Welcome to my entry into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!  I’ve made close to 100 quilts over my 15 years of quilting.   Many I’ve given away, either to friends or family or charity.  I still have dozens and dozens in my possession.

At my house, most quilts get used.  My daughter sleeps under one.  When she was younger, I sent one with her to preschool.  We take them to the beach and to picnics.  We set up tent cities in the front yard with them.  They get washed and dried and used again.

There are a few that are exempt from this love.  Sahara Sunset is one of them.  (And it actually does lie flat…it was folded up before I took this picture.)

A long time ago, 4 zip codes ago, I bought a yard of fabric at Hancock Fabrics.  (Not Hancocks of Paducah, the other Hancocks)  I loved it but didn’t know what to do with it.  A bit later, I started hand-dyeing fabric. 

Then we moved.  Most of our things went into storage, but I kept out my sewing machine and a few projects.  The fabric panel and a bunch of coordinating hand-dyed fabrics made the cut and went to temp housing with us.  We were newly moved, having taken a huge pay cut because I quit my job and my DH was doing a post-doctorate internship, trying to sell our old house while looking for a new one.    I had to use what I had.  First I finished off the baby quilt.  Then I finished off the Winding Ways quilt.  Then I was down to this.

It was either figure out this quilt, using what I had, or stop quilting.  To quote Tim Gunn, it was a “make it work moment”.  I sat in front of EQ for days, trying to design the right border for around this quilt center.  I tried and discarded dozens of blocks.  Then I found a simple block to use.  It completely worked for me.  That was it!  So I sat down and made the first cut.  And added spray starch.  And kept cutting and sewing, liking what I was seeing.  I added a tiny narrow flap of dark fabric to separate the center from the border.  When I had the quilt top done, I couldn’t bear to fold it up and put it away – I left it right there on the floor for a few days so I could enjoy it. 

In the meantime, things were coming together.  We found a place in our new zip code, and sold our old house.  I still wasn’t working, but with only one house payment we were where we needed to be.

I quilted it a few months later, once I found the right thread to blend with all of the colors of the sunset.  I outline quilted the silhouettes, and did a micro-stipple in matching thread in the sunset areas.  The border blocks have straight lines quilted along the same diagonals as the blocks.

I love this quilt!  It’s hanging in my quilt room right now.  Every time I look at it I remember that I had a shoebox of fabric and was able to come up with that, with my sewing machine on the floor, a dorm-sized ironing board, and a bit of perserverence.

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