Summer is my least favorite time in Houston. August especially can be brutally hot for weeks with temps high in the 90s and often surpassing 100 degrees. So when my local chapter of the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) decided to issue a call for entries for quilts that represented “Life in Bayou City”, it was a no brainer that I would make a quilt that was a commentary on Houston summer weather. It would have to include symbols of the extreme heat, and also the flooding that Houston experienced 2 years ago in the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was a disaster of unbelievable proportions- $125 billion dollars in damage. The storm lasted from August 17 to September 2, 2017.
I started by constructing a temperature graph, using colors that went from yellow to red suggesting rising temperatures.
Next, I searched for fabrics to represent the floodwater. I needed to piece several different blue fabrics together trying to get the right variety of light and dark fabrics for flowing water.
I then used my printer to try different fonts and sizes to come up with the template for the title lettering.
Lastly, it was all pieced together with more lettering added to separate the different sections of the quilt. I had to include those dreaded words” A tropical storm is developing in the Gulf of Mexico” and “Heat advisory in effect for the next 10 days”.
The finished quilt:
So, here it is the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. I hope my friends here in Houston are prepared and ready for the hurricane season that is ramping up, and I hope Mother Nature is kind to us this year.
I’d like you to meet Armadillo Jo. She is a nine-banded armadillo from Texas that is an original design of a very unique critter that roams my neighborhood. She was created as a collage quilt, by cutting lots of floral fabrics into interesting shapes and using Elmer’s school glue sticks and some tacky glue to secure all the fabric pieces before stitching. Keep an eye out for one of these critters in your neighborhood!
Free form piecing is a quick, easy and fun technique of quilt making that has become very popular in the modern quilt movement. Many talented quilters have written books about their methods, including Rayna Gilllman, Jean Wells and Maria Shell. They each have their own techniques and styles, which are interesting to study and compare. I recently started doing some free form piecing using hand dyed fabrics which were purchased at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The fabrics were so pretty that at first it was hard to cut into them, but once I got started, the process was both addictive and rewarding. With no seams to match, and no rules to follow, it’s been a lot of fun as well as an education on color placement ( seeing which colors work well together). Here are some photos of the work I’ve completed so far. Don’t be afraid to use those pretty fabrics you’ve been saving, try this and see what happens!