Monday, October 14, 2013

Sea Glass

Earth and sky, woods and fields,
Lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea,
Are excellent schoolmasters,
And teach some of us
More than we can ever learn from books.

–John Lubbock

Finishes have been few and far between around here lately. I'd almost forgotten that awesome “got it done” feeling. And so I'm completely thrilled to show you my latest quilt, finished in time to be delivered to a very dear friend, Michelle, on her birthday last Saturday.

This amazing lady and her family have a special spot in my heart {see also; Birthday Aprons, Jazz Jammies, Baby Frolic and Echoes of Eternity}. Seven weeks ago, she had a serious health issue and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I wanted to do something special for her. And by special, I mean make her a quilt. I tossed around ideas of finishing a quilt that I already had cut or one of the ones that I already had partially assembled, but nothing seemed to fit. With a prayer in my heart to find the right design and the desire to make something simple and fast enough to get it to her when she needed it, I rummaged through my stash and came across a page I'd ripped out of a catalog and put with some cute prints with the intent to use them to make that quilt. A plan began to form.

I bounced ideas off Mr. Bug as I auditioned fabrics. I knew that batiks were the way to go. I {re}discovered two yards of a very pretty brown batik in my stash. That amount of yardage is unusual for me. Most of the time I only buy half-yard cuts. The majority of my batik stash is fat quarters {because Connecting Threads sells fat quarters at regular yardage prices. Woot!}. When I bought the piece of brown, probably a year or more ago, the lady at the cutting counter asked me what I was making. I told her that I didn't know, but the fabric was pretty and I had to have some. When I came across it, I knew it would be perfect for the borders and the long rectangles in this quilt.

At first I was thinking of going with a rainbow spectrum for the colored squares. But the turquoises, greens, blues and purples really stood out. They reminded me of the ocean and I started turning over names for the quilt. Enchantment Under the Sea? Cheesy movie reference. How about just Under the Sea? A slightly less cheesy movie reference. And halfway through the second verse of the song of that name from The Little Mermaid, I realized two things. First, I know the whole song, which just goes to show that you never know which bit of useless information is going to stick. And second, I couldn't name the quilt that or everybody would be singing that song in their head every time they saw the quilt. I dug a little deeper and Sea Glass came to mind. The name was perhaps inspired by the sea colors combined with the stained glass effect the batiks create. Or maybe it was an echo of a memory of a quilt that Kelly called Sand and Sea Glass. Maybe it was both.

When considering which solids to use, I wanted something with a similar weight and feel to the batik fabrics. I'd worked with Pat Bravo's Pure Elements solids and knew that would be the perfect fit. I choose Creme de la Creme {reminiscent of sand} and Coffee Bean {because the pattern called for a dark sashing}.

Then I did a little research on sea glass, to see if I was headed in the right direction with the name. What I found was pretty interesting. According to Wikipedia, sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of salt water. Sea glass begins as normal shards of broken glass. The glass is rolled, ground and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of the edges are rounded off and the slickness of the glass has been worn to a frosted appearance. Most sea glass comes from bottles, but it can also come from jars, plates, windows, windshields and ceramics, either from waste discarded into the ocean or even from shipwrecks. Among the most common colors are white {clear}, brown and green. Blue is less common and purple even less.

Sea Glass seemed to fit perfectly for this quilt.

I set to work and soon discovered that I would not be able to finish this quilt in the short time period I'd set for myself. I debated back and forth and back and forth again on whether I should have it quilted by a long-armer or do it myself. I decided to extend my deadline, quilt it myself and make it a birthday gift. But time got away from me and my second deadline was looming close. I made a rescue call to Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting, who fit in my rush order and enabled me to finish the quilt in time for Michelle's birthday. {The Voices, Reason and Passion, had a lot to say about that and I couldn't get them to stop arguing. But a third Voice, Experience, kept saying “wash the quilt.” And she was right. Once it was washed and crinkly and soft, I absolutely loved it and it didn't matter anymore that I hadn't quilted it myself. All the Voices were satisfied. Passion did a beautiful job with the colors and precision piecing. Reason got it to the long-arm quilter because that was the only way to get it done in time. And Experience knew how to make Passion and Reason play nicely together.} You can see my original quilt label at the bottom left of the photo below, which was for when I was planning on doing the quilting. I cut the Sea Glass portion of the label {made of French knots in 20 different colors of floss so as to look like bits of sea glass arranged on the sand to spell out the words} away from the rest, made a new “information” section, giving Melissa quilting credits, and sewed it into my strip of fabric along the seam of the quilt {top right photo below}.

As a side note, not only is the top of the quilt a palindrome, but the back of the quilt is as well {cream, chocolate, brown batik, chocolate, palindrome [more or less] strip of colored fabrics w/label, chocolate, brown batik, chocolate, cream}.

This was a fun gift to deliver. Upon opening the quilt, Michelle asked the name of it and curious to see if I'd put anything on the back, she flipped it over and looked at the label. I explained that the colors inspired the name Sea Glass. She told me that their family loves to go to the ocean. Many of their summer vacations are spent at the beach. She told me that they had been to Catalina Island once and took a tour in a glass-bottomed boat. She said that the sun shone through the waters and made everything look vibrant and the quilt reminded her of that.

I remembered the prayers I'd had in my heart while I worked on fabric and pattern choices and when to get it to her and knew that they had been answered.

Today's post brought to you by:
My 2013 Finishes

7 comments:

Michal Woodruff said...

I love the structure layout of this quilt. The colors are pretty and I love the story you shared. I hope your friend feels better soon.

Iris said...

I love everything about this quilt. That is all. :D

Sherri said...

Thanks for sharing! Beautiful quilt! Beautiful story!

P. said...

What Iris said...I love everything about this quilt. It is awesome!

Richard Healey said...

That is an amazing quilt I love the colors in it a lot.

jelly andrews said...

I love it. That’s really one lovely quilt. I am pretty sure your friend really appreciates such gift. It is really beautiful.

Sally Hurley said...

This quilt is magnificent!