Beth Markel

Working with both large and small scale pieces

Posted on September 18, 2018 by Beth Markel

For a couple of months I’ve been working on my “Autumn” quilt, part of a 4-quilt series that is not yet complete.  It’s construct is that each of us has seasons of our lives, beginning with spring, being born, growing, learning, exploring the world, etc.  Summer, when all the world is your stage, you are an adult, raising your own family, some sunny days, some dark and dreary days, but you have really hit your stride.  That work is in blocks and will be completed next.  The large quilt on my design wall is, as I mentioned, Autumn.

I am in the Autumn of my life.  My children are raised, “grown & flown,” as I like to say, all happily married 2 years ago, and living in Texas and Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin couple had a baby in April (still over the moon!) which is the glorious blaze of color in our lives.  Autumn is when you begin to truly appreciate the warm and happy days of Summer in your life.  It’s easy to look back and say, “When the kids were little, do you remember…?”  While Summer is glorious, it goes by SO FAST!  My mother used to say that life goes by, “in the blink of an eye,” and when I was young I thought that was crazy.  Getting ready for tests in school, waiting for that cute boy to notice me, trying to master both Spanish and High School…ugh!  But, as in most things, she was right.  Working on this Autumn quilt has given me time to really process where I am in my life – and it is a glorious blaze of color!

Because I want to express the vast scale of Autumn colors, I’m working with many, many small blocks, so when completed it will be very like a vista you can see when standing on Old Rag in the Shenandoah National Park north of Charlottesville, and south of Front Royal. Blocks are 3/4″finished. And they seem to be legion…

Autumn update 9/18/18

Autumn update 9/18/18

In the past week, I have also finished putting a binding on a work that was completed a couple of months ago, but I save small works until I can just spend a couple of days binding them.  When I first began quilting, I confess that binding was the most dreaded step of the process.  Truth be told, I was really bad at it.  I’ve had lots of practice since, and now look forward to finishing quilts, but in batches if I have the time.

This brings me to large scale.  This wall hanging is 21″ wide X 64″ high, and is the modern take on flying geese.  It might be a little difficult to tell with the lighting, but the geese are turquoise, the background charcoal, quilted with charcoal, then orange echo stitching in the geese themselves.  While modern is not for everybody, just like traditional quilts are not everybody’s aesthetic, I love taking a pattern like ‘Flying Geese’ and doing a modern twist with it.

Modern Geese

Modern Geese

Modern Geese_Detail

Modern Geese_Detail

All of the background charcoal quilting was done by Ruth McCormick, and the orange echo was done by me.  I really love how this turned out!

Make something beautiful today,




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