Purple ikat mini quilts

Do quilts ever jump into your brain fully formed? These two did, despite the fact that there was still some improvisational play involved in finishing them. I was sitting in a meeting and all of a sudden there was a picture in my mind of a gray background with gray ikat pieces interspersed. I started daydreaming about painting and dying fabric to get that purple just right, but when I got home and started looking through my stash, I realized that I already had a fat quarter this kaffe fassett ikat that was exactly what I’d had in mind. It was hidden away inside of a bag, so I’m not sure if I had been pulling that image from my memory or my imagination. There were a couple other fat quarters that I purchased at the same time that I pulled out, and I started cutting them up to make little patchwork squares.

I first laid out the smaller, more ordinary quilt on the left, and decided that I would also make a second with the leftover “blocks” and little pieces that had been trimmed from the blocks on the first quilt. When I put it on the gray background (Carolina Chambray, so it’s really a blend of black and white) the colors looked a little dingy, so I pulled out some yellows to find something to pull the eye and balance the composition.

The quilting is pretty basic, dense parallel lines, with big stitches with sashiko thread inspired by Victoria Gertenbach on top to finish. I was a little unsure about the pink in the thread ruining the look of the whole thing (as if I couldn’t pull them out!), but I think it adds a little more brightness that was missing with the gray. For the quilt on the left I outlined the blocks, and for the less orderly design I outlined the negative spaces.

I consider myself much more a crafter than an artist, but making these felt like creating art. The fabrics were like paints, and I organized them into an abstract composition. I’d love to play with things like this much more to see where I can stretch my creativity. They feel a lot more “me” than a lot of things I make, but it may be because they’re more unlike other things I’ve seen than most of my designs.