Friday, September 20, 2019

radiant suzy, a finish and a birthday trip

here's another finish i never posted photos of: radiant suzy, my 2nd completed stella grande quilt for my children. if you were waiting for this one, it will be all you ever wanted to know or see, and then some.

in june 2018, i took my mother (marmee) and 3rd daughter (d3) on a short 3 day girls' trip to visit the biltmore estate in north carolina. all 3 of us read or were reading the serafina trilogy by robert beatty, which is set at the estate, and thought it would be fun to visit the book's location together with the story in mind.

our trip coincided with d3's 12th birthday, which we spent together at the biltmore.

i was really close to completing the binding on "radiant suzy" for d3, and decided it would be memorable to complete it on this special trip with her grandmother on her birthday. of course the biltmore would make a fantastic quilt finish photo shoot location. i love adding memories and meaning to my quilts' stories like this.

i rolled the quilt up and tucked it into my nyc public library tote bag (my favorite quilt-carrying bag when i'm on the go), and took it with me all over the estate. fortunately, it wasn't too heavy to carry around all day, because i carried it for two days before it was done.

while touring the house, i stopped to work on it whenever the opportunity arose, like when we were on the grand and glorious loggia (back porch) that looks out over the estate and blue ridge mountains in the distance.

i did get a funny look from an estate employee patrolling this part of the house, but no one bothered me while i stitched here. i wasn't the only guest lounging there and making use of the chairs, but i was the only one stitching. i suppose i looked harmless enough with my quilt and tiny needle.

i would stitch every bit of handwork i've ever done on this loggia if i could. it was the ideal place for such pastimes. the chair was comfy, the weather and lighting perfect, the view unsurpassed. 

later on, i did some more binding while sitting creekside on the property as the other two worked on their novel reading.

i was really close to being done here, but someone had to go to the bathroom, so we moved closer in to the facilities.

i knew which part of the lower gardens i wanted to complete the binding in, but someone was using my bench. i had to wait for the interlopers to leave, then i plopped myself down in some shade to finish my binding while the other two visited the necessary. this is a shot of the last stitch going in with the location in focus rather than the stitch. because of the lighting exposure, you can't see all the pretty pink and purple flowers around me. but they are there.

done at last!

the girls caught up with me once marmee had taken some flower photos. she always loved to do that. the week after we returned from this trip mom found out her cancer was back. this was the last trip i got to take with her. i'm really grateful to have all the fun shots of her which show her quirks and personality that i got while we were there.

before i let loose the deluge of finish and detail shots, i want to record the inspiration for the palette and name of this quilt. i was already working on a series of giant sawtooth star quilts in various color palettes when i decided to make one for each of my children. this one was inspired by this delightful liberty and flowers quilt (free pattern at the end of this post) by suzy quilts:

suzy kindly enabled me by identifying the delicious benartex floral on the back, which i knew would be perfect for my own little suzy, d3's nickname when she was a baby (it's a derivative of her middle name). because of the inspiration source and the recipient's nickname, as well as the star pattern, the quilt became "radiant suzy"

this here is one of the main reasons i quilt - quilts are love made tangible, they are permanent hugs i can give my children to wrap around themselves whenever needed.

the backing - a combination of carlonia gingham in grey, a benartex floral, the luna moth print from heather ross's sleeping porch line, and a memoire a paris 2017 lawn from lecien fabrics.

the quilting was done in an aurifil 12wt thread in a soft, silvery grey.

during our visit, the biltmore had a chihuli glass exhibition going on, with installments all over the gardens. i happen to be a big chihuli fan, so this was an added bonus to our trip. once i had the quilt completed, i photographed it with some of the art. the rest of this post is those photos interspersed with detail shots of the quilt.

i'll admit, it was a warmish afternoon and i was not at the top of my game with styling the quilt and setting up the shots. i was hauling my 5 lb. dslr camera around for two day specifically so i could take good photos of the quilt, but d3 confiscated it and filled the card up with a bajillion photos of the tours we took, so all i had to work with was my iphone. as it was, at this point, i just wanted to throw the quilt around and shoot quickly anyway. the perfectionist side of me was in hibernation. and that's perfectly fine with me. good enough is/was good enough.

some of my stella grande quilts have used up to 8 colors randomly mixed throughout the star shape. this one uses four: three solids and a very subtle print, two kona cotton solid light purples, a solid grey, and the grey gingham. (i want to say at least one purple is called "petunia," but i'm not certain.) the four colors are arranged to make radiating rhomboid shapes that form the star.

someone else was a little tired of quilt photos and posing.

thanks to the wide printed selvage on the lecien floral print, i was able to do one of my favorite backing treatments and include the selvage in the backing.

the binding was the lighter of the two kona cotton solid purples.

here's a good look at the border treatment variation i chose: i made two-toned triangles by alternating the purples and grey gingham, with one of the backing florals randomly thrown in instead of a greyy once on each end.

i used two shades of yellow for the background: kona cotton solids in butterscotch and ocher, i think.

this one's for you, suzy q!
i hope you enjoyed your literary birthday quilt marmee trip.
mama loves you.

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