Friday, July 07, 2017

The naming of a quilt

I always try to give each of my quilts a name of their own. Sometimes the name is clear to me before I even start cutting the fabric, at other times, I really have to work on finding that name. The names can be quite straightforward, for example when I fell in love with Amy Butler’s collection Ginger Bliss and made a quilt using that line, it became the Amy Quilt. OK, but then I made another quilt using Amy Butler fabric I couldn’t use that name again now, could I? Most of the fabrics in that quilt were from her line Daisy Chain, so that one came to be known as The Daisy Quilt.
At other times I use fabric from a lot of different sources, and the name needs to be something that sums it all up. The quilt I made with fabric that reminded me of holidays in Italy became Italian Dreams. My previous quilt contains star blocks and one of the fabrics reminds me of space stations or satellites, so the name came to me as I was sewing: Stars and Satellites.

My current quilt has been a challenge to name, though. I tried stating the obvious: “The Triangle Quilt”. Meh, didn’t like it. I looked at the colours, blue and green, a cool, yet refreshing, group that made me think of water. I looked for other words associated with water, aqua, hydra, pond, pool, refreshing, fresh, cool, but nothing stuck. I looked at the shapes again, thinking that triangles could be trines, trigons or pyramids. The darker blue ones stand out from the rest and I nearly went with “Blue Pyramid” until I googled it and discovered that it is a variety of marihuana plant (all the things you can learn from google…), so that didn’t seem appropriate.

The idea of water stuck with me though, especially after I started quilting it, using big spirals reminiscent of rings or ripples in water.  I started looking into symbolism, how water is interpreted in folklore, dreams and so on. After a while I came across an old acquaintance: “The Lady of the Lake” from the Arthurian legends. I remember devouring stories connected with this era some years ago, and in particular Marion Bradley’s Avalon trilogy. There are different versions of the legends and the Lady of the Lake has several names, Vivien being one of them. This is a name associated with wisdom, and according to the urban dictionary it also means: “The girl you meet in your dreams and can't help but to fall in love with. The love of your life. A strong, independent, beautiful woman at heart, as well as to everyone she meets. One you never want to lose. She looks to be realistic, true, and cares so much about what she wants in life. To have her is a gifted responsibility; a true priority number one. She may turn away from you at times, but if you say what you mean, you will always be there for her. She lives to care and love. You don't mess with her feelings, you play no games with her. She'll leave you right quick. And it'll be the biggest mistake of your life.”

A bit too much, perhaps? And giving the quilt a woman’s name like that would mean having a lot of explain to do. No, not quite there yet. But as I was preparing the binding it suddenly hit me: Avalon! Avalon is the name of the mysterious world of Vivien, only reached through the mists of the lake and with associations of water, mystery, healing, refreshing etc. Perfect! And thus a new quilt was named.

Stats: Inspired by this quilt by Patchwork n Play. I had no pattern, but picked fabrics from my memory of what that quilt looked like (without consulting the photo) and what I had in my stash, except for the solid Kona Limelight which I bought especially and also used for backing. I cut strips and used the 60 degree line on my standard ruler to cut triangles and made a preliminary sketch in EQ, trying to place colours randomly. I sorted my triangles according to colour, but mixed them up within each colour and picked randomly from the piles as I was stitching the rows together. I quilted using free motion spirals, making them as big as I could without losing my grip, before I moved on with smaller swirls to a new area and starting a new large spiral. No planning, I just let the quilting happen along the way, but I think it kind of works, and as I said earlier, it all reminds me of ripples in water when I look at it from a distance. The binding is that dark blue/turquoise that nearly ended up giving a name to the quilt, and is a favourite Tilda fabric I bought several yards of some years back. I still have a little left.

So there you have it. Avalon. My favourite quilt at the moment. It’s a keeper.


Susan said...

I loved reading the story of how you named this quilt! And what a great name! I also like to give my quilts individual names but I certainly don't go to such lengths as you do Mathea! Well done, and thanks for tagging me on IG and here. I'm humbled that my quilt and my little blog inspired you to make this pretty quilt! I'm glad you're keeping it too!

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