Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Dear Friend Returns

This post is a review of how my wonderful friend and I worked together to actualize a dream of making a quilted duvet cover with fabrics that she and her husband, Ken had collected over the decades of their marriage.  Ken, a master of many talents, created the design for the quilt top that was to be.
Helmi and Ken Flick
Last year this extra special friend, Helmi Flick, flew in from Texas to start construction of the duvet cover.

A little history of our friendship may be warranted here.  Back in the late 1980s and 90s Helmi and I worked together at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.  I worked in Neurology and she worked in Neuropathology.  Childrens Hospital was an affiliate of the USC School of Medicine from which I had just come.  She was the very first person to come to my office to welcome me with open arms and her inimitable laughter to offer any help that I might need in acclimating to the ways of Childrens Hospital.  That was the moment which sparked a life long friendship with this lovely lady who I consider a sister of the heart.
Meeting Helmi at Lindberg Field 2016

Helmi and Me in 2016 when she visited

When Helmi and Ken visited a couple years before, they left a banker's box of their fabric collection with me.  When they departed, they promised that Helmi would be back to create a quilted duvet cover with the fabrics they had collected.

After they returned to Texas, Ken worked up a design for what they envisioned to be the duvet cover.  I venture to guess that their love of the ocean was inspiration for the design
Ken's Conceptual Schematic

A Few of the Wonderful Hand Dyed Cotton Fabrics
All the Fabrics Laid Out on the Work Table
Helmi envisioned the quilt being constructed from strip pieces of the fabrics so we got to work cutting strips.
The First Cut!!
Once the first cut was made we were off and running.
Stacks of Strips
We only had one week to get this done.  We needed to be able to work both together and separately.I had set up two work tables and two sewing machines so that we could work in a somewhat assembly line fashion. 
Helmi Sewing Strips Together
Each striped seam needed to be ironed open.
Ironing the First Strips
And the strips started coming together.
Linda Clipping Wayward Threads As the Top Started to Take Shape
The Top is Starting to Take on an Image of Water
The first section started to become a little wonky, so it needed to be blocked before we could continue with the next section.
Linda Blocking the First Section on a Design Board
The next section which represented the sun shining on water was roughly laid out.
Preliminary Layout of Fabrics to Represent Sun
Individual pieces were then sewn together end to end and then the long strips were sewn together..
The Top Starting to Come Together and Laid on on Work Table
To represent shimmers on the "water" we used a satin stitch that went from very narrow to wider to narrow again.
To have an idea of how many pieced strips were used, one only need look at the back.
Back of Strip Pieced Top
To preview our work, we laid the completed strip pieced top on my bed.
Previewing The Strip Piecing on My Bed
Because we did not have a work table wide enough to lay the top flat, we took to the floor.  We used a carpenter's plumb bob and rulers to square up the measurements according to the size that Ken had defined in his schematic drawing.

Using Plum Bob and Rullers on the Floor
Once that was complete, black borders were added.
Black Borders Added
Helmi and I became intimately familiar with the floor as we then laid out fabric to piece together for the  backing. 
Helmi Laying Out Backing Fabric and Batting and Taping to Floor
Once the backing was pieced together, batting and top were laid upon it.
Pieced Top Laid On Top of Batting and Backing Fabric
The top was then pinned to the batting and backing.
Linda Pinning Top to Batting and Backing
Once the pinning was complete, the quilt "sandwich" was lifted from the floor and taken to the sewing machine.
Lifting the Pinned Quilt Sandwich from the Floor
Finally, the quilting began.
Quilt "Sandwich" Rolled to Fit through the Throat of the Machine
Helmi put the pedal to the metal and quilted her little heart out, right up to the time that she needed to pack her suitcase for the trip home.

We did not finish the entire quilted duvet cover before the week came to an end when she needed to catch her plane back to Texas and to her loving husband, Ken, and their wonderful kitties.  We talked about how we could confer via Skype so that she could finish the quilted work at home in Texas..  Instead of moving forward via Skype, Helmi made plans to visit again this year to finish the quilt.

Next week Helmi will arrive, once again, at Lindberg Field in San Diego and we will spend the fikkiwubg (translate:-]  following) week working on attaching fabric for the drop to the floor, putting on a second backing which will accommodate the duvet and we should have finally completed this very fun project.  The icing on this cake will be spending time together with lots of hugs and wonderful laughter.  I am so blessed to have such a magnificent friend.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2017.  All rights reserved