Colors of Kuwait: A Quilt Series

It all started with a conversation about a baby quilt. My sweet young Kuwait friend is having a baby, and I asked her what she thought about a quilt in ‘the colors of Kuwait’. “What colors of Kuwait?” she responded. “When I think of Kuwait, I think of black and white.”

That got me started. I found Kuwait rich in color. I never knew the desert could be so flat, and that in the beige-y-ness, there could be so many variations. All the flat white-to-beige-to-grey and a thousand variations, and with such a neutral background, any color at all made a splash. I thought of how very green a palm tree looked against the flat beige hard-packed soil, how a turquoise dome stood out; I thought of the colors in the souks, and oh, the colors of the Arabian Gulf.

I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed for her baby, but I also thought of her, a reader, a Kuwaiti now living in a cold country. I thought she also needed a quilt, a quilt big enough to wrap her and her two little boys as they read stories on a cold winter’s day.

I decided to do another Wild Stars series, use the best Kuwait colored blocks for her new baby and use the leftover blocks for a children’s charity my small quilting group has identified for the coming year.

Note to self: No. No, you cannot cut through 25 layers of cloth. You were mistaken. You can cut through 13, but not 25. So, good! Learned a lesson right off the top!

This time, by piecing every square exactly the same way, they all came out around 15 1/2 inches. I had to add a thin strip to two squares, but out of 25, that’s not bad.

Loved the color combinations, how they came together, and loved them so much I used the same fabrics for my friend’s quilt, with a little of the Gulf thrown in. This is the quilt for my friend, a Kaleidoscope of Kuwait colors, which came out to be about 65″ x 65″:

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For her new son, Colors of Kuwait in wild stars:
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Squares made with leftover blocks:
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Last quilt, a rectangle, still 32″ x 46:
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A Quilt for Naomi

My sweet little grand-daughter has arrived! Her quilt is ready!

When my husband saw it, he said, with an undeniable note of dismay in his voice “But that doesn’t look like a baby quilt!”

It doesn’t, if you think baby quilts have to look babyish. If you think they have to be all pink, or blue, or pastel yellow or green, or have little animals on them.

Babies love black and white. They love the patterns; black and white can mesmerize a baby. I wanted the quilt to be big enough and sophisticated enough that she could crawl on it as a baby and take it with her to college. I am happy with this quilt!

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Gift Kaleidoscope in Sea Colors

I am in the process of finishing up a number of quilts – not all, I still have a disgraceful number of quilts to be finished, many of which have been waiting more than ten years – oh no!

I have discovered I really love the look when the four corners that meet are all one color, forming one block; to me, it helps the flow into that swirling, interconnecting flow of sort-of-circles.

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This isn’t really finished, but I wanted to get it this far so I would have something for our upcoming “quiet day” for our bee. No class, no business, just handwork, chatting and having fun. πŸ™‚

When I make a sea-color kaleidoscope, I often make double – or more – the blocks I need. Now I am using up some of those unused blocks to make up some gift quilts – you know, you never know when you are going to need to give away a quilt. I have a pretty good idea who this one is for . . .

Kaleidoscope Transition Blocks

I love Kaleidoscope quilts (as you can see on this blog πŸ™‚ ) and I particularly love ‘colors of the sea’ Kaleidoscopes because I think they capture – in a small way – the shifts and swirls of sea water. Having said that, the best one I made was the first one I made, and since then, I haven’t been so happy.

I have a whole bunch of sea blocks, and I’ve had them up on my project wall forever, trying to figure out why they weren’t working for me. One day, I was almost ready to put them together, and I got the big AHA.

It’s the transition blocks.

In my first quilt, I made a mistake, but I made it on purpose. Instead of making the corner blocks contrast, I made all the corners meeting together the same color. It takes more work, and it is slow and painstaking work, but – to me – what a difference.

A quilt with contrasting corner blocks (meaning the corner of each Kaleidoscope block):

A close up of contrasting corner blocks where they meet:

And now, the newest top, with all the corner blocks meeting up with the same color. To me, it makes a smoother transition, to me, it helps capture the swirling motion I am seeking:

I know this is all very personal, my preference may not be your preference. What do you think; do you think it makes a difference?

Under The Sea / Colors of the Sea 2

I made my Mom a quilt around ten years ago, and my middle sister has told me several times since then that she wants one like it. I started cutting this one out while I was still in Doha, finished cutting, piecing, sandwiching and quilting here in Pensacola.

