Finally, I can share with you this project which I spent a considerable amount of time working on last year, before stalling at the final hurdle! Although I suppose finishing up at 24″ square is rather large for a mini quilt, it was originally destined for the Minda Challenge at last years AMQF and that was the size that I was aiming for.
The theme of the challenge was “Celebration” and it was a requirement to use a piece (visibly) of all of the fabrics supplied in the challenge entry pack. Otherwise I would possibly have made this in different prints, and it would have had an entirely different feel.
The basic pattern is “Kestrel” from the In-Flight series designed by Tartan Kiwi. Juliet’s patterns are always a pleasure to use, and this one was no exception. I added to the external pieces by putting in the 3 grey stars and one “sun” which is the goal of our soaring bird. Although I think that he is just flying for the joy of it. Something that we all need now and then – to do something for joy and not because we ought to, or should, or any other of those words. Our flight is always unique, and worth celebrating. In the end, I didn’t quite get it finished in time, and to be honest, I was sad at the thought of giving it away (as all entries were to be auctioned off) and I didn’t have the heart to give this one up. So it will now live in my studio, and inspire ME!
This was quilted using my Janome Horizon 7700 domestic machine. It was double batted, allowing for a beautiful amount of loft and texture in the finished quilt. The majority of the quilting was stitched using variegated Superior Fantastico thread in the colourway High Society, which is a beautiful blend of blues and violet. Perfect for the slate blue background of our night sky. The “mactavishing” of the quilting background represents the swirling air currents that we all fly through or over, but are often invisible to the eye. Felt, but not seen. The stars were very simply quilted with a silver Glide thread – which actually picked up the orange in the sun and turned into a golden thread for that section. How very handy!
I kept quilting of the kestrel very simple, with some outline stitching of the tail for drama, and then widely spaced rippling lines along the wings and feather tips, copying the lines printed into the fabric. I wanted the quilting here to be very light, to show the flow and movement of feathers without crushing the batting, allowing the bird to pop out of the background. The photos here are all side-lit, which is really good for showing up all the peaks and valleys in the quilting.
I can now admire this beauty every time I’m standing at my pressing board. I hope that it will encourage you to fly for the joy of it, and celebrate your strengths, just like it will for me.