Sunday, March 29, 2009

Self Challenge

Last week our guild, Empire Quilters, held its bi-annual quilt show at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) here in New York City. I am proud to say that I had two quilts in the exhibit.
Two years ago I attended the show and made a decision that I was going to join the group. The quilting guild that I had belonged to, Bridgeview Quilters had drifted apart due to members moving, job pressures and just life. Suddenly, I found myself quilting alone. My best friend was married now and she was doing wife things and quilting was not her top priority. So here I was a bit a drift, oh I still played with my fabric and took a few classes at City Quilters, but it wasn’t the same as being with a group. I had the internet guild, African American Quilters; however, I didn’t find it enough. I needed people to talk to and to interact face to face. So with these things in mind, I joined Empire.
For those of you who have been following my blog, you know I was hospitalized last year with the blood disorder, ITP. While in the hospital, a friend of mine encouraged me to keep a journal of my hospital adventure. In doing so I found myself not only writing but sketching the views from my window. Then at one point I thought of an idea for a wall hanging that would depict on aspect of my adventure-the many blood transfusions that I had to date, and then there were the prayers that were sent on my behalf by family and friends and my own. There had been one night when I was sure that I had seen the depth of Hell and I reached out and grabbed my rosary from the bed stand and prayed so hard I was crying. The meds can really do a job on your head.
Anyway, I sketched out my idea for a wall hanging. The piece would be called River of Life; this was because blood had become the focus of my life while in Eisenstein. I also wanted to include in the design the stark whiteness of my bedspread as juxtapose to the redness of the blood flowing through the clear plastic tubing.
I was now actively back with the guild and the idea of entering a quilt for the exhibit kept playing at the back of my mind. I finally decided that I would do River of Life. This was going to be the first time that I had actually sketched out a design and planned to execute it. Timing was going to be the thing because I also planned to hand quilt the piece. Was I biting off more than I could chew, I didn’t know, but I was going to give it an honest try. I decided that the background fabric was going to be a tone on tone white cotton. The next part was harder because I needed a red that looked like blood. I looked at several red mottled cottons and a slew of batiks, but they didn’t have the richness that I was looking for. Finally, during one of my trips to City Quilter I found what I was looking for, a rich deep red diponi silk. I now had the making for my quilt, let the fun begin. I wanted the red strips to stand out, so that meant trapunto…I was so tired of stuffing tubes to the end and then to keep the seams from unraveling…ugh!!!
Now that the tubes were stuffed it was time to mark for quilting. I selected the Baptist Fan motif for the over -all coverage. I love the pattern and I thought that I would use silver and gold threads periodically to represent the prayer sent for me and by me. I also would make a rosary that would represent the rosary that my son’s fiancĂ©e, Daphney, had given me. I promised myself that I would a lot two hours a night to quilting. I was doing okay until I started reading Twilight, see previous post. I completed the quilt and was very proud of the results and myself. The final title, River of Life- 6 Units and Counting.
I also made a quilt to celebrate this historic election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. American Dream Scrapbook was based on the idea of a scrapbook page. I used patriotic fabric that I had stashed since 9/11 and added photo transfer images from the champagne and the Inauguration. I included champagne buttons that I found on EBay and a brass Andinkra symbol. I didn’t include any journal writing on the quilt, I figured I’d let the pictures speak for themselves.
This whole experience was exciting and exhausting. I will plan better for timing the next time. In fact I am starting to plan for my entries for the next show.


Venus said...

Hi Sandi.....long time! I hope all is well. Love the quilts. I've read the Twilight Saga also....Awesome read and very addicting.

alma103 said...

Hi Sandi,I must say I love your Obama quilt. I was commissioned to make a twin size Obama quilt. I have been gathering my pictures and fabrics I want to use. I hope I will be able to create one just a beautiful as yours. Can't wait to get started! Alice

Anonymous said...

I love the quilt!

Carole said...

Congratulations on your recognition!!Makes it all worthwhile and a confidence booster, to be sure.
Your blood disorder issue documented is good too. I hope that is history for you!
Thank you for sharing.

norma said...

Well, done! I always enjoy reading the story behind the quilt.

Minka's Studio said...

What an interesting quilt...and quite a story to go with it!