My Mom’s quilt:

It isn’t the same. No two quilts are ever the same. When I was back in Seattle, I took a look at the first quilt and saw that I had made all four corner pieces match where they came together, something I have never done since. I think/thought that the contrast in light and dark in the corner pieces helped the movement of the quilt, but I may have to rethink that. I have a large collection of ‘colors of the sea’ fabrics; when I see them, I can’t resist them. I wonder if I can use them up in my lifetime?

Several of the fabrics are from a hand-dye class I took in Kuwait, lovely Diana Hill, and I am still using up my hand dyes – and those of others – as I piece these quilts. Such wonderful, laughter-filled memories!

This is a larger quilt, large enough to cover a double bed but probably not large enough for two people to sleep under unless they are young and in love, LOL.

Can you see the fish I hand appliqued in the photo above? I wanted them to blend with their background, just as real fish do when you spot them in their habitat.

This school of fish (and the others) are from a wonderful fabric I bought in Doha, and from which my Doha Fish Quilt was made. I am a strange woman; I actually love to applique.

I gave the quilt to my niece to put on my sister’s bed, at their Seattle home. I am betting she doesn’t check this blog, so she will have a big surprise when she sees it. I bet she forgot she even asked for it. πŸ™‚

VIQ (Very Important Quilt)

The problem with a very important quilt is that you can over think. I know what I want a baby quilt to be – I want it to be colorful. I want it to be lovable. I want it to be big enough to go to pre-school and kindergarten for nap time. I want it to end up a beloved rag, dragged here and there, washed innumerable times, all used up.

I’ve probably made a hundred baby quilts. But when it came to a quilt for my first grandchild, I dithered. Nothing I could come up with was good enough. Finally, I had to give myself a good talking to, “JUST GET STARTED!” I yelled at myself in a figurative way. Just do it.

It’s an OK quilt. Not the best effort I have ever put forth, but I came to the conclusion – it’s not the quilt that is important, but the recipient. God willing, he will love it because it came from me, and because I am a safe place, a place he can count on for unconditional love.

So – it’s just a quilt. For a very important Quentin! πŸ™‚

KTAA Annual Exhibition

There were some totally fabulous entries, and the grand winner – who could argue! Shyamala Rao just knocked the socks off everyone with her fabulous quilt.

Mine were much more modest.

Ursa Major was the most fun. I don’t normally like mysteries, but this one gave me a lot of control. Every step had suggestions, and measurements, but you had a lot of latitude within the instructions. Mine shows the great North Star in the center of the quilt, and the Big Bear, endlessly circling the North Star.

Kathi Ewan’s instructions were just fun! I felt so free! I knew the fabrics I wanted to use, and the quilt kind of made itself. Normally, I start out knowing where a quilt is going, but this one, with each step, I rested and reflected before making the next round, and I got more and more excited about the quilt with each step, ending with the silvery little salmon circling on the penultimate border – a bear’s gotta eat!

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At one point in the quilt, I tried some low-contrast piecing, the star has two kinds of white. I wasn’t happy, and was going to change to higher contrast when LeAnn Aldulrahim said no, to go with the white on white and try the quilting technique Paramjeet taught us two years ago with the zig-zag stitch. “Hmmm,” I thought, and went home and did it in silver, and oh – what fun. The bear tracks circling the quilt, the 45Β°angled borders around the center medallion and again at the last border – just fun. I had a great time with this quilt. It’s icing on the cake that it won the Children’s Choice award. I made it for the child within!

Another joyful, childish quilt – The Stars that Dance in Southern France (in their underpants) was started to use up some of the provincial French fabrics I gathered so lovingly for so many years, but found myself thinking I was turning into Gollum with his precious, if all I did was look at them now and then and say “someday . . . ”

My husband added the part about the underpants, and I just let it stand. I thought it was a hoot.
Stars that Dance

It took third in the Traditional Pieced category. It makes me smile when I look at it.

Last but not least, KaleidoStars is a baby quilt for a new baby on the way, sex unknown, but I loved these Indian batik fabrics we found down in the souks, and couldn’t wait to get my hands going on something that would show them off and let the lines and dots sing and move around the quilt. It’s all about the motion:

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They’re all packed away now, except for KaleidoStars, which I need to mail soon, very soon. We are moving back to Qatar at the end of the month, and just today I finished packing up (AAARRGHHH!) the quilt room.