Thursday, July 7, 2011

Part 1

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!


  1. This is going to be fun watching it come together!

  2. I love that you are starting with the drawing of your vision! This is so neat!