My Left Knee

I had so much fun making My Right Knee Quilt that when 6 months passed and I was ready for the left knee to be replaced, I knew another lap quilt was part of the deal! I have always been intrigued with reverse applique, where fabric is layered and cut away revealing the layers underneath instead of adding layers to a foundation piece of cloth. The technique seems to have been perfected by the Cuna Indians from the San Blas Islands as Molas ...

or by the Hmong women who migrated from China in the mid-nineteenth century to the mountainous regions of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Many ended up in refugee camps then migrated to the USA. Traditionally they too used brilliant colors for their work, but life in the camps severely limited access to fabrics and pieces with muted colors were made from whatever was available. On the left is a traditional piece, on the right is a piece I bought from a refugee family at Piper Park in Corte Madera in the 1980s. One day I will think of the perfect way to use it!

I was intrigued with the idea that as humans migrated, women likely shared needle techniques. It occurred to me that the Land Bridge could have been involved. Each representation is so unique to the women who made them and the surroundingd in which they lived. Playing with the technique, I quickily figured out that my theme, "Critters I like," would involve both reverse and traditional applique. I tried to plan out the quilting lines and realized that they would determine themselves by the placement of the figures on the cloth. The process involved essentially five steps: 1) appliqueing the critters to the top piece, 2) layering the cloth, 3) basting the quilt lines, 4) cutting the "channels" that revealed the underlying layers and stitching them down and finally quilting it all... Not sure I will do this again, but it certainly got me thru my recooperation!

Click on the quilt to see details photos