Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Neglect, and another quilt

I know the blog has been quite neglected lately. The only thing I can claim is the usual busy nature of the holidays and the beginning of a new term. I'm teaching 6 courses this time, more than I ever have in the past.

Before classes started, I did manage to finish something. It's been marinating in the must-write-this-up part of my brain since the beginning of January.

Mendocino Quilt

The quilt was a birthday/graduation gift for my sister. Most of the prints are from Heather Ross's Mendocino collection, and I got them specifically with her in mind: my sister's favorite place is the ocean, and her favorite color is orange. One of the prints is called "Underwater Sisters" (it's the one at the top and bottom of the stack below), and as soon as I read that name in an Etsy listing I knew this quilt would be for my underwater sister.

Mendocino Fat Quarters

I started planning this quilt back in the summer, but I was collecting the fat quarters even before I finished my very first quilt. I waited a long time for inspiration, until I found this lovely quilt on Etsy and knew I wanted to recreate that effect.

Mendocino Quilt

I used 5 inch x 10 inch rectangles cut from 18 different fat quarters, and arranged them in a color progression from light to dark to piece the strips. I actually waited until I'd pieced some of the strips before selecting fabric for the border and background, because I wanted to be able to easily compare all the prints at once.

Mendocino Quilt

I had half yards of two of the prints, so after cutting out my rectangles I used the leftovers to make an interesting strip across the back. I think I used 2 yards of solid orange for the borders, and 5 1/2 yards or so for the backing. The backing fabric is a coordinating light teal with white polka dots from City Weekend by Moda for Oliver + S. I chose it because the teal matches some of the octopi and seahorses.

Mendocino Quilt

The binding was another Mendocino print. I managed to score a yard and a half of that one, and I knew that I wanted to use it to bind the quilt. While I was sewing the binding, I would track my progress by how many seahorses I'd passed that day.

Mendocino Quilt and Helper

I machine-quilted this one in straight vertical lines, echoing the lines of the piecing. Of course, my assistant tested the quilt for warmth and snuggliness.

Mendocino Quilt

I'm quite proud of this quilt, having made it without a written pattern to work from. So many times I double- and triple-checked my math, making sure I'd bought enough fabric to make the borders and backing. After giving it a wash, we spread it out on the bed for its photo shoot before shipping it off to the east coast.

Mendocino Quilt

Finishing something handmade and giving it away builds such a wonderful connection, and I've found it to be as true with sewing and quilting as it is with spinning and knitting. I love picturing this quilt in my sister's apartment, spread over her bed or rumpled up on her couch. While sewing it, I thought about all those times we went to the beach as kids, and about watching The Little Mermaid over and over and over until our VHS tape wore out. I thought about how much she loves swimming, no matter what body of water it is, and how the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of her favorite places. I hope this quilt keeps her warm, and reminds her that even though there's a lot of land in between us right now, we both live close to the ocean. Whether it's the Atlantic or the Pacific, it still connects us and reminds us each of the other, just like the quilt does. Sweet dreams, Becky.