Sunday, June 2, 2024

Woven Whispers

A few weeks ago, a friend contacted me with a possible quilt commission inspired by a blessing he had written in honor of his mom's retirement. She had been a teacher for many years, and after reading what he'd written, there were several words/thoughts that resonated.... threads, mosaic, changing shapes. I sent him photos of a few general quilt design ideas, and the one he chose was my Home Away from Home.

As for a palette, we settled on something subtle as a connection to the mentions of whispers, influence in quiet places, sacred hush, a silent promise, echoes, that he'd used in his blessing. "Fall colors and earth tones," he said, so from my stash I initially pulled a mixture of substrates and textures:

  • Kona Ice Frappe, Oyster, Snow
  • Diamond Textiles wovens - Top Stitch in Pale Jade, Crossed in Cream, Lined in Sage
  • Riley Blake Designs' Grid in Seaglass
  • a pair of textured solids

Once I got started, I knew I needed more solids, and brought in:

  • Kona Haze
  • Cotton Couture Powder Blue
  • Northcott Colorworks Pearl

I made piles of improv quarter log cabin blocks, and then puzzled them together similarly to my process with the inspiration quilt. For a backing, I wanted an overall design that would complement the front, and chose Rifle Verte in Cream from fabricBUBB, hoping it would work. And boy, did it. I couldn't have chosen anything better if I'd selected in person, right down to the bit of blue that went so nicely with the CC Powder Blue in the quilt top.

Due to the width of the quilt top, I chose to pattern-match the backing. Years ago, my guild-mate Matt @odditease had shown me how to pattern-match a quilt backing, otherwise I never would have thought, or tried, to do it for this quilt. But I think it's just what was needed. so I was glad I took the time to do it. And for your referenceSamantha @aqua_paisley has a terrific tutorial on her blog if you're interested in trying it sometime.

I used Quilter's Dream Select in Natural batting, a product I haven't used a lot, but I'm thinking that might be what contributed to the quilt's rich texture. Using Aurifil 40wt 6722 [Sea Biscuit] and 2021 [Natural White] along with Aurifil 50wt 2843 [Light Grey Green], I quilted a combination of straight any wavy lines to echo the journeys of one's life. 

Bound primarily in Kona Oyster, the lap quilt measured 52" x 54". Since the quilt was to be a gift, I thought it would be nice to deliver it in a coordinating fabric gift bag.

So that was an enjoyable odyssey into improv with intent.... but not overtly, obviously so. But hopefully my friend - and his mom - can be reminded of her influence over the years, the mosaic of experiences, and trust that even efforts that often went unseen, will continue to be felt.


  1. This quilt is so lovely and calming. Wow, your backing is pattern matched so very perfectly. Love it and I'm sure the recipient will too.

  2. Oh goodness, that backing is perfect for the quilt; I love it when things align so beautifully. It sounds like you had rich conversation with your friend, and I am sure this quilt will reflect the care that you put into it and that he has put into thinking about and celebrating his mom.

  3. Oh, that is such a pretty quilt, and the backing fabric is fantastic! I like the bag too, a neat way to gift the quilt!