When I was young, I grew up watching M*A*S*H, which is a show I still love to this day. For those who may not have watched, or are too young to remember, M*A*S*H was a very popular series based on the equally popular movie of the early 1970s, which focused on the men and women in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital set in South Korea during the Korean War of the 1950s.
Being a fan of the show, I reached out to Emmy Award-winning actress Loretta Swit, aka Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, the female lead of the show and one of the core cast-members to stay all 11 years of the series. I’ve always admired her for her acting skills, and both her onscreen and offscreen inspiration mentoring people to become nurses and leaders, but most of all, I appreciate her love of animals and her charity SwitHeart.Animal Alliance ( https://www.switheart.org/. ) Animals have a very special place in my heart, too, so I offered to make Loretta a quilt to thank her for all she has given us.
Can you imagine my surprise and how happy I was that she actually responded to me?!! Loretta was so gracious, and told me what her likes were, and even sent me some pictures of the décor of her home! I was so honoured I had the priviledge of making this extraordinary woman who I greatly admired a beautiful custom quilt. Of course I turned to my Janome machines for help, both for the piecing, and the quilting. I pieced the quilt top on my Janome Continental M7, but any Janome machine would do the job.
Loretta likes Dragons, so my search began looking for a dragon panel. I wanted more of a traditional Chinese dragon, not a fantasy dragon, and finally found the perfect one at, funnily enough, Dragon Fly Quilting in Cloverdale, BC.
After careful consideration, I found the fabrics I wanted that went well with the panel. I raided my “Fabric Library” and found the majority of these.
When it came to quilting, my Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18 longarm machine and ProStitcher Premium computer program came to the rescue. I used one of the built-in designs that looks like a combination of a claw and fire, which I thought was appropriate with the dragon panel.
I like to float my quilt top, which means I don’t attach it to the roller and just let it hang over the front of the frame. I keep the quilt top square by basting the layers together, so nothing shifts while the machine is stitching by itself. Basting is my best friend! The channel lock feature built-in to the ProStitcher Premium computer program is great for maintaining straight lines and ensuring my quilt is on straight.
I was really pleased with the final product! I normally like to hand deliver a quilt because I like to see people’s faces when they see it for the first time, but I had to mail this one as I don’t live in California, and of course, COVID restrictions. I sent it off and Loretta sent me back a wonderful note letting me know she received the quilt safely and to thank me!
Awesome, awesome! Fantastic results.
Sent from my iPad
Hi Ann! Thank you sew much for your compliments. Yes, Anne Margaret always does beautiful work. Thank you for sharing the Janome love!
Wow, that was so generous of you. It came out beautifully. I really like how you detailed the corners in patchwork and allowed the quilting to show on the solid grey. Just terrific. Do quilters sign their quilts?
Thank you SEW much for your compliments! Anne Margaret is indeed very talented, and very generous, so it’s wonderful she so often combines the two. Historically, quilters often didn’t sign their quilts, or create a label giving some personal history of who made the quilt, the quilt pattern, etc. Fortunately, we modern-day quilters have more tools available to us, like built-in fonts on the sewing machines, embroidery machines, heat-transfer fabric which we can run through our ink-jet printers, then iron-on to the back of our quilts, so we can easily add some personal information to the quilt, especially when giving it away.