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What goes into making a donation quilt?

Back in July, I received an invite to make a donation quilt for International Quilt Association’s Celebrity Mini-Quilt Auction held annually during Quilt Festival. The proceeds of the auction support the activities of IQA as well as their annual judged show, Quilts…A World of Beauty. Of course I was thrilled to have been asked to contribute a small quilt. The past few times I’ve been to Houston I had stopped by this auction to look at these pint sized quilts representing some of the amazing talent and artistry of IQA’s award winners, teachers and others.

I knew exactly which small quilt I had wanted to make for the auction. I had started the design back in January but had to put it on hold a while to meet other commitments. So when I returned to working on this quilt in early September, I knew that half of my process was already done. The inspiration behind the photo came from caring for our honeybees and the excitement of the inspiration pushed me to create the mosaic design and to finalize the digital cutting pattern.

Photo taken by Heidi Proffetty

Hand drawing of mosaic design

In in my mind, I was ready to dig in, start cutting my fabric pieces and assembling the mosaic design. And that’s exactly what I did. By mid-September I had finished the quilt top. Excited, I tacked it up to my design wall, took a few quick photos and then posted my progress on social media like I typically would do. But within a few minutes of posting, I looked at my quilt image and realized it just didn’t feel right to me? Something was wrong? I put the small quilt back up on my design wall and studied it closer and that’s when I realized...the values were off in multiple sections of the flower.

Quilt before adjustment were made to values

At this point, I knew that I only had 2 weeks left to make adjustments, do the quilting and allow time to ship it off to Houston. It was decision time. I knew that I could have left the quilt just as it was. After all, the quilt certainly was recognizable as being a flower and a bee. But in all honesty there was a part of me that knew I would never be happy just letting it go like this. We all have made quilts or quilt designs that we have not been truly pleased with and that's perfectly okay because it is through this process of making those quilts that we learn and grow. They are like rungs on a ladder as we climb upward advancing in our abilities. Fortunately for me, in the end this bee quilt worked out. I swapped out values in the various sections that troubled me. Once all the adjustments were made, I stood back, looked at it again and said to myself that I was finally happy with it. Now, I could quilt it.

Final quilt, dimensions 15" x 20"

With only two days left, Phew! I mailed my quilt off to Houston. The possibility of not meeting this commitment was real but it was more important to me that I be completely happy with my quilt in the end.

If you are visiting Quilt Festival in Houston this year, don’t forget to stop by this auction to admire these small quilts, try to guess who made them? (which is always fun to do!) or perhaps bid on a quilt and support a good cause for great organization, the International Quilt Association.



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