All Things Bright and Beautiful-Part Two

At the end of a year that has often felt like being under a cloud at times, seeing the delight in our daughter’s face (albeit via FaceTime) when she unwrapped her colorful Moraccan-inspired quilted throw on Christmas Day radiated joy in more ways than one. Her priceless reaction reminded me of the happiness and sense of daily purpose I felt during the weeks and months it took to create this particular project; through the conceptualizing stage, piecing everything together and followed by a sense of profound liberation during the free-motion quilting process, all the while imagining her future enjoyment of something I made for her; providing warmth and comfort in her home so many miles away.

With each colorful “block”, I took inspiration from the design patterns featured in the various batik fabrics. These variants would spark ideas about what to try during the free-motion quilting process. Per Angela Walters’ suggestion in her book, “Free-Motion Meandering, A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Quilting”, I began by practicing the meandering shapes with pencil and paper first. As much as I love swirls, the leaf meandering pattern ended up being my favorite.

Practicing by drawing the meandering shapes first gave me the confidence to do the same with thread.

Once I finished piecing the quilt front and back layers, I secured the batting for the quilt “sandwich” utilizing the spray-adhesive method. I then “stitched-in-the-ditch” around all the “gaslight” colored shapes. Since the curved solid blue borders were not even in width all around the gaslights, I decided to sew a couple of echo-stitch lines 3/4” apart then filled the empty spaces with free-motion designs, improvising these areas as the spirit moved me.

Once I began the quilting process, it was fun and interesting to see what the meandering shapes looked like on the back of the quilt. I used deep teal bobbin thread color which matches the paisley batik fabric backing.

Here are some examples of how I quilted the brightly colored gaslights included in this Moroccan-inspired throw:

Meandering Paisley

Meandering Swirls (like waves in the ocean)
Cherries, Branches and Sunflower Echos
Leaf Meander
Swirling Spirals
“Sea Shell” Swirls
Flower Meander
Close up of Flower Meander
Sunburst Swirls
Meandering Paisley, Bubbles, Swirls and Flowers
The back of the quilted throw turned out so well, it makes it nearly reversible.

As we remember all the brilliant lights that shined during these last twelve months and reflect on those that were extinguished too soon, may the promise of the new year bring brighter days, hope and healing on many levels for us all.

Special thanks to Walt Andrus for his beautiful photography of this special project.

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