This is Alexander Henry quilting fabric from Broadbent’s in Lehi, Utah. For such a tiny, old, store, it carries some of the most unusual fabrics.
When I carried this print to the counter to be cut, the clerk told me that I was lucky. It was going fast. She had just finished making a travel bag with beads and a big zipper for herself for which she had received “many thumbs down” from her family who thought the fabric was “much too bold and strange” for someone her age. Too bad for them. I told her that I imagined the bag was wonderful and magical and that I would be having her cut enough for me to make two quilts. That took us almost to the end of the bolt.
I took the fabric home and stared at it. I ran my fingers over it. Then I began bringing the animals to life. Because each animal was outlined in black, it made it very easy for me to hand-quilt around each one. I added Polyfil between each animal and the quilt batting to make each one puffy. I used regular- weight cotton thread, doubled.
I had some black yarn with fuzzy pom poms. I stared at it for a bit and then realized that if I cut each pom pom with a couple of inches of regular yarn on either side, I could thread the yarn into a large needle and push it through the fabric. So, the palm trees each got a fuzzy, black, pom pom in the middle while behind the pom pom was the regular yarn which I tied on the back side to hold the backing in place. The back has fuzzy black yarn ties . . . at random.
So. The quilt turned out to be a combination of hand-quilting, tied-quilting with many tactile surprises for little fingers.
Those passing by as I worked on it couldn’t resist running their fingers over the puffy animals or tickling their noses on the funky palm trees. I imagine that is what the child will do who receives this quilt from me for Christmas.
I put piping in the border and closed the binding by hand.
“Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson-