BARBARA GRAHAM MYSTERIES
What's the quilt on the home page?
It's called "Midnight Picnic". It started as a challenge quilt for Wyoming State Quilt Guild. There were required fabrics as well as as many extras as desired. The theme was--food. Since I am plagued by bunnies and deer, it seemed like a no brainer.
The quilt below is constructed of two traditional blocks--
In addition, she usually has a quilt on display at the Yellowstone Quilt Fest, in Cody, Wyoming in September. This year's quilt is currently a work in progress. http://www.yellowstonequiltfest.info
Do you always quilt by hand?
I almost always do. Rarely, I will machine quilt (badly) something small like a table runner or baby quilt. If it is large and I don't want to hand quilt it, I will farm it out to a professional machine quilter. My sewing machine and I have a deal worked out--it doesn't write books and I don't try to machine quilt.
I have made a compromise--because of my grandchildren, I now machine quilt more than I used to. I can't very well ask them to give me months to make a small quilt when I can use my machine, get it done and they can have it quickly.
I enjoy quilting by hand. It is my favorite part of the process after coming up with the design and picking the fabrics. I like to use a hoop and sit in my recliner as I quilt. As my days are full, full, full, I save my quilting until evening and settle down after dinner with a quilt and television. I find it very relaxing and I like the feel of it. Although I have done so, I do not like quilting on a frame because I tend to quilt only in one direction.
Doesn't that take a long time?
Yes, if the quilt is large or if I am quilting like a crazy person. The time doesn't really count to me. The process gives me pleasure and eventually the project is done. A twelve inch block, with normal quilting can take as little as one evening to complete. I love watching the texture of the piece change as the quilting stitches go in.
Do you have any tips?
Yes. For handquilting the most important tool is good light. A thimble and needles and a hoop are all the other tools required. I prefer a wool or light polyester batting. My hands complain if I try quilting through cotton batting. Also, beware of batik fabrics. They are incredibly beautiful but many are so tightly woven it is difficult to get a needle through--I would never use them on the back (don't use bed sheets either for the same reason).
Who are the Village Idiot Quilters?
I regret to announce that the Village Idiots are no longer designing patterns. Neither of us wanted to do the work and neither could get the other one to do it all. Our friendship was not damaged.
Barbara and her best friend Michelle Quick. For some reason, no one who knows them ever questioned the name of their tiny pattern company, Village Idiot Quilters. Dream Garden, shown below, was designed for a a block of the month class at Big Horn Quilts in Greybull, Wyoming. The pattern was used to make the 2006 Opportunity Quilt for the Wyoming State Quilt Guild. Appliqué on this quilt was done by Jeanne Knudsen, Helen Wichern, Kathy Lichtendahl, Chris Ditzler, Roberta Brown, Sylvia Gauthier, Linda MacDonald, Barbara Graham and Michelle Quick. It measures 96 inches square and was quilted by Jeanne Knudsen.