Sunday, July 5, 2009
How to Make a Scottish - American Quilt
In exchange for a hand tooled leather targe (pronounced targhee) with a thistle design made by Cliff and backed with a summer antelope hide given to me by Rickey Mumford of Estes Park. I have made a very large wall quilt with Clan Hunter symbols and symbols for Cliff's family associations.
To begin, I thought of who it was going to be for? What are the Hunter Clan symbols? What should the background look like? Where were they born? So on and so on. I did some googling trying to find the various elements I would need for the composition. Clan Hunter plant badge - The Sea Pink. She, born in Florida - that means Orange Blossoms. He, born in Colorado, thus Columbines. Hunter is a colour as well, so need to incorporate that somehow. Clan Animal, the Greyhound which is centered in the clan badge.
Of course, it must include the national symbol of Scotland - The Thistle.
The National Flower of Scotland is the Scottish Bluebell, just so you know. Many people are confused by that fact. Most people just assume it is the thistle as it is such a potent image of Scotland, when in fact, it is the bluebell (harebell).
Now what to do with all of that? First, I went to the wall and picked out the fabrics I thought I was going to use. I piled them up and let them stew for a while to see if I like where the colours and patterns were going. As I have been on a kick to use my only my stash as oppose to buying new fabrics for the last 5 years, I was really hoping not to buy any new fabrics to make this quilt. It was/is a challenge and a liberation of sorts to use the fabrics I have on hand. It often shows up the holes in the colour runs and the total lack of some colours when I shop my wall. It also re-introduces me to old friends in my stash. I took Heather Thomas' colour class a few years ago and she highly recommended that we shelve our fabrics by colour groups so we could go and pull them as needed, like a painter would squeeze out paint on a palette. Part of the exercise was to discover what is in abundance and what is missing from the stash. When I finally did it, I discovered some wonderful fabrics I had forgotten and that I had a lot of blues, purples and greens. I did discover that I didn't have all the greens I wanted. I did have to buy some of the green fabrics for this project as well as the threads I used to quilt it.
Most of the fabrics for this quilt are of a analogous colour run. I really like the calmness of analogous colours. They are so peaceful to the eye. The only really bright bits are the orange centers of the orange blossoms and the yellow bars, gold buckle and the centers of the columbines.
Here are my versions of sea pinks, orange blossoms, columbines and thistles.