The Birdbath Quilt

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The next morning, Carole and Janice drove to Adrianna and Bill’s place. Since it was less than an hour’s drive, they arrived just in time for coffee.

Adrianna greeted them and invited them in.

“Come and meet Bill,” she said as she led them to the back of the house where Bill had his studio. “As you can see, this room faces north which is where the best natural light is for quilting.”

As they entered the room, Bill met them at the door. He was a tall, distinguished man with a pleasant face.

“Bill, I’d like you to meet two of my newest friends, Janice Bethune and Carole Fortescue.”

After shaking hands, Bill suggested they show him the wallhanging. He led them over to a long table which also held his Longarm quilting machine. “Now, let’s see what you’ve brought.”

Janice carefully removed the quilt from her bag and spread it out on the table.

“Wow! I’m impressed. This is a remarkable piece of work. Now, I’ll show you a couple of quilts I have finished so you can see some of the work which is possible using the Longarm quilting machine.”

“I must say, I’m amazed,” Janice replied as she looked at the finished pieces. “The quilting patterns on both are very intricate.”

“Yes,” said Carole, “and I think the threads you used are beautiful. They seem to make the quilts shimmer.”

“Bill laughed. “Most of what I quilt is based on the software I employ, and of course there is such a variety of threads from which to choose. Here, I’ll show you my thread collection.” Bill reached under the table and pulled out a couple of slotted drawers. Each slot contained a spool of thread. The threads were organized according to colour. Bill also had a separate drawer for the metallic threads.

At this moment, Adrianna arrived with coffee and suggested that Carole join her in her studio which was in a room next to Bill’s. The two rooms were separated by a pocket French door.

“Hey, we can have a good gossip, while you two are selecting the quilting pattern and threads.,” she said with a grin.

After everything had been decided, Carole and Janice headed home, both excited about what they had seen and learned.

As they drove back, Janice seemed very quiet.

“A penny for your thoughts?” asked Carole.

“I’m truly overwhelmed with what Bill showed me this morning; however, I’m also wondering if hand-quilting is going to disappear.”

“I’m sure it won’t, Janice. Look at knitting, for example. There has been a resurgence of the craft. You and I both know there are lots of machine-knitted clothing products on the market, just as there are lots quilted machine-knitted products but when a customer wants an heirloom quilt, they still ask for a hand-quilted product. Both have their place and there are many reasons for choosing one over the other. Now, would you like to fill me in on the quilting design you and Bill, chose?”

Janice laughed. “I was wondering when you’d get around to asking. But you’ll have to wait five more days until I pick up the quilt and bring it to Loretta’s so the binding can be hand-sewn.”

 

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When Freddie, Jean and Carole arrived at Loretta’s, Janice was already there and the birdbath quilt was laid out on Loretta’s dining room table for all to see.

Everyone was awestruck at how beautifully the machine-quilting enhanced each bird block. Each had put their talents to work in the individual blocks they had been assigned. Some birds were perching on a tree branch; a robin had an embroidered worm in its mouth; a cardinal was sitting on a nest; a crow was in flight. The threads Janice had chosen were metallic and set the quilt shimmering.

“Oh Janice, this is truly a work of art,” Freddie remarked and the others all agreed.

Janice flushed with pleasure. “Now,” she said, “since we know the residents’ monthly meeting is due in four days, who would like to sew on the binding.?”

Freddie and Jean immediately volunteered. Between the two, it was decided that Jean would do the first half and Freddie the last.

“I can do the label for the quilt back,” volunteered Lorett, and so everything was settled.

 

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author
In 1995 I began a series of stories titled The Recorded Adventures of the Birds of a Feather Quilting Bee. A couple of these were published in The Canadian Quilter. Several stories were published in the discontinued Canada Quilts and many more of these quilting short stories were published in Canadian Stories.
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