Thursday, December 2, 2010

Golden Gate Fly-By

This quilt is one of my favorites.  It was made as part of a guild challenge, called "The Whisper Challenge", based on a challenge in Quilting Arts magazine.  Like the kid's game "Telephone", where one person whispers to the next & by the end of the line of kids, the story is completely different!  Our challenge had two sets of 'players' and both used the same photograph to start.  The first quilter in each group made a small quilt, based on the photograph.  They then handed their quilt off to the next person in line, but NOT the photo, and that person used the quilt as inspiration.  Quilter #2 then passed on their quilt to the next in line, & gave the inspiration quilt back to its maker. 
I was second in line in my group.  When I looked at the quilt I had been given, I saw a bird on possibly a Japanese style bridge, overlooking water with Koi swimming below.  The support pilings for the bridge immediately made me think of the uprights on the Golden Gate Bridge, & within just a few minutes I had my whole design in my head!  Next, I went online, searching for pictures of the GG Bridge & pictures of seagulls to use for reference.  I found what I wanted & started drawing out my pattern, then searched through my "fabric shoppe" room for the right colors.
I lucked out, and found everything I needed in my own stash.  I didn't have to buy anything except some Steam-A-Seam.  It really came together pretty quickly....except for the gull.  I fused him together, and decided just where he should go on the quilt, then realized that I needed to do draw in the vertical cables for the bridge before fusing the bird down.  I was working in the living room, sitting on the couch, so I just set him down on the couch next to me & started on those cables.  Once I had them done, I reached for the bird, & he's gone!  Heck, I hadn't moved since setting him there, how far could he go?  I think it took me a half hour to find him, right where I set him...but he had flipped over & blended in with everything around.  Sheesh!  Once again, I find just the spot I want the bird fused, pick the quilt up carefully, and I when I set it down on the ironing board, about 4 steps away---no bird!  A bit easier to find this time, he landed on the burgundy carpet, half-way between the couch & board.  (insert much eye-rolling here)

When I finished all the fusing, I stitched around the edges of it all, then quilted the sky & the ocean.  When I finished the ocean quilting & picked it up & flipped it over, the whole ocean part was a mass of thread loops on the bottom!  Figures, doesn't it, since I LOVED the way it had come out!  Oh well, it was sure easy to 'un-stitch' - one tug & it was done.  Rethreaded the top & bottom of the machine & requilted the ocean & voila!  Finito!  At my next guild meeting, I handed it off to the #3 quilter in my group, to use as her inspiration.  When I got it back from her, it was ready for me to hang up until time for our quilt show.
Or so I thought....
Soon after that, I went up to Northern California to visit my sisters & families, and took the quilt with me to show it off.  Being a holiday weekend (Thanksgiving), traffic was horrible!  There was a jack-knifed semi on the I-5, and I was mostly parked there for a long time.  Since I happened to be in the "fast" lane, and the weather was nice, I rolled down my window & was looking at all the things dropped in the median.  Right next to me was what appeared to be a cable ripped out of something, covered with black, rubber-ish insulation & beautiful copper wire sticking out of the broken end.  I thought, if I could reach that, and take off the insulation, the copper would look awesome on the Bridge!  Of course, right then, traffic started to move again.  But I did tell my sister Judy about it when I showed her the quilt.  About a week after I got home, there was a padded envelope in the mail, and inside was several feet of copper wire!  Did I mention that Judy works at a hardware store?

Unfortunately, every time I tried to strip the insulation from the wire she sent, I kept breaking the little wires.  Rats!  Luckily, I was lamenting about this to another friend, and the next time I saw her, she handed me some lovely stripped copper wire!  (Her husband is an electrician!)  After some trial & error, I managed to couch the copper wire over the horizontal cables on the bridge & I loved it!  Of course, then I decided that the ocean needed a bit more emphasis, so I beaded the white caps. 

It hung in our quilt show with all of the other Whisper Challenge quilts - the 2 groups couldn't have been more different!  You can see them here:  along with the rest of our show.

Happy quilting!



  1. Sue,
    This is amazing. I saw my first landscape quilt on "Sewing w/ Nancy", but this is SO much more BEAUTIFUL. Just beautiful. I hope I can be half as good as you when I grow up! ;-)

  2. Sue, The power of a quilt to inspire a fond memory....after Sean's Grand-dad's funeral we went with Grandma to the bridge and sat on a bench and smiled celebrating memories of a wonderful man. I have tears and thank you for this moment of quiet reverie. Love, EM

  3. Love your quilt of the bridge, great job. Thanks for checking out my blog and now that I found yours, I will be following you.


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