Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bahama Dreaming


AKA: Yes, The Water Really Is That Color. This quilt was a long time in the making, but found its forever home quickly.


Back in late 2017, Liz of Savor Every Stitch introduced her pattern called Haphazard. Made entirely of half square triangles, the design is generated by computer code on her website.  Each iteration of the code, and therefore the resulting layout, is unique. I loved this nerdy, techy idea and filed it away in my quilty bucket list. 


Several month later, we were cruising the Bahamas. As usual, we marveled at the variety of brilliant blue waters around us. I thought, "I wonder if I can capture this in a quilt?" Even now, I have to look at my photos to convince myself that those colors really DO exist in nature!


After pulling fabrics that reflected the gorgeous water around us, I remembered Haphazard, and I ran the program until this layout called my name. The top pieced up quickly and easily and I even had some fun "ship in a bottle" fabric for the backing. Top and back sat quietly folded together for a long time.


If you've ever seen any of Liz's quilts, you know she is an expert free motion quilter. I knew that to truly honor her pattern I would need to step up my FMQ game. So the quilt sat for many, many months as a flimsy, until I felt ready to tackle the extensive quilting.


When I heard recently that my dear friend Bear was gravely ill, I knew it was time to pour heart, soul, and embroidery foot into this piece. I started with the cream background areas, adding dense fillers in many designs. Bear is an amazingly multi-talented person. So as I stitched, I concentrated on all the curly, swirly, swoopy, doopy wonderful ways that he is.


Wishbone pathways dance their way across the quilt.


Swirls fill this dance hall square.


And swirl chains in move through this odd shape.


Water meandering and curve echoes kiss at one point.


Pebbles, flowers, paisleys, squiggles...I threw in everything I had. I wanted abundance and exuberance, joy and music in this quilting!

And when the dense background was finished, I pulled out all my blue, green, gray and turquoise threads and started on the beautiful blue water triangles. But this time, I wanted simpler, more open lines. Dot to dot triangles. Big, smooth feathers.


These are the blue healing waters, and I want them to to flow unimpeded, bringing hopes of peace and strength to Bear's life. 


In the smallest triangle, very close to the center, I quilted a bas relief heart by surrounding it with dense matchstick stitching. Because love persists even when we are far apart. I can't be physically with Bear right now, but he has this token of my support and care.


Sean and I wrapped the quilt around ourselves to give it one final infusion of love, then mailed it to California. It has been keeping Bear warm for several weeks now and I know he feels the love inside it! XOXO

29 comments:

Kat said...

I love the idea behind the random half square triangles and I love your gorgeous quilting! You did a great job!

Mystic Quilter said...

Such a lovely post Louise.Thank you for sharing with us the story behind the quilt and your amazing quilting!
I well remember the stunning colour of the seas around Bermuda, I used to spend such a lot of time hanging over the rail just soaking up all the colour. I'm sure your friend will feel the love from yourself and Sean.

Lynn said...

They are stunning colours and your quilting - and you really did excel with the quilting, wonderful job. Very special when it's sent with love to a friend.

Heide said...

Beautiful quilt. You have captured the stunning colors of the sea. Love how you have gave it the final hug before sending it off.

djquilting said...

Louise, you have outdone yourself with this one.
The colors are beautiful and the quilting outstanding. I am sure your friend Bear feels the love you and Sean sent.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful, Louise! You really brought your A-game to the quilting!! What a wonderful, love-filled gift for your friend.

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

Oh, this is lovely, Louise! We had a short stay in the Bahamas, and I will never forget the beautiful turquoise water. This quilt is filled with love, Quilty and more.

piecefulwendy said...

What a wonderful quilt, Louise, and all the love you poured into it will surely wrap itself around Bear. Love the photo of you and Sean with the quilt, too. I wish Bear all the best, and will send up a prayer or two as I think of him.

Debbie said...

Beautiful post to match the quilt! I savor the descriptions you wrote as you created the emotions and feelings in the free motion quilting. You wove a beautiful story.

Barb N said...

Giving your friend this gift is truly what quilting is all about: stitching up love! The quilt is beautiful.

Vicki in MN said...

