Thursday, October 20, 2011

Listen: A Quilt

Inspiration for the name of my latest quilt came from a song I heard at a Nia class last year, the track "Listen" by Goddess Alchemy Project's from their album “Frequencies of the Motherland”.

From their website:
The Goddess Alchemy Project is an independent arts collective...The music offered by The Goddess Alchemy Project is one key aspect within the totality of their work, which also includes clothing design, event production, international solidarity work with indigenous peoples, youth service, arts empowerment education, and other forms of community outreach.

Inspiration for the quilt itself came from the woman it was made for, my dear friend Nic. A very special spirit, I am continually inspired by her mindfulness and compassion as a parent, partner and community-minded woman. In planning to make a quilt for Nic's 40th birthday, I wanted every stitch to be a wish of fulfilled needs for her during the next 40 years of her life and beyond – fun, new beginnings and adventure.

A few months back Nic mentioned a book on mandala quilts, saying that the book made her want to day! I looked further afield and found the book "Kaleidoscope ABCs: 14 Step-by-Step Patterns" by Marti Michell.

This pattern I chose, the "60 Degree Kaleidoscope Quilt", features 23 six-sided blocks, each different but all cut from the SAME fabric! The wonderful Annie at Sewco talked me through the pattern and helped me use Marti's Michell's Magic Mirror to audition different fabrics. This was FUN! Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler fabrics made amazing kaleidoscopes, but when I tried it out on Laurel Burch's Celestial Dreams, I knew I'd found the one:

The fabric spoke to me of Nic's needs which are met when connecting with her circle of women – love, support, empathy and fun. It also spoke to me of her strong connection with the earth, sea, sun, moon and stars. Visit Laurel's website to find out more about this amazing artist, who I discovered sadly passed away in 2007.

Annie explained that this fabric has a 60cm repeat. I'd need six of these repeats, meaning a minimum of 3.6m. Most quilts in the book use Marti's Kaleido-Ruler, but the "60 Degree Kaleidoscope Quilt" uses either a Marti Michell Equilateral (60 degree) Triangle Ruler or the pattern included in the book (which I traced and made into a plastic template). After carefully pinning the 6 repeats together (each 60cm wide), I used my rotary cutter to cut six at once, creating these little piles:

It was SUCH a treat spreading them out into their kaleidoscopes:

Placed with their navy background triangles (glow in the dark stars!):

The finished quilt, with borders & binding:

I quilted it in the ditch using a navy, grey and blue variegated thread. I didn't want the quilting to stand out. Instead I wanted to allow the fabric itself to sing.

Detail of the blocks:

So that she could see what the design of the original uncut fabric looked like, I made Nic a cushion cover & pillow:

Listen for the love in this quilt from me to you, dear friend.


  1. Oh my Melissa you jus get better and better, it is breath taking! What a special, kind, generous woman you are x

  2. That is an amazing quilt! Wow!!! It's hard to believe that it all came from the one fabric! Beautiful!

  3. Hearing the words to the music completed that special-ness that you have created. This is so lovely and so exciting! - life is beautiful and you make it so. You are amazing.

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  5. Wonderful, amazing! I'm trilled , what a beautiful quilt you made!
    Have nice week-end, Evelyne