Garden Party

Also finished on March 31 is Garden Party. Yes, that’s right, folks! I finished both quilts the same day!

Garden Party. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Garden Party. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics. Finished March 2015. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

This goes on my list of favorite quilts of all time. Unfortunately this quilt does not belong to me. As I started it, it told me, “I’m for ___.” I said, “No, I have something else planned for ___.” But it was insistent. So ___ will get it, but we’re going to hold onto it for a while.

What makes this one of my favorites? I love the center panel. This whimsical view into the garden is like looking out (my fantasy of) my back window. Squirrels and birds abound. The colors and values range from palest green to black. The reds run from pinky to orangey. The tree trunk, flowers, and birds provide a variety of golds and tans. Greens and blues complete the palette. With both color and value, I could have gone nearly any direction on this.

The first thing I did was use the red line to stabilize and square the panel. The sawtooth border of half-square triangles sprays leaves beyond, continuing the organic feeling. The variable stars are quilted with 8-petaled flowers to reinforce the garden theme.

I started playing with the garden maze lattice blocks early in the year. See posts here and here and here. The last of those three posts shows how I made the blocks for this quilt. Originally I planned to fill the lattice with black, but it was apparent that it would be too stark. A floral would be better for value and “light,” and would give a stronger garden effect. I had a floral on black and considered using it. Before doing so, I happened to look at the Hancock’s of Paducah site and found a Julie Paschkis floral from the same line. And BONUS! It was $4.99/yard. I bought it and backing fabric at the same time.

When it arrived I knew the scale was too small, and ultimately I used it in the final border. The fabric I already had provided light and color. The fanciful feel went well with the rest.

Building the lattice crossover blocks was simple but required some coordination. There are sixteen crossover blocks including the corners, and with that there are six different kinds. So I had to plot it out and keep track carefully.

Here again, my quilt top surprised me. I thought it would be done after the lattice (garden maze) border. But it clearly needed something else to finish it. Again I thought I would use black to outline that, but black was too harsh and too dark. After the relatively dark lattice border, I needed to brighten it. Jim helped me narrow down the options and we agreed the golden tan worked best. Finally I used that piece I bought from Hancock’s for the last edge.

This quilt was an adventure from start to finish. I actually started it more than a year and a half ago. It was … unworkable. In February took it apart and began again. That is the MOST important point: I BEGAN AGAIN. Why is that important? Because my critique of its progress was not tied up with my ego. It did not hurt my feelings to acknowledge that it needed a do-over. By returning with a beginner’s mind, I found a new way forward. THIS is where your power lies, in finding a way forward, without expecting a particular outcome.

I love everything about this quilt. The garden theme carries through the entire work. The pieced borders use different sizes and shapes, and color emphasis, but all relate to that theme. The background of the stars border brings a lot of light to something that could have become too dark.

I’ll be sad to ship this off to the owners, and eager to get their reaction to the surprise. Fortunately, I don’t need to do that until after July, when I’m showing several quilts at a local gallery. 🙂


16 thoughts on “Garden Party

  1. KerryCan

    It’s fabulous, too! Isn’t it interesting how one little thing can make all the difference in how we feel about a project? I’m weaving right now, just boring coasters, but I am loving every second because I adore the weft yarn I’m using. I got the cone at a garage sale and it’s sort of a flat tape with a variegated color range that i think is prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. I went looking and the yarn is discontinued. Unavailable. Pish. Need to hoard what I have left . . . .

  2. TextileRanger

    My favorite part is the way that the big flowers move around inside that lattice border. I think that picks up the sense of movement that the center panel has. They really look like they’re blowing around in the wind.

  3. Thread crazy

    Since the bsginning of the quilt, this has been my fvorite. Something about the center panel as it just speaks to me. My favorite part though is the lattice work…nice addition. Btw..your Hancicks find…just perfect.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks — I was lucky in finding all those pieces, including a couple from my stash! 😉 Yes, I ended up pretty thrilled with how the lattice turned out. When I started playing with the Garden Maze layout, I didn’t have this in mind. But it sure worked out well.


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