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Salford Commission: Dwell

I was asked by Beth Yoder to make another quilt for Salford Mennonite Church. We met in early June to discuss specifics but most of our communication had to be by email or text since we both were traveling during the following weeks. The text inspiration for this quilt was, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” The design ideas went through numerous evolutions but we ultimately decided on a mariners compass with flares. We also decided to go vertical and bigger than previous quilts. I ordered 4 yards of a beautiful terra cotta gradation hand dyed 108” wide backing fabric from Vicki Welsh. I spent the two weeks after our return from traveling on this quilt and, although the design was pretty basic, the size was a challenge for me. It was so long I had no where I could hang it to see the whole thing at once.  This image best shows all the gradations of Vicki’s fabric:

I love making mariners compass designs and Lisa Reber’s beautiful orange and burgundy hand dyed Radiance fabric provided the perfect background. This compass was partially pieced and partially appliqued because of time constraints. I used a traditional ikat fabric from Laos for the main points but found that they needed definition so couched some orange yarn on the edges. I made the secondary points from gold silk. The secondary circle of triangles is all multicolored silk. The flares are various colorways of Vicki’s amazing gradations. I also painted some simple gold stars in the negative spaces.  Here is a close up of the Mariiner’s Compass.

When we did a trial hanging of the quilt at Salford we discovered a major problem. This quilt was huge! My other quilts for Salford always looked huge in my studio but looked quite small in their space. This quilt fit in the space BUT the mariners compass ended up right behind the head of the person standing at the pulpit. Good for a halo effect but not good for viewing the quilt.

We realized that we had both been traveling during the designing of this quilt and neither of us was able to really measure the space accurately. We decided the easiest thing would be to cut 20 inches off the top of the quilt so it would hang higher and more of it could be seen. I felt sick about cutting off the beautiful orange/yellow color at the top of the gradient! Four hours later the top was cut off, the facing and hanging sleeve were resewn. I had to cut off the highest gold painted star so that left me with only four painted stars. This, you probably think, is no big deal, unless you are influenced by Japanese superstitions. You NEVER have four of anything. The number four is considered unlucky because of its pronunciation, “shi”, which is the same pronunciation as the word for death. There are, for example, no seats with number 4 on passenger planes of the All Nippon Airways. You never see an ikebana flower arrangement with four primary flowers. I couldn’t paint another star on anywhere because the quilting would have had to be ripped out somewhere to make room for it and I had no time. Alas, I would have to just live with it. I hope no bad luck befalls anyone! Silly superstition but totally ingrained in me!

Here is the final result.  Much better visually.

Beth and I both made notes to ourselves: Future quilts for Salford will be no larger than 98” wide and 10’ high! I do love the colors and basic simplicity of design. I hope it will give people a focal point on which to calm their thoughts and meditate on the richness and beauty of this season.

(This blog post was copied and pasted from my previous website.  It was originally posted on Sept. 25,2015)


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