This beautiful quilt was made by the Village Quilters of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest to commemorate Lake Bluff’s 125th anniversary. It will be displayed in the former Marshall Fields/Macy building on the west side of Market Square in Lake Forest from September 1-10, as part of the Arts Stroll. Drop by anytime to view the quilt, and visit September 4 between 3 and 7 p.m. to talk to a couple of the quilters who created this lovely piece.
Creation and Talent
Work began with design meetings in December 2019, and a planned completion date of May 2020, to make the quilt available during all of the Village’s planned anniversary celebrations. The quilt was completed on time. But, given the pervasive presence of the COVID-19, most 125 anniversary events were cancelled.
The quilt, intended to be a wall hanging, is about 4 feet square. It depicts Lake Bluff in all four seasons, showing typical Village activities in each quadrant – spring flowers, summer sailing and parade, fall colors, and winter decorations – as the same oak tree changes its leaves. It features the Lake Bluff gazebo, which is a central feature of Village life and which is depicted in the logos of both the Village and the Guild.
The quilt design process began with discussions about general concepts, shape and size. Kate Klein and Kearstie Grenier sketched the circle of buildings and Kearstie produced the final paper-pieced patterns using photographs and EQ8 quilting software. Each building represents a specific, historic Lake Bluff building. There is a key showing each photographed building, its paper-pieced representation, and its location on a diagram of the quilt. One copy of the key will hang near the quilt and another will be attached to the back of the quilt.
When it was time to start selecting fabric and sewing, the committee met in Donna Derstadt’s studio. Committee members all shared their fabrics, but Donna generously contributed most of the fabric. The quilt embodies several quilting techniques. The Village buildings are paper-pieced. The flowers are appliquéd. The sky is pieced using an underlayment of graph fabric. The figures and lettering were produced with a stencil process. There is embroidery embellishment depicting grass under the children’s feet and in some other central features. The central circle was assembled in quadrants and then the trees were appliquéd onto the quilt.
Many committee members did the paper piecing including Madge Pierce, Alice Hutchinson, Kate, Kearstie, Linda, and Donna. Kearstie appliquéd the flowers. Marti Austin decorated the winter tree with three-dimensional sparkly balls. Donna did the figures and lettering and the borders. Linda Spring did the sky. Kate did the embroidery and the binding. Barb Jolley did the quilting.
This was a true committee effort. During March, when the final touches were being applied, the quilt was passed from person to person while maintaining social distancing and sheltering in place. The quilt will be hung in the Lake Bluff Public Safety Building. The entire committee included Ann Hamlin, Carol Swartz, Donna Derstadt, Kate Klein, Kearstie Grenier, Madge Pierce, Marti Austin, Alice Hutchinson, and Linda Spring, chair.