When I hung this (nearly) finished quilt top on the line, a whole new quilt emerged.
As some of you know, when I began this quilt, I was thinking a lot about how physical trauma changes us. In 2010, my younger son broke his left arm twice, shattering more than just bone. My first impulse was to create a kind of postcard of cheer, which I later called “Happy Hut”. It used bright colors, and sunflowers, and pieces of some plaid flannel pj’s that I had made him one Christmas.
You can see most of “Happy Hut”, as well as a comparison of some of the bleached fabrics, here.
The next impulse was to describe the trauma. I bleached a bunch of the fabrics and started including blue tie dyes that looked like Xrays and made a pale version of the same house motif. The quilt, now dubbed “Ghost House”, grew and shrank, went away for some periods, grew and shrank some more and finally, just last week, when one corner went rogue (here), arrived at its final dimension.
Once I let that corner have its say, the rest of the quilt quickly and easily fell into place. It became, now, about the size of “Happy Hut”, which pleased me, given that they are companion pieces. And, it turned into a quilt that was going to be finished, which pleased me even more.
But here’s the thing. In between the beginning of this quilt and now, life has changed. A lot. I am NOT thinking about physical trauma these days, and thankfully, neither is my younger son. Part of the struggle to finish the quilt top had to do with this very fact, the fact of life moving along, rendering the theme of the thing not only less compelling, but even a little off-putting. I didn’t want to keep dwelling there.
So, when I hung it on the line and the light streamed through and totally transformed its pallid surface into something gleaming and popping with color, I just said, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” (to quote a fellow blogger). Here is TODAY’s quilt – something that more nearly matches how the world looks to me this day, of this month, of this year.
To achieve the pale palette, I bleached some fabrics, but for many rectangles I just used the ‘wrong’ side. When the sun shines through, the more intense colors of the ‘right’ side of the fabric come through… especially the flannel sunflowers of the sky.
Here’s the final seam.