Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Favorite Quilt ~ Lessons Learned

One of my first quilts!
"The Twelve Gifts of Birth" by Deonn Stott, 2005
Early in my quilting journey, I joined a local guild.  One particular year, our guild received permission from Cheri Saffiote, a friend of our guild president's mom, to use blocks from a pattern she was designing, Sweet Land of Liberty, as a block of the month.

Sweet Land of Liberty quilt pattern by Cheri Saffiote Payne

We would receive pattern installments each month to learn different techniques throughout the year. I adapted my design to be more about fairies and flowers than the primitive Americana style of her pattern, but I do love it!  And for a myriad of reasons.

Lessons Learned.
Color.  I learned that I could choose a piece of fabric in colors that I loved, then base the color choices for all the blocks on that one print. The dots on the selvage are all the colors used to make the print, and those can also be used for your color palette.  Didn't even have to use that print in the quilt if you didn't want to!  

Piecing.  In consecutive months I learned five different techniques for piecing:  Wonky piecing, precision piecing, strip piecing, paper-piecing, and even curved piecing!  Each technique was a new adventure!

Applique'.  We learned five different techniques for applique'!:  Invisible machine applique', back-basting needle-turn applique', reverse applique', wool applique' and even chenille applique'  (I learned the technique then taught that class to the rest of the guild).

Embroidery.  One of the guild members gave a lesson on embroidery basics.  I had come across a little book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth by Charlene Costanzo, which listed 12 attributes that paired well with my blocks.  I improved my stitchery technique as I embroidered the words: "beautycompassioncourage, faith, hope, imaginationjoylovestrength, talent, reverence, and wisdom" on my blocks.  

Setting Odd-Size Blocks.  The final lesson was to set all the odd-sized blocks together to make a coherent quilt.  I've used this technique numerous times since in putting together orphan blocks or T-shirt quilts with odd-size squares.
  1. Measure the unfinished sizes of all the blocks to be used.  Subtract 1/2 inch from each measurement (1/4-inch seam allowance on each side) and see if they are all divisible by a common denominator (quilt math!).  That becomes the base number.  Trim blocks or add sashing or borders to bring them to a size divisible by the base number, plus an extra 1/2 inch in length and width for the seams.
  2. Lay out all the blocks in a pleasing arrangement.  See where you need to fill in with either more pieced blocks or background fabric to grow the quilt to the right size. Make the new fillers with a finished size also divisible by the same base number, making sure that the unfinished size of the fillers includes 1/2" seam allowance in length and width.

Quilting Lessons.  This quilt was one of my very first attempts at quilting my own quilt on the longarm.  I sent it off to a quilt competition and received some great feedback of how I could improve, such as keeping an overall uniform density in the quilting and not leaving large areas un-quilted.  I did a little re-quilting and my little "Twelve Gifts" received a Sweepstakes award at the county fair, and First Place at the Utah State Fair in it's category!

More Than Just a Quilt.
I have such affection for this little quilt -- the colors, the block designs and techniques learned, the layout, the flaws, the mistakes, and the lasting friendships made with my guild quilt sisters.  I learned so much through the making of this quilt!  

And now it has become even more precious to me upon learning that our designer, Cheri Saffiote Payne, passed away this week from cancer.  

Cheri Payne 2015 photo cred

Though I never met her personally, I came to appreciate her fun, whimsical style and personality through her primitive folk art patterns.  Even the 12 attributes I embroidered seem to apply to the sweet lady whose design it was that set me on my quilting path.
Cheri Payne, featured artist at the San Diego Quilt Show, September 2017 photo cred

And, as with other artists, we mourn her passing, but I am grateful that her talent and creativity lives on through her work.  Here are some resources to find Cheri's patterns and designs.

*Facebook:  Quilts by Cheri - Friendship Group.  Over the past year or so, Cheri and her friends have uploaded dozens of her patterns free for those who joined her FB group. I'm not sure if you can still join.  Find the patterns in FILES.  Unfortunately, Sweet Land of Liberty is not among them, but many similar blocks and quilts are.  And right now, Lori @ Humble Quilts is hosting a quilt-along, making the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt.  It's probably not too late to join in. It is a primitive-style quilt, and since there is no pattern, that's ok, because Lori gives dimensions and sizes.
*Blog:  Find Cheri's "Everyday Patchwork" patterns on her blog - also currently a quilt-along on her FB group.
*Amazon:  Cheri Saffiote Some books and patterns still available.
*Pinterest:  Cheri Payne - Handmade by Me


  1. The quilt turned out beautifully, but really does sound like it was more of an incredible journey. She will forever live within your memories. That is a lovely tribute to a life well lived.

  2. The design looks pretty nice and simple.

  3. Beautiful quiltso many fun details! I discovered Cheri a year or two ago, probably about the time she was dealing with cancer, and hoped that she was able to beat it. i hadn't heard anything recently, so I was sad to find out here that she had passed away. So sad when we see talent and sweetness leave this earth and go on to the next. I was happy to read your post though: a beautiful tribute to her. Hugs, H

  4. I would replace that fairy pattern with a fairy embroidery design. Will it be much better?

  5. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
    Embroidery .


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