I have been happily rifling through Elizabeth Hartman’s new book, Modern Patchwork. One of the many things I enjoy about her book is that with every quilt design she offers a section called Alternate Ideas, with mini-quilts demonstrating ways a design can be tweaked.
One riff she suggests for her Xylophone quilt (a stunner that reminds me of chopped carrots, cucumbers and onions on a cutting board) is to cut the strip sets into simple strips instead of wedges—manageable for a newbie like me.
Aha—inspiration for another birthday wall hanging!
I pulled a bunch of reds and grays and hijacked some linen-patterned cotton that I had been saving for the back of another quilt—oh well.
I was taken with the way one of the Alternate Ideas examples was quilted with intersecting straight lines of quilting, so I tried it here using white thread and blue painter’s tape as a guide. I also did some more scrappy binding—it along with the quilting add a sense of imbalance that I like. The wall hanging ended up being 11″ x 25″.
As I assembled the pieces, I decided I would have the wall hanging hang vertically. To me, it resembles an uneven stack of dishes, which brought to mind a Billy Collins’ poem, so I included it on the quilt label.
Here it is, in case you want to read it and not go all squinty trying to read it in my not-so-good photo:
Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.
Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.
Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow
on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.
No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
without the slightest clink.
—Billy Collins Sailing Alone Around the Room
A lovely birthday poem, don’t you think?