December 24, 2016

"Confetti"--a wedding quilt

It has been many months since I've made a quilt.  I finished piecing "Holiness" in March, 2016, and then worked on a couple of other pieces about stones until deciding in June that the series was complete with Holiness.  The next couple of months were spent preparing for my August exhibition (with a side-trip to a workshop with Paula Kovarik).  I spent September preparing for a print-making workshop with Clare Benn in October.  For a few weeks after the workshop, I did follow-up work from that, lining up elements of the cloth napkins I'd like to be making.  But I really missed sewing, so I interrupted the napkin-making to come back to a quilt I had started in the spring, a wedding gift for friends.  The inspiration for this quilt was one by Cecilia Koppman:

La Torre de Babel (The Tower of Babel) by Cecilia Koppman
I liked the neutral background and the splashes of color.  I saw a photo first, and only later the title of the quilt.  Not so appropriate for a wedding image. . .  I focused my design on the idea of confetti instead, which meant that the bits of color were all angular bits, no bars.  I changed the background to beige/tan, because that worked well in my friends' living room.  And though I wasn't sure if an image of throwing confetti would be denser at the top or the bottom, I've ended up with the dense part at the top.

Below is a photo of the work in progress.  I improvised blocks in various sizes, and then added and combined until I got a block that was 10.5" high, with varying widths.  I played around with placement of the blocks, ending up with seven rows.  As always with improvisation, the early steps were playful fun, and the latter part--when one has to move from randomness to considered composition--an interesting challenge.

For the quilting, I decided to use some of what I had learned in my summer workshop with Paula Kovarik.  I gathered a set of quilting designs that would be in keeping with a theme of celebration.  I included some floral designs that are a reminder of the tissue-paper flowers that the bride taught me to make, and that I contributed to the wedding reception.  I used the shapes of fabric pieces as a guide to where to change designs, though I sometimes crossed borders between shapes. (You can double-click on photos to get a larger image.)

For the back of the quilt, I did a much simpler design, making four large "court-house steps" log-cabin blocks.  I was able to use up most of the background fabric I'd purchased, including some darker pieces that didn't make it into the front.  The back took me 2 days to piece, the front more like a couple of months.  

When making the binding, I included a few bits of "confetti."  Go back to the first photo to see how they look on the front (where they fit in better with the design).

Update, 12/26/16:  I was very interested to see the comments on this post.  Both Brenda Gael Smith and Beth Berman make a point about how the back conveys a different feeling from the front, Brenda commenting on the restfulness of perpendicular lines and Beth on the feeling of order and stability.  I didn't do this intentionally (I was just going for something that would relate to the front but be much simpler to piece), but I love it that this wedding gift ends up speaking to two different sides of marriage:  excitement and improvisation/spontaneity on one side, and peace/security/stability on the other side.  If there were a way to design the batting inside the quilt--unseen but also key to the structure of a quilt--perhaps it could represent the painful conflict that disrupts any marriage from time to time.


  1. I especially like the back. There's something about peroendicular lines that is surprisingly restful. Fabulous gift!

  2. What beautiful designs - both of them.. I love the confetti side because I like improv quilting and I like the back side because I like order and stability as well. I made a piece nce with each piece have various free motion designs. Very creative!!

  3. Beautiful photos and work, love the detail of the stitching when the the image is enlarged !