liberty lap quilts

liberty makes do

liberty makes do too

beauty for ashes

betsy scrappy trip

betsys all in a row

mildred and ethel

liberty holly hobbie


my love affair with liberty tana lawn fabrics came on slowly. first, mitsi began to appeal to me, then i gradually added other prints such as betsy, danjo, wiltshire, capel, june's meadow, eloise, and others to my list of loves. i do not love all liberty prints indiscriminately or without preference, although sometimes a new colorway of an otherwise unattractive print will win me over.

tana lawn is fine and expensive. it's the crown jewel of my fabric collection, the nicest fabric i own. i've collected bits and pieces over time. for a while, i was intimidated to use it at all. eventually, i chose to take the plunge and cut into the precious pieces. 

i chose to start with a simple strip quilt with randomly-sized strip lengths so i wouldn't have to match any seams. i just wanted to get my feet wet and make something with liberty to get over my fear of using it.

because i was working improvisationally on piece sizes, i had a lot of leftover scraps after my first quilt. so i tried a variation on the first arrangement and made another quilt.

more followed.

i went all-out luxurious on these quilts, backing them with large pieces of tana lawn. the width of fabric of tana lawn is what determined the size of my first quilt. they are smallish lap quilts, meant for special occasions and infrequent use. 

i decided they were perfect for warming our laps in church on sundays.

in order to set my liberty pieces off to best advantage, i have paired them with a neutral background of solid-colored crossweave fabrics, mostly blue chambrays. because crossweaves have one color thread for the warp a different color in the weft, they have a subtle color play that one-dimensional, dyed solids do not have. in addition to setting off the liberty prints so nicely, the textural variation they bring to the quilt is quite pleasing, as well.

i have also used a charcoal grey chambray and this olive green crossweave, which has a more varied texture. i have plans for other crossweave background colors in the future, but these ladies take time to create and finish.

the time factor is mostly due to the fact that i have chosen to handquilt each of these special luxuries.
the handquilting makes for a nice visual effect and a soft drape for the quilt, as well.

while i still enjoy creating the improvisational strip quilts i began with, i have also begun to use basic shapes and patterns, such as a scrappy trip around the world version, a triangle quilt, and precise, orderly rows, too.

the binding of these quilts is generally a herringbone flannel, which is sturdy and more durable than a tana lawn binding would be. it also adds yet another tactile note to the whole of the quilt.

because of the classic quality of the liberty prints, the chambrays or crossweaves, and the handquilting, each of these quilts, when complete, already feels like an heirloom piece. indeed, i hope that is what they truly become with time as they are loved but well cared for.

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