TBT: Devil in the Details

Sherman, let’s hop into our Wayback Machine for another Throwback Thursday, this one from 1972.  The quilt, which I first pieced, then quilted (hence the frame) illustrates that the devil is in the details, whether for quilting, cooking, or plotting a story. Any of you out there have time to quilt?LRK and quilt

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  1. c. dowling on September 18, 2014 at 5:55 am

    I make time because I enjoy it. Sometimes people tell me they would not have time, but they go on to explain they went to a movie, shopping, watched tv, went to the gym, visited friends. So it really is a question of what we want to do with the time we have. If it is something you love to do, you will have time for it. What I do not have time for is housework and chores. There is an old poem:
    Cleaning and cooking can wait til tomorrow
    For children grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow,
    So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

  2. Tricia Mills on September 18, 2014 at 6:50 am

    It looks great! Do you still have it? The Quilter’s Guild here in Charleston is very active. I just go to the shows, not having the patience for quilting.

    • Jeanne Holmes on September 18, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Oh my a fabulous writer and a quilter. No wonder you were willing to be a judge at our quilt show a few years ago (PVQA Guild in Santa Cruz)..

  3. Lisa Richardson on September 18, 2014 at 7:11 am

    My grandmother taught me to quilt as a child. She did piece the quilt in later years on the machine, but the quilting itself was always done by hand, usually with the frame set up on her front porch, where we could sit in the summer, hoping for a breeze. This was in rural Arkansas in the sixties and seventies. I miss her so. Quilting and knitting and crocheting, and all the other things, including canning, that she taught me, were a labor of love in her eyes.

  4. Laraine on September 18, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Quilting? Always a lovely thought, novel aspiration . . . but I never finished the tiny crochet ‘quilt’ I intended for my first niece/nephew (first turned out to be twins, doubling the ante, but the auntie in this case was way too busy to crochet two little quilts, sadly). Thus, the cache of ‘keep this for the quilt’ fabrics/scraps is symbolic, at least for now, rather than active.
    But, your quilt, in ’72, Laurie? Gorgeous!

  5. Kay on September 18, 2014 at 8:10 am

    My mother made one quilt, as a girl, the same year Russell and Holmes married. All by hand, of course. It’s a pleasure to see your photo from the 70s; there were so many people–mostly women–working to bring back those crafts then. And, fortunately, now. Our hands remember.

  6. Virginia on September 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I just started quilting about two years ago. My son went to college this fall, and now I’m borrowing his room for use as a sewing room, which makes it even easier and more fun. I never thought I’d be a quilter, because I still can’t sew a straight seam, and I’m not very good at cutting accurately, either. But I love choosing and combining fabrics and playing with geometry, and once I accepted that I’ll probably never be the kind of person who makes super-intricate blocks where the points all come together just so, I started having a lot of fun. And it’s SO MUCH FASTER than knitting! I was recently able to finish a simple twin-size quilt in just a couple of weeks.

    I do everything by machine, though. And I have my quilt shop long-arm quilt my big projects, rather than trying to deal with them myself. Hand-quilting is beautiful and a labor of love, but (a) I don’t have anywhere to set up a frame, and (b) I’m at a point in my life where I’d rather get a project done and move on to the next one.

    That huge quilt of your, though, Laurie — that’s just amazing! Who has it now?

  7. Deborah on September 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Great picture. I am impressed! I made 10 “throw sized” (about 40 x 60-inches) quilts for family (across several years). Nine of them were made from my Dad’s pants after he died. It was Mom’s idea to make one for herself with me helping. We cut out all the 8-1/2-inch squares together. (He was 6′ 6″ tall and you can get 22 squares from each pair of pants. They saved everything!) A year later she hadn’t done any sewing. That was when I realized she was beginning to fail, too. I made the quilt for her for Christmas that year. I went on to make one each for my two sisters and myself, then their children, my five nephews. Several years later when my father-in-law died I made a throw for my husband out of his dad’s shirts and pants. They are machine pieced and quilted and machine washable. The reactions from my nephews are gratifying. They were all Christmas gifts. One boy ran to put his on his bed as soon as he opened it, ignoring the rest of his presents for the moment. The 16 year old left the house and immediately put it in his car, opening further presents later. The eleven year old hugged his and said, “Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm.” The four year old said with great excitement, “Look, Mom, a COVER!” He was just 9 months old when Dad died. So even though he doesn’t know him directly he gets to have a part of him wrapped around him. I am so grateful my mother, who is now living in a nursing home, taught me to sew. Thanks for your memories.

    • Susan D on September 24, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Deborah, I love this story. It’s everything that’s terrific about quilting.

  8. Laura Stratton on September 18, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I love Sewing & Quilting and even worked in a fabric store for a few years. Yes it’s just like working in a bookstore – a good portion of my pay stayed in the store. My paternal grandmother was a professional tailor in a ladies dress shop so even though she never taught me to sew the bug passed on to me. As an adult I made a few clothes and pillows and curtains before spending 10+ years making my daughter’s ice skating dresses. Two of my favorite are memory quilts I made for my adult children. I made a wall hanging for my daughter out of all scraps of all the fabrics we used to make her skating dresses, I made a T-shirt quilt for my son from the T’s he had as a child and teen. It was a walk down memory lane.

    Now both Hannah and I quilt and do some home decor things. To be honest my daughter is way better than I am but we love taking classes and working on projects together.

    I loved Deborah’s story of the quilts she made for her family from her dad’s pants. That is a fabulous twist on the T-shirt memory quilt.

    Thank you all for sharing your quilting stories.

