Saturday, September 29, 2012

Baltimore Album Dreaming



I have ALWAYS wanted to make a Baltimore Album quilt.  Ever since the very first time I set my eyes on one I thought they were amazing.  Beyond the obvious awesomeness of the workmanship that goes into one, the quilt as a whole is a very impressive entity.  The first time I saw one I was about 24 years old and quilting was not an everyday part of my life.  I had made quilts, with my grandmothers tutor-age, but during that time of my life I had other things keeping me busy and sewing didn't play a part.  But even though I didn't quilt then, I was amazed by this beautiful piece of textile art in front of me.  It was at Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts where I happened on a traveling quilt exhibition.  I loved almost all the quilts on display, but the lone Baltimore Album quilt stopped me dead in my tracks.  I stood there for a very long time mesmorized by it's beauty.  I examined each block and wondered at the detail and fine needlework.  Each block told a story in one singular seen.  I knew, then and there, that one day I would make one - and probably only one.

Flash forward 20 years (give or take) and I still haven't made a Baltimore Album quilt.  I've been afraid of applique for a very long time.  I always thought it was beyond my skill set.  All those small, intricate stitches that are almost invisible (if done right...) intimidated the hell out of me.   However last year, for the first time, I attempted some needle turn applique.  This happened because a woman in one of my quilt groups is a master at applique.  Whenever she would show at a meeting with a new applique project I was right there beside her to watch and comment and drool.  She urged me to try it and I always said it was too difficult for me but she persisted.  Finally she took me under her wing and showed me the ins and outs of needle turn and let me go.  I have to say now I love it.  As I've always been a big fan of hand work and any project that is mobile enough to be carried with abandon from my sewing rooms to parts unknown, applique fits the bill perfectly.  And now that a year or so has gone by since Judy so graciously urged me to give it a go, my mind is starting to edge toward the thought of tackling the ultimate in applique - the Baltimore Album quilt.

I know what kind of scenes I want in it.  Sticking with tradition I want an American eagle.  I want the cornucopia of plenty, I want fruit baskets and wreaths.  And I also want to add parts of me and my life.  I want to put the Statue of Liberty in my quilt.  I want to depict a house filled with love.  I want scenes of relaxation and activity.  And I probably want to put my two beloved pets Daphne and Bella in there somewhere.  I have all these visions in my head of what I'd like to put into textiles but I just don't know if I have enough skill to pull it off.  Anyone who knows me well knows I never start anything as a beginner.  I'm just too impatient for that.  If I see an intricate quilt I like that I want to made, then I want to make that quilt.  I don't want to work on a beginner quilt to work my way up to that quilt.  It's all or nothing for me.  I know what I start my Baltimore Album (and I can feel its going to come soon), I'm going to work on the all or nothing blocks I have in my head.






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