Finish: Finding Home 30

I’m alive! I don’t know how often I’ll realistically be able to post to the blog, but I have a few finishes to share that I hope to at least get posted. It turns out starting a new career is exhausting and overwhelming and a lot has happened over the last few months since moving to Orlando. But I’m slowly starting to get my sea legs and finding pockets of free-ish time.

But for now, I wanted to get some of these finishes posted.


Shortly after QuiltCon 2015, I contacted the MQG and asked if they’d be interested in a Quilt Design A Day (QDAD) special exhibit for QuiltCon 2017. They were excited about the idea, and I brought in Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts to help coordinate (read: she did all the work). The QDAD format we follow is once a day a photo and palette are posted, and people make their designs using the photo as inspiration and use the palette for their designs. For the exhibit, we decided we’d do a single inspiration image and palette, everyone would design and make their quilts, and we’d have a display of them together to show the range of possibilities from the single image and palette.

It’s been a couple years now since I’ve participated in QDAD. After a year of it, I had learned what I wanted to learn and was ready for new experiences. But as the founder, I really felt that I should participate. Although I was going to be terribly embarrassed if my quilt didn’t get in, which added a wee bit of extra pressure I really didn’t need to give myself.

So I started designing. I made quite a few designs, using the design techniques I’d played with during my year doing QDAD. But I wasn’t happy with any of them. I did get two to a point where I was tweaking details and figured perhaps that was a sign I should try making them in fabric. I ordered fabric for one of them and I made a mistake in translation of an angle which made all my cuts wrong. While debating whether I should order more fabric and try again, or do the other design, I chatted with my friend Rebecca who was also doing the challenge.

She asked me, “Which design are you most excited by?”

When I sat and thought about it, the answer was truly, “neither.” She mentioned it seemed too late in the process to do another design, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with either. And also I’m maybe a little [lot] stubborn.

I spent some time brainstorming what the hangup was, and I tried to really figure out why I was struggling with the design. I realized that I was using my QDAD techniques, which involve picking out shapes or angles and designing around that. These are great for doing quick sketches and when you’re doing a different one every day, you certainly don’t go deep into the inspiration. But I’m in a very different place as a designer 2 years later, and my quilts lately are what I call “story quilts”, which is something I am really drawn to – trying to capture a feeling or story through the design.

So I went back to the inspiration image. Looking at the apartment buildings I thought about how I have never been able to feel at home in an apartment. And I thought about how in reality, I haven’t felt at home in a long time. I have moved over 25 times throughout my life, and in the last three years I have lived in 3 different states. There’s an unsettled quality that comes from moving so much – everything starts blending together, but the differences can be really jarring.

I wanted to create a quilt about seeking a place to rest in the chaos and trying to find home in the process. That was the emotion I wanted to try to capture with my quilt design.

I started out with the simple square in square, mimicking the apartment windows. But it was too static, it didn’t capture that chaos I was going for. And I did love that angle in the original image. At first I tried to keep the angle the same, but realized that the whole point of inspiration is that you can take it wherever you want. So I changed it to a typical HST angle which had the added benefit of bringing in the idea of roof tops. And then the rest of the design just fell out of my head over the course of about 10 minutes.

One of the last quilts I have photos of with Mishka. 🙁

The quilt itself is fairly simple and went together quickly. I did make one change from the design, in which I “turned on the light” at the orange home.

For the quilting, I wanted to reinforce the frenetic energy, so I used vertical and angled lines. For the vertical lines, I also spaced them in an uneven pattern to convey the unstable feeling of moving. I was running out of time so I didn’t get a chance to quilt the angles as densely as I might have liked, but overall I think it’s fairly successful.

And of course the best of all! My quilt got into the exhibit and the exhibit was fantastic! I took photos of every quilt in the exhibit, and will hopefully get that on the blog in the future to share.


Name: Finding Home
Dimensions: 56″ x 72″
Finish: November 2016
Fabrics: Kona Charcoal, Shale, Snow, Prussian, Mediterranean, Carrot
Binding: Kona Prussian
Thread: Aurifil – some light grey or another (I should really write these down)
Telling me I can’t do something: Good way to get me to do something

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30 thoughts on “Finish: Finding Home

  • kitty

    This is a great quilt!! I love it!!! It certainly tells a story and the presence of the orange house with the lights on is very suggestive. The quilting is perfectly chosen to accentuate that so often renewed search for stability. You must be very happy with this beautiful creation!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks so much, Kitty! I’ve been doing so much improv, it was weird to move back into something so structured. But I was definitely happy with how it came out. 😀 It’s so cool to hear you picked up on many of my design choices!

