As I begin to receive more quilt requests, I find that I am both exhilarated and intimated. On the one hand it is the perfect excuse to try out some new techniques and patterns that I've been stewing over for a few months. And on the other hand I am daunted by the fact that these commissioned quilts also come with expectations and and opinions.
The perfect arrangement, it seems, is when someone approaches me to make a quilt with a few guiding principles, and then I can take it from there. This is precisely what happened in the case of "Differing Rays of Light". One of my lovely new sister-in-laws (Abbie) asked for a quilt and set forth the following stipulations:
1. There should be a giraffe on it.
3. It should include colors like burnt orange, brown, pretty blue or olive green.
With these directions I giddily went searching through some etsy fabric stores (an activity which invariably makes me feel giddy) to find the perfect print. Of course it's hard to choose one, so I settled on two Michael Miller animal prints to feature in a quilt pattern I'd been waiting to use.
Here is picture of the quilt top squares with the Michael Miller fabrics and a bunch of left over scraps from other projects. At this point in the project I considered the fact that Abbie is starting her freshmen year in college this fall, and I know how cramped dorm rooms can be. So I decided she needed something a bit more versatile and useful than a mere quilt...a quillow, for example.
Abbie's quillow is called "Differing Rays of Light", a phrase I pirated from the Sub-Saharan nature journal of Sir Samuel White Baker (1821-1893). Here he describes the giraffe: "The eye of this animal is the most beautiful exaggeration of that of the gazelle, while the color of the reddish-orange hide, mottled with darker spots, changes the tints of the skin with the differing rays of light, according to the muscular movement of the body. No one who has merely seen the giraffe in a cold climate can form the least idea of its beauty in its native land." - From "In the Heart of Africa".