Interpretation of African strip quilts, based on one I was obsessed with in Material Culture class. Small throw size. Completed 2012.
This quilt was my first real stumper in the evolution of my early quilting days. I bought all the fabrics in a fit of inspiration in the adrenaline that came after a job interview, still in my interview clothes. The job would be a huge upgrade within the organization where I was already working, but in a position that was the most miserable I'd ever had in my life. I was coming off a summer where I felt truly depressed, and a minor, embarrassing workplace injury, in which I also split my pants as I fell. This would be a major upgrade. Like, to air conditioning instead of warehouse.
I was standing in A Scarlet Thread picking out all these fabrics, not really intending to do much with them, when I got a call and was offered the job, not ninety minutes later. So naturally I bought everything in my arms, including a mostly pointless flying geese ruler that I've used exactly thrice.
Then, I sat on it forever. When I finally did cut it up one day, seeking to recreate my favorite quilt image (below) from the African strip quilts featured in The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts, it was small, so I added a border and hated it, so I added another border and hated it more. Finally I trimmed the stitches all the way around, removing both borders in one fell swoop and adding the strip of red and cream down the righthand side, finally settling with a small but gorgeous version of what I intended. I love when stripes do extra work by looking like I did all this extra stitching but it's just part of the fabric.
I stored this quilt top for nearly a year then, until a long weekend when I was unemployed and Ben was at DragonCon, and I pulled it out and pieced a back (that I might love just as much as the front, really) and did the straight-down-the-seams quilting you see here. I love the texture.
I mentioned above, this was inspired by an awesome image in one of the books we used in a Material Culture class in my graduate school program. I named the quilt Upper Volta after the regional cultural origins of the strip quilt that inspired it. The term comes from the traditional woven fabric made in West Africa in long, narrow strips, then used in many ways, including pieced together for the utility of warmth -- my favorite thing about quilts.
(Ignore the giant round mound in the midsection in these photos, it's from the chair it was on when it air-dried a few days before after a wash.)