This past December, while we were visiting family and friends on the east coast, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a remarkable little girl (I will call her "A" for these purposes). She does have two of the most lovely parents possible, so I suppose I shouldn't have been all that surprised that she is such a gem, but nonetheless, I was smitten. Totally smitten. Sweet A was born in Maine, and we all know that she will follow her parents' hearts back to Maine at some point, even if life does keep them in Maryland for the time being. She'll drive a truck like a boss and she'll know how to sail. She's gonna be super, super awesome!
All I could think of to do to say thank you for such a lovely meal and for sharing their family so generously with us, was to make a quilt for A. Given that I am a cartographer and a quilter, I have been thinking about designing a series of quilts that are map-based. This has since become the first in that series: a Maine Coast quilt for a little girl who was born on the Maine Coast.
This quilt is too large to display anywhere inside our Airstream home, so it got taped to the outside on a gorgeous February day (the Pacific Northwest sure is different than Maine, which was having another snowstorm that day). It may look giant here, but measures only 35-inches by 39-inches.
We found 18 delicious designs and I got a fat-quarter of each.
And so began the work of designing the quilt. I decided to cut the fabric into increasingly larger sized pieces and meld them together with a delicious grey fabric that feels like washed silk. The Maine coastline would run up the diagonal as it does on a map. SO many cuts. SO many short lines of stitches (so many beers!).
SO many 1-inch wide strips ...
Playing with our animal friends.
At some point I realized that I needed more fabric. This time I went to an even more local shop right here in Poulsbo (The Quilt Shoppe), where I found some glorious fish and a stack of other perfect fabrics.
I find that the most significant problem with quilting in our Airstream is that there are so few places to lay ironed fabric bits. I resort to draping them over every possible surface. I'm not sure how many of these strips I made, but it seemed like they covered everything for a few days.
Coming together, row by row by row ...
Makeshift is always willing to keep an eye on things—from the warren! Here's the completed quilt top.
Here's a close-up of the back. So much ironing—but that's what made the whole thing that much easier to quilt.
This particular quilt stretched the limit of the dimensions that I can fit in our Airstream. This layering of backing and batting and quilt-top covered the extent of our forward floorspace—which is the largest single open area we have (square-footage-wise). It was time to scrub the floor again anyway, so I managed some housework in parallel with this quilt.
All sandwiched up and ready for quilting ...
Then I quilted a different pattern on 22 different fabrics using 18 colors of thread. Here was my initial thread-to-fabric key—which changed multiple times and included two more trips to the thread store with swatches to match.
Quilted animal friends: deer and whales and lobsters, oh my!
I feel like I've finally mastered binding my corners! And given that this is a "baby blanket," I decided to add a second line of stitching all around to double-cinch the binding and prevent fraying or unravelry (like revelry, but quieter, as baby sleeps).
Here's the back of the quilt before I washed it.
And here it is after a good wash and dry—feeling as soft as the oldest wrinkled gray silk! Delicious.
This quilt was a complete departure from the quilts that I have been making lately, but I enjoyed making this one just as much. I hope that Sweet A finds comfort in it over the years. I built it to abide.