Several years ago I developed a pattern I called The Amish Visit Bali. I was part of a group of quilt shops vending at the Road to California quilt show in Ontario, California. During a quilting retreat for our group, Carolyn Reese, owner of Road to California, and the then owner of The Fabric Patch in Montclair, challenged each store owner at the retreat to create a quilt that would hang in the lobby at Road. I didn’t have much time, so I thought I would create something easy that would make the spectators stop and admire my quilt.
For those of you who know me, my comfort zone is hanging tightly to Civil War reproduction fabrics. Brown is my favorite color. While I wanted to remain in my comfort zone, I challenged myself to leap away from that zone. I decided really bright Batik fabrics with a solid black background would do the trick. To say working out of my comfort zone made me anxious would be a ginormous understatement. Because I was working with “modern” fabrics, I had to keep the pattern simple. I decided to work with half-square triangle units to build my masterpiece. I cut, marked, stitched, and assembled the entire quilt top, including borders, at the retreat that weekend.
As I assembled the quilt, I kept thinking about Amish quilts because of the dark/muted, solid colors typically associated with their work. The Batik fabrics were from Bali. As I continued with my work, I thought if the Amish visited Bali and used their solid fabric with the Bali Batik fabrics, their quilts could resemble mine. Hence, “The Amish Visit Bali” name and pattern was born.
A few weeks ago, the folks from Anthology Fabrics who, by the way, produce stunningly beautiful Batik prints and solids, sent fabric to me requesting a quilt for them to hang at Quilt Market at the end of this October. The solid black Batik fabric they sent took my breath away; it was rich, deep and very black. The Batik prints were luscious and alive. The quilt needed to be attractive to behold and I had very little time to make it. I needed something f-a-s-t, so I decided to use my old pattern, with a few modifications, and had the Amish Revisit Bali.
My original quilt was quilted with black thread. When the Amish Revisit(ed) Bali, I quilted it using a variegated thread. The variegations were mostly dark, but every once in awhile, a bit of yellow appeared to dance on the black background. I quilted the new quilt here at the store. The quilting took about an hour-and-a-half. When I added the binding, I thought I was going to go blind. Black border, black binding, and black thread. What was I thinking? When my machine would stitch along the lighter Batik portion of the border I would relax and breathe normally. Upon finishing the new quilt, I was satisfied with my work.
Since finishing the quilt, not only have I published a new pattern (Amish Revisit Bali,) I am back to working in my Civil War Reproduction and “brown” comfort zone, but I shall never forget when I made the Amish Revisit Bali.
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