4th of July Picnic quilt

In 2007, I went to Arroyo Grande, CA to meet Susan Branch and do a very special interview with her for my podcast.

Meeting Susan and interviewing her for the podcast was one of the biggest “pinch me” moments of my career. I had been a fan of her long before we met and I was an even bigger fan after our meeting. When she lived in California, we had the opportunity to spend time together – which I will always treasure.

(Wow — what a difference time makes…)

See the bolts of fabric up above us in the picture? That was Susan’s first fabric line with RJR, Martha’s Vineyard Watercolor. Inspired by 4th of July celebrations at her home on the East Coast. I visited Martha’s Vineyard in 1974 and enjoyed a 4th of July there myself, so her fabric line really spoke to me. Susan’s incredible artistic talent is so homey, so warm and inviting. How could I not make a quilt using those fabrics?

So after our visit, I cut out the fabrics for a teaching sample quilt — the 1:10 quilt that goes with my Color Sense workshop. I stitched up the blocks and made the quilt top. I want to do something really special for this one, because it was Susan’s fabric and I wanted it to really look like something she would design — so I added some Hexie flowers in one corner.

I carried that quilt top around with me to every Quilt Guild visit, trunk show, workshop, LQS class that I taught. Each time I showed it, everyone commented on how much it looked like a picnic quilt.

Fast forward to today — when I put the finishing stitches in the binding of this quilt that I now call “4th of July Picnic”. Completely made with Martha’s Vineyard Watercolor fabric. If you’re counting, you realize that it’s taken me ten years to finish this quilt? Almost to the day because I posted the podcasts and blogs on July 7th, 2007.

I recently had the quilt quilted by an extraordinary quilter, Suzan DeSerres of Singing Stitches in Chapel Hill, NC. She lives not too far away from my son and I met Suzan a few years back when I was teaching in North Carolina and needed a quilt done for me. Suzan, and her husband Mark, are uber-talented long arm quilters that have won more awards than I can count. Check out their website for more information.

Here’s some close-up detail of Suzan’s work:

Now you know why I love this fabric so much! This quilt holds so many happy memories.

In creating the binding, I discovered that I had a couple of whole selvedges that I could incorporate into the quilt, post-quilting. So I added them to the hanging sleeve — as  reminder of the gorgeous fabric collection.

The funny thing: I didn’t realize that Susan added a quote from a San Francisco Bay Area comedienne that I loved to go see back in the 80’s – Carrie Snow. “No day is so bad that it can’t be fixed with a nap.” That makes it special too.

In the future, I’m going to add the selvedges to the hanging sleeves, especially when I use an entire fabric collection in a quilt. What a great way to remember what you’ve used!


By the way, I’m teaching the Color Sense workshop in the following locations:

Honey Run Quilters, Chico, CA — August 16 & 17

Moore’s Sewing Center, Huntington Beach, CA — August 28 & 29

Utah Quilt Guild Quiltfest, Layton, UT — Sept.20 (1-day class)

Sew It Up!, Hurst, TX — November 3-4

Please leave me a comment and let know how you enjoyed the podcasts with Susan.


Happy Quilting!

©2017    Annie Smith    All Rights Reserved


  2 comments for “4th of July Picnic quilt

  1. Pat Leask
    August 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Your “picnic quilt” turned out beautifully Annie – that quilt “pattern” always amazes me that it’s just one block but the different fabrics plus light and dark variations make them look so different! I’ve had a couple quilt tops sitting here for just several months needing quilting – guess I shouldn’t feel pressured to get at them – I’ve got years to get to them right? 😜 Now I must go get caught up on your podcasts. 😉


    • Annie
      August 8, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you, Pat! It’s always wonderful to hear from you. Yeah — you know, if you have a couple quilt tops hanging around, eventually they’re going to keep calling you to get them quilted. I finally just bit the bullet and them done. Now I only have two left to be done. Not including the ones that I’m currently working on, of course. I always find it easier to let the “Pros” quilt for me because then they get done! There’s a new podcast coming your way ; )


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