2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge (Marsala): "Love and Loss"
2015 Finished Quilts, Quilts

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

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”.

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge (Marsala): "On Love and Loss"

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge (Marsala): “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.

Marsala Challenge Fabrics

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge (Marsala) Fabrics

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.

Photo Credit: Virgin Galactic

Photo Credit: Virgin Galactic

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.

Silhouette Snowflake

Silhouette Snowflake

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.

Admiration and Freedom

Admiration and Freedom

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.

Love and Loss: Before

Love and Loss: Before

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.

Love and Loss: Shattered

Love and Loss: Shattered

The world gets turned on its head and we are left to form a new pattern. A new whole.

Love and Loss: Reforming

Love and Loss: Reforming

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.

Love and Loss: Reshaping

Love and Loss: Reshaping

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.

Love and Loss

Love and Loss

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.

Love and Loss: Quilting Detail

Love and Loss: Quilting Detail

Love and Loss: Quilting Detail

Love and Loss: Quilting Detail

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: View of Backing and Quilting

Love and Loss: View of Backing and Quilting

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)
Love and Loss

Love and Loss

Marsala Challenge

Marsala Challenge

Linking up to the Quilt category of the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by On the Windy Side and Play Crafts.

60 thoughts on “2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

  1. Such a fitting tribute to your friend. The silhouette snowflake and the words in the center – perfection! Love the quilting, the hearts and use of fabrics, Yvonne. So sorry for your loss. My prayer is that this craft will help you to continue to heal.

  2. Mnoique Belmer says:

    It’s lovely!

  3. pbarretthill says:

    Brilliant quilt! I love it for its texture and color; the beauty is greatly enhanced by the story. I am sorry for the lost of your family❤. The plane design is genius, love it!

  4. Audrey says:

    This is really, really special, Yvonne. I’m glad I got to read about the creation process and your thoughts behind it.

    1. Thank you, Audrey. I feel like my best quilts have lots of meaning behind them but are kind of ugly (I am definitely thinking of SynestheticAlphabet here). 🙂

  5. This quilt is stunning. However, the story and thought process that brought it to life is so powerful and touching it has (almost) left me speechless….

  6. Judy says:

    I completely agree with all of the previous comments, this quilt is beautiful and the story behind it makes it even more so. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal journey!

    1. Making the quilt was therapeutic, sharing it today has been an emotional roller coaster. I thought I could slip it under the radar a bit more with the QuiltCon distraction. 🙂

  7. Niki says:

    What a beautiful job you did. It is so lovely. I cry every time I see it. It is the perfect tribute to our dear lost friend. Thank you for creating this heartfelt piece of art.

    1. I don’t know about it being lovely or perfect. It is certainly the best I can do right now, Niki. Working with the top view was interesting. The booms, when cut out, are super fiddly. And all I can keep asking myself is what was I thinking?

  8. Jasmine says:

    An amazing quilt with meaning. I hope it was therapeutic to make. I found making something to remember my grandmother after her death helped me a lot.

    1. Making it was pretty therapeutic, Jasmine. Sharing it so publicly has been super hard.

  9. kittywilkin says:

    This quilt is a work of love and beauty, and I hope the entire process was somehow soothing or restorative for you. I cannot begin to comprehend your loss, but I do see the love and care in every. single. detail of this quilt. I am going to hug you when I see you, and hope not to cry. <3 You are an amazing person and quilter, and I'm grateful that you shared this process and gorgeous creation.

    1. Thanks, Kitty. Looking forward to that hug. I have been trying not to cry all day and failing miserably! 🙂

  10. Shauna says:

    So awesome, the quilt is wonderful, but the story ties it all together so well. Great job!!!

  11. Liz says:

    What a great way to represent this experience through quilting. It seems to have been a cathartic experience for you, and though sharing something this personal is difficult, seeing it is probably helpful for the other members of your community. Beautiful.

    1. Yes, quite difficult to share something this personal, Liz. Been struggling with it a bit today.

  12. Wow, what an emotional story, Yvonne. This quilt depicts your journey through loss into rebuilding a “new normal” touchingly well. Healing hugs to you.

  13. sally says:

    What a beautiful piece of work. I love the thought that has gone into the fabric choices, placement and the shapes. It was so good to look at from the first photo, but reading about the meaning behind it and you process makes it very special, and emotional too X.

    1. Yes, it has been a kind of emotional day sharing this so openly, Sally. I feel like I am dealing with grief brain again.

  14. Laura Links says:

    I agree with Beth. Your quilt is amazing! But it’s the story of how you came to create it that really brought the quilt to life, in a special way, for me. Thank you for sharing …

    1. Thank you, Laura. My ultimate hope was that although this was clearly a very emotional and personal process for me, that it still might resonate with others. Unfortunately too many of us have lost someone close.

