This quilt was inspired by the fabric line "Savannah" by Gingiber for Moda fabrics.
I bought the animal panel and coordinating prints for this quilt on a whim. I found myself walking out of my local quilt shop with a large bundle while having gone in simply needing new scissors. Once I got home, I meticulously cut out each of the animals and gradually started seeing a quilt layout.
I gave myself two rules. First, I would surround each animal with 1/2" of the gray cheetah print. Second, I would make 12 blocks each with a finished size of 11"— everything else I would improv. Typically improv quilts are very fluid and organic with all sorts of curved and imperfect seams. However, for this quilt, I knew I wanted something with a bit more structure. While I wanted each block to be completely unique, I wanted some identifiable shapes. Triangles, rectangles, squares so that a child could learn their animals, colors, and shapes all in one quilt.
The quilt involved a bit of math, but not too much planning. I began by making a few flying geese to sprinkle throughout the design. Then I began to layer on different strips around the animals. I would get the width or height to 11" inches and then start building in the other direction.
My first few blocks in progress.
Laying out the 12 blocks.
My first few blocks in progress.
I remember watching my sisters create wedding quilts for their friends while I was still in high school. I enviously wished that I were older and had friends getting engaged to make quilts for their upcoming nuptials. At the time, I instinctively knew these gifts could be a real challenge, but I was eager to take it on. I had always wanted to try to capture someone else's personal aesthetic blended with my impression of them.
When Seth and Joseph told me of their engagement, I was so delighted for them! As two of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met, I got butterflies in my stomach just thinking about all the possibilities for their quilt. It was my first wedding quilt, and I wanted it to be special.
They had a beautifully decorated home with lots of meaningful artwork from friends and tokens from their travels. I wanted the quilt to carry the same meaning and fit in seamlessly. The quilt would be a California king size at 114" square, and it would need to incorporate into their bedroom of predominantly black and white. The room had a theme of Graffiti, so I wanted to have pops of vibrant color throughout the quilt to tie in some artwork.
I leafed through my sketchbook and found an unusual long block that I thought would be perfect. It was very simple but had a lovely ebb and flow if I added levels make an ombre. I wanted to create a quilt with movement, so instead of framing the design within a large border, I let the blocks run all the way to the edge.
For the fabrics, I knew I wanted black and white. To create the ombre, I selected prints with varying amounts of white. I made a test block in just black and white to see the ombre and then moved on to incorporating color. I first experimented with having entire shapes being a pop color, but the impact was too intense. I only wanted blips of bright color throughout. I took my half-square triangle and trimmed down the black portion and inserted strips of the various brights.
Due to the heavy amount of piecing, I opted to have this quilt longarm quilted instead of my usual hand quilting. Admittedly, the substantial size also deterred me from hand quilting.
Once completed, I entered Graffiti into Quiltcon 2019, and happily, it got in! It was a true delight to see it at the show and a special surprise to tell Seth and Joseph that their gift was accepted into a National Quilt Show.
The original sketch for Cadence was an exploration of repetition and symmetry. I began sketching the flying geese in the center and built out mirroring and reflecting. The elongated triangles and long thin strips enhanced the flow and helped your eye travel smoothly around the quilt. The wider strips break up the quilt provide balance and separation in all of the busy shapes.
The first version of this quilt was a twin size finishing at 60x72" (left image above). As one of my first original designs, my math and precision were not perfect; the construction was a bit experimental. I would construct sections, and when I went to put them together, I would need to add or trim to fit them together. I also made a small error in calculating the amount of white I would need for the background and completed it using two different dye lots. While you cannot discern a difference, I had always wished I had given myself a larger buffer when I bought the fabric. This version was also completely hand quilted using a large stitch and embroidery floss. After this quilt, I switched to the stronger pearl cotton and shortened stitches for hand quilting. I loved the finished quilt's visual, but I always wanted to revisit the design now that I had tested it.
A few years later, I brought the design back out and equipped with EQ8 I recreated the design at a larger size (right image above). I brought it up to queen size finishing at 84x96". I also wanted to have print play a key role in the new design. Instead of placing the pattern in the foreground as many quilts do, I flipped the role of solid and pattern. Originally I wanted to execute the quilt in cream and a cream grounded print. Unfortunately, when I found the perfect pattern, a Rifle Paper Company floral, my local quilt shop did not have enough yardage. I searched to find more, but the pattern was incredibly popular, and there was no more in that coloration to be found. So I switched to the navy version of the same pattern. I found that the construction of this quilt the second time around was much smoother, having learned from my mistakes the first time and improved my scant 1/4" seam. To complete the quilt, I had it professionally quilted instead of hand quilted.
Twin size original sketch
Design in EQ8
A picture of the quilt next to the Cider Mill we were staying at.
Twin size original sketch