When I saw Adrianne @On the Windy Side and Anne @play crafts announce the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, I knew that I wanted to push myself and try the challenge. Today I am excited to share with you my completed entry, which I call “Love and Loss”.
In addition to the bundle of fabrics I purchased from Hawthorne Threads specifically to use in this quilt, I also added in a little less than a quarter yard of Kona Blue.
L to R: Michael Miller House Designer, Mod Basics, Mini Harlequin in Red | Riley Blake Designs, Quatrefoil Medium in Burgundy | Hawthorne Threads, Peaks and Valleys in Marsala | Hawthorne Threads, Shards in Marsala | Hawthorne Threads, Vanes in Marsala | Robert Kaufman House Designer, Interweave Chambray in Berry | Alison Glass, Sun Print Text in Mulberry
The creation of this quilt was truly improvisational for me. I started out with a vague idea about what I wanted to portray, and that was about it. I moved to California to be part of a small team of engineers. Because we were a small team, we got to know one another very well, and I consider every individual I worked with a part of my family. Although I left that job last April, I consider that family and the project that we built together the highlight of my career. Tragically, we lost a member of our family last year when the prototype vehicle we built was lost during a test flight. Coming to terms with the tragedy and my participation in the events that led up to that day has been something I (and everyone in my community) has been struggling with since that day. This quilt is my attempt at expressing some of my grief and ultimately, my hope for the future.
I started with the silhouette of the vehicle. I was drawn to the Berry Interweave Chambray, and after making sure that it would not fray too badly, I cut out 4 silhouettes backed with fusible web (I used Pellon 805). I started playing with creating a snowflake like pattern with the silhouettes, and I decided to add a second fabric to the silhouette palette. I chose Shards in Marsala for many reasons, but I especially liked how I could line up the silhouette along the natural lines of the pattern creating a symmetry plane down the center of the silhouette and along one of the vehicle’s key part lines. I asked my Instagram followers for a bit of help deciding what background fabric to use behind the silhouettes, and the overwhelming favorite was the Alison Glass Sun Print Text.
One of the things I love most about the Alison Glass Sun Print Text is the text itself. I read over the print and I carefully selected the area in the center of the silhouette snowflake. I pointed them all towards “admiration and freedom”. Also, in the detailed image of the very center of the quilt below, you can see the color variation in the Berry Interweave fabric.
The other background option I had toyed with using behind the silhouette snowflake was Quatrefoil Medium in Burgundy. Because the silhouettes did not show very well against the quatrefoil, I put it aside. Once I had the center of the quilt complete, I came back to the quatrefoil with the next portion of my vision. Grief and loss are universal emotions, but they tend to be very private. One moment, life is in balance and in harmony. There is a story and a path.
When the world stops and the future we held in our hearts and minds fractures, we become fragile, transparent. Everything changes in the blink of an eye and our hearts shatter.
The world gets turned on its head and we are left to form a new pattern. A new whole.
And slowly, over time, we can look more than just a moment ahead or behind and we begin to reclaim and reshape our lives. The narrative has changed, and we begin to rebuild.
After creating 5 blocks, I had to decide how to piece them together. I selected the Peaks and Valleys and Vanes Marsala prints from Hawthorne Threads, but I did not just want to place the cornerstone blocks around the center with sashing or a simple border. At this point I chose to add in Kona Blue and I free-form cut and pieced in gentle curves. To me, the Kona Blue represents the thin blue line of our atmosphere only visible from space. The quilt did not feel complete, so I went back to the Shards and Berry Interweave to create one final border and I extended the blue curve out into the Shards. I toyed with ideas for the Berry Interweave cornerstones, but ultimately I was influenced by a recent quilt completed by Serena @Sew Giving and I decided to round the corners of the quilt.
Because each step of the creation of the quilt top had meaning for me, each portion of the quilt naturally has its own quilting design as well. Over top of the silhouette snowflake I quilted long rounded lines hoping to evoke images of rain and tears. Over the inner border Peaks and Valleys and Vanes prints I quilted sharp meandering lines evoking shattered lines. On top of the light blue I densely quilted a meandering loop, which represents air currents and the free flight of birds and butterflies. I chose to minimally quilt the four cornerstones representing the stages of grief and loss. I simply used my walking foot to trace the outline of each heart. In the outer border, I matchstick quilted dense lines over the Shards print with a radial line transitioning across the Berry Interweave cornerstones.
The backing for Love and Loss is whole cloth Alison Glass Sun Print Text, and the binding is Michael Miller Mini Harlequin.
Love and Loss
- 37.5-inches wide by 37.5-inches tall
- Techniques out of my comfort zone: Improvisational Design, Applique, and Curved Piecing
- New (to me) Technique: Rounded Quilt Corners
- Pieced with 50wt Aurifil 2610 (light blue grey)
- Quilted and bound using 50wt Aurifil 2024 (white)