Maverick I – To New Mexico
By Beverly Hicks Burch
I had the ultimate UFO, which in quilter speak is “UnFinished Object”. And, if truth be known, I have some sister UFOs lurking on a shelf waiting patiently for their completion.
It all started with this quilt Maverick I: To New Mexico, which has come to symbolize a lot in my life…rebirth, rising from the ashes, moving forward, hope and so much more. But, first a little background…
Several years ago, and I do mean several…we’re talking 10+ years ago I began this quilt as a extension of my creative desire to go beyond what I had been doing in my work. This quilt presented the perfect opportunity.
At the time there was a quilt group meeting on a routine basis in my home. Also, at that time a local quilt shop had started a block of the month (BOM) quilt and had the kits for purchase each month. Several of the quilters in the group wanted to start the BOM but as beginners wanted to work on the blocks at our meetings. Although the fabric in the kits was pretty and traditional it wasn’t quite what I was hankering to work with at the time. So a convergence of ideas merged into a plan.
We would have block making sessions at my house for whoever wanted to make their blocks, and I would make my block using the patterns and the fabric of my choice from my stash. It would also be a good teaching tool to show how a simple thing like fabric change and color value can totally change the look of a block/quilt.
A BOM quilt will basically be a sampler quilt. A sampler quilt is a quilt in which every block is different. There are different types of samplers and I’ve always thought of them as a very traditional type of quilt. Many times sampler quilts were made out of blocks that quilters had made as “samples” or experiments and then gathered together in one project to relieve the guilty conscience of the maker…I mean really, who wants all those orphan blocks laying around, right?
Later, the sampler quilt as a style or type of quilt came into its own and quilters actually began to make them on purpose. The only issue with a sampler is they could be repetitive and tend to all look alike with the only variation being what blocks were used to create the top and maybe a variation of sashing.
My very first big quilt was a sampler quilt. It was a good learning experience because each block was a different design which gave me the opportunity to experience different piecing designs and even some appliqué experience. I set the quilt with traditional sashing and corner posts. When I say big, I mean big. Each block was 12 inches and when finished the quilt easily covers the surface of a king size bed.
So my challenge to myself for this project was: to not only make my sampler different from the rest of the BOM quilts everyone in the group was making, but to make it a sampler with a look that was unique. To accomplish this I first used a “non-traditional” color scheme. I opted for a bold dark blue/green or teal color, a fuchsia, a multi-color print that combined those colors and more set off with metallic gold and all these contrasted with a stark white tone on tone.
There were also two basket blocks that I repurposed and redesigned. Had I used them the way they were they would have been tilted on their side in the quilt, in other words, a turned over basket. So I dusted off high school geometry and redrafted the basket blocks so they were “on point” and upright.
Block #1 – Basket Block redrafted
Block #12 – Basket Block redrafted
Then, I designed sashing and corner posts that would create stars at the corner of each block.
Corner Posts and Sashing Ends that form Stars
I would also use a striped fabric for the border and miter the corners.
Striped Mitered Border Fabric
Next, I made my quilt “sandwich” (top, batting and backing) and began the hand quilting process.
And, it was there the process hit a roadblock and fell into a quagmire of malaise. You see when I was about to the one-third or half way point Gomez the ex decided to abandon 27 years of marriage for his new playmate, Morticia, a fellow co-worker. (I use those names to protect the guilty as sin and also because those were the “code” names and pet names they used for each other I found buried in the cookies and temp files of our computer. I must say the names are quite fitting because like their Addams Family counterparts, Morticia towers over Gomez a good 2 inches or so.)
So, going through a tough divorce has a way of cutting off the ol’ creative juices. The mind tends to be distracted by other things…like how the heck to survive…
But, down the road after healing began to happen, something wonderful and renewing happened…I met my muse. Yes, it was Tall & Handsome. Although he was still half a country away, we were still getting to know each other via email, instant messenger and phone calls.
As we got to know each other he found out about my creative pursuits and encouraged me to venture out again pick them back up and continue them. (I had emailed him a few pictures of my quilts and some of my writing.) First, I started writing again. Then, the hardest thing for me to restart came next and that was my beloved quilting. But, I did it. I picked up my sampler and started quilting, each stitch encouraged and inspired by my T & H.
It took a while to finish. I started a job. Had some health crisis and yes, T & H and I got married by the time I had the quilting finished and the binding on.
It was then I knew what I would name the quilt – Maverick I: To New Mexico in honor of my T & H and his native state. Maverick I because I have started a series of sampler quilts based on the same premise…the same, but different with my own personal twist.
So today, I thought I’d share in detail Maverick I: To New Mexico.
© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.