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Finish: 49

I’m really excited to share my latest finish with y’all! This is the most technically challenging quilt I’ve ever made, and (probably related) has taken the most time to complete. For the last couple of years, my aesthetic has been pretty minimal and graphic, which was heavily influenced by my QDAD (Quilt Design A Day) practice. At the beginning of the year, I joined an improv bee (#beesewcial on Instagram) and it’s had a pretty significant impact on my personal quilting style as a result. It’s always exciting and a bit scary when my aesthetic starts to shift, and it’s really reignited my passion for quilting this year. But dang it’s a lot slower than those minimalist quilts I was making! 😉


If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@playcrafts), you’ve seen this quilt come to fruition. The fabric was kindly donated by RJR Fabrics in return for them getting to hang the quilt in their booth at Quilt Market in Houston. When they approached me, I’d already been playing with a design and they were happy to let me run with it.


The design of course, has a story. Two weeks after I signed the paperwork at my new job and found a place to live in Orlando (but before we’d actually moved), the biggest mass shooting in the US to date happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I wept for my new home, and wondered how I would fit in to a place where such a thing could happen. But the way Orlando responded gave me hope; there was no hesitation to help, no backlash that many of the victims identified as LGBTQA, that many were Latinos.


Now that I’m here, I can say that Orlando is one of the friendliest places I have ever lived. Getting to know people here, so many of them were affected by the shooting in some way. As I listened to their stories of loss and rebuilding and hope and sadness, I mourned with them and wished I’d had the chance to know the people they had loved and lost. With the stories in mind, I began working on this design.


The design is an abstraction of the skyline of Orlando as often depicted, with the city’s lights reflecting in Lake Eola. There are 49 light squares/blocks, one for each of the victims killed in the shooting. Losing someone leaves such a hole where their presence used to be, and I tried to reflect that in the way I created this quilt. While there’s traditional piecing used in this quilt, the majority of the light blocks were pieced in using inset corners. The process requires cutting away the background to make room for the square you are piecing in, and piecing it in whole. In a way, I was attempting to take the holes left by those who had died and patch them with light. If only it were as easy to do that in real life.


This quilt truly was a labor of love in so many ways. It’s a quilt of loss, but also a quilt of hope. It’s a quilt for my new home and my new friends. But mostly it’s a quilt for the 49 people who unfairly lost their lives and the light they left behind.


Title: 49
Dimensions: 58″ x 84″
Fabrics: RJR Cotton Supreme Solids – Goldenrod, Lemon Chiffon, Banana Cream Pie, Tourmaline, Harlequin, Gingko, Mandarin, Oriole, Tangerine Dream, Yum Yum Yam, Saffron, Bordeaux, My Valentine, Scarlet Letter, Moulin Rouge, Bandana, Beach Coral, Sunset Ruby, Caviar, Night, Indigo, Slate, Navy, Denim, Blue Bayou, Turks & Caicos, Riviera, Notting Hill, Cove
Design: Improv, inset corner tutorial I used can be found here
49 squares: For those who are counting (I know you’re out there), I’m including the lightest blue squares in the count. The reason for that will be shown at some point after I get the quilt back from market


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