42 Quilts Quilt of the Week - 5 Things You Need To Know

Eagles Wings by Jenifer Dick, 2002
90" x 90"

1. Eagles Wings is my 9/11 tribute. As many quilters before me have done, I turned to needle and thread to express my helplessness and sadness over a national tragedy. This is the result - my most ambitious quilt at the time.

2. It is one of the earliest quilts I made using my Invisible Zigzag Appliqué method. Inspired by a desire to learn to appliqué and armed with Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Appliqué, I chose this Rose of Sharon version called Mexican Tea Rose (among other names) for the negative space in the outer sections of the Lone Star. I chose it because it was easy enough for me to adapt for a beginner. Despite having 51 pieces per block, each individual shape has gentle curves and no sharp points - perfect more me to perfect my appliqué skills! I don't know where I got the eagle pattern, but I know I did not draw it. I wish I had documented that better.

3. That Lone Star! In addition to perfecting appliqué, this is also my first attempt at a Lone Star. All that bias was daunting, but what I learned was spray starch is your best friend when working with 45° angles! And since I knew the eagle would be in the center, there was no pressure to get all those points to meet in the center!

4. Two BIG lessons learned. No. 1: Use white thread when piecing white-on-white! You can see the gray thread showing through on the center of the star! Oops! No. 2: Wash fabrics with some sort of fixative. Although I did prewash, the red fabric crocked! Crocking is not bleeding, but it's when the color actually rubs off one fabric onto another, staining it. In this case, the red crocked onto the white. Yikes! I now prewash all my fabrics in Synthrapol.

5. I totally cheated on the gold stars! Back then, I didn't have the capability (or desire) to make those teeny appliqué stars! So I went to my local big box store (Remember when they had a semi-decent craft department?) and bought pre-made star appliqués! I stitched them down with invisible thread, just like I do my regular appliqué. Voila! Perfect stars!

A funny aside: At the time, I remember people questioning my decision to put green in a patriotic quilt. To me, the green needed to be there for the foliage of the Rose of Sharon blocks. Once the green was in those blocks, I had to add it to the star, even if just a little to keep the balance of the quilt. To me it was the right choice and I never questioned it. The takeaway for you is this: go with your gut no matter what the critics say and you'll always be happy!

Thank you for reading Week 1 of 42 Quilts' Quilt of the Week! In 2017, I began photographing 24+ years of quilts. As a result, I realized that I have a lot of great quilts that don't see the light of day anymore. I would like to share these quilts and their stories with you. I hope you'll join me every Thursday to see a new quilt! If that's way too much pressure to remember, subscribe to my bimonthly newsletter and have them sent to your inbox! (Click the subscribe button on the top left, or click the three horizontal lines if you are on your phone.)


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