grad quilt: here comes the sun :: Okan Arts
grad quilt: here comes the sun

grad quilt: here comes the sun

By Patricia Belyea

SEATTLE WA  Carson Thomas’ parents chose a flannel nightgown to include in her high school graduation quilt. The nightgown, decorated with dancing cats and dogs, went down to Carson’s ankles when she first received it. Seven years later Carson still wore it—as a mini-nightgown.

Pairing the novelty flannel with colorful solids and patterned fabric, I freely created quilt chunks with angled pieces.
"Here Come The Sun Quilt" by Patricia Belyea

The improv project took over my studio as I made more chunks and sewed them together. Even though I was sewing straight edges to straight edges, as the quilt top grew, it flaired along the bottom side. To resolve the problem, I opened up long seams and took out skinny wedges of fabric before re-sewing the seams.
"Here Come The Sun Quilt" by Patricia Belyea

Over Memorial Day weekend I drove to Vancouver, Washington to finish the quilt on Jane Dudley’s long-arm machine. Jane and her twin Judy Oakes put me up and fed me for a two days while I learned how to use the machine. First I practiced on two charity quilts. Then I free-motion stitched wacky flowers all over Carson’s quilt. (Using Hobbs 100% wool batting, I got lots of definition with the stitch design.)
"Here Come The Sun Quilt" by Patricia Belyea

Back in Seattle, I made a double-fold French binding and stitched it on—all in one day. The final touch was a hand-written label with the name of the quilt—Here Comes The Sun. With Carson heading off to a college on the East Coast, I thought “Watch out world, here she comes!”

At the presentation, Carson was surprised and pleased to see her childhood nightgown in her quilt.
Here Some The Sun quilt by Patricia BelyeaI learned two big things from this project. 1. It’s tricky to make a wonky-looking quilt top that lies flat. 2. Quilting on a long-arm machine makes stitching fast and fun—potentially life-changing info for a steadfast hand-stitcher.

leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 comments to “grad quilt: here comes the sun”

  1. Peg Swartzman says:

    It looks great and what a great problem solving on the wonky issue!

  2. Nancy Anders says:

    Hey Patricia, this is a wonderful, one-of-a-kind quilt! You definitely have your own style. Having learned by following patterns and matching seams and points, I admire your “just go for it” approach to quilting. Your results are always fabulous.

    • Okan Arts says:

      From such a remarkable quilter yourself, I appreciate your kind words. Please consider coming to my workshop in La Conner next May with the theme, Tiptoe Into Improv.

  3. Beryl McMahon says:

    Have lost my contact number for Jane Dudley. I have two partial bolts of gingham for her charity quilts. I am on Facebook as Beryl Lamb-McMahon. I live in Vancouver Wa. Your help would be appreciated. Email is Thanks

  4. renee rivard says:

    Enjoying the work seen / an done/ the artists fantastic meanings in their designs Thanks so much love materials, am too foreign movies an Japan is one of them, by for now