Isn't it divine? For the challenge we had to create a lap size or larger quilt, using as many of the fabrics in our line as possible. I used every single one of these 31 chops! I knew I wanted a modern style of quilt, but as per usual, I waffled on what design to do: invent a fresh one (started to sketch out some basic blocks to use my AccuQuilt Go! dies), then thought I could do my own design that was recently published in an ezine, and actually started cutting the 2.5" strips for it with that fabulous die, and then, I opened a recently purchased book that I just love, and want to make every quilt in it, The Quilter's Negative Space Handbook, by Sylvia Schaefer. You know when the universe aligns and you just feel it deep in your heart, your solar plexus your mind, your third eye and you hear the choir voices soar? Yeah, that all happened....it was heat all right, of the This is the one! kind.
|A quilt in a tree, Lake Erie in the background...pretty much all you need to know about me in one photo.|
How does one beat the heat? And let me tell you it was scorching hot the entire time I was working on this quilt, heat and humidity both... One throws oneself in water. A pool, a lake, hey, even a cool refreshing shower will help!
Sylvia's quilt is called 'Row of Diamonds', and maybe it was because she used nautical fabrics in her diamonds, but all I could think of was water, waves, ripples, sunlight glinting off it...
I had the fabric cut and a few test blocks sewn in no time. And no, it's not paper-pieced, nor do you use templates; it's just an intelligent block.😉
I started putting the blocks onto my design wall...
I knew that I wanted to use both of the accompanying yardage chops they sent as light and dark pieces, and so I did a bit of a waterfall effect, using the light at the top and the dark at the bottom, as water does as the depth increases.
I assembled the diamond panel using my much-loved Book it! method:
and in no time had the flimsy:
Now, as is the case with the majority of my quilts, this one has a story. Several years ago, in summer 2011 to be exact, I was in Windsor visiting my daughter, Dayna, and it was, as per usual, hot and humid and I was loving it. We'd already planned to leave Alberta at that point; Dayna already had, and we'd purchased a home for us here the previous year. I was on the hunt for my two beloved styles of yoga classes: Ashtanga and Yin, both hard to find. I did find Ashtanga at Downtown Yoga, at 6:30 am Monday to Thursday, gulp. Well, that was a way to beat the heat: do yoga very early, so off I went.
|I have heard early morning sunlight is not as warm as evening, but I like the glow here.|
There I met Michael, long-time yoga teacher at Downtown Yoga (which is no more), who sat with me for about 10-15 minutes after class, asking me my story. I was new, and he not only acknowledged me, but he took the time before going to his day job to get to know me a little.
In the quilt top section, after echoing the diamonds and filling them with a water-like ripple motif, I did wavy lines with the intermittent swirls that came to me in another Island Batik project when I was thinking January winds and swirling snow. Both water. Different states. I added clusters of pebbles, or maybe they're bubbles, but both are found in water, so they went amongst the waves.
|I echoed the diamonds once in the aqua and once in the plum. Sylvia did that on the entire background in hers.|
Our actions have ripples; I firmly believe that. I also firmly believe that the Universe or by whatever name you call the benevolent force of supreme love that guides us, plants people and events in your path that you either pay attention to, or not, but they are planted for a reason. Quitting my teaching job pre-retirement age, nine years before I'd have enough years in to get the full pension due to several part-time years because of having kids and wanting to spend time with them, was a daunting, no terrifying, prospect for me at the time. It all came pouring out to Michael, who I'd just met.
|Nearly finished, Avril and I flowing along very well together again, despite our exceedingly cramped present quarters.|
Michael listened. He heard me. And he gave me the perfect advice and solution to assuage (somewhat, ha) my financial fears, "Get your yoga teacher certification. There's a real need for yoga teachers here. You'd have lots of work." He planted a seed. And like they say about acorns...
|or pine nuts...|
That autumn, my mum gave us each some money 'from my Dad' who had died in summer 2008. I talked to my Yin teacher, also a good friend, whose sons I'd taught, about my thoughts on doing teacher training. She told me of a course starting at the Ashtanga studio where she practised, in Edmonton. So, I started my 200-hour teacher training that January 2012. The money Mum had given us kids was the exact amount of the cost of the year-long course. It's true. Universe at work. Again. Always. So I used Dad's gift to pay for this, knowing he'd heartily approve, since it'd be a gift that would keep on giving, lol.
