M and I started spending a lot more time together. We commiserated about the unglamorous aspects of growing a tiny human, about living continents away from our families, and about our fears and insecurities about becoming parents. M was born and raised in Finland and married our friend, who's an American citizen. As we were all struggling to pick names for our fast-approaching tiny humans we joked that one American way to name a baby seemed to be to find a random word in a foreign language that you think is pretty and use it, regardless of the meaning. We decided to call their daughter Potato; it actually does sound pretty in Finnish - Peruna.
Since M was missing Finland, I wanted to do something with the quilt to remind her of it. M is a very conservative dresser compared to a lot of Americans with respect to color. I don't think I saw her wear anything that wasn't black/white/gray/navy/tan until she had to buy a pair of new sneakers to fit her feet as they grew a bit with her pregnancy and the only ones that fit her and were comfortable had pink stripes on the sides. This is where it got really hard.
I love color. I have never done a super muted quilt, color-wise. But doing my usual colorful quilt would have overwhelmed M and I didn't want to do that. I asked her what color they were generally trying to stick to with little Potato's stuff and she said purple, so that was the one color I let myself use.
I decided to use the Northern Lights as my inspiration for the quilt. A streak of color through an otherwise dark-ish sky would work well for my limited color pallette and would translate pretty well into a quilt. A bargello quilt would work for my intent, but I wanted to go beyond just sewing a bunch of black and white strips into a tube with some purple and seeing how it turned out...I wanted to know how it would look before.
In drawing it out I lost a little of the bargello functionality because every vertical strip wouldn't have every fabric in it, but I wanted the stripe to go like that through the center. I also knew I wanted the colors to be in a gradation - the lightest purple would be in the center of the streak, the darkest next to the black and white fabrics. I also laid out all of my black and whites in dark-to-light order so that the blackest fabric would be next to the dark purple. Basically, I took a bargello quilt and made it harder than it needed to be...but when has that stopped me?
I didn't get any in-progress pictures because I was pedal to the metal to get this quilt done before we moved. I was juggling having my own tiny human with quilting (and the sewing machine being in the room where tiny human slept so I couldn't work on it unless he was awake) and getting ready to move back to the United States.
In the end I messed up and didn't have a good backing fabric for it. I went through everything in my stash and finally decided on a light blue fabric with darker blue ginseng leaves on it, which seemed kind of appropriate since Seoul has ginseng all over the place (unfortunately; they're pretty but the berries smell AWFUL). I also had cut out a helicopter to do my usual label...and it got packed. So I just embroidered my initials and the year on the backing without a helicopter. But still, I'm proud of how the quilt turned out. I tied in Finland and Korea for a present to a little Finnish-American baby born in Korea...and that's a win in my book. Please excuse the terrible quality photos - they were taken with a backup cell phone while standing on a hotel bed. The laundry by the side of the bed...well...it's life. But life or not, hotel room living with an infant or not, I finished the quilt and delivered it before I left the country.
|The motion in this quilt makes me smile.
|Korean-inspired backing on a Finnish-inspired quilt.
|Fail label. Still mad I didn't save the label from the movers.