Saturday, September 17, 2011

Romancing the Captain

 Have you ever had a project that you have just fallen out of love with?  Such was the case with me and this "Captain Russell quilt".  I had finished the outer 16 blocks and the center wreath but I no longer had that lovin' feeling.  Other things were newer, more attractive and exciting and I was in danger of moving on, so it was time to rekindle the romance.
I started by looking at what I had fallen in love with in the first place.  But as is often the case I really wanted to make the necessary changes to suit me.  Unfortunately the Captain wasn't perfect just as he was.  Now I had always loved the look of the quilts with a basket of flowers in the middle and that eagle and flag, wonderful as they are, just weren't speaking to me.  I was using the pattern on the right, but remembered that this quilt was partially patterned in the book on the left.  The book is from 1983 and was published before most of the Baltimore Album books and patterns that we are familiar with.  It actually suggests a technique of cutting out the shapes and just arranging them in a pleasing pattern, just as the ladies of Baltimore might have done.  And having seen some original unfinished album blocks at the Baltimore Museum of Art (where the Captain hangs and you can purchase the pattern) I thought it might bring back the excitement I had as I started the quilt.
The picture at the beginning of the post shows the first attempt at the block and this is the second.  I didn't like how the daisy like flower in the center stood out in the orange and wasn't fond of it in this gold color either.
I finally decided that I liked it better in this lighter gold, but now, having stitched half of the block I am not so sure.  I must admit though I think that I have rekindled my love.  Trying this technique was fun and freeing.  I did use another block pattern just to help with general balance but the block was truly made up by just placing shapes down until I liked how everything looked and then, using Roxanne's glue baste, I glued the whole block up ready for stitching.  Probably not for everyone but it was very fun and was a great way to bring new life to an old project.  Sometimes just having and open mind and trying something new can make you see things in a new light and it may even get your heart fluttering again. 


Salley said...

Captain Russell is "Alive and Well" and still seducing lovely ladies!
This applique is beautiful. Dont give up, stir that romance again as we want to see it finished and Glorious.

Lisa said...

I love this quilt, and your version is stunning. It's funny how putting it away for a while helps you see it in a new light.

Janet said...

Your center looks amazing, really the yellow daisy looks great. You have balanced the yellows which makes it work. I'll cheer you on to keep going, this is one incredible project.

Kathie said...

your block looks amazing! oh please keep going
When I went to the BMA I was in AWE of this quilt and the blocks on display
It sparked my interest in BA quilts. I have had this book for years, I need to take it out and look at it again.
I am so glad the "romance" is back, please keep going and keep sharing us your so inspiring

Miriam said...

What a stunning quilt!!! I love all your versions of the block, but I agree the lighter yellow looks great.

I would love to see the rest of your blocks!!!