June 2012
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A Quilt to Celebrate an Author and her Book

*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!!!

*************************************

This quilt counts toward the second quarter of the 2012 Finish Along (visit my pre-quarter post to see all the quilt projects I hope to finish this quarter).

14 Comments

  1. June 4, 2012    

    this is the most amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, breathtakingly beautiful, perfect quilt. a gift I will never forget. Wendy. this is astonishing.

    • June 4, 2012    

      I’m SO glad you love it, Beth <3

  2. June 4, 2012    

    It’s beautiful. Thank you for posting about your process. I love that even the quilt pattern designer’s name tied into the theme, all by coincidence.

  3. June 4, 2012    

    I love this! It’s so beautiful.

  4. Tui Tui
    June 4, 2012    

    Have I told you lately how wonderful I think you are, Wendy?
    xo

  5. June 4, 2012    

    You are wonderful and amazing! And this is such a beautiful quilt.

  6. June 4, 2012    

    Wow, Wendy, this is so special! I’m sure Beth will love it (does love it, as I see from her comment). And even the name “Spain” for your “Colors of Spain” quilt — fantastic!

  7. June 4, 2012    

    You are a generous and giving person also! What a beautiful gift for the release of her new book!

  8. June 4, 2012    

    I have to agree with what Beth said! You are just beyond amazing, and the quilt is so totally gorgeous!!! I think it’s by far the prettiest one you’ve ever shown us!

  9. June 4, 2012    

    Thank you all for your kind and generous words. I loved making this one and it makes my heart glad that I could brighten Beth’s day with it!

  10. Patti Mallett Patti Mallett
    June 4, 2012    

    This is absolutely amazing, Wendy!! Such an act of love. Truly wonderful. It was so much fun following the process and then studying the colors, stitches, learning a new very cool use for the word “scrappy” and thinking of you plotting and creating – and Beth staring at it on her wall or curling up in it on a chilly afternoon.

    Thanks so much for sharing the fun – and the joy! Beth is such a sweetheart and your most generous gift has obviously pinged hard at her heartstrings!!

  11. June 5, 2012    

    I wish I were half that talented. I really love this quilt and its vibrant colors. You are such a great gem..and I’m glad we’re friends. I hope Beth makes use of this great gift.

  12. June 5, 2012    

    It really is a beautiful quilt! I hope I have a friend like you when I have a book come out…one day. 🙂 Beth is a lucky woman to have such a generous friend who also believes in her writing! Those kinds of friends can be hard to come by!

  13. June 6, 2012    

    What a wonderful thing! Thanks for doing what you do, and for supporting Beth.

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