Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lover's knot quilt, and why Eleanor Burns drove me crazy

Linda posted a picture of Lover's Knot quilt, and got me to thinking about this one that hangs in my bedroom: I don't even remember when I made it, but it was probably 1994. It looks a little sad and droopy because I could never quite figure out how to hang an octagonal quilt. I have a sleeve on the top edge but the little mitered corners flop out like wings. Occasionally I walk by and smooth them down. I also made a pink and green version for a gift baby quilt. I always thought I would make a full size quilt, but never got around to it. This one was quickly thrown together because it matched the bedroom and I had a blank wall.

Lover's Knot was a pattern I got from the old Eleanor Burns quilting shows on PBS. Back then, she and Shar Jorgensen and Georgia Bonesteel rules the quilting airwaves. I watched them all. I liked Burns' patterns, admired Bonesteel's "quilt as you go" method but never tried it, and found Jorgensen a little blah, although I bought some of her templates. Only when I tried a few Improved Nine Patch blocks and found they measured out to 11" did I realize I was not that crazy (and avoided curved piecing for years afterward).

Eleanor Burns made you feel that if she could do it, you could do it. She was straightforward, funny and down to earth. Her quilts were made in patterns and colors I could relate to. Even though I was past the beginner stage when her show was on, I always watched and enjoyed it.

Except for one thing.

You know when she would square off the torn edge of her fabric and then toss that little strip over her shoulder onto the floor? I cringed every time. My mom later told me that she couldn't watch Burns for that reason. We are both just too much of a neatnik to throw scraps on the floor as we sew. Mom doesn't even get threads on the carpet; I'm not that good yet. But whole pieces of fabric? Never.


Vickie said...

Say what! your mum doesn't even get a thread on the carpet-what a woman,shhh don't let my hubby hear that ok-and I'm with you both on the fabric on the floor NO NO...cheers vickie

Suzan Oxenreider said...

Throwing fabric made you crazy? Her voice drives me around the bend. I have her books because I love her techniques but her voice is like fingernails on a blackboard. (Good thing you don't live near me. You would be appalled at the condition of my studio!!)

Paula, the quilter said...

Two peas in a pod, we are, you and me. For the last week I have had a kitchen cabinet removed from over the stove and at the carpenter's to be made shorter. This is so that when it gets put back up again and the hood/microwave combo re-installed the h/m will be level with the bottom of the rest of the cabinets. In the mean time, there are all the cookbooks that normally reside in the cabinet stacked on the floor. The items that are on the counter between the stove and fridge are spread over different areas in the kitchen. To me, it is a mess and I am starting to get the heebie jeebies, 'cause I want to clean it up. All in due time, I keep telling myself, it will get cleaned up when the cabinet comes back. *sigh* Loved EB's patterns except for the fact that the blocks turned out huge: I'm a small fiddly block person myself.

Kathryn said...

Ooh, we've just got Eleanor Burns in this country. It's the only quilting programme on TV in the UK. She's wonderful - and the shows are a delight (inadvertently)as they all look as though as they were made in her back bedroom with cheesy music and hilarious title shots. I used to wince when she threw pieces over her shoulder, but then I realised it's just TV - I bet she doesn't do it in real life. I love her teaching though - she makes things nice and simple and gives you confidence.