Private collection - 2012 - 2015 completed
My interest in Ottoman Empire embroidery inspired the design of the Entwine quilt. I am fascinated by the intricate floral and vine patterns of historic Ottoman embroidery with their unexpected variations that keep the eye moving and searching for the next delightful surprise. Each vine in the overall repeat of Entwine (nine vines in rows of three) incorporates unique variations in stitching, appliqué, and embroidery that do not, at first, appear until you look more closely.
The quilt was three years in the making, and the most intense project I have ever taken on, but on the day of washing, something unexpected and magical happened that made it all seem right and good. As I lay the quilt out in the sun to dry, a small bird (without hesitation) landed on its surface and then several butterflies! It was as though it belonged to the natural world. Somehow that was the best gift after such a labor intensive process.
The embellishments were worked in DMC cotton thread on a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton background with a backing of cotton/silk sateen and wool batting within. The hand quilting was worked in pale blue thread.
- I made a hand-cut, full scale, template of my vine repeat in a plastic template material.
- I carefully planed the layout of the vines on the fabric, flipping and shifting the pattern so that its edges interlock and form a unified design, and then marked the quilt with washable chalk marking pencil.
- I made a selection of paisley templates to fill in the surrounding spaces with a non-repeating pattern (for quilting) that tucks into the main vine repeat.
- Because I knew that the embellishment would be very labor intensive for me, I decided to send the quilt to be hand-stitched by an Amish collaborative. While the quilt was away, I began hand-embroidering some of the leaves that would eventually be appliquéd to the quilts surface
- When the quilt was returned to me (about four months), I began to hand embroider the vine (directly onto the quilt, following the hand stitched pattern) The vine is made up of a combination of chain stitch and stem stitch that form a single line thick enough for the scale of the pattern.
- The floral elements on the vine are all hand-embroidered separately then appliquéd onto its surface. They combine seed stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, French knot. I cut each element away from its background with a small seam allowance; then the seam allowances were carefully turned under and the flower or leaf was hand stitched into position on the vine, hiding the quilted pattern below. The back side of the quilt (a light caramel colored cotton and silk satin) reveals the full hand stitched pattern and the delicate pale blue quilting thread. The duration of the hand embroidery and appliqué process was approximately 2,600 hours.
- Finally, I trimmed the quilt to its final size (King size) and bound the edges.
- When the quilt was complete, I choose a name. "Entwine" felt like a natural fit for the vine pattern and suggested a loving and poetic narrative for the couple who would ultimately sleep beneath it.
- One of my favorite parts of making a quilt is the design of the label. It is the final jewel of the project and will remain hidden from view when the quilt is in place on the bed. I hope it will always be a delight and a surprise when that one quilt corner is turned.