When my boys were little and forced to accompany me to the quilt shop, I’d sometimes placate them by letting them pick out a fat quarter of fabric they liked. My nine year old son spotted a whole bundle of animal prints and begged me to make a quilt with them. How could I refuse, even though they were just about they last thing I ever envisioned myself using?
The beauty of making a “liberated” quilt is that you don’t have to start with a plan. I had no idea where this quilt was headed. I just began by cutting out various animals, framing each with a dark fabric named “Kitambaa” (Swahili for “cloth”). These vignettes became the quilt’s focal points.
I added familiar elements like flying geese, log cabin, shoo fly, stars, four patch, nine patch and hour glass blocks, all made with Gwen’s characteristic wonkiness.
The quilt evolved organically. When units were too long, I cut them down. When they were too short, I added to them. And while the layout may look random, units were arranged and rearranged, puzzle-like until they fit.
This quilt was successful on many levels. It used up just about every square inch of jungle fabric we bought. It taught an up-tight quilter how to loosen up and enjoy the process of working intuitively. And it pleased a young boy so much that he's slept under the quilt for 10 years, even taking it off to college with him!
Just in case you were wondering what you get when you cross a cat and a parrot, it's a carrot!