Rainbow Array Quilt

I think I’ve flunked as a blogger.  I started out gung-ho, blogging almost every day.  Then, with my mind geared to quilting, the blogging slipped to weekly, and lately not even to monthly.  At the end of the day, after I’ve finished what I need to do as far as the quilting is concerned, my energies for blogging are about as accessible as they are for house-cleaning – and those who know me well know that means no energy at all.  But I enjoy blogging, so here I am – mid-morning, blogging, guiltily, as I should be quilting instead.

I’m starting at the end of what I need to show, rather than at the beginning – in other words, I’ve made lots and lots of quilts in the almost a year that I’ve not really been blogging (only short and easy blogs, nothing in depth) – too many to begin with, so I’m showing the latest one that is “hot off the rails”.  This one I called the “Bright Shirt Quilt” until it was finished.  Now I think it should be named “Rainbow Array Quilt”.  It started out with a large box of brightly colored shirts of all kinds, sent by a customer who had fun collecting them from her family’s cast-offs, thrift-stores, and fabric stores.  Some of it was material she had collected but most of it came from shirts or pants or skirts of all kinds – even some knits and some silk.  I also had a box of her mother’s handiwork, eyelets, cross-stitching, lace, and even her own wedding dress that had lots and lots of beautiful eyelet flounces.  I envisioned a quilt of many colors with an overlay of lacy circles or stars – and so I began.

Using two design walls (because neither of them were big enough), I started out with a 9×3-inch block, sliced in two horizontally.  This portion was actually the bottom (which is where I started).  The white and yellow flowery material came from what looked like toaster cozies or half-pillow shams – old fashioned and cute.  The plaids were all various “bright shirts”, and the darkly striped material at the bottom was a cotton knit material, left over from a previous quilt made for this customer (see “Bento Box Quilt”). the light green flowered material at the top also was left over from a previous quilt, yet to be shown on my website, while the beautiful yellow and pink flowered material at the top was from a fragile and delicate blouse.  It was one of my favorites.

This portion of the quilt was supposed to be the top, although eventually I “turned it upside down” and put the light green portions at the very top of the quilt.  Here you can see more “bright shirt” material, along with a potpourri of other materials, some filched from previous quilts for this customer, but all materials she had sent me.  She obviously has a great color sense!

So finally I finished the entire quilt and tried out my idea of sprinkled snowflakes.  It didn’t work.  The snowflakes were beautiful but busy, as was the background.  They collided.  What to do?

In the back of my mind, all along, I had also envisioned looking at these arranged colors almost as a landscape.  As you can see in the mockups, I had designed the quilt as you would imagine slight hills or soft mountains.  But as I proceeded, I realized I wanted a wider quilt – didn’t want the quilt to have numerous borders.  In the process of widening the quilt, I lost some of the waves and it changed its complexion.  I decided that in order to give the entire quilt some definition, however, I needed to define it and chose the “windowpane effect”.  So with trepidation, I cut up the entire quilt into diamonds and framed it with a 1-inch black sashing.

Rainbow Array Quilt Detail

The purple and black borders came from a dress that had purple elephants marching around the bottom of its skirt.

One of my favorite pictures of this quilt shows the help I had in displaying it for photographic purposes from my friend Jan’s second story balcony:

This closeup also shows the quilting pattern, a waving leaves of grass pattern from Circle Lord.

In this detail, you see the hot pink material that was included.  My customer said it was from a skirt her mother made from Thai silk – another favorite of mine.  You can also see what a good job I made of cutting up the quilt for sashing!  That was scary.  Has anyone else out there ever cut up their quilt?

And finally, the back of the quilt – I was lucky to find a matching bright background in 110-inch width.  Note the name “Resistol” which came off one of the shirts, and which my customer wanted somewhere on the quilt:

And now I really must get to work.