Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saguaro Quilt

Alice's quilt--I made this for my dear friend Marie,
for an "important" birthday she has just had.  Marie and I
share two grandchildren!

I have just completed this wall quilt top, and it is now being free motion quilted by my expert quilter friend Judy Steward.  Since I first met Judy in 1999, she has quilted numerous quilts for me, and I have never been disappointed!

This design is a Rose Hughes design.  Rose was teaching at Quilting Adventures several years ago, and I bought this pattern from her.  I've never before made an art quilt from a pattern.  I thought it would be easy and would go faster than those I dream up from scratch!  I had it in mind all along that it would be a gift for Marie.

No, it wasn't easy.  I've now decided that following another art quilter's design is harder than making one up from scratch!  (Isn't that strange?)  I started at the top and tried to change the sky a lot from the pattern.  Probably it would be helpful for me to attach a picture of Rose's quilt, from the pattern envelope:

Rose Hughes' quilt.  This quilt is photographed
against a black background.  It is NOT bordered in black!
Marie lives in Tucson, where these Saguaro cacti are a protected species of plant life!
I did modify the sky somewhat, chiefly by moving the sun!  Anyway, after "fiddling" for an entire day with trying to change the sky more dramatically, I gave up in disgust and fairly closely duplicated Rose's sky, in terms of the colors of the clouds.

I did well finding fabrics for the big mountain and the two foothills below it.  But then, again, I tried to be "creative" and changed up not only the colors of the hills and the foreground, but even added in two extra hills.  The result was that in doing this, the path just didn't look right, so I removed it.

Then, after all pieces had been cut out and pinned to my design wall, I was still dissatisfied, and so I made these changes:

1.  I cut out new cacti, in brighter greens--my first greens were too muted and got lost in the background.
2.  I eliminated the two extra hills.
3.  I bought two fat quarters batiks for the dark red hill and the red-violet one above it.
4.  I bought some gold batik that more closely replicated the colors in Rose's foreground.
5.  Most importantly, I restored the footpath, but I made the one at the bottom a bit narrower than Rose's pattern.

After the quilt is quilted, I will add some need white "dangles" for the flowers on the two cacti.  I might or might not add a bit of hand embroidery; Rose has much beading and embroidery on hers.  But perhaps Judy's quilting will be sufficient and I won't add anything.

Judy and I discussed how to bind the quilt.  She demonstrated a "facing" type binding, that interestingly, quilt designer Rose illustrated in the pattern.  Most definitely I will do this, since any other sort of binding would likely be distracting.  Incidentally, there are other directions on the web for how to face a quilt--this one was just the first one I found, and it most nearly duplicated what Rose demonstrated in her pattern directions.

When the quilt is quilted, I will add another photo to this post!


  1. Alice, I LOVE the quilt...makes me want to do something similar! I also looked up the "facing" tutorial and mailed it on to a friend who will enjoy it. You are always so helpful in passing on ideas and quite a perfectionist in your work. Of course, no one probably ever realizes all the time, labor and expense that go into these creations. You are VERY generous.

  2. Alice, this turned out so well. I remember when we both bought the pattern, and mine is not yet made! You are so prolific. I just don't understand how you get so much work done - with all the grandkid visits, etc. This will be "the perfect" gift for Marie. WONDERFUL!

  3. As I wrote you before, I love this quilt...even better than Hughes' quilt. It is more colorful. Love the red 'hills', and the bright sun that is in exactly the right place. I know Marie is going to
    love it!

  4. Alice, this quilt will be one of Marie's favorite possessions. How dear of you to make this for her. It is a spectacular quilt. ss

  5. Alice this is beautiful and I TRULY
    like yours better than the original!!!

  6. I love how you have interpreted the Hughes' pattern, the changes that you made are perfect. I think the angst that you experienced was well worth the result! Looking forward to seeing Judy's quilting!