Beth Markel

There’s a quilt in my head.

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Beth Markel

A couple of years ago, I took a workshop with the extremely talented Katie Pasquini-Masopust, or Katie PM.  If you have the opportunity to do so yourself, I highly recommend it!  During one of the sessions, she talked about a beautiful quilt (from her trunk show) she had made using her popular painting technique, but which her agent/gallery did not want to show, as it figured prominently with red & green.  She was informed that these colors were “just too Christmas.”  I jotted that down in my journal, and have puzzled over that statement through the years, as I often work intuitively and usually do not choose colors ahead of time.

When I made strictly traditional quilts, I would dutifully take my pattern, determine what yardage I needed, and purchase what I thought would be attractive, or in some cases, appealing to the recipient.  Wow, those days are long-gone for me, much to my darling husband’s chagrin!  I shop for fabric, and purchase what I like.  Without fail, he asks, “Do you need more fabric?” to which my steady reply has been, “Yes, for a quilt in my head.”

Well my sewing room is over-flowing with fabric now, which technically includes numerous donations from my DMIL (darling mother-in-law), a sewing girlfriend who moved to Florida and had extremely limited space, along with a box of old fabric strips that my mother and grandmother saved from our clothes growing up in Ohio, and a couple bags of other beautiful fabric from a girlfriend & fellow quilter.

One solution for my bulging shelves might be advice from one of the judges of Art Quilt Elements -2014…”Make quilts that are 12’ tall.”

OK, I don’t have a workspace where 12’ tall exists anyplace except outside in the elements, but for the remainder of this year, I’m going to make a couple of really big quilts….Large and In-Charge as my Lint Sisters say!

What does Katie PM’s comment have to do with really large quilts?  On the face, nothing, but upon further thought, a challenge to myself to use fabrics that I figured one day I would use ‘for a quilt in my head.’  I’m always thinking ahead to new projects, and sometimes, dang it, those projects float around until I am COMPELLED to make them, like the fall foliage ‘Leaves of Lothlorien.’

Well this is a challenge I am issuing myself: 3 LARGE QUILTS by the end of the year.  While  12’ seems too large, (unless I can work side-ways on my walls, but I don’t think I can work always tilting my head to the far left or right)  doable for me is Large and In-Charge or maybe 10’ Tall x ?? Wide.

One goal is to use red & green very specifically, without ending up ‘Christmassy’.  Another goal will be to use fabrics that I would not normally use together…florals with a stripe, stripes with an abstract, abstract with a bold floral or neutral, etc.

So just pulling fabrics from my stash, here are some possible combinations:

gray, citrine, cherry, black and beige

 abstract floral, cherry, hot pink, slate blue


black, stripe with neon, navy, hot pink abstract

black, stripe with neon, navy, hot pink abstract


Finally, I continue to ‘Word Herd’ in 2014, and here are some of my favorite phrases for the past couple of weeks.  I believe these might be hand-stamped on some custom blocks in the near future, much like the SAQA Mapping Michigan project.  The final quilt for that project really appealed to my love of the written language, as well as the lines & symmetry appealed to my sense of order.


Valuable aesthetic                          turquoise port-a-potty                 bold exhibition

Lime appreciation                          easy-peasy                                       bald bird

Personal correspondence            lightly touched wine                      mention of joy

Quiet representation                    aquiline                                             pudgy

Defined favor                                  Nineveh                                            blessings

Free spirit red                                  Detroit Firehouse                           spontaneous

Fight mediocrity                             Harmony of Orange                      Tourmaline

The funny thing about collecting words that jump out at you, at least for me, is that I listen more closely and carefully to what people are saying.  It’s been an interesting period of time for me, and I thought I was a pretty good listener, but find it’s a skill that needs more honing.

Happy Sewing,





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