The "and He separated the light from the darkness" quilt once published in McCall's Quilting Quick Quilts

I thought I'd start the sharing I mentioned earlier this week with the quilt that I see every day. The top quilt in the photo hangs on the wall in my living room behind my TV. The label on the back of it has the verse "and He separated the light from the darkness" on it, because of the obvious contrast but also the palm fronds in the border made me think of the beginning of time. I made the top quilt in Jacksonville Beach, Florida in October 1998. I was finding inspiration everywhere (including the Bible, obviously) and I had time to quilt and was surrounded by fabric, as I was managing a quilt shop at the time.

The top quilt was a remake of the quilt beneath it, made in Rogers, Arkansas in the summer of 1996. The quilt was rejected for publication because fabrics in the black-and-ivory quilt were too distinctive for publication. Turns out that if you use distinctive fabrics, you'd better be working with the fabric company and designing with it before it's available to the public. Why?, you ask. Well, there are a lot of people who want to make the project just like the picture. With the time it takes to produce a magazine (several months at best), by the time you buy fabric at the store, make the project, submit it to a magazine and have it accepted, send it in, and actually see it in print, that fabric's not in the stores anymore. So I submitted it with the offer to remake it in less distinctive fabrics.

The submission got accepted by Beth Hayes, the editor of McCall's Quilting Quick Quilts, in 1998. The quilt was published in the July 1999 issue of the magazine and it was renamed "Sea Breeze" which seemed a perfectly appropriate name, given that it was created in a beach house on the east coast of Florida.

The images at the bottom are tight shots of the quilting and the corner border blocks. I traced musical note Christmas ornaments on contact paper and then freehand quilted around them with my sewing machine. They're reversed in the photo because I shot the back of the quilt--the quilting doesn't show well from the front--another lesson learned. As for the corner block, I took part of the border print and mitered the corners so the piano keys wrapped around the corner.

Funny story about Beth Hayes. She and I worked together for maybe a week when I used to work for McCall's Needlework and she came on board at McCall's Quilting back in June of 1995. Before McCall's Quilting and McCall's Quilting Quick Quilts (now McCall's Quick Quilts) were launched as magazines you could subscribe to, each title was done more than once as a special issue by McCall's Needlework (and Crafts). I was actually involved in helping to produce McCall's Quilting in its first two years as a bimonthly magazine. And about the time I left the company that produced those magazines, Beth came on board. I think she was at my farewell luncheon which may also have been her welcome luncheon. So when I started to consider designing quilts as a freelancer, I turned to her and her magazines first, both due to the fact that I knew her and the fact that I have always felt a certain bond with the titles.


Cyndi L said...

Interesting about the fabric availability and the magazine publishing cycle! I never thought about that, but I've often sat in front of an air conditioner in July trying to get into the Christmas spirit and make holiday projects!

Linda Augsburg said...


Part of the problem is that quilt fabric often only has one run--a very short life cycle. When I managed the shop, we had to be very quick if we wanted to reorder something, because they didn't reprint specialty prints often. The basics, of course, and batiks are more often in the selection of a fabric company for a while, but there are always new lines being released and old ones going out of print. Just supporting my theory--if you see it and like it, you'd better buy it because it's probably not going to be available later.

As for Christmas in July, been there, done that. Set up Christmas trees for photo shoots in July and August!

Eileen Bergen said...

Thanks for the "behind the scene peek" - very interesting stories.

I recall taking close-ups of handmade Christmas ornaments hanging them from any type of evergreen I could find in June. They had to be real close and often with the background out of focus so the ornament would look like it was hanging on a Christmas tree in someone's living room. lol.

Tammy said...

I really like the border on that first quilt. Good thing I clicked on the image because that really "makes it" for me.

I also had no idea of the fabric being so tough to get and seasonal like that.

Suella said...

Love your piano keys. Great fabric. And good tip about getting it when you see it.


Sharon said...

What an interesting story - especially about the fabric choices used for magazine designs!

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