Even though we don’t live directly in the Columbia River Gorge, the Eagle Creek fire had a big impact on our lives last September. My husband works for the local law enforcement agency, and he, along with everyone else, was working long back-to-back shifts. Everything they had was put into helping to keep the community safe. All of the first responders did an amazing job, and some were continuing to do it as recent as this summer, as they were still putting out a few hot spots.
We also had to deal with it at home, with smoke floating inside our home and the evacuation line falling just across the river from us. Not to mention the damage to the beautiful gorge that Oregonians are so proud of. Have you visited Oregon? Did someone drag you out to Multnomah Falls? If yes, you’ve seen it for yourself.
When the most recent challenge was announced in my quilt guild, and the topic was “Yin and Yang” I knew what I had to do. The contrast of the fire, water and life that persisted in spite of it all felt perfect.
As part of the challenge, we were required to use these two fabrics:
I decided the blue would become part of the water, and the pink would work into the fire. My design was inspired by this quilt from City House Studio. I loved that it was a little abstract, but it was still obvious what it was. Or so I thought.
Turns out, I’ve had to explain what my quilt is to everyone who has laid eyes on it. I guess I was too close to it, because I can’t see anything but trees, river and rocks with fire behind. As soon as I describe my vision, everyone says “Ohhhh. I get it now.” I suppose that’s what quilt labels are for.
To make this quilt, I made myself this color chart. Each square here measures 1”, but seam allowances need to be added where colors meet. For instance, I cut that first orange strip on the upper right 5 1/2” long and 1 1/2” wide. The red strip next to it is 3 1/2” long and 1 1/2” wide. The next pink square is 1 1/2 by 1 1/2”.
I sewed the vertical rows together first and pressed those seams.
After that it’s just a matter of sewing those twelve strips together.
I added brown sashing around the whole thing, then put this together like any other quilt - batting and backing fabric. I also tried my hand at some free motion quilting. I definitely need more practice, but it was fun and I like how it added to the picture. I did a wavy thing for the water and pebbles for the beach. I also attempted flames for the fire and some lines for the trees.
My favorite part is definitely the wood frame around the outside.
While I love the fiery background, and what it means to me, I think this same design would be pretty with some light blue for a sunny day, or black for a night sky.
Even if I do have to explain it every time. 😉