Celebrating Alice


There are so many lines I love in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be this stanza from the poem The Walrus and the Carpenter (in Through the Looking Glass).

Alice original“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

I became well-acquainted with Alice during my sophomore year in college. After seeing this annotated edition at a friend’s, I searched for and found my own copy. It is especially enchanting because of the original illustrations by John Tenniel.

Alice has inspired many ideas, been quoted extensively in movies, films, books, and book titles, and she has even made her way into the world of quilting. When my sister and I saw a finished Alice-inspired quilt in a quilt shop window we agreed to buy and share the pattern so we could each make a version.

Cheryl's Alice

First up is Cheryl’s quilt, made like the original pattern, with sharp contrast between the black border and orange sashing, with a variety of fun black and white prints in the blocks. In the photo above, the quilt is back from the longarm quilter, but does not yet have the binding sewn on.

My Alice

I was determined to use fabrics from my stash and not purchase anything new, so I opted for a lighter border, and a mix of gray and black backgrounds for the blocks. I also swapped out the block featuring the rabbit mannequin for a block I designed to feature the potion Alice drinks, with the distinctive “DRINK ME” label like in Tenniel’s illustration.

new Alice block     Alice back border

I love both of these versions. Cheryl had hers quilted by her highly skilled longarm quilter and I copied some of those ideas for finishing mine. I also used a mushroom design on the borders, which is more visible on the back than the front.

DaliMore recently a dear friend of mine, a young woman who appreciates literature and art, gave me a special birthday gift of  the 150th Anniversary Edition illustrated by Salvador Dali. It is definitely not the whimsical woodcuts from the 1865 original, but it captures the fantastical world we enter with Alice – another spin on this well-traveled journey.