It has been almost a month since I have connected with you people. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been busy traveling, teaching, and making a new quilt.
Every day, I get up and stitch, write, think, make, walk, talk until seven or eight at night. Then I sit down and knit and talk to my husband and watch the world fall a part on the t.v. for a bit. Then I go to bed.
The next day, I get up and do it all over again. I like feeling as if my life has a lot purpose. With a deadline around every corner, it always feels that way.
The most recent deadline involved American Made Brand Fabric. American Made Brand cottons are completely made in the USA.
I used American Made Brand cotton textiles to make BIG TRI, which is on the cover of the book.
For BIG TRI, AMB sent me exactly that I love—a large USPS flat rate block full of a mixture of fabric in all colors and sizes. PERFECT.
After the book came out, AMB asked me if I would be interested in working with them again. This time, I would make a quilt or two for their booth at Quilt Market Portland.
Of course, I said yes. First, I made HOT SEAT!
And then I did about a hundred other things—travel, teach, stitch, quilt, make, sleep.
All the while Quilt Market Portland is getting closer and closer. FINALLY. I got back from teaching on the East Coast, and I cleared the deck. Life was going to be about this quilt and only this quilt until it was in the box and headed to AMB headquarters.
I made a sketch.
I am interested in taking some of the prints from my book and combining them in new ways. I decided to work with pointy shapes, the traditional quilt block called Courthouse Steps, polka dot rows, and short rows.
I pulled a palette.
I stitched some short rows.
I took notes to get the sections to fit together in the end.
As I build, I am constantly shaping the “blocks”. By shaping, I mean shaving tiny bits of fabric off of each block to create clean lines for piecing.
If I have time, which I really did not, I will play with the units to see if they have the potential to be used in other ways for future quilts.
I am constantly documenting my progress, and, for the past year, I have been putting that documentation Instagram. Thank you Instagram followers for your cheerleading. It really does make a difference.
As the units are built, they go on the design wall.
Sometimes an idea doesn’t work or needs tweaking. I decided to change the two major columns from polka dot rows to a checkered print (also known as a continuous nine-patch). Graphically I needed something that was bolder, and I thought the checkered print would do the trick.
I was disappointed with the first attempt, so I cut it up.
I thought this was better, but it needed to be wider, so I made them again.
Bit by bit, I lock into the final composition.
Once the top is done, I always have a sinking feeling, because I know that my next task is long, tiring, and monotonous. Yes. That is how I describe the quilting process. Not all of the time. Some times it is beautiful, meditative, and thoughtful.
Thread. Thread. And more thread.
If you want to know more about my quilting process, you might enjoy this blog post.
I am constantly timing myself to get a good idea of how long each section will take to quilt. Of course, I have to actually shower and eat and show up for the car pool. But for the most part, it is tunnel vision time.
Finally, the facing goes on. Here is the how to on that.
At some point in the process, I realized that the composition was an abstracted electrical fence! At the Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy, Alaska, our compost pile is protected from bears with an electrical fence. All three sons had to confirm for themselves that the fence was indeed electrified. That’s testosterone for you.
This quilt is finally on its way to Portland, via Seattle. I hope it makes its destination in time. I wish I weren’t always working up until the very minute. Still, I think that is how I get so much done. Each deadline bumps up against the next one, and I just keep going–one stitch after the next.
Thank you American Made Brand for the opportunity to work with you and your incredible fabric!
PS–My favorite place to buy American Made Brand cottons is on the AQS website.If you like this quilt and want to learn more about how to work this way, I hope you will buy my book.
What I like about your posts is that the education you’ve offered is so clear and accessible. Thank you!
Just in time, because the bears are out. Thanks for sharing the process.
I love Bear Fence and I love the glimpse of your sketchbook!
Oh Maria , I just love this composition and palette. WOW!! The cut up checkerboard really transformed it. Happy Mother’s Day!
I really enjoyed seeing the “process”. Hope you do more. These quilts are spectacular.
Love Bear Fence! Just finished reading The Great Alone and thought of you often, especially when the scene was in McCarthy.
I am in awe of what you do and how you do it.
The difference in the checkered print is amazing! I love the “uneven” print that you put in there. And as always, when I read one of your posts like this, I want to go into the studio and cut solids into tiny little pieces and sew them back together 🙂
Thanks for the heads up on AMB, I like the colors.
And yes, thanks for sharing your process. Nice ‘liberated’
There’s still a lot of good in the world, I hope you don’t get
too jaded taking in the hysteria of main stream media.
I can see you’re making a positive difference.
Absolutely love this quilt. It might be my favorite…hard to say though because I love so many of your quilts. And thank you for generously sharing your art and how you work.
I loved Bear Fence the first time I saw it!! I bought your book the moment it was available and it’s amazing. I haven’t yet read it cover to cover but I’m working my way through it and trying to absorb everything. With a good collection now of solids i aim to make a start shortly.
Really like this quilt and the story behind the name. I have 3 sons and they, too, had to test out many things.
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Maria your work is truly amazing and we are so happy to be connected with your creativity. Love,
The Clothworks Team
Love back at you. Your fabric- Your team. What’s not to love? Thank you for the opportunity!