Sunday, January 25, 2009

She Loves Lucy


This quilt is a birthday surprise for my daughter-in-law Laurie. It's been many years since I made a quilt for her, and it was time for a new one. The inspiration for the front came from Laurie's decorating. She uses a lot of red (her favorite color), white and black. I wanted to match the red on her walls, and last summer I brought over several reds from my stash to see if any of them came close. I tried to do it in secret, but there wasn't enough light in the living room, and I needed to find out right then. (I was leaving for vacation to San Diego in a few days, and wanted to pick up fat quarters on the trip.) I went to the kitchen where Laurie was and held up fabric pieces to the wall. I said, "I'm trying to find a similar red." She said, "It's Hunting Coat Red by Ralph Lauren." Really? I'll bet I can find that somewhere. I found the paint at Home Depot, and picked up a couple of paint chip cards. By the way, I did find and purchase several fat quarters at Rosie's Calico Cupboard in San Diego. They're scattered through the quilt top.

The quilt top's border is a white and black damask, which Laurie uses in her decorating. I had the hardest time finding one that I liked. I looked at many area quilt shops and fabric stores with no luck. When I went to Pacific International Quilt Festival last October, I found a couple of possibilities. In one booth I found two identical one-yard pieces early in the day, but needed to do more looking. I went back to the booth near the end of the day but there was only one piece left, not enough to do the border. I wrote down the information from the selvage, but couldn't find more fabric...not by an exhaustive search online or by calling the booth vendor, a quilt shop in Palm Springs. Frustrating! As for the other quilt show possibility, I figured I could get that fabric easily at a lower price, and I liked the other better anyway.

Still in pursuit of damask, I had eBay emailing me everyday with new listings of white and black damask. About once a week I would search my favorite online fabric sites. This was a real obsession with me for a while. Then last November I found white and black damask at Joann Fabrics website. I drove to my town's Joann's, but didn't find it. I drove to Joann's in Stockton, about an hour away, and bought the last yard they had. The next day I drove an hour in the other direction to Joann's in Merced, where I found plenty, and I bought another couple of yards. After months of searching, I found it in my own backyard.

Damask Close-up


Let's talk about the back of the quilt. Laurie loves I Love Lucy. Actually, "loves" probably isn't a strong enough word. I think if my son Robbie would let her, Laurie would have an I Love Lucy room. Anyway, I didn't know what I was going to put on the back of the quilt. I happened to be at Beverly Fabrics in Stockton when I saw this Lucy fabric. Did I dare use it? The quilt top is so sophisticated. Could I put something so silly on the back? I browsed the store while I thought about it, coming back to the fabric at least half a dozen times. I didn't buy it right then, partly because I didn't have my discount coupon with me. During the hour-long drive home I decided I had to do it. Laurie has a great sense of humor, and I would kick myself if I didn't use the fabric. The next day I drove to my town's Beverly's and bought the fabric. I felt good about the purchase, and knew I'd done the right thing.

There's some light pink border on the back of the quilt. I used that when I knew I didn't have enough Lucy fabric. It looks good. The binding is black with tiny white dots. It reminds me of a dress that Lucy wore on the show--Laurie knows which one--so it relates to the back of the quilt.

The quilt design is simple. The red squares are 5" finished, turned on point. I wanted a scrappy look, but overall red, for the center of the quilt. I did a sort of Quilt-As-You-Go, in long diagonal strips, two or three rows wide. The machine quilting is wide wavy lines, which I call Roller Coaster Quilting, because of the shape. I'm a beginning machine quilter, and it's what I can handle for now.

Enjoy your quilt, Laurie!