|This is one of the 61 blocks.|
So then, I spaced them apart, like in a photo album, not touching, something like this:
Next morning, the solution came to me upon waking! Sew them together in clusters, and mount the clusters on a back-quilt!
To see how the idea would work, I grouped the blocks on a piece of fabric from my stash, each cluster representing a whole (or segment of a) trip. This is how it looked:
What color would the back-quilt be, and how would the clusters be attached, I wondered? After stitching the clusters together, I took them to the quilt shops in Anacortes to find the a fabric for the back-quilt. It had to be a read-as-solid print, one that wouldn't distract from the clusters, in a color that contrasted in value with the over-all value of the clusters. I soon found that either too much or too little value contrast was not good. Two green prints and a light coral print came home with me as possibilities.
That evening, after trying all three of them, I decided to go with one of the green prints. The clusters seemed to "pop" nicely on it!
Next was the matter of how to construct the back-quilt and how to attach the clusters. I made all the mini-decisions on an "as needed" basis. Here they are in order:
- quilt the names of the people I spent time with on these travels on the back-quilt (picture shows one quilted line, and two lines written in chalk to be quilted)
- use the same color thread as the fabric to quilt the names, so they are there, but do not distract the viewer from the clusters of blocks
- make the edges of the back-quilt irregular
- bind the back-quilt edges, and then whip stitch the binding with pearl cotton, the same as the individual blocks
- sew the clusters onto the back-quilt on the top edge only, allowing the cluster to be lifted to see the backs of the blocks (all different fabrics, carefully chosen for the subject of each block), and giving a place to sew a label identifying the location, people, etc. in the photos of that cluster
- use a double row of hand-stitching along the top of each cluster to support the weight
- make a small identifying label for each cluster
- sew a small, and very personal, embellishment on the back of each cluster, something I know is there but that most people won't see (or know the meaning of if they did see it)
What did I learned making this quilt? Whew... probably more than you'd want to read... The most important thing was a reinforcement of the "just do it" approach to original art, an approach that works so well for me with my bead embroidery. Not stressing over all the decisions, not needing to have all the answers in hand before starting, is a hugely enabling gift to the creative process!