I love the process of constructing a quilt. It starts simply enough. Sometimes two colors lodge in my mind and I want to explore the various ways they interact with each other. Other times texture leads the way — a rough, loosely woven linen is warmed with worn faded denim. And the path fabrics followed to my work table is always present in my mind: scads of worn linen from a couch slipcover enthusiastically shredded by the family cats; a caution-cone-bright orange backing a graphic superhero print on boys’ boxers; a lightweight denim workshirt that put me in mind of a shirt found in Florence years ago, long since disappeared. Pulling all these pieces together is a reflection on the various parts of my life.
Inspiration also comes from my environment … I’m always looking when wandering. Lucky enough to go to Israel this summer, I admired this doorway in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood
Orange and blue have always created sparks for me, though they’re too bright and lively for me to feel comfortable wearing. They work to good effect in this Nine Patch Patwig from a few posts back
And so I embark on a quilt in these colors, with my creative process guided by a wish to use materials on hand, to not waste. On this occasion I turn to my stash of completed blocks, made from scraps after earlier projects
The blocks need to be unified, so I surround them, frame-like, with a soft blue. My blue stash offers a combination of scraps, from lightweight faded denim to old blue Oxford shirts
Making these borders goes relatively quickly, if workmanlike. When a border strip is big enough I sew it around the sides of the block, iron-pressing down the seams along the way
It’s hard to explain what I like about doing this, but I get utterly lost in it, much in the same way as I do gardening. Times like these the work is its own reward, and I forget for a moment that there is as of yet no particular destination for the end result
As the blocks are surrounded in blue a feeling takes shape which reminds me of those black and white “scan boxes” that seem to be everywhere these days — which googling just told me is QR code
With the center composition done it’s time to think about how to border it. There are many different ways to do borders on quilts but I often end up making simple strip borders. It helps to lay out a bunch of fabrics to see what happens
This is more rote work, though I have fun rifling through my orange fabric box for strips. The border length is roughly determined by the size of scraps I’m finding — I prioritize using up what’s already cut and not hacking into another large piece of fabric.
I often hand tie my quilts with yarn (again, as in the Nine Patch above), but this quilt turns out small enough at 55 x 59 that I just seal it with a machine stitched border around the outside.