• inspiration

Bobbie Sullivan
Scituate, Masachusetts

In 1995 I was given a box of letters to read by a neighbor. He had found them upstairs in his 100-year-old house after he purchased it. The letters were written to the woman, who used to live in the house, from a soldier in World War I. He was her sweetheart, and he wrote her 37 letters between September 1917 and July 1918. They are still in their original envelopes and in excellent condition when they were found.

Also included were two of her letters which had been returned to her marked 'deceased'. He died in 1918 at the age of 25. She died in 1979 at the age 81, having never married.

After reading these letters, I decided to make a quilt about this war and use the photo-transfer technique relatively new to quilting.

The result is my quilt called The Letters. As you can see, I found that a flag was a perfect vehicle to successfully put all information I collected from books at the library. I used many techniques putting this quilt together including, machine and hand appliqué and paper piecing. Embellishments were added consisting of embroidery floss and a three-dimensional envelope, use of chiffon and satin stitching. I also used gray washes to tone down the brighter fabric. The letters themselves were transfered at 100% and along with the envelopes are legible.

This quilt has gone on to win many ribbons including the first prize in the Amateur Wall Hanging category at the American Quilter's Society Show in Paducah, KY in 1997. I enjoy taking it to my lectures and when I visit schools. It always elicits an favorable response from all ages because of its universal theme.

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