Friday, September 15, 2023

A Different Kind of Calendar

So I'm embarking on one of the largest quilt projects I've ever attempted. A commission for our church, I'll be creating a triptych, or "a set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together." [Source: OxfordLanguages and Google

The subject of the trio is pretty specific - it will be a representation of what is called a liturgical calendar following the Revised Common Lectionary. In a nutshell, the calendar provides a three-year series of Biblical readings for Sundays for many many denominations in the US and Canada and beyond. The major seasons of the church year are represented by color, and that is the part that I am focusing on. I'm happy to tell anyone interested more about the colors and what they represent, but won't get into that unless asked. But I will share the graphic I came up with as I was planning the layout of the three pieces. Picture the gray as the wall behind the three hangings, then the other colors as what will be depicted in fabric.

So once I had a good sense of how large each of the three panels would be - approximately 52" x 68" - I could begin to consider fabric choices. Consulting with our minister of music & worship, who asked for me to create the panels in the first place, we agreed that the composition of each color would be constructed improvisationally, and each color strip would be made with a mix of solid fabrics and prints and/or textures. So I chose 3 to 5 fabrics for each of the seven colors, depending how large I planned for each section to be. IE. the greens would be needed for three 'seasons,' including the long green season that would actually stretch over two panels. So I selected five fabrics for that section. Where the black and yellow seasons were the smallest, and for each of them I selected just three fabrics. Etc. etc.

So just for the record - and possibly your interest - here are the 25 fabrics I have collected to begin this project.

Kona Riviera
Marcia Derse Palette in Royal Blue
Essex Speckled Yarn Dyed Ocean

Kona White
Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic Crystal
Diamond Textiles Top Stitch in White
Ruby Star Society Wink in Lunar Rock

Kona Rich Red
Essex Ruby
Jennifer Sampous Chalk & Charcoal in Persimmon
Marcia Derse Palette in Cardinal

Diamond Textiles Crossed in Onyx
RJR Between the Lines Skinny Stripe in Crow

Kona Eggplant
Figo Fabrics' Ghazal Razavi Elements Water in Wine
Marcia Derse Palette in Grape

Kona Corn Yellow
Marcia Derse Palette in Daffodil
Ruby Star Society Speckled in Sunshine Metallic 

Kona Clover
Essex Kelly
Marcia Derse Palette in This Green
Jennifer Sampou Chalk & Charcoal in Grass
Cotton Couture Turf

So this week I started cutting and sewing! I'm working from left to right, beginning with the left-hand panel first. For my first big slab, I taped masking tape to my design wall, measuring the size I wanted it to be. Then I made small improv blocks using my three blue fabrics, and bit by bit, filled in the space.

Once that first slab was done, I hung it vertically on the design wall, and moved on to the first white slab. And I'll continue on in that fashion, one slab, one panel at a time. 

Obviously, this project will take me a while, so expect periodic updates along the way. Holler if you have any questions, as I know this isn't quite my normal project. But then again, all that improv makes me feel right at home. So maybe it is?


  1. I love random piecing like what you are working with. How do you create the interesting shapes to piece together when you are starting with whole lengths of cloth?

    1. Hope you are able to see my response, Carol. Before starting, I sketched about a dozen types of blocks I could make to include in these pieced panels. Then I just start cutting and sewing, letting the blocks and scraps kind of lead me how to piece them together. It's very random! Plus I keep in mind how wide the slab needs to be, and also to use a majority of the solid fabric so that main color really shows through in each slab.

  2. Very exciting! And you're off to a beautiful start. I'm inspired.

  3. What a very interesting project! I'm curious if you plan to make the large green piece that spans 2 of the panels as one and then cut it apart so that it appears to flow from one to the other? I'm also thinking that facing might be a good finishing technique... lots to consider with a project this large, and I'm sure you have ideas like quilting in mine (to help with the continuity?), too.

  4. I really appreciate that you're using your gifts and skills to create pieces to God's glory. This is such an excellent way to make the liturgical calendar physically visible, and in a way that will be a real beauty to reflect upon. Good for you to take on this task, though I know you're using your God-given abilities to do it. Bless you in the process.

  5. I will enjoy following your process as you construct this project. I am sure that it stretches you creatively, but also pulls you in spiritually as you think about and create each segment. Enjoy the process!

  6. WoW! this is awesome, Debbie! As usual--God has gifted you with a unique ability to serve Him--to truly bring Him Glory! Will the finished product hang in your Sancturary?
    Keep us posted on your progress--so exciting! Blessings on you as you create this work of art!

  7. This is STUNNING! As a non-Christian, I would love to hear about the color symbolism and the width of the different panels (totally fine if you don't have time for remedial education). What a lovely project and I'm excited to watch the process.

  8. What a stunning project! I look forward to watching it progress.

  9. What a wonderful project! I will tune in to see its evolution.

  10. I so love the concept of your quilts. And they will greatly fit with your improv, modern style. The visualization was surely a lot of help.