  • Camille

    I am so moved by your quilt. The graphic, modern lines are fantastic and the message conveyed can be so personal to each viewer of the quilt. I know it was for me. Congratulations! Beautiful work! Will you be publishing a pattern for it?

    • anne Post author

      Thank you Camille! And what a huge compliment that you found something personal in it. <3 I hadn't considered making a pattern as free time is really at a minimum for a while. However, it's not out of the question. It's a pretty straight forward design. What I really need is a pattern writer to pair up with. lol

  • Cathy B

    Very powerful. The strong geometrics. The complementary blues and shot of orange. The sense of home. The story and process. I had never considered using quilting lines of varied width, but will now, I like the effect. Great job. Camille is right, you could publish and sell a pattern; but I suspect you are busy with the next quilt!

    • anne Post author

      Thank you Cathy! Those aren’t my normal go-to colors, but part of QDAD was learning to work with colors I don’t necessarily gravitate towards. And of course in Maryland you were a big part of me feeling at home there! <3
      I'll give some thought to the pattern thing. Is hiring a pattern writer a thing? 🙂
      I saw the varied quilting lines at a show and filed it away as a "I need to try that sometime!" and it seemed like the right time to bring it out. I wonder if more randomness would have been better in this situation, but whatcha gonna do?

    • anne Post author

      Oh that’s awesome, thank you! I loved seeing them together, but I am pretty biased, so it’s great to hear an outsider perspective. 😀 It IS hard to find the time. Even 15 minutes seems precious these days. But at the time, I made it one of the highest priorities for the day and it got done somehow.

  • Mary

    I really appreciate your description of your process here. I am always intrigued by how people create a new design, and this is a terrific quilt. Also encouraging to think your previous years of effort could result in a whole new process.

    • anne Post author

      Thanks Mary! When I look back at my quilting trajectory the two biggest factors on my aesthetic and process were QDAD and the BeeSewcial group I’m in now. There are a lot of smaller things, but those two were the things that pushed me the furthest and were [relatedly] the scariest. It’s kinda fun to go back and see how much my work and I have changed over the years! 😀

  • Mari Lyn Bushnell

    I love the design, colors and movement, but most of all feel the quilt is true to the inspiration and meaningful as a perfect visual representation of your story. I hope you are able to stay in Orlando for a while after all of the moving. I love the pet pics also. Thank you for sharing this and I can’t wait to see the other entries when you post them.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I also hope we’re able to stay in Orlando for a while, although it’s hard being on the opposite coast as the rest of my family. We lost our pup earlier this year, which has been pretty hard. Kita’s still making sure she tests out all the quilts though. 🙂

  • Whiskers

    I understand the feeling about an apartment. It is a place to live; that doesn’t always translate into “home”. Maybe I have the reverse problem.
    Sometimes quilts have toes, sometimes they have fingers, other times both. Yours has a mustache!
    Sweet pix of Mishka.

    • anne Post author

      I have never really been a city dweller, I grew up in a rural setting, and living that close to other people puts me on edge. I know some people love it, though! 🙂
      HAhahaah I should have posted the photo with the rest of his head! This was the photo I use for show submissions mustache and all. 😉
      I miss my Moose, still. I had a commissioned painting done of her and I received it late last week. I should send you the photo. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! Having that much flow doesn’t happen for me very often, so I’m always excited when it does. 🙂 Usually there’s still some struggle involved! lol

  • Elaine

    Anne – thanks for sharing that story. I did see your quilt at Quiltcon and I do LOVE it. Especially since orange is my favorite color. All kidding aside, the story is beautiful and I think it’s fabulous that you can use your quilting to work through your life or is that vice versus. Anyway – I hope things are going to settle down in your life and that you start to feel at home wherever home may be.

