Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Softness and Light

I mentioned in an earlier post that my aunt had entered respite care. We have known she was ill for a year or two, but now there are no more ways to improve her condition. She lives halfway across the country, and we've never visited much, just kept up on facebook, at the holidays, and through notecards. So a lap quilt, I felt, was in order.

She has always loved pastels. I started by fishing out the pastels from my hundreds of pre-cut lozenges, which I made in a "productive" moment. From these I made a six-pointed star and then pieced together the pink background. You can see the ghost of tumbling blocks, as always with six-pointed stars, but I chose not to accentuate that.

Instead, I imported some of the goodness from my kitchen, where my husband has been nurturing monarch caterpillars into chrysalis and then butterfly form. He bought his first set of 65 tiny caterpillars from Monarch Watch about 1 month ago, and another batch is in the mail...

For a while there, all I could think about was the wonder of caterpillars gorging themselves on milkweed, forming a gold-crowned chrysalis, then emerging, as winged creatures...

I hoped to share that sense of wonder, poignancy, and even promise with my aunt.

 You may notice that the quilting is rather dense. It was a tight angular meander that produced the softest quilt I have ever produced! Is it true that tightly quilting results in a very soft and gentle hand?

The back of the quilt: pure Kaffe eye candy nectar!
UPDATE: My mom was visiting my aunt when the quilt arrived in the mail; in fact it was Mom's birthday! I received a sweet phone call from my aunt, who (my mom reports) took a nap taken under it that afternoon!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rail Fence Quilt

The rail fence quilt described in my last post is done, all but the binding! It's 66" x 84", about right for a twin size bed.

I honestly don't know where this came from. All of a sudden, it was Saturday night last weekend, and I was making 2" wide strips in threes, and cutting 5" squares (in hindsight, I think 2.5" wide strips and 6.5" squares might make for a quicker "scrap" quilt).

I do know that earlier in the week, I had looked at this photo on my Pinterest patchwork board, and mentally worked out some dimensions for blocks.

But, as for choosing colors, it was all a blur. I used up 3 old shirts of my husband's. This must have been a big impetus. Get those shirts out (they don't sit well on the shelves)! Can you see them? Blue-gray with Hawaiian flowers, light gray with charcoal and blue flowers, and blue plaid:

What made it exciting was the use of this upholstery fabric I got for like $2 a yard on ebay. From a distance, it is intimidating:

But as I've heard it said, "no fabric is ugly; it just isn't cut into small-enough pieces." And those purply blues, sea greens, reds and greens (I avoided the yellow) made it a pleasure to arrange the blocks. On a closeup level, there's always something going on:

My only regret is that I didn't stand back enough. For some reason almost all of my "lights" aligned vertically (I was focusing on making sure the reds were okay).

But it's okay. How often do we look at a quilt from a distance, anyway? I'm giving this to a young man who is institutionalized for schizophrenia. I think it is soothing, manly, and interesting to spend time looking at. He is a kind, gentle person. 

I also think I'm going to crank out a few more rail fence quilts in the future!