  15. lalinsocal says:

    A beautiful tribute, thank you for sharing.

  16. There is thought in every stitch … beautiful 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Serena.

  17. Lara B. says:

    Yvonne, this is the most amazing quilt . The meaning and symbolism behind every design decision.. well you have me in tears and in awe. So beautiful!

  18. Such an amazing way to honor the memory of a lost friend. You always put so much detail and thought into all of your creations.

  19. DeborahGun says:

    what an amazing expression of your grief and loss, but also of your rebuilding. This will be a quilt that you treasure forever 🙂

    1. Thank you. Right now it is folded away and in a closet, to be honest. One day, maybe.

  20. Kaja says:

    It sounds like this has been really painful for you, but hopefully expressing some of what you feel, both in your quilt and here, explaining it to us, will have been part of your healing. Personally I’m not a big fan of Marsala as a colour, but do very much like this quilt, especially all the beautiful thoughtful details.

    1. I admit that Marsala did not speak to me, either, but I really loved the fabric options from Hawthorne Threads (they custom print the patterns in the Marsala color, which is neat) and once I started using their color matching options on their website, I found lots of fun fabric inspiration.

  21. Renee says:

    This quilt is really amazing, the pattern works really well with the colors and fabrics, but it’s the story and emotion that really draw me in. What I love about he sunprint is how words jump out at you as you look at the quilt. It turned out really beautiful! I was recently told about the Sacred Threads exhibit (accepting entries through March 9th) and immediately thought this would also qualify: http://sacredthreadsquilts.com/html/callForEntries.html

    1. Thank you so much, Renee. I will have to go take a look at the exhibit.

  22. Brenda says:

    A beautiful homage.

  23. Vera says:

    I love projects with meaning. You put a lot of thoughts into it and I’m impressed with your attention to details like the text print words.

  24. WoW Yvonne this turned out REALLY GOOD! And the meaning and story behind it makes it just even more beautiful! You did a wonderful job portraying your thoughts and feelings in it… beautifully done.

  25. What a meaningful piece! Thank you for telling your story.

  26. RobinSue says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story about the events and process of making this quilt. I could feel the loss and pain through your words. The quilt is a wonderful tribute.

  27. Please don’t laugh at me, but I see chickens in the rockets! More seriously, I love the abstract nature of the shape and how you have arranged them to form a secondary, almost floral, design. It is a beautiful, calm and soothing quilt, appropriate for the sentiments that inspired its creation.

  28. Taryn says:

    This quilt is such a wonderful tribute. The careful placement of the text print in the center is such a great touch. I was really unsure about Marsala as a color when it was announced, but you did such a beautiful job working with it. The contrast between the lights and darks really make it work! It is such an incredibly powerful piece. Thank you for sharing your story.

  29. Lorna Jones says:

    For some reason I never read the write up on this quilt until this morning. I followed the link of the request for blocks for Mike’s children. At first I just scanned your write up, then I went back to read it in depth. I think it was too raw for me to read before. Since I don’t live by you, since I wasn’t part of the design team, since I am so far away… it is hard for me to put into words how difficult this event was for me. But grief is always hard to put into words. Suffice it to say I am amazed by your quilt – it is exquisite while being so representative; I am happy (such an odd word, but it is honest in this setting) to see you using your craft to work through your grief; I am proud that you are someone of deep ties and emotions. Love, love, love you.

  30. audrey says:

    Beautiful quilt! Love the center especially with the layers of interest. Your quilt is stunning in how representational it is. This kind of quilt is extremely hard to make I know as I’m trying to make a sort of grief quilt myself. The emotions can either stop you in your tracks or make you feel like you’re quilting/sewing in slow-mo. You did an such an incredible job, truly. So glad I took the time to read through your post.:)

  31. Anne says:

    Blah, I thought I commented on this when you posted it, but I don’t see it. I’m so sorry for the oversight. Like all of your introspective work, I am absolutely in awe with this. There is so much careful attention to detail in your design decisions that even when we don’t know the story behind them, they still manage to convey a lot. It’s such a powerful quilt. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  32. Adrianne says:

    Like Anne, I thought I commented on this piece when you posted it but clearly not. It’s so stunning and I’m so impressed that you managed to turn such difficult feelings into a beautiful quilt. I love all the thought that went into each and every design decision.

  33. club62miles says:

    Amazing work. Sorry for the lost of Alsbury. My prayers to you and the team!

  34. Helen says:

    There is not much I can say Yvonne except beautiful quilt and beautiful sentiments .

  35. Such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it once again from your quilt con post

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)