Marilyn Larson won $1,500 for Best Piecing from Sponsor, American Professional Quilting Systems for her quilt, Aurora.
Quilting is in Marilyn Larson’s blood.
When she left home to start her teaching career, Marilyn Larson’s mother took from the closet a Dresden plate quilt made by Marilyn’s grandmother Alice and their neighbor Netty Boyer. Up until that moment, Marilyn had never seen that quilt before and it “took my breath away.” The quilt was made from 1930’s feed sacks on muslin, both hand and machine pieced, appliquéd, and hand quilted. Marilyn decided then that she “had to learn this beautiful craft.”
Two Time Winner at Road to California
Marilyn’s very first entry in a Road to California to California quilt contest was an appliqué wall quilt entitled, “Inspired by Alice” and was awarded a first place ribbon!!!
The inspiration for Best Piecing Winner, Aurora, was an Edyta Sitar pattern, Bethlehem Star. It excited Marilyn because of the “glow” blocks. Marilyn worked on color placement using batiks and decided to add a pieced border comprised of the same diamond shape that she used in the star design. This pattern was also selected so that her friend, Barb Simons, could have the necessary space to add her amazing quilt stitches.
The making of quilt top took 1 year but then she ran out of the red and rust colored batik fabrics for the pieced border. Refusing to give up on her pieced border idea, Marilyn searched for 3 years until she found fabric that was similar enough to use. So ,in all, it took approximately 5 years to piece the top and then another year for Barb to do the quilting.
Marilyn says her major lesson with was to block the top before sewing on the binding. She had sewn on the binding, blocked the quilt and discovered the red fabric bled to the backing. Marilyn had to put the quilt into a bath of synthropol to remove the bleed. Then dye was removed but the quilt shrunk, causing the edge to ripple. Off came the binding so that Marilyn could get the edge to lay flat and then sew on the binding for a second time.
Winning News and Future Plans
Marilyn received word that she had won Best Piecing while living at her winter home in Arizona. Marilyn commented, “I am very proud of myself and pleased to receive this award. My trying to achieve perfection has paid off! I am still happy dancing.”
She planned to use her award money to purchase quilting fabric and supplies.
What are Marilyn’s future quilting plans? “As I live and breathe, I quilt. I expect to continue to produce quilt tops and hopefully enter more quilt shows. My newest frontier in quilting is long arm quilting. There are so many avenues to explore with this hobby: new techniques to learn, new tools to try, beautiful fabrics to work with, patterns to try, designing, applying what one learns from other quilters, etc. Since I love traditional patterns, that is where my focus will most likely remain.”