we've had an unexpected warm spell for the last couple of weeks and our fall weather seems a bit delayed which somehow makes October an impossibility in my mind . . . time races on though and it is indeed Autumn. within the last couple of days we've had some cooling off and the wind is blowing colder . . .
once the season/weather turns i catch myself being drawn to the visual warmth of this 9-patch quilt that i made for my husband. not only does it make me feel warmer on the inside somehow but it also echos the riot of autumn colors that are growing brighter by the day.
this is one of the few quilts that we have in our collection that are of my own hand. it seems they get given away before they're even finished~! i'm sure that many of you quilters out there know how that goes.
it was a gift for him on the Christmas of 2002. it was started and completed in a relatively (for me) short period of time (approximately 9 months).
although not a bed sized quilt (app. 47.5 x 56 inches) it is actually showing quite a bit of wear and has a wonderful cozy feel to it.
if folded in half lengthwise it fits perfectly on the back of our small leather sofa. it's gained a permanent sort of "home" there as it looks quite nice in that space. we currently have this sofa in a reading nook and it really doesn't get the same sort of use that it used to get when it was part of our living room furniture and i believe that that is where this quilt received most of it's "wear and tear". it was quite handy to snuggle under on cool winter evenings.
i'm a huge fan of the Amish style of quilt making and decided to try it using fabrics that i had hand dyed myself. the fabrics were, for the most part, dyed in small batches which accounts for the color variations that you can see within this piece. that was exactly the look i was trying to achieve and was pleased with the final effect. i did not attempt to make all of the 9-patches the same throughout the quilt and sometimes went out of my way to create blocks using "non matching" squares. i like the look of make-do that happens when choosing colors/fabrics in this somewhat random way. the 9-patches measure 5.5 inches (sewn) and i set them on point because it adds a dynamic element to what would otherwise be a somewhat static pattern. within each of the pieced blocks i quilted an "echo" 9-patch.
i did decide to use a batik fabric for the back which is not in keeping with the Amish style at all. i liked the warm tones of it and those leaves begged to be incorporated into the quilting. i created a stencil from a tracing of one of the leaves and used it within the main body of the quilt as well as throughout the first (dark charcoal colored) border which measures 4.25 inches (sewn).
i liked the way that this choice subtly tied design elements to both the front and the back.
to dye a true deep dark black can be difficult and mine ended up being a dark charcoal. these photos don't quite capture the depth of that color very well as the camera flash washed it out quite a bit. but the quilting/leaf pattern can be seen nicely in this shot so i included it within the group of photos. i used the same variegated cotton thread throughout the quilt. it was similar in tone and color to what was within the fabric/batik back.
within the widest outer border i quilted a feathered cable. this border, which is a wonderful rusty brown, measures 7.25 inches wide.
i found this pattern in one of my books by Pepper Cory called Quilting Designs from Antique Quilts. i used it at the size that was presented within the book (pages 46 and 47) and i, once again, cut my own stencil/pattern.
the quilt uses a 100% cotton batting and is bound in a narrow dark orange fabric/color (also hand dyed).
i used this same fabric to cut a leaf silhouette from. the leaf is the same as the one used for quilting and "floats" gently on the back acting as the quilts label.
notice that i've painted the wall in a wind blown, color on color, leaf pattern . . .
hhhmmmm . . . maybe i have a thing for leaves . . .