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Saturday, August 11, 2012

We All Live...

 The St Louis Modern Quilting Guild issued a summer challenge in May.  The rules were simple.  Use one of the four inspiration themes provided and make a quilt.  It had to be at least 24 inches on a side.  There was a Matisse painting, a picture of a volkswagon beetle in a field of lavender, the book Alice in Wonderland and the song Yellow Submarine. 

I spent the ENTIRE summer trying to figure out how to make an Alice in Wonderland quilt. I LOVE Alice.  I had Alice curtains when I was small.  I have some snippets of Alice fabric.  I have several different Alice embroidery patterns.  I knew that I was going to make an Alice quilt.

And yet... nothing ever gelled.  I pulled out my Alice fabrics. I pulled scraps that matched.  I found new Alice fabric in the store.  I bought the rest of the Alice embroidery designs.... nothing.   Not a thing.  No inspiration anywhere.  

In desperation, I stopped in the local quilt shop near my Mother-in-Law's house last Saturday.  I saw some great Alice fabric.  But it didn't speak to me.  No beautiful Alice quilt image formed in my head.  While looking around, I saw a sea weedy blue fabric.  I liked the colors.  I didn't buy anything. 
For the rest of the weekend I kept seeing that sea weedy fabric surrounded by a yellow porthole. 

Fortunately, the shop was open on Monday for a few hours.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any other fish/seaweed/ocean fabric.  No more bright colors.  No star fish.  Nothing.  But there were a couple of coordinating prints.  One that looked like waves and one that looked kind of like bubbles.  I grabbed them and a bright yellow polka dot figuring it would work out some how.

Unfortunately, I was in Michigan without any of my quilting tools but a few hand sewing items.  Even more unfortunately, I had to spend a couple days, packing, driving and then unpacking.  It was Thursday before I could get started on my little project.

My little project that was due on Saturday.  I was going to do raw edge applique.  Well, actually, I did raw edge applique.  But I didn't have enough fusible web of the appropriate size.  So I tried spray glue.  Remember my post of a few days ago?  It would have been better to go to the store and get some fusible web!  Either that, or use a LOT more spray glue than I did.  Things.  Slipped and slopped and then stuck tight just when I needed to try and separate them enough to trim them.  Ugh. 

The worst thing was, that as time was running out the silly quilt kept needing more.  It needed the blanket stitching.  It needed the pieced ends.  It absolutely did not want the periscope/tower part of the submarine.   And worst of all it needed tedious machine quilting that had to stop and start at the portholes.  Fortunately the rounded corners it needed made it easier to stitch the binding.  Unfortunately, the 18 inch width for the table runner, didn't quite meet the 24 inch requirement.  (Which I didn't discover until I checked the challenge rules again at midnight after I finished.)  Fortunately no one was there with a tape measure and some had projects that were even smaller. 

So here it is.  The We All Live quilt.  

The Details:  Made of quilter's cotton.  Machine pieced and quilted.  Binding hand sewn.  Raw edge applique.  Muslin backing.  approximately 18 x 50 inches long. 


  1. LOL! OMGoodness Charlene. I love your story. Loved hearing about how your submarine quilt came about AND I love IT! The story sort of reminded me of how I've been feeling about Claire's quilt. But I'm over that now and I'm glad this project is over for you!

  2. I TOTALLY see port holes when I look at this! Very fun! Glad you were able to get it finished in time. Did we have a lot of entries?

  3. I think this is awesome, an abstract submarine! Much better and more interesting than an literal submarine would have been.

  4. I love it!! We all live in a yellow submarine from the Beatles! I was thinking of a skate board when you posted it on Facebook. I love your story and think it's a fantastic little quilt! And the story is wonderful.

  5. Love the port holes on your sub quilt!