Saturday, 16 February 2013

November quilt

This is a quilt I haven't shown on my blog before, because I didn't have a photo of it to hand.  I finished it in 2000 and it was my dad's 70th birthday present.  Along with mum and dad's golden wedding anniversary quilt, I borrowed this to show at Quiltfest this year.  It hasn't been seen much 'in person' as it spent a lot of time on their bed!  You might recognise it from 'Compendium of Quilting Techniques' ('200 Quilting Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets' in some countries), where both the whole quilt and detail photos were featured.

When I worked for the local council in Wrexham and lived in Treuddyn, driving to work every morning in late autumn meant driving almost due east.  The sunlight coming through the woods along the road was dazzling and especially stunning on frosty mornings.  I wanted to capture the colours of November and the early morning sunlight through the trees.

The basic layout of the quilt was influenced by one in Dianne Finnegan's book, 'The Quilter's Kaleidoscope - How to Design and Create Individual Interpretations of Favourite Quilts'.  This was one of the first quilt books I owned (along with 'Piece by Piece, another of Dianne's books).  In my version, the horizontal and vertical sashing was replaced with bias cut strips raw edge appliqued over the squares on point.  The squares were made by piecing squares, cutting this patchwork into more squares on a random angle, and repeating the process several times, to create an improvisational patchwork effect.  The small cornerstones are the same twig patterned fabric throughout the quilt, while the diagonal sashing strips change colour and value across the quilt, with stronger contrasts in the centre to suggest the sunrise.


The leaf blocks bordering the centre section were made with freezer paper applique.  Because I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the freezer paper out of the back of the applique shapes too easily, especially on the horse chestnut leaf blocks, I ironed it onto the front of the applique leaves instead, using it as a guide for turning the edges.  I made the leaf templates by pressing real leaves collected outside Wrexham library.

I wanted a really earthy brown for the outer border and couldn't find what I wanted - all the brown quilting fabrics then seemed to be too warm in colour.  Instead, I dyed a length of indigo fabric with brown dye, getting the colour I needed.  The abstract quilting design in the border is based on contour lines from local Ordnance Survey maps (I worked in Rights of Way at the time).  The random blocks were quilted to suggest compass points and the leaves veins were embroidered in stem stitch.  All the quilting is 'big stitch' using hand dyed threads.

Last week, I found a box with the leftover fabrics.  Perhaps I'll make something to go with the quilt!

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