Sometimes a fabric just speaks to you, other times a pattern does. For this quilt, let’s call it Portland Baby Quilt (PBQ) because the ladies from Gee’s Bend say that every quilt must be named, the fabric called out to me. Once I saw the Victorian outlined buildings, the rain drops and the black kitty on a red bike I knew the perfect person for the fabrics. A very dear friend of mine from the old Portland days and her husband just welcomed their first baby boy. All of the fabrics were absolutely shouting out their names but what pattern could I use to highlight the fabrics and not the pattern. Aha! I could use the pattern for my very first quilt, the pea quilt, because the center blocks are huge by many quilt pattern standards at 8″. This pattern allowed me to focus on the fabrics and see how different two quilts can be using different fabrics.
The first fabric that really grabbed my heart has red vintage bikes, a black kitty and tulips. This trifecta reminds me of my dear friend: she used to own a cute burgundy vintage bike, owns a sweet black cat and loves flowers. The second fabric has raindrops and nothing says living in the Northwest like some raindrops, for despite what some people say it does rain a whole heck of a lot up there. The third fabric has vintage Victorian style buildings, which is where I first met this dear friend, me as her apartment manager and she as tenant. We used to have dinner parties in our tiny studios and eat on the floor in our slippers. This was a simpler time in our lives and one filled with very good memories.
This simpler pattern allowed me to highlight the fabrics while still working on the ever present and technical star points. I chose colors that appeared in the two multi-colored fabric for my star points – red and navy. I then chose a gray background. I went a little outside of the palette when I chose the light yellow for the interior but I really wanted to lighten up the quilt and not have it be so gray; the sun does shine in Portland! I like the splashes of red because the quilt still has that bright kid quality to it. It is traditional with the primary colors but modern thanks to the fun fabrics. I used a totally different fabric for the backing of this quilt: a bright red squiggly owl print. It has a similar color palate as the front but is definitely kid friendly. To finish it up, I had the quilt long-armed by a talented local quilter with stippling in a variegated gray thread.
I really love how this quilt turned out and know that it will provide many good snuggle and fort building sessions. It was really fun to take a familiar pattern and play with it and see it become something completely different. This is the joy of quilting, there are always surprises to be had.