Friday, February 27, 2015

Safari Quilt I

 A couple of weeks ago, I took a workshop with Thomas Knauer when he visited Ninigret Quilters. We learned so much about design that will translate to all future quilts. The workshop was called "Quilting with Code" and we were asked to select a word or phrase to translate. I chose SAFARI, the Swahili word for journey. I had envisioned making a mini quilt to commemorate Julia's Journey to Tanazania using the fabrics she brought back.

Here is her mini. It finished at 16" square. It was actually done on February 12, but I couldn't blog about it until she saw it.

 Braille uses a 2 X 3 grid. I blocked it off for you below so you can see the letters. The African prints represent dots, and the solid squares are not dots.

I wanted to quilt a path through the quilt as another reference to the journey. It could be a river, but Julia says it looks just like a cattle path. I quilted lots of pebbles and a few tufts of grass with a variegated gray Aurifil. Grass was the subject of her research project in the Ngorongoro Crater.

I used some linen blend on the front and back for the added texture. It was not the best choice for the binding. It's a little bulky in the corners. Some leftover squares became hanging pockets and the label on the back.

This mini was plan A in my mind, but not the quilt I worked on in class. When I told Thomas the story behind my chosen word, he thought Julia would need to wrap herself in it. So, I set about designing a large lap quilt. The fabric she brought home was a random selection, so it was tricky to bring it together. In this piece, safari is coded across the top and down the left side, then the letters rotate through. 

Top Row: s-a-f-a-r-i
2nd row: a-f-a-r-i-s
3rd row: f-a-r-i-s-a

Neighboring squares are sometimes combined into rectangles, a technique Thomas refers to as enjambment (a poetry term). Again, the African prints are dots, and the solids are not dots. It's a cool piece, but it's not speaking to us. We love the meaning behind it, but we don't love the piece. I even had a quilting plan in mind, with a spiral radiating out from the bright turquoise square (Julia's favorite color). In between the parallel lines of the spiral, I would quilt the places she's been. More could be added as she continues to travel.

When Julia came home and we talked about it more, we decided to use the large coded piece as the back of the next safari project using The Tartan Kiwi patterns. Now that is a plan we both love!


Terri said...

I have used some symbolism in my quilts over the years, but not so much as this set. Love the little quilt, and the back of the paper pieced patterns, too. Good plan.

Sue SA said...

Phew good luck to the quilt historians working out your ideas behind the design in a 100 years or so!
I love that you gave so much thought and meaning to each stage of the wall hanging. So hope the new top for the lap quilt works out just as well, with the coded backing. I am sure your daughter will love it and a great story to tell her children one day.