Monday, 1 February 2021

Memories: Blue on Blue

When the theme was announced for this challenge, "Memories," my immediate thoughts were of family and travel. Fairly quickly I dismissed the idea of making a memory quilt related to family and turned my thoughts toward travel. 

My husband and I are RVers. (International readers might better know an "RV" as a "caravan.") When he retired in 2017, we took a trip we'd dreamed of for decades around the perimeter of the United States. We left our home state of Oregon in September of that year, reaching home again on March 30th of the following year. There were quite a few items on our "bucket lists," including seeing the manatees that live in Florida. It wasn't easy to find them. Even finding them, it wasn't easy to see them in the murky and dark waters where they live. We finally found them at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida.

We saw the most delightful prairie dog town at Caprock Canyon State Park in Texas. I like doing animal collages, and so these guys got some serious consideration.

I'll admit this albino squirrel from Florida was tempting too.

Some of our most desirable bucket list items were to be found in New York State. For example, we really wanted to see Niagara Falls:

Another item high on the list was the Statue of Liberty. A friend and native New Yorker encouraged us to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry for the best view of the Statue of Liberty, and he wasn't wrong. It was thrilling to see Lady Liberty for the first time.

More soberly, we wanted to see the rebuilt World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

As I looked through my pictures, I came across this image of the one commissioned work of art in the memorial museum. It was created by American artist Spencer Finch. When I saw this image, it inspired me to attempt to recreate it in fabric.

For his work, "Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning," Finch hand-painted 2,983 squares of Fabriano paper — one square in a unique shade of blue for every person killed in the September 11 attacks and in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. 

To create the quotation, I first chose a font and font size, and then printed it onto paper.

That was traced onto a tan solid and hand embroidered using Perle cotton and a stem stitch.

Then I cut ninety 2-1/2 squares of fabric, selecting as many different colors of aquas and blues as I could find in my stash. I'd hoped to make them all different, but some of them are repeats.

When it was all sewn together, I quilted it with a straight-line diagonal grid. This sky fabric was also in my stash, and it seemed the right choice for the quilt back.

When the quilting was finished, it was ready for binding.

Here is my finished quilt, inspired by my original image taken at the museum during our visit. It ended up at 19 x 19 inches.

Here's how it looks from the back.

I enjoyed making this quilt, and was glad for the excuse to take another tour through the many images shot during our travels. When friends asked us where we were going, I told them we were driving east until we reached the Atlantic Ocean. Then, we turned right and drove to the Gulf of Mexico, where we turned right again. Then we drove to the Pacific Ocean, and turned right again, reaching our home in Oregon, and the end of our trip. It was a journey of over 10,000 miles, and packed with memories. I hope you like my quilt. I'm looking forward to seeing what you all have created for this theme.


  1. Oh I'm envious of your RV travels - thank you for a glimpse! What an incredible work that is. To begin with I didn't realise the scale, until I saw the people at the bottom. You've made it into a lovely, meaningful quilt that's just right for the theme.

  2. What a fabulous trip you made I can well understand how you had trouble narrowing down the memories from it for the challenge. Your quilt is a lovely piece in itself but also a wonderful homage to such a thought provoking art work.

    1. Oh yes....we still marvel at the things we saw on that trip. Thank you, Fiona.

  3. This is wonderful, both in the recreation of the wall from your trip, but also to honor those who lost their lives that day. Now I understand how you were able to make your project so quickly. It's a good one!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. Yes, from idea to finish was pretty quick.

  4. What a lovely idea, to expand the theme of "memories" beyond your own personal memories, to commemorate those whose deaths impacted us all. It is a beautiful piece!

  5. Barbara, what a beautiful and powerful quilt.

  6. I'm very envious of your perimeter trip. It sounds like a wonderful adventure and I enjoyed seeing your wildlife photos.
    Your quilt is a poignant remembrance of your visit and a beautiful commemoration of all those killed :)

    1. Thank you. It was a wonderful trip. So glad we got to do it before the pandemic!!

  7. Its a very poignant quilt and yet a hopeful message at the same time. I love how it came out and thanks a million for the travel photos - so nice to "see" other places when we are all staying safe at home!