The design was still percolating in my mind when I flew home to Idaho later in the summer. I'm pretty sure I had my nose pressed against the plane window the entire time, too. I found the aerial view very compelling and loved seeing the landscape from a different perspective. Looking down at all those fields was the inspiration for the log cabin blocks.
During my first trip out this summer, I was lucky enough to have a gift card and an opportunity to go to my mom's local quilt store in Preston, Idaho (Suppose). They have an entire wall of solids that I could choose from IN PERSON! That's a luxury I wish I could repeat more often! I took in my notes with color notations and had a fantastic time pulling bolts down to build a story with. I chose 14 half yard cuts to start, then added more from my own stash once I got home. I still had a bunch of the deep spice tones from our Marsala year and I love how those dark neutrals made the bolder choices sing out even more strongly. There are more than 30 different fabrics in this quilt. If you are interested, I took a picture of the palette and shared it on my Instagram wall.
I was about halfway done with the piecing when I was looking at my Instagram feed one morning. I read the description for a swap mosaic and almost shot my drink out of my nose I was laughing so hard. The poster mentioned how she loved all colors and would appreciate pretty much anything, then added, "well, other than those barfy yellows and browns...but who uses those anyway??!!" I had to tell my concerned two-year old that everything was fine and that Mama was just having a "moment." She knew what that was because I'd had another "moment" not that long ago. I stopped into Jo-Ann with all three of my children in tow to quickly pick up some supplies. They were a little busy and there was a new employee on the cash register. She was struggling a bit and trying to hustle. When it was our turn, I put the zippers and basting spray on the counter and started digging in my wallet for the debit card. I was interrupted not by my children, but by the harried cashier. "Ma'am, I'm going to need to see your ID, please." I stopped digging and looked up with surprise. "Okay," I said, "What for...?" She gestured to the can of basting spray on the counter and said matter-of-factly, "...because you need to be at least 18 to buy that." I knew she was having the world's worst day and I didn't want to laugh at her, but it took every ounce of my emotional fortitude to calmly hand over my driver's license, pay and get out of the store before I was overtaken by a massive fit of giggles. It wasn't pretty. Once we were in the minivan there was plenty of wheezing, hand-fanning and eye wiping. My boys tried to put an end to it pretty quickly, but I got it together long enough to wag a quasi-threatening finger at them and choke out, "Don't you ruin my moment!!! I am going to be coasting on this one for a LOOOOONG time!!" And then I started laughing again. Carded at Jo-Ann...I love it.
I cut multiple strips from each fabric in 1.25" and 1.75" widths and put them in a bucket next to my sewing machine. I spent at least a week just piecing log cabins. I aimed for finished sizes that would be easy to tile like 2" x 4," 4" x 6," 4" x 8," 4" x 4," 6" x 6," etc. Piecing the log cabins was great fun, but if I got tired of them, I'd take a break and do some trees instead. I discovered some really unexpected color combinations and I've enjoyed looking at the quilt and seeing the blocks that I thought would be complete disasters that I ended up loving. Just a small hit of a glaring clash can add so much interest.
Once I had a huge stack of blocks, I started tiling on my design wall. I started with the trees in a diagonal set because it reminded me of the mountains, then I filled in with the log cabin blocks. I had to make a few extra at the end to get the color dispersion just right. Those were the really interesting blocks because I was setting color limits. I'd think, "Okay, I need a four incher and I can't use gold, green or that really dark brown..." This quilt finished at 45" x 60" precisely because that's as big as it could get and still fit on my design wall.
I quilted this in a matchstick design with Aurifil thread. I experimented with a different batting, Quilter's Dream Request (their thinnest cotton batting), and am happy with the nice flat finish I got. I also used an entire bottle of starch in the construction of this quilt, so it could be that, too! The other thing that I did differently with this quilt was the label. My quilt guild invited a quilt historian/appraiser to be our speaker this month and she made a powerful case for the historical importance of labeling our quilts. She also showed a quilt from her personal collection from every decade since the 1850s and it really put what we do in perspective. In all likelihood, the quilts we make will outlive us. Sometimes they might even outlive us by generations. Since I feel like I tell a story, I'd like those people who haven't been born yet to know who it was that was telling them that story. It's part of the legacy. Since I'd already quilted the registration lines across the quilt and had lost the chance to piece a label into the back, I made one more block, wrote my information on it, appliqued it onto the back and finished quilting on top of it. That sucker is never coming off. It feels good to know that the quilt and I will ride off into the sunset of history together. Kind of fitting for a quilt called Heading West*, right?
*I really did consider Barfy Yellows and Browns, but I decided to just tell all of you instead. Can you even imagine my grandchildren trying to work that one out?
I am entering this quilt into the Original Design category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.
Also linking to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.
|The back with the label.|