Sunday 26 April 2015

It's Not Thursday

I know it's not Thursday.
But I'm "throwing back" anyway.

Nothing new to chat about really...
Still waiting for my robot to arrive, the frame is clearly walking here from Utah. Had a hairy week in the shoppe so didn't get in much stitching but... I did get my taxes done and filed with a little prodding from The Enabler. Hung out with my guild mates yesterday for the April Sew In where I may or may not have jumped ahead of the Quilt-A-Long with the Gravity project...nothing to see here, nope.

So a throw back...yes ma'am.

Jen over at A Quarter Inch From The Edge inspired me the other day to share some of my older pre-blog projects. Given that I have only blogged now for 4 months that leaves a lot of great projects to write about and makes chosing one a bit difficult. My all time favourite is my Purple Cow so I guess I should start there.

A sketch seemed as good a place to start as any.

I have loved cows all my life. I got my first cow in the late 70's when I was 3 or 4 years old and although it sported wheels and a Fisher-Price stamp I loved and cared for it like it was the real deal. The Purple Cow quilt was inspired by my mother who used to recite the poem to me when I was a little girl, because her grandfather used to read it to her.

This is where I learned the hard way that two mediums = mush.
The yellow should have been stronger, the message in the sky is
lost and often missed by the viewer. Contrast matters. A Lot.

The poem is a real oldie. Written in 1895 by Gelette Burgess, it goes like this:

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one. 
But I can tell you anyhow, 
I'd rather see than be one.

Off to a good start!

This was a free pieced adventure; no pattern, no plan, no rules. After a month of collecting bits and pieces of various small purple prints I started my building with her head, first the eyes and then her face. I used some scraps of satin and some blingy taffeta around her eyes...cause she's a fancy girl...and every bovine beauty should have velvet kissy lips too! Ears came next. Then a body, a neck, some udders that ended up in the garbage.

Her tail (that was a small feat of engineering!) and legs we're up next. I scratched my head a long time trying to figure out how to get this gal up and standing; so long in fact that she spent an entire summer laying legless in her pasture. But determination trumped avoidance and 4 legs eventually materialized. I had briefly imagined this gal standing in purple pumps or boots but totally chickened out after attempting a free pieced purple stiletto that quickly joined those udders in the trash can. 

When it came time to piece in all the background chunks to fit the wonky, free pieced body parts things got pretty interesting. Given that this was only my second ever attempt at free piecing and I was learning as I went it took a lot of time. Figuring it out as I went along meant some of the seam lines were tricky and some ended up better than others, but as long as the flimsy stayed flat and the piecing, how ever wonky, had integrity enough to withstand use and washing of a "real quilt" I was happy. I wanted this quilt to be able to be used and loved...this was never to be an art quilt or a pretty hanging. 

To make her into a bed size blanket I stacked up some fat quarters and sliced up some crazy flowers. A strip down either side and a mitered border finished it up around 85" inches square.

Hanging upside down after her first turn on the frame.

I quilted it in free motion on the Wee Wiggler; a challenge in itself. I wanted the borders quilted directional so I had to turn the quilt 3 times on the frame to achieve this. The quilting on the cow itself was SEW much fun. I did all her little bits differently...I felt like I was tattooing her!

I love purple. Purple is the colour of grooviness!
And if I do say so myself this is one groovy cow!

(Oh, and in case you wondered...I still have that Fisher-Price cow. In fact, I gave it to my son when he was about that same age...and, like his momma, he loved her too! More, he received his first plush purple cow when he was born as a gift from my sister, Judy, who found it in Vancouver.)


  1. I think she's divine. And I'm thrilled to have played a little part of this!

  2. Thanks for sharing. It was good to see how she came to be.

  3. Great quilt! My dad used to read me that poem when I was a little girl.

  4. Love seeing more of her details and the quilting. Terrific post!!!!!!

  5. I just looked at this again and realized I have that fabric you used for the background of your cow in my stash... And I think the cow is just grand.