ANATOMY OF A QUILT
|Three Peaks quilt - completed in June 2011|
When I finished my most recent quilt (Three Peaks, shown to the left), and posted pictures of it on The Handmade Artists' Forum, one of the people who responded suggested that I write an article on my blog on how a quilt goes together. "I wonder how many people realize how much work goes into one!" she wrote.
I've been thinking about this idea for a while now. Certainly, I could write, "first you do this, then this, then that," etc., but how boring that would be! I decided that the best way to accomplish this would be to journal a quilt from start to finish, complete with pictures, notes and frustration... yes - it seems that every quilt I make comes complete with frustration. If there isn't at least one time during the process that I am tempted to throw the whole thing in the trash and start over, I would think I had failed!
Each quilt starts with an idea. For perhaps a year, I've had a picture in my head of a quilt... a lonely beach and a blazing tropical sunset. I can literally see the quilt. There are two problems to overcome once the idea is there; I need to be able to create a rough sketch of the mental image, and, I need to be able to find appropriate materials. Depending on which I think will be more difficult determines the order in which these two things are attempted/accomplished.
For this particular quilt, I knew from the beginning that the sky was going to be an issue, so I have been searching for months for a piece of yardage that looks like a tropical sunset. I finally found it just last week.
Now that I own the sky, I need to have a sketch to work from so that I can determine and collect the other materials which will be used. I will be the first to admit that my drawings are horrid and rarely resemble the finished quilt. But it's really strange... if I can sort-of draw it, I can quilt it.
This drawing is the sixth! It took me that many tries to get something I believe I can work from. Looking at the pencil sketch, I can build a shopping list. I need something dark and warm for the Diamond-Head-looking mountain; I need water and sand, I need palm tree trunks and thatched hut. I think I already own the sun. The more I look at it, the more I am certain that the palm fronds will be embroidered; so will the sun reflections in the water and the rays in the sky. The fabric will be selected first, then the embroidery floss. I like to frame my quilts with a border and the binding. Typically, the border and the back are the same material. I have no clue what that will be at this point.
So the next step is finding the materials. I will write again once I have accomplished that!