My last finish of 2015, Quilt no. 014, feels like an obvious but useful metaphor for this past year: start in one place and end in a different, unexpected place. I started piecing this quilt in February while we were living in the mountains, surrounded by pine forests and snow drifts six feet tall. I finished it while living in a small apartment in a small city in northern Colorado, surrounded by things like modern conveniences and paved roads.
My approach to composition and piecing has changed pretty significantly. I’ve moved away from central composition, from minimal color schemes, from quilts that feel emotionally removed. I have been more compelled towards making that feels a little more urgent, more complicated, more layered, more reactive. The pieces that I have been working on the last few months are wildly different than this quilt.
No. 014 was made from 1.5″ wide scraps from no. 013, which I didn’t get to photograph before handing it off to it’s new owners. The first incarnation was actually suppose to be a rag rug, which is part of the reason the strips are so tiny. I also wanted to include as much of the details from the pants, including hems, pocket details and worn areas. It ended up giving this quilt serious texture and variety.
I chose the yellow thread as a nod to the traditional yellow linen thread used on jeans. The quilting design compliments the piecing, without mimicking or overwhelming it. The back is a bright red brushed twill. I skipped the batting to save my fingers while hand quilting; it made stacking the fabric on the needle a breeze. It’s quite large, 76″ x 76″, and as one can probably imagine, it’s got serious heft. Despite this, it’s remarkably soft and pliable. It makes a great noise when unfurled and snapped in the air.
It’s not a fine quilt by any stretch of the imagination. Very few of the points match, the hand quilting is a bit sloppy and I didn’t even square it off, for fear of trimming off quilting knots. It won’t be in any shows. It might spend part of its life hanging in my living room to make the space less generic. It would probably make a great picnic or beach blanket.
Like the year this quilt was made in, the details are less than perfect but from far away, it’s a pretty good one.