It’s a Duck. Ugly Duckling turned Odd Duck

duck overallSometime in the whirlwind that my life has been for the last month, I got a quilt in the mail. It’s an odd little duck, but it’s mine and I adore it. I have thought of this quilt fondly ever since I made it. It’s a vintage fusion piece that I started some time ago, which began with a humble dresser scarf. I often pick up odd little pieces like dresser scarves, doilies, and napkins, at antique malls and flea markets. They have tons of potential (even if I can’t see it at the time), and rarely cost more than a couple of dollars.

duck center
A cut-up dresser scarf with a Grandmother’s Flower Garden block hand-appliqued on top

I cut the scarf in parts (the center was a yucky mess, as is often the case) and carefully sewed the ends together to create the center medallion. It asked for more so I appliqued a hexagon block on top of that. I pulled out some other interesting (read: weird) hex blocks, some yellow and brown orphan blocks (that I–gasp!–cut up), a feedsack, a set of table linens, and some vintage yardage. Yellow, brown, and green. These aren’t exactly colors I love best, but I was tickled with the way it all went together. Yellow and brown together make me think of baby ducks and the story of the Ugly Duckling…and now you know why I think of it as my Odd Duck.

duck up closeI knew that I did not want to quilt this myself. I was pretty vague about it, but knew that it needed something that
I would probably not be able to deliver.  The actual quilting of a piece is not my strongest suit and I know that.  Before you say, “Oh, I’m sure you could do it,” please know that I probably could, if I really wanted to. I don’t. There are folks who do the parts I can’t/don’t want to do way better than I. I have no problem with this at all.

Enter Kelly Cline.

duck napkin cornerI first met Kelly at a meeting of the Missouri-Oklahoma-Kansas-Arkansas Quilt Study Group in June last year. She was new to longarm quilting but seemed to have taken to it body and soul. I definitely liked the energy I was getting from her, and since I didn’t have anything ready to quilt, I spied on her, er…watched her Facebook page to see what kinds Duck napkin 2of things she was doing. I liked what I saw very much. So, early in December, almost in passing, I gave her this piece to quilt. I really had no opinion what I wanted done with it, but felt that she would know exactly what it needed.

duck Tablecloth backingPerhaps you’re thinking that my attitude is a little…lax? Yes, yes, maybe it is. I’ll admit that there is a certain leap of faith required when you give a piece up to be quilted. How do you know that you’ll be happy with it when it comes back? Well, the truth is, you don’t. But I had met Kelly and liked her and liked what I saw of her work, so I was willing to take that leap. When I gave her the quilt and told her the backing was a tablecloth, her response nailed it for me. She was delighted! I knew she “got” what I had done.

Duck Backing

Kelly and I really didn’t even talk much about this piece as I passed it off to her. I knew and she knew that she would quilt it as it wanted to be done. Look closely at the photos and you’ll see that Kelly quilted all the parts as individual parts of a sum. And what a sum, hey?

Duck Corners

Maybe you can tell that I am really, really happy with how my little duck turned out. (You can’t? Really? Trust me, Kelly has probably gotten ten emails in which I say I “lovelovelove,” this quilt.) I haven’t taken the time to bind it yet,mostly because, well, because. I am debating what color to use. I have enough left of both the brown “T” fabric and the green (not vintage) that I used for the flange. What do you think?

  • Linda Frihart

    Swear I started writing and my thoughts disappeared. Anyway, without reading others comments have to pick the green. That precious flange of green needs more mixing with the brown and yellow. Then I would name it Easter Duck after my own Easter duck named Daisy. The piece wasn’t ever an ugly duck.