bells for marching band.

Why do you quilt?  I find it relaxing.  In my younger days as a SAHM and officer’s wife, I enjoyed taking on projects with permanent results. Meals get eaten, laundry and houses get dirty again, the lawn keeps growing.  Doing something that did not come undone made me very happy.  Although the kids are grown, I still enjoy seeing completed endeavors.

Why are you participating in this challenge? I like challenges and being forced to think outside the box and/or my comfort zone.

Do you have a typical quilting style?  Is this particular quilt typical? I tend to design picture quilts and pick my fabrics accordingly.  I am not a huge fan of making traditional quilts  (although I admire other people’s work!) and tend to go with my own designs.  In terms of this quilt being typical, I am rebelling a bit as usual by making this quilt about both groups singing the song.

Did you listen to Beatles music when you made this quilt? I initially listened to all the versions of I’m Down that I could find on youtube.    I have repeatedly listened to the Beastie Boys and Beatles versions as I was coming up with ideas.

Did anything special happen when you were making this quilt?  I just enjoyed breaking the rules a bit by including the controversy as images.

 

I am rebelling a bit as usual by making this quilt about both groups singing the song.

Did you listen to Beatles music when you made this quilt? I initially listened to all the versions of I’m Down that I could find on youtube.    I have repeatedly listened to the Beastie Boys and Beatles versions as I was coming up with ideas.

Did anything special happen when you were making this quilt? I just enjoyed breaking the rules a bit by including the controversy as images.

I'm Down back

 

I put the pen to the paper and I went off. I’m dropping knowledge and wisdom like a mad head dog

This was a memorial quilt for a beloved pet.  Portia was a flat-coated retriever who lived just over a decade. 46 of these very large triangles were neckerchiefs that she would get at the groomers. When I saw them all, I immediately thought that she had a better wardrobe than me!

The two triangles below are not part of the 46.  Portia’s owner is a proud alumna member of Pi Beta Phi (Illinois Theta) and is very active in the Pi Phi Alumnae Association in her area. I needed to make 48 triangles to obtain a grid so I figured what better than some Pi Phi symbol fabric?

Portia was a canine volunteer for Fairfax Pets On Wheels, a wonderful organization connects pets with people living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  The blue neckerchief was her uniform when visiting shut-ins.
 

The block below came from a plain red neckerchief.  Portia’s owner also owns a lighthouse and Portia had visited the lighthouse before her demise.   I hand-embroidered an image of this lighthouse to add a little excitement to this triangle.
Bertschire’s A Flat Out Joyride 
“Portia” 
February 18, 2003 – May 11, 2013

You gettin’ fancy gifts from expensive men You’re a dog on a leash, like a pig in a pen

 

This simple  quilt was made for a grandmother of all grandsons who is about to have her first granddaughter.

 
 
 
I love Ian Falconer’s  character Olivia.  Like Eloise, Angelica, Lucy,  and even Oscar the Grouch, she is no shrinking violet.
 
I used some of the Alexander Henry line of Olivia prints. Like the illustrations in the books, the predominant colors are black. red, and white.  Not exactly girly! I added the lollipop fabric to bring a touch of pink and used a pink floral for the backing.

 

 

I’ve got money like Charles Dickens. I’ve got the girlies in the coupe, like the Colonel’s got the chickens

Those *&^$%! Chickens!  This quilt was made as a result of a quilt bee swap. In a swap, the participants make as many blocks as participants. They keep one for themselves and trade and receive one to/from everybody else. Our quilt bee is called the Worker Bees because we are really diligent about doing projects. In any case, someone proposed chicken blocks. By the time I was done, I had 14 chicken blocks, 3 of which were facing the wrong way. I had no idea what to do with these creatures and just let the ideas germinate in my head. I elongated a Margaret Rolfe rooster pattern for the corner blocks, found chicken wire and 2 egg motif fabrics and then came my true inspiration.
 

We were attending  a wedding in a tiny town in the Pacific Northwest and had time to kill before the ceremony.  I found a needlework shop and a quilt shop practically across the street from each other.  When I saw the crewel work pattern that said Good Morning Let the Stress Begin WITH a rooster, I knew that had to go into this quilt.  I am not a country girl so this would be my one and only chicken quilt. I am also not a morning person and back in those days it was always stressful getting the kids to school, spouse to work, me to work, etc.

The foxes came from a very old needlepoint book by Dorothy Kaestner.  Each fox face is mostly needlepoint but the ears and top and sides of the head are bargello stitches.  If you look carefully, you will see each set of eyes in a different position.  The bird blocks were all quilted with a hexagonal design that I thought resembled chicken wire. It was all hand-quilted, hand-embroidered, and mostly hand-pieced.  So despite me not knowing what to do with these *&^$%! chickens, it all came together fairly easily. 

Riddle me this, my brother, can you handle it? Your style to my style, you can’t hold a candle to it

This quilt was made for a baby who is the new little brother to 3 older sisters.  His mother loved frogs when she was a child and apparently the frog fascination hasn’t alleviated over time.  She decorated the nursery in an amphibian theme.

Not a terribly exciting back:  remaining frog print and planet motif.  But both sides are bright and cheerful to help counteract the dreariness of a Massachusetts winter. The family lives in freezing-cold Massachusetts so this was given to them just in time before the nasty weather comes.

 
As usual, this baby quilt was machine-pieced and machine-quilted.  Baby quilts are meant to be used by babies and need to be durable to stand up to repeated washings.