Monday, January 11, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Isle Esme

"Bella, look there." [Edward] pointed straight ahead.

I saw only blackness at first, and the moon's white trail across the water. But I searched the space where he pointed until I found a low black shape breaking into the sheen of moonlight on the waves. As I squinted into the darkness, the silhouette became more detailed. The shape grew into a squat, irregular triangle, with one side trailing longer than the other before sinking into the waves. We drew closer, and I could see the outline was feathery, swaying to the light breeze.

And then my eyes refocused and the pieces all made sense: a small island rose out of the water ahead of us, waving with palm fronds, a beach glowing pale in the light of the moon.

"Where are we?" I murmured in wonder while he shifted course, heading around to the north end of the island.

He heard me, despite the noise of the engine, and smiled a wide smile that gleamed in the moonlight.

"This is Isle Esme."

-Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, pages 77-78

I had very specific ideas of how I wanted to represent Isle Esme, but as my layouts evolved I got hung up on how to execute it. I'd originally planned a panel spanning the width of my quilt. This little vignette was to be 4" tall by 46" wide. However, it soon became apparent to me that Isle Esme was in the wrong spot on my quilt, and so part way in to making the first block I began to turn over different ideas in my head of how to move Isle Esme into a more chronological position and still have it fit in with all my other blocks, which are 6" x 6", with a 1" sashing in between. I wasn't sure how I was going to keep the scale of the design. I discussed this dilemma with fellow TwilightMOMS, Iris and Shannon, and they had the perfect solution -- move the waves from the sides of the layout to the bottom. This allowed me to make it into a 6" x 20" panel, which will fit better into the overall layout of the quilt and also fit the timeline of events. Another plus to moving Isle Esme is that it leaves me room to add more blocks.

I worked on this little scene for more than a month, and after frustrations and interruptions I finally finished. Without further ado, Isle Esme (click on the picture for a large image):

. . . [Edward] carried me up the dock and onto a pale sand pathway through the dark vegetation.

For a short while it was pitch black in the jungle-like growth, and then I could see a warm light ahead. . . . I realized the light was a house -- two bright, perfect squares were wide windows framing a front door. -Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 79

The pattern for this house comes from Marcia Hohn's Website, The Quilter's Cache. The pattern is 6" x 7" and I reduced it to 57% so that it would be 4" tall (and 3 3/8" wide). I liked the square window next to the door so that is why I chose this pattern. Windows are hard; I never know what color to make them. I used Butter Fairy Frost in the window. I lived in Brasil for 18 months and Isle Esme is an Island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, as we all know. I used this brick print because it reminded me of the architecture typical of that country. I searched high and low for a red tile print for the roof, but wasn't able to find one.

What had happened to me? I couldn't make sense of the fluffy white snow that clung to my skin. I shook my head, and a cascade of white drifted out of my hair.

I pinched one soft white bit between my fingers. It was a piece of down.

"Why am I covered in feathers?" I asked, confused.
-Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 89

Isle Esme wouldn't be complete without feathers. I used this quill pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sewhooked. Her website is a favorite for fabulous paper piecing patterns and Cat has many of her designs posted there. I reduced this pattern down by quite a lot, but can't remember by exactly how much. The length of the feather is 1½". I used a beautiful pearly fabric that Iris sent to me for the feather (see how it shimmers even at this small size) and Linen Fairy Frost for the shaft. I pulled my hair out working at this small scale.

A small island rose out of the water ahead of us, waving with palm fronds . . . -Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 78

I think the fabulous palm trees* are my favorite part of the island. They were designed by Cat, specifically for my quilt. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talent (she said she's willing to share this pattern, so e-mail if you'd like a copy). I used Lily Pad Fairy Frost fabric for the palm fronds. Cat varied the the shape and color of the pieces on the tree trunks. The browns I used vary in shade only slightly and so this neat detail doesn't show up in the picture. I love the tropical blue of the sky, but it has a subtle directional pattern, a vertical and horizontal cross-hatch that nearly made me crazy when trying to piece it so that the pattern went in the right direction.

The air was warm, moist, and fragrant. -Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, Page 78

When I thought of Isle Esme, I wanted to include some sort of beautiful tropical flower. I was browsing through Marcia Hohn's patterns and found her N.F.B. block (no idea what N.F.B. stands for) which reminded me of a Bird of Paradise and so this was the natural choice for an exotic flower for my block. Again, I reduced this pattern, but I'm not sure by how much. I think I printed it out at 100%, reduced it to 94% and then reduced it again to 50%. I had originally intended for this to be a 4" block, but decided that if the flowers were the same size as the trees, it would throw the scale off. So, I reduced to finally end up with a 2" block. I used Fairy Frost again (have you noticed a pattern? I have been given the moniker 'Queen of the Fairy Frost' by Iris). The colors are (from outside to in) Orange, Lipstick and Honey, with Lily Pad for the green.

We snorkeled. . . . We swam with the porpoises that played in the warm, shallow waters there. -Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 99

For the waves, I had originally planned two 4" blocks on either side of the Island. I planned to use the Snail Trail pattern, winding it so that eventually there was beach next to the flowers. But when I rearranged the quilt, the size necessitated ten 2" blocks across the bottom to create beach and waves. I pre-pieced the four-patch in the center and then paper pieced the rest, due to the tiny scale of the waves. I am happy to share my pattern and instructions if you're interested. I loved the fabric, a Batik from a favorite LQS (Local Quilt Shop), Cherry Tree Cottage. It reminded me of water.

Since water doesn't break on the beach in perfectly straight lines, I did a few waves with the lighter fabric on the outside to break up the line. I hope it "works." I am considering making little hills and valleys on the beach/skyline because landscapes don't come in straight lines either. I'm not quite sure how to go about it, but I think that will look better. As I take it apart I'm going to move the elements a little bit closer together in order to make room for a different house. I've decided that I'm going to make another house, one that has a window on each side of the door. I was also able to find fabric that looks like those red curved roof tiles that nest in each other. So, more to come for Isle Esme.

*Key: 1 Paper Pieced Palm Tree = 147 actual Palm Trees on Isle Esme

No comments: