Hi, all! This is the ever-mentioned-but-never-featured Fiasco blogging today. I decided to hijack the Internet to talk about my own creative endeavors. You might remember a post from last January about a quilt I made for Alicia’s birthday. This year, I made a quilt for my soon-to-be-mother-in-law. While most guys tend to have a problem with their in-laws, I lucked out. My mother-in-law is a super awesome lady! I mean, I should have known since she is responsible for making Alicia. But this lady has welcomed me as a family member since day one and I wanted to show her my appreciation, so I created a quilt of my own design for her this Christmas.
For my quilts, I take my time and find inspiration in the world around me. For Alicia’s quilt, that inspiration came from the trails that we like to hike on. For her mother’s quilt, my inspiration came from a painting my father-in-law was working on. He was painting a lighthouse. It captured perfectly the water they love, the vastness and mystery of both the ocean and the sky, and the hope and promise of the light from the tower. It was exactly what I wanted the quilt to be. Once I had a design on graph paper I moved to fabric selections.
The Sky: I like the slightly shimmery effect that the starry print gives the quilt. This one in particular was a lighter shade of blue and since I knew that I wanted to put a full moon in the background, that would mean a brighter sky. I also didn’t want something that would make her bedroom look dark and dreary. When I put the moon on I originally wanted to use something very similar to the light from the lighthouse but Alicia talked me into using a fabric I had selected to make clouds with. She was of course right. The grey and white pattern was perfect. The swirly quilting patterns I used were inspired by the swirls in the fabric and they remind me of Da Vinci’s Starry Night.
The Grass: When portraying vegetative terrain in a quilt I’m often conflicted by the use of prints. I HATE using floral prints in my quilts. Unfortunately, when I look for prints that could represent plant growth, all I see are floral patterns or paisleys. I like this marbled green as it is not too leafy but still believable as grass. The knots that I chose to quilt with left long tails scattered in indeterminate places, which helps that illusion.
The Water: Initially, I wanted to do much smaller waves. I was hoping for 2” tall with a 2” space between each row of waves. I’m relieved that I followed Alicia’s suggestion to go larger. Doing 5” waves with a 4” space between them meant a lot less sewing and a bolder image, as well. I had also selected a third fabric to use for one wave set but it added too much variety. The light and dark fabrics were perfect for the effect I wanted.
The Tower: With the lighthouse tower being the focal point of the quilt, I wanted to pull out all the stops. I used a thicker fabric with a slightly rougher texture to give the appearance of being stone. I also stuffed the tower with a layer of all-natural cotton batting left over from Alicia’s quilt. This gave it relief when I stitched the bricks into it. The light coming from the top was just the frosting on the cake. I wanted a fabric that stood out from the quilt in color, luster, and texture. The silky, shiny, golden yellow fabric that I chose does that well.
The Backing: The backing was a fortunate accident. I was going to use a much duller, olive green flannel that I already had when I found out I was just a few inches short of what I needed. On the same day, I went to Jo-Anns and found that they had all of their flannels half off. This particular one matches the walls of my mother-in-law’s room almost perfectly and it’s softer and thicker than the one I already had. Before this quilt, I had never done any quilting by hand. The closest I’ve come before was knotting a quilt and I don’t think that counts. (There is no greater shortcut in the world of quilting than tying knots.) I decided that I wanted to give hand-quilting a try and I’m glad I did. I used a fingering weight yarn to do the stitching and it gave the whole quilt a very nice “handmade” look. It copied all the features to the back, just like a machine-sewn quilt but without any pins or puckers.
Thanks for letting me rant about my project. This is longer than I expected but I don’t write blog posts very often. I appreciate you hanging in with me and I’ll let you know the next time I get hit with inspiration. If you’ve been inspired by something this week, leave a comment and let us know!