Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
After spending a few lovely hours quilting Marina, I realized how much I enjoy stitching through wide open spaces. It's very relaxing and it goes very quickly.
I've done two whole cloth quilts - a white king-sized wedding quilt and a white-on-white christening quilt for my son. Quilting a whole cloth quilt is like painting a fresh canvas every day, and that is as close to painting as I will ever get. There was something about the act of sitting down at my floor frame, facing this huge white expanse of fabric and stitching for hours, that I found both exciting and relaxing. When you are working a king-sized quilt at a frame, you do get some kind of Jackson Pollock vibe which is very cool.
Unfortunately, I do not have any digital pictures of that king quilt, but I can share with you a duplicate block (12" x 12") that I made as a momento of sorts. The pattern is based on the grille work of the window boxes of The Plaza Hotel. I repeated this pattern throughout the quilt because the young groom proposed to his bride over dinner at the hotel. Very romantic.
As for my son's christening quilt (25" x 33"), I like to go by the English tradition of giving a newborn baby a yard of fabric (as if anyone needs a reason to give a baby a quilt). That yard is supposed to accompany the little one his or her way through life. It's a nice thought, but I wrapped up the quilt about twenty minutes after the ceremony and he hasn't touched it since. Don't worry - he has quite a few others and they will be with him forever.
Back to Marina. I had very elaborate plans for quilting a marine life scene in each of the solid panels. I imagined low tide at a tidal marsh with blowing grasses and crabs waddling about, egrets fishing, the sun setting.
Nice idea, I suppose, but that didn't work because . . . that's just not me. What did work and what felt right was simple, straightforward, uncomplicated and undemanding stitching. I did a very simple boxy pattern where the egret was supposed to perch, hunting for fiddler crabs. I couldn't wait to get to the navy blue section and I knew I wanted waves but nothing too stylized. I didn't know where to start, so I undid the quilt from its hoop and draped it over my kitchen table. Nothing. I picked up my hoop and started twirling it, like a hula hoop. That's when it dawned on me: the arc of the hoop suggested a nice rolling wave. I got out my chalk wheel and ended up with this:
Now the waves look like clams and I'm okay with that. I couldn't help but think of the movie The Perfect Storm, starring George Clooney and a lot of other people. It's the true and very sad story about a fishing boat lost at sea in the North Atlantic during what was considered the perfect storm. The movie poster features an enormous wave about to crash over a fishing boat. That stuck with me for a long time. Apparently it is still there on some level. I think I'm going to add a subtitle to this quilt: Safe Harbor.
The more I quilt, the more I realize that I don't like to complicate my quilt process - I like to keep it pretty simple - stitch, stitch, stitch.
In these times, simplicity is astonishing.