My favorite quilt

This post is part of the Bloggers Quilt Festival, sponsored by Amy’s Creative Side. Click on the image to the left to see the other participating blogs.

I took up quilting as a “serious” hobby in 1995, and since then have made many, many quilts. So many, I’ve lost count. As I work on a quilt, it becomes my favorite one at that moment. Yet if I take a step back to look at my entire body of work, there is no doubt as to which is my most treasured quilt.

I am lucky in that my entire family appreciates and supports my quilting. They have therefore been the recipients of many of my quilts. Of them, my brother David was who “got me” the most – though he did not quilt himself, he was always intrigued by the process, and treasured every quilt I made him. We were close. So very close.

Losing David to CML (leukemia) in November 2005 was devastating. A month later our mother was hospitalized and near death, and her recovery back to health would take several surgeries and nearly a year’s time. During those month, this quilt became my sanctuary… the place where I could retreat to – to mourn and celebrate my brother’s life, and to hold and watch over my mother.

Although I found it hard to part with this quilt, even temporarily, my family encouraged me to enter it into the Do you EQ? contest (sponsored by the Electric Quilt Company and Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine). And I guess they were right, because it was honored with a second place prize in the Single Maker Category. For the contest I had to submit the design itself in a project file, in addition to several photographs. After it was selected for the final judging, it traveled to the U.S. and was exhibited first in Colorado, and later at Fall Quilt Market that year, as part of a special exhibit.

This quilt is entirely handmade (piecing, appliqué, dimensional flowers and hand quilting). The finished quilt measures 71 x 71″. I used EQ5 software to design it, as it allowed me flexibility to play around with asymmetry, allowing for a lot of movement in the final design. For a long time I had wanted to experiment with dimensional techniques and I was finally able to apply them here.

David’s gardening style (he was an agronomist) was somewhat unusual in that he wasn’t adverse to and, in fact, loved weeds mixed among his flowers. Much in the same way as we quilters do not believe there is such a thing as “ugly fabrics,” he, too, did not believe there is such a thing as “bad or ugly plants.” For him, each plant fulfills a purpose and even weeds are there to provide some kind of service. So I decided to let my quilting needle meander throughout the quilt in whatever direction it chose, symbolizing the odd way in which weeds pop up in a garden here and there.

Traditional piecing and contemporary dimensional flowers are combined throughout the entire quilt. The quilt is made up of small “blocks”, most of them measuring 3″. The base blocks for the sunflowers are the largest blocks in the quilt, measuring 6″. The flower circles next to them measure 5″ and all other flower “blocks” measure 3 to 3.5″.

This hummingbird is not apparent right away and it’s fun to see people’s reaction when they finally stumble upon him! All the dimensional flowers were attached after the piecing and quilting were finished.

This was definitely one of the most difficult parts of the quilt in terms of piecing and later quilting. The petals and leaves of each flower are dimensional, tucked and sewn into the seams. This meant that in joining these miniature blocks I sometimes ended up with six layers of fabric!

This quilt now hangs on a large wall on the main entrance to our home, where I can see it every day. It is a reminder of the duality in every aspect of life; of how grief and joy can coexist side by side, and of how life grows like a flower from a seed which in turn dies first in order to sprout. And so the cycle continues.

Spring 2010 Bloggers’ Quilt Festival Give-Away!

To celebrate this spring’s Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, I will be giving away my tutorial for Dimensional Sweet Peas (PDF format) and my Two Peas in a Pod pattern to 5 viewers who comment on this post. At the end of the fair, 5 names will be drawn randomly. Please be sure to include your email address at the end of your comment; otherwise, if your name is drawn and I have no way of contacting you, your name will be eliminated and another one drawn.


This entry was posted in Blogger’s Quilt Festival, Giveaways, Sewing/Quilting, Wall hangings. |Comments closed


  1. Posted May 21, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Lovely quilt, lovely story!

  2. S
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    What a totally amazing quilt, it is nice that handwork can connect to every part of our lives (both happy and sad times). My parents passed away in 2005 and I knitted my way through 7 blankets during their treatments and final days… I love your quilt it is beautiful!

  3. Posted May 21, 2010 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    That is an amazing quilt! So much work and so beautifully done. As someone who has lost their own brother, your story really moved me. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Amy
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I saw this quilt in the magazine. I loved then & I love it now! BRAVO!

  5. Julie in WA
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I have never done a dimensional quilt. This one is amazing!

  6. Posted May 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I love seeing 3 dimensional quilts and am learning how to make them. Yours is stunning.

  7. Zonnah
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I love the 3-D quality 🙂

  8. Cynthia
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    That is a really fun quilt to look at and I bet even more fun in person because of all the 3-dimensional applique. Amazing! Good work!

  9. Shona B
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    This is a gorgeous quilt and the story that goes with it, well, I certainly teared up reading it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  10. Posted May 22, 2010 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the lovely comment on my quilt – your quilt is absolutely stunning and amazing, I cannot even imagine the work that must have gone into it. It’s incredible. Really incredible.

  11. Posted May 22, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful tribute to your brother. It is so nice that he appreciated the work you put into your beautiful quilts.

  12. Beth
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Lovely quilt, excellent work.

  13. Posted May 22, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    This leaves me speechless. All by hand? What a loving, beautiful tribute to your brother. I love the story of leaving the weeds. I love everything about this quilt, except that you lost your brother. I’m so sorry.

