Jeweled Squares in Blue
We asked Cassie a few questions to learn more about her quilt. She writes, “What was my inspiration for the quilt? I started making the quilt somewhat by accident. A dear friend of mine had been invited to donate a square for a wedding quilt, and never having made a quilt before, she asked if I would show her what to do. At that point I’d never made a quilt before either, but I had been taught patchwork basics by my maternal grandmother way back when I was growing up, so I said why not? We decided that the simplest thing would be if we both made our own versions of the same square simultaneously — that way she could see what I was doing as I went along, but all her work would be her own. I had a copy of Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Patchwork, and we decided to try a set of squares (one large and six small) from the quilt on the cover. I was secretly very excited, because I think I had been in love with that particular quilt since I was given the book as a Christmas present a few years before. Our two squares gradually came together over many food- and wine- and good talk-fueled evenings (we sewed them by hand), and then all of a sudden they were both done, and my friend sent hers off to be made into the wedding quilt, and I sent mine to my grandmother (she had it framed!), and then…we were both quiltless, and quilt-evening-less, and bereft! So we both decided to start our own, complete, quilts. And thus we, and two other friends who were excited to join the quilting bandwagon, were able to spend many more evenings sharing food and wine and talk and our handiwork.
My friend had actually become a bit frustrated with the log cabin style of the Kaffe Fassett quilt, so she picked a new pattern, but I loved it — loved the fiddly little one inch square pieces in the middle of some of the blocks, loved the way the blocks would grow almost organically, from the middle out, loved the seemingly endless possible combinations of colours — and decided to start fresh and make the whole quilt. Doing it in blues, rather than the reds of the original quilt in the book, was my husband’s idea, though I think he was thinking more just blue and white, like a delft plate or a liberty print. I went a little more crazy, and tried to get blues with sparks of other colours in them — they often looked a little weird in individual squares, but once they all came together I think the splashes of other colours draw your eyes around the quilt.
How is it used/loved? It’s my baby boy’s quilt. It didn’t start out as a baby quilt — I didn’t start out with any goal in mind except finishing it, preferably before the next millennium — but three years into it, I got pregnant, and it became clear that if I ever did manage to get it finished, it was going to be this baby’s quilt. I did finish it, just as my son turned four months old. He’s used it pretty much every day since then — he sleeps on it in his crib. I hope he loves it, but he’s only 13 months old, so he can’t really tell me yet!
Do I do a lot of work like this? I wish! You’ll have gathered from my long story above that this was my first quilt. It’s also the only one that I’ve completed. I have a king size one on the go, which is an experiment in machine piecing and hand quilting. Why? Because I’m all about the hand quilting — other than picking the fabrics, it’s my absolute favourite part of quilting, and I figured that if I machine pieced the squares I could get to the quilting sooner. I’m sure that just confirms how nuts I am, but there you are. The design of this one is also inspired by a Kaffe Fassett design, all in whites and creams, from his Passionate Patchwork book. It’s much more subtle and muted than the blue one, although it’s amazing how many different whites and creams there are. Not quite sure how the quilting is actually going to work, as I just have a small (but oh so beautiful) Jasmine hoop on a stand to quilt in, but we shall see. I’m also supposed to be restoring a colleague’s heirloom quilt — it is a lovely feedsack double wedding ring pattern that has seen the fort building and general tumbling of three boys, and is now in need of some TLC.”
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