Juanita’s Pearl was made and quilted by Sue Hawkes of Pocatello, Idaho. The Director’s Choice award was sponsored by Moore’s Sewing Center who presented Sue a check for $5,000.
Sue grew up watching her grandmother cut up any fabric (most of which was recycled from something that was no longer usable as its intended use) she could find into little bitty pieces and then stitch them back together by hand. Sue was always fascinated with the colors and patterns her grandmother created and knew that for sure, someday, she was going to be just like her.
The inspiration for Juanita’s Pearl was Sue’s mother, for which the quilt is named. The two center roses represent Sue’s mother and dad. The nine circling roses are for their children. The long stemmed roses are for their grandchildren. In the border are sixty-four roses, one for each year her parents were married. And the strings of pearls represent the never ending love Sue’s mother had for her family.
It took two and a half years to complete this project. Sue reflected on her work: “I have never taken on such a challenging project both mentally and emotionally. I’m not an artist so the idea of drawing intimidated me a bit. But with all the great tools at hand, I pushed on. My mother loved roses and her favorite color was pink. Her middle name was Pearl so the designing process was easier than I thought it would be with these elements to work with.”
Sue had never done cut away trapunto before, let alone the color trapunto. “The cutting was intense and very time consuming. I had the quilt on my longarm four different times for stitching in the color and then cutting away. During this process, I learned a lot about patience and pacing myself especially around all those pearls, just not once but twice. One wrong snip would end it all. The fifth time on the longarm was for the final quilting.”
Getting to the end of the quilting stage, Sue said she was able to “see the light at the end of the tunnel.” She found that “it was very time consuming and challenging but I used this time to reflect upon all my memories of my mother. Lots of times I had to shut off the machine because I couldn’t see through the tears.”
Her “wow I did it!” moment was when she took the quilt off the longarm and was ready to soak out all the markings and water soluble thread. She prayed it would all come out and that there would be no seepage of color around the trapunto – and there wasn’t!! All her work and worry paid off.
Sue learned many things along the way. What kept pushing her on was what Karen McTavish tells her students and admirers, “Do the hardest thing and push yourself; it will pay off in the end.”
When Sue received her email that she had won Director’s Choice, it was the night before she was to fly out to the show. She remembers, “As I read it I couldn’t believe the words. I just handed off my iPad to my husband to see if he read the same words that I had read.” She spent her winnings on what “every other quilter would do — I bought more fabric!”
Where does Road’s 2015 Director’s Choice winner go from here? “The quilting world is growing in every direction and I plan on growing with it. My biggest obstacle is not enough hours in the day for all I want to do and learn.”
Congratulations Sue Hawkes on winning the 2015 Director’s Choice Award sponsored by Moore’s Sewing Center.]]>