  9. Linda on September 18, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I’ve done two …. one I still use when it’s cold. And lots of pillow size “quilts. ” No TV since 1969 makes all the difference. And now I am building an addition to my house … handicapped accessible for friends and family and the whole basement, with huge windows on the south and east, will be a studio. I am so excited. I have lived in a tiny house for years (built by hippies back around the time when Laurie’s quilt was made, but with a lot less care).

    I am so looking forward to not having to put all projects away so I can use the bed!!! My favorite at the moment is to paint my own fabric for making whatever … including quilt sized wall hangings and felted “paintings”. I do remember fondly (?) a hand appliquéd quilt size wall hanging of Lake Champlain with the fields in the foreground, islands out on the water and the Adirondaks in the distance. I could work on it in bed and it kept me warmer than usual that winter.

  10. Merrily Taylor on September 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I have never quilted but I used to do a lot of embroidery, and I still do needlepoint. I particularly enjoy it when I’m traveling, one can sit around and chat and have something to do with one’s hands at the same time! Particularly nice when sitting on a porch, overlooking the ocean, with a vodka and tonic handy!

  11. Pamela Calbeck on September 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Quilted when my two kids were small. They were machine pieced. Don’t believe I would have ever finished a hand pieced one. I made one king sized and three queen sized quilts over a two year period and three of them set of the shelf until one of my friends said get them quilted. So I did one myself. Lucky that I didn’t end up with carpel tunnel problems. My first one was a tied quilt and the last two I found a wonderful lady who quilted them on her quilting machine. I also made three smaller quilts. One is complete and hung at Christmas time and still need to finish the binding on the other two. Just hate doing mitered corners.
    I have two quilt tops from my paternal great grandmother that she made when my brother and I were toddlers. Just need to find someone to quilt them. My two sisters laughed at me when I suggested it as a neat way to visit and get something accomplished at the same time.

  12. mary g on September 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Hi. I don’t quilt either, although I tried trapunto (sp?) once. My cousin is a Master Quilter and all of the nephews and nieces have beautiful examples of her work, some smaller ones now being wall hangings. Many years ago my husband and I wandered in to a Quilt exhibition in San Francisco….some heally wonderful pieces on display. I remember his being quite stunned by it all, and saying that the quilts were like artwork, high praise from him! I did sew, made clothes for my sisters and myself, some outrageous ties for my father back in the hippie days, which he wore very loud and proud. Me…I too ended up doing needlepoint, in evenings while listening to the TV, and also while travelling. I gave away some of my favourite pieces, we needle-arts women being the generous type. (Does anyone still needlepoint or other while flying these days?)

  13. Meredith Taylor on September 19, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Mr. Peabody and I say: how lovely!

  14. Jan Igoe on September 24, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Hi Laurie,
    I quilt all the time. It is my profession. I am an art quilter, and quilting teacher, . Your books with their intricate plots have inspired me. Would a Mary Russell quilt be considered for one of your postings on aspects of the latest book. Now there’s an idea, hmmm.

    Many thanks for your wonderful books. Your writing is better than chocolate.

    • Laurie King on September 24, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I’d love to see a Russell quilt!

      • Jan Igoe on September 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

        Hi Laurie, I think it will take awhile, but I am very interested in this quilting idea, and will come up with a designf for an art quilt soon.
        Thanks for the encouraagement,

    • Merrily Taylor on September 25, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Jan, oh, a Mary Russell quilt, how I would love to see one of those! I retired four years ago and my secretary, a very talented quilter, made me a personalized retirement quilt – it can’t be said to be a Mary Russell version, but it DOES have a picture of me with Laurie and one of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes! If you can make a Mary Russell quilt, you should, it would be beautiful!

      • Jan Igoe on September 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm

        Merrily Hi, I think I will have to do something about this Mary Russell quilt. I really need to think on this, and design something fitting. Thanks for the encouragement.

        • Merrily Taylor on September 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm


          Think of all the lovely images you could have on it, from her travels and adventures! Not to mention scenes of Sussex, and bees, and well…you know. Plus we have some very talented artists on “Letters of Mary” who might be willing to share actual Holmes and Russell images they’ve created. I think it would be beautiful, and maybe Laurie could provide a signed panel or something – I believe she liked the idea of a quilt, too!

          • Laura Stratton on September 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

            I love the idea of the Mary Russell quilt. I would be happy to contribute a patch.

          • Janis Igoe on September 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

            This is getting interesting. Perhaps a number of quilters/Russell fans would be willing to contribute. Much like an online sewin. I would be willing to quilt the finished top. Perhaps it could be used to raise money for a charity. Let me know what your all think.

          • Merrily Taylor on September 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

            Jan, I don’t quilt but I do embroider. I could certainly contribute a square if someone gave me the dimensions and so on.

          • Laurie King on September 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm

            Sure, a Russell quilt would be great! If you want to do it as a fundraiser, you could either auction it through eBay, or through my site, or at BoucherCon, which always has a very active auction for such things.

          • Merrily Taylor on September 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

            Laurie, maybe it could be in the Bouchercon auction, I’m sure it would be a highly popular item! I think it’s a great idea.

  15. Susan D on September 24, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Yes, I quilt. And I’m afraid sometimes I write like I quilt. Collect a bunch of scraps, fabrics, ideas, characters; create a bunch of scenes, blocks etc. Then lay them all our, wondering how on earth they can make a complete and unified whole.

    Love that picture, Laurie.

  16. Beth Havens on September 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I quilt, you can see some of them on my twitter, or happy to send you a pic or two if you like. 🙂 its an old family addiction.

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