Monday, November 19, 2012

She said "You call yourself a doctor?" I said "This is true." She said "Explain to me really what doctors must do."

This was a quilt that was commissioned by four adult sons in memory of their father.  The dad was born in Italy, came over the US at age 13 and apparently learned English quite rapidly as he went to Rutgers at 18 followed by Jefferson Medical College at 22.  Being a member of a more formal generation., the good doctor was given a tie by each of his four boys on every gift-giving occasion.

I received 3 bankers file boxes full of ties and the instructions to make a modern, vibrant quilt with this fairly sedate neckwear.  We went back and forth with different designs and it was actually both of our sons who came up with the final layout. My kiddo has a strong artistic sense and the recipient's son is an Industrial Design major at Carnegie Mellon, go Tartans!  

I used 132 ties in this wallhanging which barely made a dent in one box. The vast majority were silk which involved a lot of prep work to get them to behave properly in a quilt.  Each 4" right triangle was separated by 2" sashing so that the busy patterns would not clash with each other. I incorporated plaids, stripes, Italian brocades, skinny ties, wide ties.  I used the boldest prints in the boxes staying away from browns and tans. The sashing was quilted but the ties were left unquilted so they could pop a bit.

The red, blue and yellow triangle is from a pharmaceutical company tie. Many people know that Depression-era quilters used feedsacks in their work. Many dry goods at that time came in a fabric sack that was printed decoratively. What I did not know was that pharmaceutical companies would give away ties to physicians, many times with an enlarged print of the microscopic image.

Although I am glad I accepted this challenge as it caused me to push my creativity in a new direction, I am somewhat relieved that my own father rarely wore a tie to work as he was a research scientist in a lab and did not dress up except for lectures.