    • anne Post author

      Thank you Elaine! I knew you were at QuiltCon, but the one time I got to the vendor section you weren’t at the booth. I was hoping to see you! Maybe next year though?
      I seem to have turned quilting into my therapy, lately. LOL It [usually] doesn’t talk back, though! I hope things settle down a bit, too. I like some excitement in my life, but I’m ready for a calm spell now. 🙂

  • 2bleubirdzsssing4u

    I know what you mean about moving. I think I counted I have moved 38 times in my life. Of course, most of it is in the same state, or even the same town, but still it is unsettling. And I agree, it’s hard to feel “at home” in an apartment. When our kids were young, we lived in a rental home and a home that was divided for 2 different rentals. You are always aware that you have a landlord, especially when they live next door, or come over any time they feel like it without warning. Though orange is my least favorite color usually, I do see it makes a great “light” in your quilt, which is really interesting with the angles and the quilting. I would’ve wanted to add the green and the red in the photo though. 😀 Your story really makes this quilt come alive for me. The design and colorway certainly convey your message. I’m sure you will eventually find a “permanent” home in this life, but now we’ve lived in our home almost 20 years. I’ve wanted to move for about 17. My husband preferred commuting rather than disrupting the kids’ lives with another new school. Years ago, a friend told me that her mother didn’t “keep house,” they just kept moving. LOL. After accumulating so many things from my parents’ home after their passing, I think that might be easier. 😛 I’ve been playing with palette builder again lately. May have to post some of them sometime soon on flickr. I have missed your blog posts. I hope you continue, even in if only monthly or weekly. I see some have abandoned their blog for instagram, which is cool, too. Looking forward to seeing the other quilts at QuiltCon, also.

    • anne Post author

      Wow, that’s a lot of moves! One thing moving that much has done for me is that I don’t really get attached to stuff. So many purges and restarts has made me realize that it’s not the stuff that makes it feel like home. 🙂
      The palette is definitely not my go to colors, but part of the fun of QDAD is working with colors you wouldn’t necessarily pick yourself. The palette was put together by Michelle and I think the photo is hers as well. It was interesting how all the colors were the same, but each quilt was so uniquely different. Pretty cool show!
      We’re renting currently, and given the landlord situation I don’t see us being in this house long term. But the real estate market in Florida is pretty nice compared to California that we might be able to buy a house. In which case hopefully we’d stay for a while. It’s challenging though, as the rest of my family lives on the west coast and I hate that we are so far away. Moving IS great for purging, though! 😉
      I hope to get back to blogging occasionally as well. Not as many people comment or visit these days, but I enjoy having it as a design journal for each quilt. Purely selfish. lol
      I am on instagram though and post my WIPs there: @playcrafts
      I miss the more long-form discussions that were on flickr and on blogs, though.

  • Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    First of all, I’m glad you are finding a bit of a groove and settling in. I do love the story telling nature of your quilts, and I’m so glad you pushed yourself to think about this design and refine your idea more. Thanks for all the inspiration – for the seed of an idea that became QDAD and continuing to share your process as it continues to evolve.

    • anne Post author

      Your introspection quilts were one of the first times I considered doing some storytelling with my quilts! 😀 <3 They were hugely inspirational for me. The other push I needed was Chawne Kimber's quilt ("The One for Eric") at QuiltCon last year.
      I feel like I'm starting to stagnate a bit, and I'm not sure where to go from here. I guess keep playing and something will spark more experimentation. But dang I hate this down-cycle phase. 🙂

    • anne Post author

      Thank you! It’s been a while since I’ve done something that’s not improv, it was weird to go back to using the ruler so much! lol

  • Pat S

    I think you definitely got your story across with this quilt. I remember when you were doing the QAD and I still have (I think) one particular one you posted that really resonated with me and that I thought I’d like to try to make into a quilt some day.

  • Rene'

    I enjoyed seeing the QDAD exhibit at QuiltCon! I went back to that section a couple of times admiring the gorgeous quilts. Thank you for your vision of the group and making the exhibit a reality. Your quilt is a beauty and I appreciate you sharing the story and process. I must say we are glad you are now settled in Orlando and hope your moving days are behind you for a while!

    • anne Post author

      Thanks Rene’! <3 Things are definitely settling down a bit and y'know I love all y'all in the guild. 😀 It feels awesome to hear that other people enjoyed the QDAD exhibit as well, thank you for sharing your thoughts. 😀

  • Nelson Salsa

    Anne, I just love seeing this come together. I had never really seen the quilting on it until this post. I love how simple and beautiful the quilting is on it.