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New Salford Commission

In July, I was approached by Beth Yoder, of Salford Mennonite Church, with the idea of creating a quilt for their meeting space.  They are beginning a year long study of the book by Brian D. McLaren, “We Make the Road By Walking: A Year Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation”.  Beth’s ideas for the quilt were basically to create a landscape with a path/road that has been walked on but is undefined as to where it is leading.  We both decided it would be good to show an image of a person walking on this path.

I knew this would be a challenge for me in several ways.  First of all, she approached me in late July and needed the quilt to be finished by Sept. 7.  I was leaving for 3 weeks, leaving Aug. 3 and not returning until Aug. 23.  This left me exactly two weeks to make the quilt.  I also felt very challenged by the idea of making a person.  I’d never done that before and wasn’t sure I could.  I accepted the challenge in spite of these drawbacks and submitted a sketch for her approvalSalford Sketch

As I was vacationing on the west coast ideas kept percolating about how to create this quilt.  My friend, Judi Janzen, and I attended a quilt show in Portland, called “Quilt, Knit, Stitch”, and I picked up some wonderful fabrics that would work for sky and  tree trunks.  I traveled home on a “red eye” flight on the 23rd, was met by Rod who whisked me home and I immediately began to work on the quilt that afternoon.  Time was of the essence!

I found a great triangle ruler and proceeded to construct the sky.  I pieced the sky, mountains, rocks, grassy background and appliqued the tree trunks with invisible thread.

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I started work on the path and cut out some grass blades, pinned them up, some horizontally, to show they’d been trampled.

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I knew I would have to work fast on the details of leaves and foliage so I got out my trusty “misty fuse” which I buy by the bolt.  I fused everything on with my iron and just hoped it would stay.  The wonderful pink multicolored hand dye by Lisa (dippydyes) made a great meadow flower look.   I also used several layers of gold organza to create my person.  I hid her legs with foliage since I certainly had no clue how to make them.  I also placed rocks and foliage strategically to hide bottoms of tree trunks.  The blades of grass needed to create this path and beyond seemed endless!

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Finally, the small tree growing out the rock was done.  Beth came over to approve the work.  She gave the go ahead and I quilted it. Since nothing was stitched down I had to make sure all the quilting flowed over any fused work.  This meant every blade of grass had to have at least one swipe across it so it wouldn’t fall off!  This quilt would never pass muster with any of the traditional quilt police.

It was challenging to get such a free form quilt to lay flat.  I put a lower sleeve on it so a rod could be inserted in the bottom.   When George Gaugler installed it on the stone wall it actually hung absolutely flat.  Alright!!

Journey Journey Installed 2 Journey Installed

Salford has done some remodeling and this included four spotlights.  Great idea!

This was sure an intense two weeks!

I named the quilt, “The Journey”.  72″x 96″


  1. Rachel, this piece is outstanding! It works perfectly with our “We make the road” theme with its use of color and mystery. It is sure to inspire us throughout the next year. You are a truly gifted artist. Thanks for sharing your amazing gift with us! — Joe Hackman

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