Love the story of how this quilt was born and where it was going. You indeed captured the Caribbean colors, so beautiful. And you really did step up your game on the quilting;)

Janice Holton said...

What a great read this was! From pattern, to fabric pull, to FMQ to the love infused quilt hug. Loved it all! You can just feel the love you put into this finish for your dear friend. I could read stuff like this all day long!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

I love this quilt story!!! First of all, the colors! As beautiful as your photos! Then the pattern--I love that haphazard Liz designed! This is a good reminder to make something using it. And the quilting!! Wow! And your last photo is the best!!! Love to Bear!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

A lovely quilt made all the more so by your story of it's making and purpose. Wishing your friend Bear the best. I have saved that same HST generator link but haven't made a quilt from it yet.

bearc said...

With my deepest appreciation I received this priceless gift. The coming together of your love and your artistry made tangible in this utterly beautiful, full-of-love quilt is helping and supporting me every day. What alchemy to turn sailing the Bahamas, a clever, challenging quiltmaking technique, and our long, rich history of loving each other into My Sean&LouiseBahamas Love Quilty. You are our dear, dear friends and wherever the winds take you, you can rest assured that I have you wrapped around me, feeling your love. Bear

Kate said...

Such a beautiful quilt. The quilting is gorgeous. Hope your friend is feeling much better.

Kathleen said...

I love every quilt I seen made with Liz’s pattern and this is no exception. You did a great job and the quilting is specatacular. That last picture with you and your husband is priceless. Sending healing wishes to your friend as this quilt surrounds him.

Lisa J. said...

Louise, you outdid yourself on this one. I love the pattern made by the random pattern generator and the colours are all my favourites. They work well with the white background. The quilting is so detailed it looks awesome. It's a superb gift to give to a friend .

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

What a beautiful quilt, Louise! I've seen the Haphazard "pattern" but never tried it. I love your colors and their inspiration! It is a lovely, quilty hug!

JanineMarie said...

Oh, this is lovely, Louise! I remember seeing the “pattern” when it first came out, and then over time forgot all about it. So thanks for showcasing it in your beautiful quilt. You captured the water colors perfectly, and it is such a beautiful gift for your friend. I hope it was good, comforting therapy. I’m glad you have come as far as my fair state. Have fun sailing around it, and I do hope you will get to see some of our gorgeous water colors (they change minute to minute).

KaHolly said...

Oh, my goodness, Louise. I had to pause to let all the goose bumps go away before I could comment to tell you how wonderful this quilt is, from it’s conception all the way to it’s destination. Just check out your FMQ! Amazing! Best wishes to your friend, Bear, from the opposite coast.

Sarah@123quilt said...

This quilt is absolutely gorgeous and the love that you put into the quilting shows. I hope your friend finds comfort with this quilt.

Nicki said...

Louise, this has got to be my favorite of all favorite blogs from you. Your quilt reminds me of what quilting is all about....LOVE! Your love for Bear radiates through your quilt for him and the picture of you & Sean wrapped it all together with your love & I know Bear feels that love every time he sees, feels, smells & hugs that beautiful give of love. Every stitch went into it with Bear in mind & that's another thing that makes it so very special. Hugs to you for the joy & comfort you are bringing him each day as he lives with your beautiful quilt. I pray for him daily for peace & for a full recovery from his serious illness. Thank you Louise!!!

Carol E. said...

What a wonderful, beautiful and loving gift! Thanks for sharing your process.

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Hi louise, everything to admire in this blog post. I love the quilt layout, I love the colours, I love the Bahamas though I have never been there. And I love that you made this quilt for your friend. A real hug.

Sandy Panagos said...

That is a fabulous quilt. You really did capture the waters around you in selecting the fabrics. ((HUGS)) to Bear from me, too.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Louise, thanks for sharing your story and your very gorgeous quilts. I will send love to Bear also :-)

Carole @ Fresh off the Frame said...

Words can't convey how much I love this post. Your quilt is beautiful and so full of meaning, it can't help but comfort your friend. (Now, if only I could swallow this lump in my throat...) Well done.

canuckquilter said...

You captured the colors perfectly! It's a beautiful quilt and a beautiful story. I'm sure Bear feels your love and care .