Lea’s Choice

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Lea's Choice quilt

Lea’s Choice
81” x 81”

Traditional motifs with a garden theme were chosen for this delicate hand appliquéd piece that was quilted on a regular sewing machine using hand-guided free-motion quilting. The images represent my friends with the Prairie Heritage Quilters, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, a group that I have belonged to for many years. In 2006, I purchased the book, Twentieth Century Quilts 1900-1950, from the husband of our deceased member, Lea. In it were many beautiful appliqué quilts including a photo of “Central Medallion” made in 1937 by A. Y. of New Jersey. A blank sheet of paper left by Lea marked the quilt as if she wanted me to know THIS was a great quilt! I agreed with her and decided to use the quilt as inspiration for a new project.

On January 5, 2007 I began studying the photo of A.Y‘s quilt and creating the drawings for templates. The only part of A.Y.’s quilt used in my composition was the center appliqués set in a circle within the square (on point) of more appliqué shapes. It took five weeks to hand appliqué the many pieces giving me time remember Lea and the other friends we have lost and the many good times we shared. As I stitched, the motifs began to take on a special meaning. The pink garland that encircles the central design signifies the friendship that unites us in our love of quilting and the yellow ribbons are in memory of those who are no longer with us.

With the central appliqué complete, I assembled the border sections and appliquéd the leaves and flowers that join the outer sections. Late that winter, I attended a dinner party at the home of the granddaughter of another of our former members, who learned sewing from her grandmother. I admired her simple floral silverware pattern and when I discovered it had belonged to her grandmother, I knew at once that I had found the foundation for the quilting designs for my quilt. I fashioned the flowers, leaves and rows of beads into borders in several sizes. Next, I added outlines of the birds (from the toile fabric) that filled the four quilted heart shaped wreaths.

I the free-motion quilting was completed on March 24, 2007. I thought the quilt was finished when I entered it in the 2007 Prairie Heritage Show, the next day. However, when I saw the quilt hanging I felt the trellis (quilted in the green solid) looked empty. My younger son agreed and insisted that whatever I added to the tiny spaces (3/4”) must have relevance to the theme of the quilt. After the show, I added a leaf in each square for my students, hoping that with my guidance, they will turn over a new leaf in their quilting. Including those leaves, the number of hours of machine quilting grew to 300.

Quilting Designs for this quilt are in the Prairie Rose Design Collection

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2007 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

Lea's choice, corner of quilt lea-choice-bird Lea's Choice quilt, detail of applique

Awards and Exhibits
2007 Pacific International Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting, Traditional Quilt
2007 Quilt Expo First Place, Large Appliqué, Machine Quilted
2007 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show, First Place Appliqué Large
2008 Quilt Odyssey, First Place, Large Appliqué
2008 Lowell Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting and Viewer’s Choice
2008 Appleseed Quilt Show Best of Show and Viewer’s Choice
2008 Road to California, Excellence in Machine Quilting Award
2008 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Third Place, Appliqué, Professional
2008 Lancaster Quilter’s Heritage, Third Place, Appliqué, Large Quilt
2008 American Quilter’s Society, Second Place, Appliqué, Bed Quilt
2009 Dallas Quilt Festival, 1st Place Appliqué, Large Quilt

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