By Jerri Stroud
My third wedding quilt in two years began much as the other two, with me offering ideas and the couple sending me their own suggestions.
After a few months of back and forth, my niece sent me a small sketch. She wanted to reflect the geometric designs she admired in Pendleton blankets as well as those used by a woodcarver she knew. The sketch suggested mountains to me with the sun rising or setting behind them.
The next step was to take the sketch and translate it into a pattern using old-fashioned graph paper. I needed to make the pattern pieces easy to cut with rotary cutting tools and, I hoped, easy to fit together.
After my niece approved the graph-paper design, we began to negotiate colors. Since the design used solids, I suggested using Kona cotton, which comes in a wide range of colors and is available online and in many stores.
Because my niece lives in Oregon, I turned to Fabric.com, an online fabric store, which allowed me to share suggested colors and get feedback from my niece. She was able to specify exactly the colors she wanted. We also found an extra-wide brown batik for the backing fabric.
I took the design and fabrics with me to my guild’s retreat in 2015, where I could focus on the project for two days and take advantage of the large cutting table guild members put together in the center of the sewing room.
The design appeared simple, but the pieces were large, making the cutting a bit more challenging than usual. Miscalculations could result in pieces that would not fit together.
I decided to piece the bottom of the quilt first – the chevron made of strips of varying widths. This may have been my first mistake: Sewing strips and then whacking off the ends rather than cutting them precisely. However, it was all an experiment.
The large background triangles had to fit the negative space around the chevron, and the bottom had to fit into the large brown mountains at the top. I tried fitting the two together, but it didn’t work right, so I had to make the bottom and top into two rectangular pieces that could be spliced together.
By the end of the retreat, I had the two rectangles, but they didn’t quite match up. When I got home, I had to figure out how to make them match and still retain the symmetry the bold design demanded. After a lot of measuring and trimming, I got them to fit.
But then the quilt top of too narrow for a queen size bed. My solution was to add two turquoise strips on either side of the quilt.
The size of the quilt was more than I wanted to deal with on a home quilting machine, so I turned to Terry Kanyuck, who had quilted several large quilts for me. Terry is very creative, and I trusted her to come up with quilting designs to enhance the quilt. I was really pleased when I got the quilt back.
I called the quilt Northwest Peaks and Valleys.