I haven't talked much about the ideas for Sailor's Warning because I'd not sewed even a test square together. It was little but an ephemeral, wacky idea, and there was no point doing much about it until I had my materials under control.
Some time ago, Danielle pinged me to ask if I wanted some of the upholstery and drapery sample books she'd gotten her hands on. I thought about my grandmother and said yes without hesitation; my grandmother, many many years ago, worked for an upholstery fabric company, and many of the quilts she made for her kids and grandkids came from the mill ends and scraps from her workplace.
(I asked her about it at Christmas, and she shrugged. "They would've thrown it away, otherwise.")
I spent a lot of the World Cup disassembling the fabric books, yanking out industrial staples, cutting off glued ends
and slowly, painstakingly, using my iron to heat the back of each fabric sample, one at a time, to make it possible to yank off the strips of paper glued to each one. By the time I was done, I realized I had a LOT of fabric in sunset colors, more than enough for a single quilt:
I washed the entire pile in one big mass, on my washer's hottest and longest setting, hoping that nothing bled. (Hooray luck!) The wash/dry cycle helped get rid of a bit of the glue residue on some of the recalcitrant fabrics, and after sorting by fabric type, I realized I definitely had enough to follow through on my sunset idea.
This afternoon, after Jeff headed out for tonight's contra dance, I made a few test squares of color blends, and decided to sew until I was ready to stop:
I tested squares from all sections of the color spectrum, and was pretty pleased to see that it would work essentially the way I imagined. Unsurprisingly, there's my 13-pound kitty guardian on the far side of the table, sleeping his way through yet another quilt; I know from these photos you'd assume Tenzing does nothing but sleep, but he really does open his eyes and run around the house. Just not when I'm sewing:
I don't have all the square sets yet, but so far they look pretty much as advertised: simple, scrappy, squares. The fun will be in arranging them to get an interesting and smooth color gradation. I expect the off-white fabrics will be at the top (or top corner), fading through gold and tan and orange and red and brown to the deeper blues, purples, and blacks at the bottom.
The part of me that inherited stubbornness, if not appearance, from her grandmother -- is very pleased. I think there are probably two more quilt tops in the fabrics rescued from the sample books. There's something aesthetically satisfying about making The Perfectly Matched Quilt, but there's something emotionally and intellectually satisfying in using ingenuity to take 'waste' fabric and turn it into something comfortable, lovely, and functional.
Before there were quilting fabric companies selling you new colors for spring, fall, and winter, I think this was the entire point of quilting...