Goal to compete in full bloom with ‘Heralds of Spring’
Whorls of golden daffodils trumpet the message, tulips, crocuses and irises echo the announcement and delicate lilies of the valley, too, proclaim that the season of rebirth has arrived.
All of these blossoms are stitched with precision into a symmetrical quilt, titled “Heralds of Spring,” which recently won best of the show at the inaugural Quiltfest Destination Savannah in Georgia.
But what’s this? At the very center of the large floral appliqué quilt lurks a common weed with jagged leaves, most exasperating to flower gardeners and landscapers alike — a devilish dandelion.
“Yes, it’s a dandelion,” laughs the quilt maker, Joann Webb of Grain Valley, Mo. “You can’t put that in there, my husband said.”
But she did, because after all, dandelions are as much the harbingers of spring as the flowers Webb chose to plant on her quilt. They’re as unavoidable as that age-old weeding tool, the hoe.
Webb’s quilt, an original design she sketched herself, measures 80 inches by 80 inches, and features the circle of flowers on a purple scalloped background. She hand-appliquéd each flower and leaf with the needleturn method (all edges are turned under and stitched down), then hand-quilted the entire quilt.
Both methods are her specialties, and both are time-consuming.
“My goal is not to make a lot of quilts,” Webb says, but to enjoy the ones she does.She attended her first major show in Houston in 2006 and, at that time, decided she wanted to sew a quilt worthy of hanging in that annual international festival.
Webb attained that goal, and several of her quilts have won awards and been juried into national shows.
“Heralds of Spring” also won honorable mention at the National Quilting Association show last year in Columbus, Ohio, and appears on the cover of the association’s spring 2014 Quilting Quarterly magazine.
The quilt now travels to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, Pa., in July and to American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week in Des Moines, Iowa, in October.
Flowers aren’t the only subject Webb puts on her quilts, though. She’s fond of vintage pedal cars, and her son-in-law’s vintage toy shop inspires her.
“I’m making individual patterns of nine of them, a collection, and they’ll all go into one quilt,” Webb says.
In the past two years, she’s been self-publishing her own patterns for some of her quilts, including a “Retro 55 Pedal Car,” “because people asked for them.”
A Missouri shop carries the patterns, and Webb is working with one distributor so far. Her patterns are available through her website, jwebbquilts.com.
“It supports my quilting habit,” she says.
A couple of the men in Webb’s family own motorcycles and they dared her to put a cycle on a quilt, so she did. That particular pattern is a popular seller in the area, Webb says.
She’ll be making another competition quilt soon, although the exact subject matter hasn’t yet come to her.
In the meantime, she enjoys the friends and activities in her Twilight Stitchers Quilt Guild in Blue Springs, Mo., and the Greater Kansas City Quilt Guild.
“I love my guilds,” Webb says. “The other quilters are so encouraging, and they share so much.”
Email Sherida.Warner@ GJSentinel.com.