I began working on this small quilt a few years ago, and it took me well over a year to get it to the point it’s at now.
I started with a bunch of small pieces of leftover fabric–some were from other quilts but most were from experiments playing with dye stenciling, monoprinting and discharging. I cut the fabric into 4 inch squares and started arranging them on my design wall.
Here’s one arrangement of the squares.
Here’s another arrangement (sorry for the blurry photo). This one uses only the squares with the wavy lines. These were all made using freezer paper stencils and thickened dyes.
I liked this general arrangement, and after switching some of the squares around, sewed it into this quilt top.
Once it was done, I wasn’t too excited by the quilt top. So, it sat on my design wall for over a year. No inspiration…
One day I was doing some dyeing and figured I’d do something to this quilt top to see if I’d like it better. Using the arashi shibori (pole wrapping) technique, I first discharged the quilt top using bleach, and then dyed it using blue and yellow. (Sorry, no pictures of this step, but the orange squares didn’t discharge as much as the other colors.)
At a quilt show, I’d bought some Texture Magic, which is a polyester fabric that shrinks when it’s steamed. I needed a project to experiment with it, so I figured this quilt top was a great candidate since I couldn’t mess it up any more than it already was.
Using freezer paper stencils again, I painted some long wavy blue lines from top to bottom. I added a layer of batting and then the Texture Magic to the back of the quilt and then quilted lines following the blue waves (another out-of-focus photo).
After lots of steam from a steam iron, here’s the shrunken version of Mississippi Delta. Now it hangs next to my design wall. Maybe one day I’ll think of something else to do to it…
The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise…
– Mark Twain in Eruption
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have their streets joined together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
— Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi