The Evolution of a Tuning Fork Quilt

I was asked to make a quilt for the silent auction during International Quilt Festival in Houston.  It needed to be a small quilt, less than 24" x 24", and it must be in Houston by mid September.  So I thought that perhaps I'd better get to work.

The first step in any of my quilts is perhaps the most fun: choosing a palette.  I had recently dyed a 6 step gradation of aquamarine, absolutely lovely colors, so I started with that.  I pulled one of the lightest and two of the darkest shades of aquamarine, along with some other fabrics I had dyed -- a light turquoise, a light yellow-green, a deep cobalt and some darker teal.  And I added a commercial light green and batik teal to the mix.  

Then I start making tuning forks.  I started with the lights, and this is where I was at the end of day one:
Day two was a long day.  First I made dark tuning forks, and then lots of light/dark tuning forks.  At the end of the second day, it was really taking form:
On day three, I started sewing the darn thing together.  Putting it all together is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  I start by staring at the quilt, trying to pick out areas that look like they might easily be sewn together.  Sometimes this is lines of tuning forks, sometimes square or rectangular sections. It's a challenge I enjoy. In this picture, you can see I have sewn together the upper left corner and part of the lower left:
I always have to make lots more tuning fork blocks to fill in as I sew it together.  I am usually heartily sick of sewing tuning fork blocks by the end of a piece.  But this piece was small, and I managed to have the top together at the end of day four.  At this point, it was 20" x 23":
Today I quilted it and sewed the facing on.  It took about three hours to quilt it, since most of the lines of quilting are less than an eighth of an inch apart.  When I quilt I vary the distances between the lines to give the quilting a bit of rhythm, but I keep them close together.  The final quilt measures 18" x 21":
Tuning Fork 28: Caribbean Dreams
And when I hung the quilt on the design wall to take the final photographs, I hung it "upside down."  At least, it is upside down compared to the way I designed it.  But I think that is the way I like it.  I'll leave it on the design wall overnight and see if I still feel that way in the morning.  I haven't sewn the label or hanging sleeve on yet, so the decision can be delayed.

What do you think?  Upside down or Rightside up?

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!


Interesting how the feeling the piece changes dramatically depending on the placement of light and dark! Dark on the upper right feels edgy, while dark on the lower left feels stable. If your Caribbean dream is a quiet day at the beach, I'd go with the latter. But if it's bright sun, music, and rum, I'd put the dark in the upper right :-)
Love the colors. You can hang it in any direction and it still works... which is cool.
Julie Bagamary said…
This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your process.
Jayne said…
Upside is beautiful! The colors are attention grabbing!
Linda Swanekamp said…
Love the colors and the design! Is the tuning fork an original pattern? I noticed that the thin strip does not always go to both edges, but part way down. Do you have to sew the same color across the bottom for this effect? I noticed on some blocks, the thin strip went all the way through. Very stunning.
Sophie Zaugg said…
Clearly upside down ... ;-) I love your quilt ! The pattern is really inspiring. Thank you for sharing.
Norma Schlager said…
These colors are so luscious and you are so very generous to make a new quilt for the auction. I don't know if I'll make one this year, altho I usually do. Yours is sure to be a big draw. I like it upside down, too.
Maria Shell said…
Love the palette! It is beautiful.
cassandra said…
Upside down, definitely. WOW, love this so much! The colors, the quilting... Gorgeous!
Ann said…
Love it. I love improv but it goes against my orderly (virgo) nature and therefore I suck at it! :)
GranthamLynn said…
Love it. I think I do like it upside down. But either way works. I'm a neighbor in Keller. Nice to see your work.
Anonymous said… always. love reading about your process. Thanks for sharing.
Carie said…
I love it both ways but probably dark at the bottom the most. What a gorgeous quilt!
Gail Baar said…
I agree with Penny. The dark on the rights makes it feel edgy-there are 2 light aqua shapes that catch my eye in that orientation, that don't stand out as well when the dark is on the left. They are in the middle, horizontal. Beautiful colors! Thanks for sharing your process.
Gorgeous no matter how you look at it! I do prefer it as you did it with the dark on the top right side.

BTW, I chose your quilt as part of my SAQA Dream Collection.
Regina B Dunn said…
I do like it how you have it in the bottom photo. The title is perfect. It so reminds me of the waters sparkling as I've seen it in the Caribbean with gulls flying overhead. Absolutely beautiful quilt.
Paulette said…
It's a wonderful quilt any way you hang it! Love this.
I like it 'upside down' better. Great colors!
Cheryl said…
Beautiful finish! Thank you for taking us through your creative process on how the quilt evolved.