Just the Portrait Part of Quilt

This is a sneak peak of a quilt I just completed. When I attended both the IQF Quilt Show in Chicago and the Quilt Expo in Madison, the Wisconsin Quilt Museum in Cedarburg WI (which I have never been to) was displaying a yurt. A yurt is a portable structure traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia as their home. The yurt was covered in banner sized quilts and the museum was selling yurt kits encouraging quilters to make a quilt which will travel for over two years to various quilt shows. The kits were sold by seasons and had batting included-I chose the "Spring" kit which had three Jane Sassaman fabrics from Free Sprit. I chose those because of the great color combination of hot pink, lime green and blue. It also had great flower motifs.

The rules stated the quilt was to be 32" wide by 71" long and use the three fabrics included in the quilt. This is a size I have never made before. I drew up a design on graph paper with traditional quilt blocks and using my "Intro to Portrait Quilts" pattern I created three women to fill in the middle of the quilt. It was the first time I made a portrait quilt and had more than one person in the quilt.

I selected three skin tones, three hairstyles, three hair colors, three garment styles and each woman has one of the three theme colors in her clothing. I chose blonde hair to contrast with the black background, red/pink hair to repeat the pink in the quilt and blackish/brown to say consistent with an African American woman's natural hair color. I stayed away from browns (too boring) and oranges (warm tones clashed with the cool pinks and blues.) One woman got blue eyes to repeat the blues in the quilt and same with the green eyes.

When the quilt was nearly finished I like to look at it from a distant by taking a picture with my iPhone. I discovered the afro blended too much into the background. What to do? I laid some turquoise wool roving on the hair and decided it showed too much contrast and she looked like Bride of Frankenstein!! Then I tried a black thin yarn with sheer pieces of bright tricot knitted in and the colors where awesome but she looked like a black folk doll with braids and ribbons. No other of my yarns seemed to work. I ended up machine quilting it tightly with a Sulky shiny blue/turquoise variegated thread to look like a tight curl. I added some blue glitter nail polish to enhance it and I was satisfied with the results.

The woman with the afro got some "earrings" and the other ladies got glitter nail polish in their hair.

I may add some small rhinestones to the traditional areas of the quilt. The quilt is not due until May and that is why I am not showing the whole thing so no one tries to copy my design.

If my quilt is judged into the Yurt Display I surrender ownership of the quilt which is the hard part. I struggled for a few days with that rule and decided to give up ownership if the museum choose it. If not, yeah!!!, I get my quilt back and will enter it in a quilt show or two.