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milestones in pixels

My sister-in-law, Terrye, is celebrating a couple of significant milestones this month, so I made this wall hanging to commemorate the occasions.

I was inspired in part by this quilt made by a member of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild for their August 2012 Art Challenge. It made me think of Ellsworth Kelly, so I looked him up.

The works of Ellsworth Kelly typically have bright colors, minimalist style, and abstract forms. He spent his early years living near Hackensack NJ, just like me. The work above is Colors for a Large Wall (1951).

I designed the quilt to represent the two milestones in Terrye’s life this year: her 60th birthday and the 25th anniversary of her marriage to Pete. There is a total of 60 colored squares, and I grouped 25 of them together in a 5 x 5 block.

For the back, I chose fabrics that relate to Terrye’s life. Terrye was a math major and then a computer analyst, hence the orange fabric with all of the numbers. She is also a talented chef and a foodie, which made the cooking utensil fabric an obvious choice.

I always stress out about the quilting design. I usually deal with this anxiety by putting the quilt top aside (ie, major procrastination). I didn’t have that option here, since I was already late with this gift, so I started with the easy (straight-line quilting of every other row) and moved on to the hard (pebble-quilting the negative gray space in the lower third).

I like how the straight-line quilting makes the colored squares resemble abacus beads and how the pebble quilting looks like boulders flanking the block of 25 squares. The wall hanging ended up being 14 x 21 inches.

This is my first piece using only solids–I think they balance well with the dark gray background. I might explore other riffs on this same theme–especially since I have a whole bunch of little fabric squares left over.

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