Saturday, November 19, 2011

"I Have Heard The Mermaids Calling Each to Each . . . "

so goes a line from one of my favorite poems, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (in which J. Alfred never actually gets up the courage to mention love, since "there will be time, there will be time"). I love how TS Eliot layers images to create atmosphere and feeling in his poetry - I think if he'd been born 50 years later he probably would have been a film director instead of a poet. In any case, that line has always stuck with me through the making of this quilt. I wanted it to, partially, look like the mermaids were swimming through the layers of coral and bubbles and seaweed, playing a game or calling to one another as they swam.
As I sewed this together and started quilting it, I realized that the front is not really water coloured at all. But it does resemble the sunset reflecting on tide pools and sand at low tide. So I decided that the less erudite name for this quilt was the "Sand and Sea quilt". Imagine exploring tide pools on a December day when the tide is out at sunset. And then later, of course, when the tide comes in . . .
. . . all that remains is the watery surface of the ocean. Were the mermaids real or a dream? Who can tell?

Okay, done waxing poetical on you. As you may remember, if you are a regular around here, I put the front of this quilt together improvisationally. Since it had all warm colours, I decided to put cool, purple - blue tones on the back only. No red, no yellow or green -y blues allowed. This required picking up three fat quarters at the local fabric store, but otherwise the back came from my stash. A lot of these prints were ones I had been loathe to use because the patterns were so big, so I'm happy to have them displayed in all their glory on the back of the quilt. The most fun thing about this quilt is having it all wrapped around you and seeing both sides like this:
You can't really see the quilting, as I finished binding it the same day our washing machine broke, so I haven't washed it yet. (Although you can get the idea if you peek up at the photo of the back) I started by quilting it in random horizontal lines, but they ended up being really far apart. By the time I was done that I had thought of the sunset - tide pool connotations, so I decided to follow the lines like the ripples left in the sand by the waves. Hard to explain - maybe I'll show you once its washed.
It is really long and skinny, but I went by Jane Brockett's theory that sometimes a quilt is done when you run out of fabric. I thought about putting borders along the sides to make it wider, but in the end, everything I had in my stash that worked colour-wise made it look busier, so I called it done. Emma used this as her snuggle quilt on our way to Cambridge last month, so she has claimed this quilt. She calls it "boo quit" (blue quilt) which I suppose is as good a description as any.

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