What I didn't know at the time of my chat with Michael, was that my husband, the intrepid MacGyver, (not his real name), would decide on our 3-day drive back to Alberta, that he wasn't waiting until the planned summer 2013 date to begin this next exciting phase of our life. No. He wanted to start next year, summer 2012. I clearly recall that pounding of my heart panic attack of how in the hell am I going to live without my teacher salary? Yet simultaneously was a flutter in that same heart panic attack that was excitement. But it was a flicker, not a flame at all.
Was Michael planted that morning on purpose to sow the seed? He alternated teaching the class with the owner, my current Ashtanga teacher, Gina, so I believe he definitely was planted there that morning.
And so it happened. I did my 200-hour Ashtanga TT, flying back to Alberta twice to complete three of the ten weekends, and in autumn of 2012, now living here in southern Ontario, fatefully finding my beloved Yin teacher training add-on, right here in good old Essex County.
It all, all of it, fell into place, like my quilt on this most perfectly imperfect fence, as it was meant to be, even down to finding the most perfect yoga teaching job, a mere 5-minutes' drive from my home, working for and amongst, and teaching, kindred spirits galore.
A word on the 'fell into place': this was the first time I used Hobbs Silk Blend batting, which is 80% silk and 20% polyester. From first pulling it out of the package, to taking it out of the washer, I have been enamoured of its drape and softness. I will most definitely be using more of this in future quilts. A tiny part of me was like damn! should've used this in a quilt I'm keeping not giving away... Ha! But no Michael deserves this quality, draping, snuggly batting.
|Machine-applied binding, sewn to the front, glued and pressed to the back, and stitched down in the ditch from the front. I remembered my satin label too!|
The backing is a water-themed piece of 'vintage' fabric from my stash sandwiched between pieces of Island Batik 'Electric Desert'. The top one is Hedgehog cactus and the bottom Prickly Pear. Great names!
|The batting washed up beautifully: cold water and laid flat too dry. Just look at that texture! I love how the 'om' pops.|
I've always said Michael is the catalyst that pushed me to taking my yoga teacher training. He has retired now from his day job, as well as from teaching yoga, but he practises with Gina in our new Ashtanga-dedicated space.
Like Lake Erie's calm blue/green waters on this particular morning, it is a calm space, and Michael continues to exude a calm presence. A few months ago, he told me that he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's, and my heart is breaking. However, the other famous Michael with Parkinson's, also a Canuck, has done incredibly well, and with all the new advances, I have high hope for my Michael as well. As soon as he told me, I knew I would make him a quilt.
When I was thinking on a quilt to make for this Beat the Heat hop, it came to me gently, as trees whisper, and waves ripple, that I should make this hop quilt for Michael. It is a comfort quilt, a healing quilt, and gratitude quilt for a man who has had such a profound effect on my life, and for whose continued presence in my life, I am grateful.
You never know the ripple effect your words and actions may have...
|One more post-washing photo that shows the centre row of diamonds with swirls and pebbles. All the others got the rippled water motif.|
Pattern: Row of Diamonds by Sylvia Schaefer
Size: 45.5 X 55.5"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik and a no-name from stash
Batting: Hobbs Silk 80/20
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil 50 wt; quilted with Aurifil 50 and YLI 40 wt variegated
Giveaway! As is the custom, there is not only a giveaway on Island Batik's blog, there is also one here. Simply leave me a comment telling me your favourite body of water (mine is Lake Erie). Followers can get a second entry by telling me in a separate comment how you follow me. At the end of the hop, I will have my trusty grandson Brady choose a number and I will email that person. If you are a no-reply blogger, please write your email in your comment or I will choose another winner.
This is what you will win, the remainder of the 2.5" strips of Jungle Cruise and a copy of Blue Skies & Sunny Days which is a great way to make use of not even half a set of strips!
Please note that due to the high volume of comments during giveaways, as well as that I am on vacation I am unable to reply to your comments, but I will for sure read them!
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