Thursday, March 26, 2009
Streak of Lightning
This big (96’ x69’) quilt was certainly a long time in the making. I started it in 2002 and just finished it last month. I found the pattern in the wonderful book 101 Fabulous Rotary Cut Quilts, a highly useful compendium with full page color photos and easy directions. One of the first books I bought as a novice quilter, I’ve since made about six quilts from it!
What I liked most about this quilt from the beginning was simply the fact that I chose the fabrics because they appealed to me. I mixed juvenile prints with batik, hearts with flowers, with no audience in mind. The Michael Miller “Font” fabric was a draw - and I like the way the zig zags pop out from the black and white. I’ve since gone on to collect even more fabric with text on it, enough so that when it came time to finding a binding I already had the fabric -- committing the cardinal sin of mixing a serif and sans serif font together.
This quilt also reminds me of the splendor that was Quilter’s Cove, the now long gone quilt fabric store, that used to be on Water Street here. Back before I was a quilter, I remember walking in and being sorely intimidated by the sheer vastness of the array of neatly arranged fabrics, and the somewhat stern-looking employees. Despite that, with Hayden in tow, or on a run downtown on the weekends during his naptime, I came to be quite good friends with the owner, who was good at helping me with sewing and fabric selection problems. The brick walled shop had great natural light, and some 40’ tall ceilings (the loft upstairs was reserved for sale fabrics and classes) - to me the place was like a combination of candy store, liquor store and shoe store, definitely a zone of temptation. My shameful stash is mostly due to buying just a little of this and a little of that, and from spending liberally at the twice-yearly sales.
Anyway, Streak of Lighting has been through many revolutions in my life, and has been shuffled out of the sewing room and out to the garage and back again. Since I started trying to machine quilt it, I’ve gained a lot of confidence -- moving from stitching in the ditch, to unmarked, unplanned zig-zagging. Originally just made to please myself, it now graces Graham’s bed, where hopefully, the five-years-old and one day young man will learn to identify the rest of the letters in the alphabet (at his teacher conference this week, we learned he can identify exactly half of his uppercase letters.) Maybe through osmosis?