Over the years, I have been mainly concerned with the patchwork or piecing aspect of this tradition. My first Cuddle Quilt, machine pieced from cotton scraps, was made in Austria in 1973. I am not sure where the idea came from, but having seen some ‘real quilts’ in America, mainly traditional Amish quilts, it seemed the logical thing to do. The quilt turned out very colorful, but far from what one might call beautiful. I pieced both sides with the largest scraps I could find and ven the boarders, held in solids, were pieced together.
My first Cuddle Quilt was created when I filled the finished piece with a crib sized duvet, made of white synthetic material, that my parents had sent me. Instead of quilting this rather thick piece I simply attached the duvet to the four corners and closed the last seam of the boarder. I made this small Cuddle Quilt for my first born and it has survived enumerable washings without any problems, and it is still in use when my grandchildren come to play.
2014 Table Runner Machine sewn - Machine quilted
Heatwave Size: 15,7 x 31,5 inches | 40 x 80 cm
A friend of mine saw a quilt at the 25th Anniversary Exhibit of the Vienna Quilters Group in 2013 and immediately fell in love with it. It was a group quilt comprising square blocks constructed from pieced curves, its colour scheme was held in bright reds, oranges and yellows. My friend envisioned it as a table runner on her glass dining room table and she wanted me to make it? With the exception of armholes in clothing I had never tried to piece curves, but it was December and her birthday seemed far enough away. I took on the challenge, designed eight different blocks, made templates, and put off cutting into the hand dyed fabric, she had selected, for as long as possible. I had also feared quilting the finished piece and was surprised to find, after finally getting started, that all went well. She loves it and that is what counts.
2014 Preemie Quilts Machine sewn - Hand quilted
Philemons Journey Size: 27,50 x 27,50 inches | 70 x 70 cm
This was my first preemie quilt: tiny, delicate, hand quilted and soft to the touch. As it happened I finished it just around the time a friend of the extended family came home from the hospital with her own preemie, a beautiful very tiny boy named Philemon. Originally, this was planned as a test quilt to ensure that it fulfilled the qualifications for the tiny child it would one day cradle. It is now in use, has passed the test and is the first in a series I plan to make this year. The next six will be created to support the world-wide quilting tradition that supplies hospitals with preemie quilts. These little tokens of love are donated, free of charge, to the parents of prematurely born infants.
2013 Cuddle Quilt Hand appliquéd - Machine sewn
Summer Garden Size: 50 x 50 inches | 130 x 130 cm
The name of this quilt seemed rather obvious to me because of the colors of the material, my new vegetable patch, and mainly because a new granddaughter was scheduled to be born in early summer. Since the picture book quilt was still in use I decided to make a Cuddle Quilt. I held high hopes that it would be finished by the time my granddaughter arrived, but she tricked us all and arrived earlier, but healthy and content. Since 2013 was one of the hottest summers we had experienced in a long time there seemed no reason to hurry. I stopped my work on the quilt until the September breezes carried some cooler weather my way. On the day she was three months old I was able to give my granddaughter her quilt.
2011 Cuddle Quilt Hand appliquéd - Machine sewn
Black, White & Abstract Size: 49 x 55 inches | 125 x 140 cm
Having finished the picture book quilt I felt the time was right for something new. I had been thinking about making a quilt for myself for quite some time. I wanted something to cuddle up under: reading a good book, watching a good movie, cuddling a grandchild and telling a bedtime story. I wanted a Cuddle Quilt just for me. Nevertheless, I might never have started to make it without a little of help from a friend.
I had put a package of material together and given it to a neighbor who, loving quilts, wanted to try to make one herself. Overwhelmed by life itself, she suddenly realised it was impossible to find the time with two children, one, merely six months old. She gave me everything back along with a bag of embroidery thread she had once used, as a teenager, to make friendship bracelets. Confronted with this package again helped me to finally start a quilt of my own. Before I did, I made her two little quilts for the Maxi-Cosy, one to wash after the cats got into the other. Then, without really knowing what I was doing, I started to cut squares from the smaller scraps. Noticing how lovely some of the very tiny pieces were I started playing around with them, pinning them onto an empty canvas. That alone was quite a delightful sight, I let it hang there on the wall for some months.
One day I discovered I had appliquéd eighty-three very tiny blocks and had no idea what I was going to do with them. It had simply been lots of fun. Shortly afterwards, I purchased some some black and white prints and after creating forty-two blocks of mainly abstract designs I could see that it was going to be my quilt. I could certainly have finished it in a sliver of the time had I sewn it in the traditional manner but it would have been a completely different quilt. Although requiring many hours of work, I wouldn’t want to do without the unique charm of the appliquéd patches. Finally, I had made a quilt for myself and I have never regretted it.
2010 Play Quilt Hand appliquéd - Machine sewn
Picture Book Quilt Size: 63 x 63 inches | 160 x 160 cm
This is the play quilt my two granddaughters live with. I made it for my first granddaughter and let her parents select the material. When I got home from the quilt shop and looked at the fabrics, I was surprised to see that they had selected some thirty-two different prints in all (fat quarters), some of which were very dark. Black for a baby, for my grandchild? I was very unhappy with the colors and spent hours thinking about what to do with all the beautiful material. Each piece, on its own, was beautiful, but all of them together? I was horrified.
Having decided I could not possibly piece them together as they were, I started drawing and cutting out designs. I appliquéd the ‘pictures’ onto 8 inch blocks over a period of three and a half months. The parents wanted a rather large quilt (63 x 63 inches) and I had no idea if, in the end, I would even be able to sew it together. I convinced myself that if I couldn’t, I could always pay a seamstress to do it for me.
I was just recovering from an illness when I started this adventure and almost couldn’t move my arms, but I was going to become a grandmother, and I was determined to have my strength back by the time my grandchild was born. I pictured myself playing with her on this giant size picture book, showing her how to pull the lizard’s tail, look for the trail the little mice had left behind, sing the little song… I even wrote her a poem to go with it.
Surprisingly enough, it was finished on time. Since then it has provided many hours of playful conversions and tactile experiences for my lovely granddaughters and some of their friends. It is always around and waiting for another child to come along and discover its colors, textures, animals, objects, and the stories they tell.
2008 Traditional meets Free Style Machine sewn - Machine quilted
Rose Garden Fantasies Size: 47 x 55 inches | 120 x 140 cm
This quilt is about as traditional as one of mine may ever get. I made it for the new daughter of some friends. The mother selected the material and the wool batting, which was marvelous to work with. Speaking about traditional, even here I ventured from the “normal” path. I sandwiched four layers together to achieve a traditional top, and still get a bright free style machine quilted back displaying a few recognizable figures to delight this little girl’s fantasy. When it was almost finished I found I couldn’t bear the straightness of the edges together with all those little pink roses and leafy green colors. I took my scissors and cut some curves around the edges and it was soon finished.