The Road To Damascus

This is another of my playing around quilts. In order to do Annie’s quilt, I had to do a lot of squares. You really have be careful about gradations to make these quilts work, or at least work for me. I like things to shade from dark to light and from the purple reds to the lightest ash for desert quilts. As a result, I had a quilt’s worth of four patches left over, and a great idea for a Road to Damascus πŸ™‚

 

As I worked on this quilt, I was listening to National Public Radio coverage of Syria, a place we have been blessed to visit often and thoroughly. While I cannot help but love Damascus the best, and visited it last in 2008, I have travelled Syria from the coastal city of Tartush to Palmyra and Tell Mari in the east, and all kinds of places in between with a Friends of Archaeology group I used to belong to out of Amman, Jordan. Syria was as close to biblical country as I have ever experienced. I learned so much. I met the nicest Syrians in the world.
 

So I finished the main part, and then as I showed it in my small group, the demo for the day was on curved piecing. I had seen demos on it before and it hadn’t interested me, but all of a sudden, Leni was demo’ing with two desert-y colors and the light went on – I could do a great curved border.

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Once I got started, the curved part was easy, like it took one half day. I had not accounted for how much more curves take out of the finished border, and I wanted more, like a purple dusk sky .  . . So I added that, too. Then I got bit by the nostalgia bug and I thought it would be fun to add some little villages, like we would pass along the roads. Well, impressions of those little villages; I am not a good person for portraying realism, but I like the charm of my little villages.

Note to self: curved borders are not such a good place to learn about curved piecing. Start with curved blocks, and give yourself extra fabric if you already have a set block size in mind. Because of the nature of curves, piecing curves results – at least for me – in sections that are off square. I love the piece of fabric I used as a final border, but it was driven less by art than by necessity – I had to have enough border and I needed to be able to trim so that the borders would be true. Curved pieces worked here, but I wouldn’t use them as a border again.

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MosqueBorder

This little piece is not from Damascus, or Syria, but is a quirky tower erected by the Qatar Center for the Presentation of Islam, in Doha. I never studied in this tower, but what Arabic I speak, I owe primarily to them and their patience with me as I struggled to speak, read and write in their language. As they taught me more about the Quran, and Islam, it illuminated our own Christian teachings. This was a never-ending wonder to me. These kind women did not proselytize, but they shared their lives with me, and through their eyes, I came to understand so much. This little tower is just a small homage to their patient teaching.

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Razan’s Stars

My sweet friend was having a baby and would not tell me if it was a boy or a girl! I had some lushious saturated fuschias I was dying to use, but it’s a good thing I went with a neutral-gender palate – she had a healthy baby boy!

This is the baby quilt I made for Razan:

Razan's Stars

Star Quilt for Razan’s Baby

The squares are eight inch squares, the stars a little irregular, but stitched on tightly so that the quilt can be washed. πŸ™‚ Finished size 52 1/2″ square.

Pensacola Quilt Show 2012

Today we did the intake for the Pensacola Quilt Show, and after that, I had lunch with my husband and took a long nap, the first one I can remember taking in months. Every afternoon I have had to make the best use of time during prime-time light!

I’ve hated leaving you for this long period, but I was working industriously to have entries worthy of the show!

Here are my entries.

The End of Innocence

I loved working on this quilt. It took a lot of hand work, appliqueing that snake and making sure the gauzy snakey net had bends at the right places, but it was so much fun! I also, for the first time, tried an art quilting technique on the arms and hands, and learned a whole lot about how to do it better – next time πŸ™‚

Originally, the focus of this quilt was intended to be the pomegranate, and the tree of life. It was supposed to be a serious quilt, serious like the Dutch masters, but little Eve kept popping in, fresh, innocent, full of questions, and then that snake kept winding his way in and out, from his own depths into our own reality . . . and finding great snake-y fabrics provided a whole world of new learning experiences, LOL.

I actually hand quilted even more after I shot the photos, espeially in the center where the Tree of Life panel was. The fabric was so soft, and quilting it by hand was pure joy.

The quilt took forever, and I didn’t mind. I tried a lot of new things. I know where I need to improve. Meanwhile, it was fun taking an idea, letting it macerate and percolate, and then challenging myself to use some slithery fabrics for the execution. No regrets. πŸ™‚

Tick Tack Tails

I love doing baby quilts, and I love the way little babies are mesmerized by black and white patterns. Our little grandbaby would stop crying to gaze at black and white zebra patterns and try to fathom their meaning.

Seaside Cottage

When I was still living in Kuwait, I was cutting out this quilt – or one just like it – when my sister called. As we talked, I described the quilt I was making and she loved it and asked me to make her one like it. Instead, I quickly cut out another, but finished the one I was making and sent it to her.

It took me five years to get around to finishing my own. I finished it the year we moved to Pensacola, but my husband kept going back. I quilted it during a bathroom renovation; it kept me sane. I appliqued it during the long evenings when I wished my husband was here in Pensacola. It is similar to my sister’s, but different. The central panels are made with the same fabrics, but I did different quilting and appliques for the seashells, etc.

The last entry is one you’ve seen before.

Jewel Box Life of Transitions

I was able to work on intake today, and was delighted to find that my quilts sink into the ‘filler’ category; there are some amazing quilts entered, and if you are any where near Pensacola, I urge you to make it a point to see this show.

Friday, March 16
Saturday, March 17
Pensacola Fairgrounds

Finishing White Ties and Tails

Well, life intruded, like visitors and Thanksgiving and Christmas and other obligations. I was also trying to figure out where I wanted to go with the quilt; there was a lot of bare space.

Finally I made some decisions, a little at a time. I wanted to add some color in the center, and I wanted to add the ties and hearts to the cats:

I wanted something to give the quilt a little directionality, so that if it were hung, there would be a top and a bottom:

And I found a backing I love; a Javanese Bali print my Grammy friend and I found in the small dark Souk al Ahmad, in Doha. I bought like eight of them – they are wonderful for backings, maybe not wide enough but I cut and pasted:

And this is the finished quilt, made for the New Year’s baby who actually showed up the 5th of January:

And, LOL, I notice I have seem to be attracted to doing black and white quilts when the weather gets cold. I wonder if I will be doing a floral quilt around April?

Seaside Cottage 2

You probably think I have gone stale, but what the Colors of the Sea quilt was something I had promised my sister long ago, and this quilt is the quilt I had started when she first asked, and I cut enough for two, finished hers, and then mine languished – for years – before I got around to finishing it.

This was my sister’s quilt:

Size, fabrics – everything is identical, only the appliques and a little of the quilting differ:

Bottom left:

Bottom Right:

I stuffed the sand dollars and the scallop shells so the quilting would have more definition:

I wave quilted part of it, and shallow-water-swirl quilted the other part:

This is not an original quilt, but I used shells for the borders instead of flowers, and used my own quilting ideas. I believe the most of the fabrics and the pattern were from a collection called Seaside Cottage by Moda.

I cut and pieced the quilt in Kuwait, appliqued and quilted in Doha, and did the binding and finishing hand quilting in Pensacola. Whew! It’s finished!

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.