One of the members of our monthly class brought this beauty to class for us to admire and examine. Her sister had inherited it from her husband's family, and she allowed Sue to borrow it and share it with us. We spent a good deal of time taking pictures and gleaning inspiration from this lovely old quilt—trying all the while not to drool on it. We were so thankful for the generosity in giving us the opportunity to see it.
This lovely quilt had it all: fancy fabrics, amazing embroidery, ribbon flowers. Since we would be making flowers with ribbon that day, it was a perfect way to begin our class.
|Daisies: stem stitch|
|Goldenrod: silk ribbon knots|
|More ribbon flowers. Note the fraying silk on the right, the only real sign of wear on the quilt. This border was made with long pieces of satin ribbon stitched around the quilt.|
|Detail: ribbon border, front, with decorative stitches|
|Detail: ribbon border, back|
|Initials "LR" are satin-stitched.|
|This horseshoe was a favorite motif. Aren't these flowers |
exquisite? [Ribbon and satin stitch, with chenille calyxes]
|The black velvet circle was attached simply with the decoratively stitched stars.|
We finally parted from the quilt to get down to work. We had several ribbon techniques to learn in class. As hard as it was to stop admiring the quilt, everyone was excited to play with ribbon. We were going to be working two different kinds of flowers: one with silk ribbon using the ribbon stitch, as we had observed on the antique quilt, and a gathered rose with French ombré silk wired ribbon.
We decided to start with the gathered flower. I (Teri) think this is one of the simplest ribbon flowers to make. You can make a gathered flower by doing a running stitch along the edge of the ribbon and gathering it. However, we used wired ribbon here, so it was even simpler. A gentle pull on the wire (after securing the wire on one end) gathers the ribbon into a spiral, which can then be manipulated into a flower shape. I gathered the outside edge just a bit to turn the edges under, but as you will see, it would have a much different look if you didn't. My rose, from our fairy tale crazy quilt, is on the left.
|Gathered tightly on one edge only|
|Gathered on one edge, a bit less tightly|
|Also gathered on one edge only|
|Gathered on one edge, with a more open center|
|One edge gathered; an even more open center|
|One edge gathered more tightly; the outer edge very lightly gathered; beaded "dew drops"|
|Both edges gathered; the outer edge just enough to turn under the edges; beaded center with metallic thread|
Everyone started with the same 15" piece of ribbon, but the variation in color and how tightly the ribbon was gathered resulted in much different looking flowers. I thought it was fun, if not a bit exciting, to see how different our flowers were, depending on how they were gathered and manipulated. Creativity soared!
The next flower we created was made using two widths of silk ribbon, 7mm and 4mm wide. The one Kara stitched is pictured here, on the right. Again, there was a good bit of variation in the resulting flowers, due to color choices, size, and placement of the petals. It was fun to see how everyone approached making their blooms. Some just eyeballed and stitched, and some carefully measured each petal; some sort of combined the two methods. A few modified their plan as they started stitching and seeing how it looked—the most enjoyable and exciting part of creating, in my humble opinion!
|Everyone was so focused on creating their flowers, it was the quietest class ever.|
(Until the giggling started... )
We do have a lot of fun!
|We had a wonderful class, from beginning to end.|
The most thrilling thing about studying a quilt like this antique is the inspiration it provides. As everyone in the room worked on their projects, I could see the different plans in place, and everyone was eager to create their own unique works of needle art. One can only wonder what the story of this antique quilt is. We can see that there were apparently several makers, due to the different names and initials on the quilt. But oh, how we would love to know the details! This is a great reminder to us to record the stories of our quilts, so that in 125 years, when people are inspired by our stitches, they are also inspired by our stories.