Cinder and Smoke
Cinder and Smoke is a companion quilt to Sea and Sky, which I finished and sent out to a co-worker in our Portland office on the birth of his daughter. I thought it might be nice to use the same pattern again, but add in a bit of a different focus.
While working on Sea & Sky, I removed a few pieces I’d cut because they just didn’t work with the light, bright, clear-toned fabrics I’d chosen:
Knowing that Jonathan preferred more neutral, earth-toned fabrics, I found myself thinking of the greys and browns, the fabrics that I’ve had in my stash for years that never quite went with any other quilt top. I wondered what they would look like, if I asked these quiet, calm colors to stand together instead of trying to stand next to the bright shouty fabrics.
I was pleased when I laid them out, because I realized the colors weren’t boring or muddy. They’re just – quieter.
It was a fabric set for the quieter shades of autumn. I feared I wouldn’t like it, but when I put them all together, I liked the gestalt. It was quiet, and cozy, like a cup of tea on a chilly day. I tried to think of a name that followed the $x and $y pattern of Sea and Sky, and kept trying to think of quiet, lovely, and comforting things. When I tried to find music to play while working on this quilt, i kept going quieter and quieter until I pulled out Iron and Wine’s “Our Endless Numbered Days,” and realized “Cinder and Smoke” was just about perfect.
If this quilt could sing, it would sing quietly, and it would sound just like that. Just because something is grey and misty does not preclude beauty or intricacy.
It will, of course, have secrets. At Jonathan’s request, it will be backed with the outrageously bright and delightful Juhannustaika, one of the Marimekko fabrics I picked up as amazing souvenirs in Denmark:
It’s a good memory: a bright, cheery fabric bought as part of a memorable fabric expedition on a grey, drizzly Copenhagen day…
…soaked through in an Amsterdam rainstorm, spread out to dry on the floor of my London flat, and hand-carried all the way back to the States.
I had to go dig up a ranty moment from the Quiltifesto because it applied so much: “On good days, I will sit down to the machine and work because I hope the good day WILL sink into the fabric.” Here’s hoping these good days all sank in.