Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Prairie Points

Quilt  No. 106
July 2015

Apparently, I’m not yet finished with my exploration of what can be done with all those old crewel embroidery pieces that I did decades ago.  Who would have thought that they would find their way back into the creative queue after all this time?

This wagon piece was probably the second embroidery kit I did back in the day.  I found it balled up in a drawer.  To be truthful, I never really liked it much – both the colours and the composition were kind of dull.  After I embroidered it, I never even considered framing it.

So…when I wanted one to just fool around with, this fit the bill.  My general rule of thumb is to never fool around with anything you aren’t willing to lose.  This includes quilts, pieces of fabric, old linens, buckets of ice cream, and friendships.  I wanted to machine quilt  the whole piece rather than cutting out portions to use as I had in Fred and Marty, and The Fox Gets a New Home.  

So, using smoke Wonder Invisible Thread, I machine quilted the details of each object.  I then moved on and did some contouring of the off-white background so that the elements weren’t just “floating around” loosely anymore.  Meh.  It improved it a little.  But only a little.  I added on a medium green cotton border.  Basically that made a larger but no more interesting piece.  Or…maybe I’m just not fond of wagons.  The rabbit in the scene wasn’t prominent enough to pull the piece out of the Land of Ho Hum.  

Eventually I hit on the idea of putting the teal green/blue/beige lumpy wool between the centre and the border.  The teals added enough warmth to wake up the whole piece.  Echoing that colour in the binding brought things together in a much more pleasing way.  

Next came choosing of a name for this quilt.  “A Wagon, A Barn, and a Rabbit” seemed unspeakably lame.  I turned the naming proposition over to my Facebook friends, who, as always, elevated the whole endeavor to a new level.  The names began in the realm of the sublime and poetic, emphasizing the genteel farm scene.  Then…people started to get concerned that the wagon lacked a horse.  This was quickly interpreted as the horse having shirked his duties and run off.  I don’t know much about horses, but perhaps this is the sort of thing they routinely do.  The rabbit, having no duties other than being cute, stayed put.  The tale about the miscreant horse began to morph into titles worthy of country and western ballads.  

At the end of it, the weight of collective brilliance made it impossible for me to choose a title.  I defaulted to a draw.  My friend Helen won the draw with her entry “Prairie Points”.  I thought this was especially fair, since Helen revealed that she had completed the same embroidery piece too.  There was also additional "insider" amusement to be had, since Helen is a quilting friend, and prairie points in the quilting word have nothing to do with prairies or unreliable horses.  They’re a series of folded triangles used to finish off the edge of a quilt.  Maybe the horse ran off with those too.

Here’s a list of titles that were suggested.  Note that the rabbit received as much love as the horse received derision.


Home Sweet Home

Rancher's Meadow Caravan

Harvester's Chariot in Grasslands

The Day the Horse Died

Damn That Horse. Died and Left Me to Tow the Wagon

Na minha casa existe paz (translation: My home is a haven)


The Horse Ran Off

Prairie Points
The draw!


Rabbit Finds a Home

Rabbit's New Car


Crewel Summer

Wife Left, The Horse Ran Off: It's Been a Crewel Summer

Rural Exodus

Runaway Horse

Lonely Rabbit

Spring Delight

Amish Homestead

Once Upon a Time