Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fairy Tales Through the Needle's Eye

. . . upon a time, there were two friends who loved to stitch together. They had taken classes, gone to quilt shows, made wedding quilts, joined guilds, and worked at The Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy as a stitching team. One evening, about two years ago, they were sitting at a meeting of the  Baltimore Appliqué Society. Just before the speaker began her lecture, Kara whispered to Teri, "Have you ever seen a Baltimore Album-style quilt with fairy tales?" Throughout the rest of the meeting, wheels of inspiration were turning in their heads, as both friends loved fairy tales as much as they loved to appliqué.

As soon as Teri and Kara reached the car, the talk began. Which fairy tales would they stitch? How many should they choose? How large should they make the blocks? They brainstormed during the entire 45-minute ride home. The next day, they had each done exhaustive internet searches to be sure that there were no such quilts. They discussed and finalized the list of stories they wanted to use, including some tales from the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. The next weeks were filled with planning. Which blocks would be picture blocks, which would be wreaths, and which would incorporate papercuts? They wanted to stay true to the style of Baltimore album quilts, so they intended to include each of these major styles of album blocks. Designs were drawn, colors were chosen, and background fabric and a few base fabrics were purchased. And the friends began to stitch.

Two years later, the top was completed, and they took the quilt to Bellwether Dry Goods to be hand-quilted. And this past Monday, they went to pick up the completed quilt. The stories had come to life. Kara and Teri were thrilled!

Here are a few highlights from the quilt.

The spinning wheel and briar roses from Sleeping Beauty

Cinderella's glass slipper

Little Red Riding Hood with her basket of goodies for her grandmother

One of Snow White's seven dwarves, in front of the magic mirror

Andersen's Nightingale singing with the emperor's mechanized bird

The Ugly Duckling in the nest

Thumbelina in a walnut shell being pulled to safety by a butterfly

The ship that intrigues the Little Mermaid

Beauty approaching the Beast's castle with the rose her father picked for her

Can you find the Beast hidden in the tree?

Jack climbing the Beanstalk on the left border . . .

. . . with the cow at the bottom

Jack descending the beanstalk with the golden harp on the right border

There is no sashing between the blocks, so the quilting design provides that separation.

Teri and Kara are delighted with the completed fairy tale quilt and cannot wait to share it at the Baltimore Appliqué Society meeting next week. Unfortunately, the Snow Queen interfered with their opportunity to share it at a lecture that they were scheduled to give earlier in the week. They have many plans and ideas for fun projects to continue telling these fairy tales through their needles' eyes. 

The two friends are already discussing their next quilt project. Which fairy tales will they stitch next? What stories would you tell through your needle's eye? 

Kara and Teri don't know what adventures their quilt may have, but they do know that any quilt about fairy tales will surely live happily ever . . . 


  1. Fantastic! I love what you two have accomplished. Good for you for dreaming, then putting it together so well. Nicely done.

  2. That is a wonderful quilt in all respects! LOVE IT! Annette in NC

  3. Fabulous you 2! So proud of you and excited for you. Well done my friends. Love you both!

  4. It was a pleasure meeting you and hearing about the quilt at Tea & Stitches last year. The finished quilt is just beautiful! Love the details, and your story of how the quilt came to life! Natalie Tomola

  5. Wow! Really beautiful work ladies. Each block is so carefully designed and executed. I love the story of how it all came together. Just wondering if you had any creative differences and if so, how did you overcome them? What will you do with it now that it's complete?

    1. Thank you! That's funny that you ask that as we get that question quite often. You would think that it would be difficult for two people to be able to work on a project for two years and still remain friends. All I can say is it is the grace of God that allowed this project to come together. If we did have a difference of opinion about something we were able to figure it out without strong words, possibly a few sarcastic ones, but nothing hurtful. We are considering different options as to what to do now but haven't decided just yet. Thank you for asking!