“To Cleary With Love, From Ruth” was inspired by a quilt that a bride lovingly gave to her groom on their wedding day, September 19, 1931. Ruth and Cleary, who have since passed away, were my mother-in-law and father-in-law. This quilt still hangs on the wall as a much cherished family heirloom.
I chose to replicate the original appliqué and some of the quilting. To begin, I took a photo of the quilt and had an enlargement made to use as my master design. Having taken many appliqué technique classes over the years, I found the one that works best for me was taught by Karen Kay Buckley.
The key to Karen’s method is Templar, a heat resistant plastic, and Magic Sizing. After the appliqué pieces are cut the seams are turned by painting (with a small brush), then pushed up over the edge of the template and pressed until dry. The Templar is removed and the shape is ready to be appliquéd.
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing the maker of the quilt that inspired my project. The gift from my mother-in-law, Ruth, to her groom, Cleary, was actually made by her mother, Ida Dahl. From the stories I’ve heard, she was, as I am, a lifelong needle worker. Over the years I have tried many needlework techniques, but quilting and embroidery are my favorite.
Upon examination of Ida’s quilt, I think it might be her own design. The fact that it isn’t symmetrical makes me think it is her creation or that she took inspiration from another quilter’s work and made it her own. When I make quilts I put an unexpected “surprise” in each one (e.g. using the back of a fabric), so I was excited to see that Ida had done the same. (See if you can find the surprise). Besides being drawn to this quilt for its simplistic beauty, I feel connected to Ida for what I see as her sense of fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed the creation of my quilt, from design to construction. The biggest difference between what I anticipated and reality was the time involved. As I have experience before, it always takes longer than expected, but I will definitely be doing more hand appliqué quilt projects.
Many thanks to Ida for her inspirational quilt, to Karen for her appliqué technique, and to my mom, Flora, for teaching me to sew. Love you, mom.