November 25, 2023

Serendipity - At the Center of It All

The title of this quilt describes the inspiration and process of its design, and also a great way to approach Life.

Serendipitous - occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I've discovered that I like working on more than one quilt repair job at a time.  It keeps things more fun!  So I had fabrics for two quilts on my table and decided that I really loved the combination - a deep golden yellow and a bright magenta.

One quilt was a string quilt, a memory quilt with fabrics from a mother's blouses.  The other was a vine and ribbon design, that had been made in Hawaii.   You can see both quilt repairs in progress on this video


And then, more and more things popped up using those colors.  One was a photo of gloriously colorful houses in Burano, Italy, posted by Kaffe Fassett.  Another was a late 1800s quilt I've been reproducing.  And a third was a stash of "interesting things to make someday" which included an idea for a quilt combining gold lamé and plum velvet.  



I went through my bins of fabrics, all sorts, fibers, textures.  I had a bunch of great variations in these basic color families!  This was serendipity indeed!  I never knew I liked these colors so much! 

I chose to make a medallion, having been prompted by a project by Just Wanna Quilt.  I decided not to plan it all out, but to continue the idea of serendipity by designing each border as I got to it.  For the center, I used the two repair patching fabrics with the two from the other project still in dreaming stage.  

And from there, I just went with it, not my usual way to work.  If you look closely there are some little extra bits added when a fabric I really wanted to use for a long border was a little bit too short.  Also, because I didn't plan ahead, those borders of little squares didn't fit precisely.  The quilt just grew.  

The first border added the two fabrics from the reproduction quilt.  So I had all my inspiration fabrics included at the start of the design process.

I did pin and mock up each new border to see if I liked my idea.  I'm not that much of a free spirit! 


(I added a blue foundation fabric at this point.  It turned out to be pretty impossible to machine piece, since I was using scraps of all sorts of weights and fibers.  Especially the velvets!  The foundation stabilized everything, and I did quite a bit of hand stitching.)






I even went back to the center 4-patch and twiddled with the seams.  Velvets are impossible to machine piece or appliqué, and after enough struggles with using velvet in several other quilts, I think I may have finally learned that!

And the final, joyful product:

 I put on a 1/4" lamé binding to give the quilt a little extra zing.


To me this quilt is all about joy, and joy so often can be found by following the serendipity of Life.

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