One of my latest quilts, Oil and Water Don’t Mix, was juried into the AQS quilt show in Paducah (April 27 – 30). Here’s a full view of the quilt.
I started working on this quilt last summer, after the oil company that I used to work for caused the largest oil spill in US history. This quilt is my attempt to highlight some of the animals impacted by this oil spill (brown pelicans, loggerhead turtles, dolphins, shrimp, blue crabs, coral, and migratory songbirds like the oriole). Here’s a good article from the National Wildlife Federation on the impact of the oil spill on animals.
I designed the piecing of the quilt in a vector graphics program (Corel Draw) and then sewed it together using blue gradations of my hand-dyed cottons for the water and rust-dyed cotton/silk for the oil. Here’s a picture after it’s all been pieced. At about this point, I decided that I wanted to enter this into the Paducah AQS contest. However, when I looked up the rules, I found that the quilt would need to be at least 40 inches wide and 40 inches high, and this quilt top was only 36 inches square–I was in a bit of a panic. It was a lot of work to piece the top and I certainly didn’t want to start all over. I took a photo of the top and started playing with options in Photoshop. Below are some of the options — a black border (too stark), a dark blue border (better, but not great, and I wasn’t sure if I could get the right color blue), and a border of the rust fabric (OK, but still not great).
I finally decided that it would be best to extend the original piecing design to enlarge the quilt. So, I went back to Corel Draw and added in a 1 inch border for the dark blue, and then I extended most of the original design elements into the enlarged border area. It would have been impossible (and too obvious) to try to match everything without the added blue border around the original design. Here’s the pieced top with the new border, and before the quilting.
To finish the quilt, I added tons of thread painting–partly to disguise the imperfections of the new border.