A Gift for Debbie

Lynn Schoeffler © 2004

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“Where shall we find a better daughter, a kinder sister, a truer friend…” (Jane Austin).

These are the words that started me off on a three- year crazy quilt saga; a real learning experience for me and an exercise in patience for my sister Debbie: this was her gift.

To start my piece, I pulled together over 200 scraps of fabric from my stash that looked like they would coordinate with the fabric on Deb’s sofa. The final choices came from lots of trial and error; one piece might be too light next to that blue—or this peach color is too brown, too pink, too peach, too something! I knew the tree and verse would be the focal point and I wanted to create a “through the looking glass feeling”. The edges of the sky fabrics were burned, and then pieced carefully to simulate an early morning sky.

My favorite motif, of course, is the tree. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a book about Japanese Bonsai Trees. These little trees are easy to trace, and have a great variety of shapes: particularly helpful to someone who can’t draw! The tree trunk is done with Edmar Boucle’ rayon thread, couched in single strands to achieve a realistic color variation. Leaves are variegated silk ribbon from The Thread Gatherer.

Since one of the topics for this month’s CQMagOnline is “found objects”, Deb’s piece is a good match. The mountain scene on the far right is entirely made up from my Dad’s jeans, shirts & ties (note the Wrangler patch); that’s him smiling down from the button moon. The words just above are from Dad’s work journal; I printed them onto silk organza, using freezer paper and a laser printer. Under the picture of the four sisters are watch faces that many jewelers save. Another great find: the tin cow came from the top of an old evaporated milk can. The hardanger picture frame was a gift from my Aunt Ann, and the entire piece is framed in an old window frame that I distressed and antiqued.

The gardener at the lower right comes from a 1910 Delineator fashion magazine, again printed on a piece of silk shirt from the Goodwill. It’s hand-colored with watercolors, and framed with tatting picked from an old handkerchief. The original piece seemed too bare, and kept catching my eye. After I had added the hollyhocks and greenery, it was much better. I’m a firm believer in doing it over ‘til it’s right. Many of the seams have been re-done at least two or three times.

I work almost exclusively with Edmar BE thread; I love the versatility of color, weight, twist and sheen. The hummingbirds and lambs are from BE patterns by Rosalee Wakefield—something whimsical. Much of the other work was inspired by the wonderful online CQ community—thank you for sharing!

Final thanks go to my in-house support team: Devin the photo artist, Hailey the bead finder, and especially DH Dave who faithfully gets all my stuff into the frames at the very last minute!

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