Victoria and I were back home in NYC for a few weeks and while we were there I had the opportunity to go to CT and meet Denyse Schmidt. When I was learning how to quilt about 8 years ago I bought Denyse’s book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts and used it as my how to guide book. This book started my quilting love and helped shape what I do.
For my first ever project I decided to make my very own bed quilt. Actually I made two different quilts and modified a pattern from the heating pad into a third quilt from this book. Pretty industrious for a level 1 beginner. I made my way to the City Quilter in NYC and was overwhelmed by the choices. Feeling like hours had passed in the shop (and it might actually have been hours) I made my decision on fabric.
Armed with my red, blue and yellow prints and cream solid I headed home and made myself some paper templates for “Hop, Skip & a Jump” and was on my way to creating my first quilt. Now for the ambitious part. I knew I wanted the quilt to hang on my bed nearly to the floor and the sides and the bottom which would make the finished quilt close to a US King size. So for my first ever quilt I made a massive 102″ x 102″ quilted monster. Well not quilted but pieced. For years I was afraid of quilting it so my first project remained folded in a plastic storage container mocking me every time I would see it.
With the first one partially done I decided to make something a bit more manageable and once again I head to Denyse and found her “Flock of Triangles”.
Not one to make my life simple I took the basic pattern and made it my own. Using a collection of brown, blue, green and orange I pieced what would be my sofa throw. Since this was my first attempt with triangles I didn’t know the correct positioning of the pieces and soon found out that my points are not really points. To be honest, I didn’t really care as I liked the final outcome. It has seen better days and is started to wear in spots but it is soft and I love sitting with it.
Don’t look too close!
Back to our trip to Bridgeport. Before I left London I sent an email to the Studio checking to see if it would be ok for me to make a visit. Julie, Denyse’s assistant emailed me back and we set up a day for a short meet and chat. Wednesday morning, Victoria, Mom and I drove out meet the legend. We arrived in Bridgeport to this amazing old Factory building from the early 1900’s.
Denyse’s Studio is on the top floor of what was the home to the American Fabrics Company, which manufactured lace fabric, trim, and embroideries from 1908 to 1990.
Once we made it to the top floor I felt the butterflies coming over me. We knocked and went it. The space is truly amazing. With double height ceilings and lots of light, it is the ideal space to create it.
Out from behind the bookcase comes Denyse. She was getting a number of her quilts ready for an exhibition at the National Quilt Museum in Kentucky running from October 11, 2013 through January 14, 2014. It was such an honor to met her. She walked us through to the “work” side of the Studio and showed us what she has been busy with. On her wall were images of quilts going to the show, samples of her new fabric which would be found in one of the eight lines she will be releasing in the near future and tons of inspiration.
The new Solid Bundle being released by FreeSpirit. It’s massive!
Denyse also showed us a few of her quilts that were not sent out yet. The green one was all done by hand and is beautiful to see in person.
It was a great experience to meet Denyse and get to see where she creates her amazing works of art. As we were heading out Denyse went into a draw and pulled out a few bits to take back with us. I can’t wait to start something amazing with her new “Florence” range.
Seeing that was all I need to finish up my first project, some 8 years later. On our way home we stopped and grabbed just a bit of backing, 8+ yards and few extra yards for some cushion covers which will be added to the to do list along with batting. Down to the basement I went and pinned it all up to the HQ and over the next few days I finally quilted my “Hop, Skip & a Jump”.
This quilt was soooo big we had to add the extensions to the machine. Can you say 12′!
I managed to quilt the entire thing before we headed back to London and now all I need to do is square it up and bind it. Looking forward to sitting on the couch with some Law and Order reruns and binding away. I have a feeling this might take a while.
[ Will add more the post when it is all finished]
Thank you Denyse for your generous gifts and for taking the time to show us around. It was a really pleasure to meet you.