*All photos in this post may be clicked on to enjoy a larger image
One of the gratifying things about being a book blogger is that sometimes I am lucky enough to get to know the author behind the words. When I first discovered Beth Kephart’s words, I fell in love. They are evocative, carefully chosen, and transporting. They are a peek into the author’s heart. I’ve met Beth once, in New York City at the 2010 BEA…but our friendship has grown through email and Facebook. Beth is kind and generous. Sometimes I get an email that simply says “Thinking of you today.” It always makes me smile.
So when I learned that Philomel/Penguin was to publish a new book by Beth in July of this year…and when that gorgeous little book arrived in ARE form in my mailbox with a lovely transcription, I knew I wanted to make a quilt to not only celebrate this book (read my review), but to celebrate a friendship.
I spent a wonderful afternoon combing through my stash of fabrics because, for me, a quilt always starts with the fabric. I wanted something bright and evocative of Spain, something that would capture the spirit of the author. I finally settled on Terrain by Kate Spain (and actually did not even connect the name of the designer with the theme of this quilt until days later). I bought a lot of this fabric when it came out because I love the saturated colors which remind me of climbing walls of Bougainvillea, and deep Mediterranean oceans, and the glow of a setting sun as it throws off oranges and pinks into a clear sky. For me, this was the perfect fabric for Beth’s book.
Down the road and past the arch, the olive trees are casting webs of purple shadows. Across the way, between the sunflowers, the clover is green and the cacti bloom. Out on the horizon, there’s the leaking of silver, blue, and green, like the sea. – from Small Damages by Beth Kephart –
This quilt spent a lot of time in process on my design wall. I threw up squares of it and moved them around. I slept on it. And one day, I envisioned it as a rainbow style quilt with tiny squares of coordinating solids which would draw out the best of the colors.
The blocks are “snowballs” – 5″ squares of the main fabric with tiny 2.5″ squares of solid fabric sewn in the corners and trimmed. When the blocks come together a diamond of solid, coordinating fabric is formed in each corner. I bordered the quilt with a thin strip of pale pink and a wider scrappy strip.
For the back, I chose a large piece of the orange fabric, pieced a scrappy strip and centered the label.
I took a lot of time to design the label for this quilt – I wanted it to be based on the cover of Beth’s book. It took a few tries of sketching things out, but ultimately I ended up with a label I thought was perfect. It is hand embroidered with perl cotton thread.
I struggled with the quilting on this one. I hemmed and hawed, changing my mind several times before settling on parallel, wavy lines which run up and down the quilt in orange thread.
Keeping with the scrappy theme, I pieced together fabrics to bind the quilt.
I’m happy with the results! I’ve named this one “Colors of Spain” and it is approximately 60″ X 60″ – the perfect size (in my opinion) to curl up under with a good book. And I hope that Beth will be reminded of Spain when she uses it.
Happy book launch, Beth!!!