“Anything I create becomes a doorway through which others can access my ideas and concerns, if they care to.” Peter Korn in his book, Why We Make Things and Why It Matters
Gold Dust began with the traditional block called the Wagon Wheel composed of twelve segments in a hexagon shape. I had a piece of glitzy gingham I wanted to try in this setting. The small gingham check was done in black and gold lame! Gingham checks were a part of my girlhood. Mother sewed outfits for me and my sisters in this sweet fabric. My black and gold gingham was sophisticated, not sweet. I found another copper color lame to add to my mix of batiks and large scale florals in the pieced blocks.
I pieced the blocks on my vintage Singer Featherweight and hand appliqued the circles in the center. I had fun choosing fabrics and finally had a pile of blocks to play with on the portable design wall. Because I live in an 800 square foot house, I prop the 42″ square design board covered in flannel on a dresser drawer and work from there.
I had twenty-five blocks and was ready to move forward. I arranged and rearranged the blocks. I left it and came back to it, but it was being tricky to find an arrangement that “hung together”. I fiddled and I fussed. I got discouraged. I left it alone for a few days.
I remembered the observation and suggestion that my friend and mentor Lila Rostenberg had made years ago. She suggested that since, in our culture, we read from left to right and start in the upper left hand corner, our eyes are accustomed to viewing in this manner. Her general advice was to start with lighter blocks in the upper left hand corner and move the eye downward and across the composition with the darker blocks to the lower right hand corner.
With fresh eyes and some patience I came upon the arrangement of light through the middle that you see here. Jeanne later told me she was not sure I was going to be able to “pull this one off”, that’s how frustrating it was!
The next challenge was how to concoct a border. I realized I was “done” with piecing more of these hexagon blocks, but I could take that wagon wheel shape and cut “setting blocks” that exact size using interesting batiks to finish out the edges. That part was fun! I was like the horse heading for the barn–I could see the end in sight and I was happy with what I saw coming together. Note that I used a light batik for the upper blocks and a darker batik for the lower blocks forming the border.
I used a simple machine quilting pattern of meadering curves and spirals to machine quilt Gold Dust on my 1971 noncomputerized Bernina 830. My favorite batting is Cream Rose cotton needlepunch batting from Mountain Mist, but I use other brands of thin cotton batting when I find it on sale. By the time I finished the binding and the label I’d com eup with the name. In my mind’s eye I can see a hand tossing gold dust and it catches the light as it falls.
Gold Dust (47″ x 56″) is still one of my favorite quilts. I believe it is a favorite, in part, because it was a hard one to birth! I persisted until it came together in a pleasing way. Please consider using my unusual border solution whenever it suits your purposes–we are here to inspire each other! Of course, it would be nice if you decided to give me credit for the suggestion and if you sent me a picture of your quilt.