MXY Road

I belong to a small art quilt group called Cloth in Common. Every two months we get a new prompt. When I learned the prompt for this round was road, I knew exactly what I wanted do. I wanted to piece the road that leads to here—the Wrangell St. Elias National Park where McCarthy, Alaska is located..We have a cute little cabin here.

And I love to spend my summers stitching away in my plein aire studio.I have been here since the beginning of July working every day on these three quilts.

My Cloth in Common quilts always start with the size defined in black fabric strips on my design wall.

And then I sketch.

I finished the road, and then I pieced the mountains.

As the deadline for this prompt grew closer, I knew that I needed to stop working on the other two quilts and focus on the “road” ahead.

I allotted three entire days to piece the sky. Surely that is enough time.

My first sky was all wrong. (Yes. I get it wrong.)

And so was my second one. ( And sometimes I get it wrong again.)

In the meantime son #1 and his friend show up. He is twenty and here to make some money doing grunt labor. I was really surprised by how much he threw off my studio practice. I also cannot believe how much they eat. They are feeding machines. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble. Time began to slip away.

Even the bees were working against me. He would not leave, and while I am okay with bees, I did pause while he sorted his life out. Freedom was just a mere twelve inches away. 

Today, I woke up knowing that I would be in the studio until this piece was done.

I selected a third sky palette.

I changed the piecework from short rows to curves. I was not sure how it was going to work, but I forged ahead anyway.

I started with my regular pieced curves. I put them up on the design wall just to see if the palette would work. In the past, I just could not see my way around that giant ugly center seam. I figured it out. I know this sounds corny, but it came to me. The SOLUTION. I could see how I could piece the curves into the mountains.

There was a bit of wacky construction involved.

It worked!

I am pleased with this piece. I tried some new things and over all, I got where I wanted to go.

MXY Road
40’’ width x 30’’ Height

If you would like to see all the other interpretations of this prompt, please visit the Cloth in Common blog, You are in for a treat.

If you want to see more beautiful pictures of my favorite road, I hope you will visit my friend Dianne Millard’s blog Rambling Ranger . She has written a lovely post about the McCarthy Road. She is a professional photographer and travel writer. Her photos do the road justice.

Have you tried anything new this summer? I would love to hear about what you are stitching, growing, hiking, playing.

This entry was published on July 31, 2018 at 9:53 PM. It’s filed under Alaska, McCarthy, Quilt Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

25 thoughts on “MXY Road

  1. tamara harper on said:

    i love it!!

  2. What a wonderful glimpse into the reality of creating.

  3. This post had me mesmerised — like being gripped by a story to see what the punch line is going to be! No wonder you are pleased with the end result. It is stunning. Thank you for so generously sharing your process of making it

  4. love that july studio! Thanks for this interesting and inspiring post. xo

  5. Ineke Marijnissen-van der Molen on said:

    I like it very much

  6. Amazing conclusion. I love the way you solved this! As I was reading, I kept wondering how the sky was going to open up and be brilliant. It is! Sometimes having a break is just what you need to push through to the deadline. I’ve been biking with my daughter and smallest granddaughter once a week at Cape Henlopen State Park. That is a renewed activity for me. I’ve enjoyed the outdoor time with them both.

  7. Hi Maria. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of your piece. The second sky was certainly better than the first, in my opinion because the value was better for the strength of the mountains and road. But ah yes, the curved piecing suits best of all. I’m not sure if it would work here, but Rose Hughes uses a “pieced applique” method that you might check out.

    As for me, I returned to Iowa last week from PNW. My son got married in Tacoma, WA on 7/14. After the wedding, husband and I spent another several days in Olympic National Park, at Mount St. Helens, and in Portland, OR exploring. Besides that I designed and made a wall-hanging for son and his bride using actual handprints of their 20 closest family members. I haven’t blogged about it yet but will be very soon.

    • I will check out the pieced applique method you suggested. I am always looking for new tools to put in my box. I love the idea of the handprint quilt. I think community quilts are so powerful. Thank you Melanie!

  8. WENDY M HILL on said:

    Those “then it came to me” moments are wonderful. I’m sure my subconscious has been busy while “I” was doing something else. Not corny at all.

  9. I adore your cabin!!!!! Thank you for showing your process with this piece. Very inspiring. Love it.

  10. When I first saw this piece on IG, I was so curious about your method for piecing the sky. What I love about it is the way the top (especially the top left hand corner) shows the way clouds stack up over the mountains. I also love how strong the sky is and the way the three elements both hold their own and complement each other.

  11. Thank you Marla- It was not an easy feat, but I feel that I came close to getting it right. I hope your summer has been splendid!

  12. Frances McGuinn on said:

    Wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing your process!

  13. I enjoyed reading your process, Maria. Especially seeing the changes you made from your original sketch. Lovely finish. So personally meaningful, too. Congratulations.

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