  14. Posted May 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I love making 3-d flowers. I’d love to win some directions so I don’t have to figure it out on my own. Thanks for sharing both your quilt and a very personal story.

  15. Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Your quilt is so beautiful. And what a special tribute to your brother. I am sorry for your loss, but I hope you found comfort in making the quilt.

  16. Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe it was all hand done. What a beautiful quilt and touching story to go with it. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Posted May 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    This is a wonderful quilt!

  18. Posted May 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    This is fabulous! I can’t even begin to guess how many hours you spent on it. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, but I am glad you had such a special relationship with him.

  19. Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Such a stunning quilt! Simply awesome.

  20. Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful – thanks for sharing

  21. Kelley Oletzke
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks you for the chance to win one of your patterns! Your quilt is beautiful and I envy your talent.
    [email protected]

  22. Posted May 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful story and a lovely quilt! Wonderful design and the 3 dimensional flowers are superb.

  23. Posted May 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this quilt is filled with love and memories! I can’t believe all the work you put into this. It certainly deserves to travel around the country and be showcased, especially for all the techniques represented here. Beautiful work!

  24. candi
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    This is a most interesting quilt! The detail is unique and it’s just glorious…..I know it must have been a great comfort to you when you needed it the most. Great loss gives us a renewed sense of purpose, I think. Thanks for all the great patterns 😉

  25. Posted May 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


  26. Posted May 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    What a powerful moving quilt you have created to remember and honor your brother. It is such a glorious garden. I am sure your brother would have loved it.
    Thanks for sharing your loving gift with us.
    I hope you meet many wonderful bloggers during the festival.
    Regards from a Western Canadian quilter,

  27. Posted May 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    This looks very challenging and fun. You have done a wonderful job.

  28. Posted May 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    What a touching story, I love the variety of the flowers and especially the idea that weeds are okay. Thank you for sharing.


  29. Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    What a fabulous quilt! And the story behind it is touching! I would like to add your blog to my blogroll… I hope you don’t mind?

  30. Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    After I read your comment on my blog, I went straight here to read your post. I love your quilt! I am partial to hand work and you have so many elements in this quilt. What a touching story about your brother and mother. Interesting how working with one’s hands can bring comfort.

  31. Posted May 23, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    wow – this is absolutely amazing! I can’t believe it was all hand-done – what a labour of love. Such a heart-wrenching story too. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  32. Posted May 24, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful tribute to your brother. I have visited your site for many years now and always enjoyed viewing your work.

  33. Posted May 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this is just breathtaking. So inspiring! You are truly talented.

  34. Posted May 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    This is truly an amazing quit, and also a very moving story that is behind this piece.

    I am also “using” the quilting for similar purposes. After a day of hard work I leave all the problems completely behind, and concentrate only on the colors, and patterns, and stitches. I also like the idea that people, who will receive my work might be reminded of me every time they look at them.

  35. CarolE
    Posted May 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Your quilt is truly amazing! Far beyond my skills, but you may have convinced me to invest in EQ.

  36. Posted May 25, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Wow, your quilt is truly breathtaking!!! No way to measure the hours and love that went into this one, and so not surprising this won a prize in the contest! Congratulations!!!

  37. Posted May 25, 2010 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Angie, what a spectacular quilt. It makes my heart sing and when I read the story of your brother, I felt I could really get to know a part of him as well. What a beautiful and honest tribute. I admire your hand-work and feel that each flowers was planted there for a purpose and in love. And i love the movement in your quilt, the eye keeps hopping from detail to detail, very much like you yourself are a butterfly visiting this garden. Bravo!
    Angie, this is an unforgettable quilt. Thanks so very much for sharing,
    Valentina desde Chipre!

  38. Posted May 25, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful quilt! It symbolizes everything that I love about quilting – the way it becomes therapy, how you can express ideas and inspirations, and how you are limited only by your own imagination. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  39. Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment on my entry Angie. Some great work here! Love doing 3-D also.

  40. Posted May 26, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    What an amazing quilt and how wonderful to have your very own flower garden all year through and so full of memories .

    Thanks for visiting my Blog and leaving such an encouraging comment……….Luv Ann J

  41. Posted May 27, 2010 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    What an amazing quilt, Angie. Stitched with love. The garden you’ve created is a beautiful tribute to your brother. Isn’t it soothing how needle and fabric can provide relief and help to heal us… Thank you for sharing this beautiful quilt and it’s story.

  42. Randi
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Love the dimension and detail in this quilt. Thanks for sharing your amazing talents.

  43. Posted May 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Angie: This post is beautifully written, and the quilt is outstanding. What an honor to have it exhibited. I’m sorry you lost your brother. God Bless You.

  44. Posted May 28, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Your quilt is absolutely amazing!

  45. Posted May 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    That is an absolutely stunning quilt and the story behind it makes it particularly special!

  46. Posted May 29, 2010 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Here I sit, with laptop, tired from a long day. Have reviewed a good number of entries in the BQF and was about to stop. Then I found yours. Absolutely spectacular. I’m so happy I continued. And thank you for sharing. Wow is this a beautiful quilt. Amazing design, great use of fabrics, color, light, spacing. Love it. Inspiration.