A few years ago I bought a skein of yarn. It was probably at one of those lucky duck sales they have at my favorite yarn shop. You load up your basket and then pick a rubber duck out of the tub to see what discount you’ve won. Never thinking of any particular project at those things, I just pick a little of this and a little of that.
After returning home, the colors in this ball of yarn really started calling to me. It had blue, green, mauve, red, and gray with every shade in between, and got me thinking about little blocks of color marching along together. The ball of yarn was on my mind and whenever I saw a fat quarter that fit, I bought it. I hate to think what I’ve spent on this piece, just $2 at a time.
Eventually I had three times the fabric needed for a small wall hanging, so I cut little squares, laid them out on the dining room table and started stitching. My thought was that I would quilt an interesting abstract design, and then crochet a border from the yarn.
I even made a long chain and felted it in anticipation. Ultimately I decided the colors were too muted to enhance the wall hanging, but I love the nubby texture of this rope and I’m saving it for some yet to be revealed project.
After I assembled all the blocks I toyed with quilt ideas. First I thought I would stitch some space age flowers in silver and red metallic thread. In a word – yuck.
Next I took the piece to my computer sketch pad. How about the sun, the moon and the stars? Definitely not.
Finally I did the right thing and put it on a shelf. A year passed. One day last fall I pulled it out and knew exactly what this piece wanted to be. It's all about autumn and falling leaves. I quickly sketched the bones of a tree, and cut out the appliqué from bits and pieces of brown fabrics I had sitting around the studio.
Then I set up my machine to stitch a zillion little leaves. Some still clinging to summer green and more falling in drifts to the ground. Some swirls stand in for puffs of wind blowing the leaves, and there it is.
For now it’s hanging on the window in my office to keep me company as I write. It’s kind of calling for companions though. I am put in mind of a favorite poem that might need to inspire a quilt...
I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go?
.... by Richard LeGallienne