When people first contact me about my work, there are some who like to gently dip their toe into the water, and there are some who dive headfirst into the process. Jodi was one of the latter, and after learning more about her father, Joe, I understood why. Jodi’s initial email to me was full of energy and a readiness to pour her love for her dad into a collection of quilts for her family.
To say that Joe Gunter was committed to service is a bit of an understatement. He was the mayor of Salinas, California, a retired police officer who served 31 years, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Marines, and a tireless volunteer who served many different organizations whenever he could. His unexpected death was a blow to the entire city. The newspaper articles and photographs Jodi shared with me were helpful in painting a picture of her father.
Jodi asked me to make five quilts: one for each of her sons, one for her mom, and two for herself. We decided that I would design one custom pattern for three of the quilts and a different pattern for the other two. (This article will share the first three quilts, and a subsequent article will share the remaining two) In addition, the making of the first quilt in this series will be featured in the 2021/22 Winter Issue of What Women Create Magazine
There was no shortage of garments to work with – Jodi made sure I had plenty!
One of Joe’s enduring volunteer gigs was to head up the security for the local rodeo, so Jodi included some of his great western style shirts.
As I began designing the first quilt pattern, it was impossible not to think about the decades that Joe served in the police and armed forces, and I took inspiration from the chevron shapes used in many of their badges and insignia.
Keeping the angles consistent on each block was important for being able to line up where they met, so having a template was helpful.
I cut some strips along the grain and some on the bias so the plaids and stripes could meet from different angles.
Joe’s neckties became the horizontal dividing lines between the three tiers of blocks.
This is the binding being attached after the quilting was done. It’s always nice to have a solid back where you can see the edge to edge quilting lines.
It’s also great to see the quilting on the front where it visually advances and recedes depending on which fabric it’s resting on.
Here is the final quilt, followed by some details.
I extracted this little monogram from one of Joe’s rodeo shirts.
I began the second quilt using many of the medium-toned blues and blue jeans.
I’ve always found blue and brown paired together to be very comforting.
This gold paisley tie was a great pop of color traveling across the quilt, as was the rust plaid.
Here is the finished second quilt.
And some details.
For the third quilt in this series, I decided to go monochrome, using fabrics that fit loosely into a grayscale.
Joe had the perfect black and white striped tie as one of the tier dividers and another stone-colored paisley for the other.
Here is the finished quilt. It is the first time in years that I have chosen simple parallel lines for the quilting pattern, and I love the pared down elegance.
I was able to make a stand alone patch out of the only rodeo-themed necktie in the bunch.
I want to thank Jodi for her indefatigable enthusiasm and go for it energy throughout the entire project. Stay tuned for the next post featuring Jodi’s final two quilts in the second pattern.