Monday, February 14, 2011

This is my first quilt in over two years. I have had a lot of illness over the past couple of years including surgery, so it is great to have finally completed a quilt after a long absence.

I have learned heaps from making this quilt - especially what not to do. I'll tell you about those things another day! I like making my backs "pretty" or suited to the quilt hence the photo of the backing fabric! I added the 3D animals to the quilt because I like a touch of whimsy to my quilts if I can work out how to do it. As the glue is still sticking down the wolf I could not take a photo of the label so I have added it in below.

Alaska 2005 by Bern Johnson, January 2011

My husband Barry and I visited Alaska in 2005, travelling from Vancouver, Canada to Whittier by cruise ship and then on to Anchorage by train. These photographs were mainly photos that I took during this trip. Here are the subjects in the photos going down each column, from left to right:

1.Mendenhall Glacier somewhere along the Inside Passage enroute to Whittier
2.Barry and I in Ketchikan with a couple of “locals”
3.Lake Hood Seaplane Base – I believe this is the largest floatplane/seaplane airport in the world 4.Alaska welcome sign
5.One of the many harbours in Alaska
6.Amvets Post 2 in Anchorage (like a smaller version of the RSL here in Australia). It was here that we met a lovely lady (the wife of a Vietnam Veteran) called Linda Oliver. Linda and her lovely daughter Corey (and her sons) showed us a few sights around Anchorage in our last two days in Alaska. We still keep in touch with Linda and Corey and swap photos.
7.Salmon swimming upstream at a stream in Anchorage that Linda took us to. This photo is significant in that it took me something like two hundred photos just to capture one photo of the salmon jumping up to the next level of the stream!
8.Bears playing in a pool in a wildlife sanctuary.
9.Sea otters – how could one not love them?

I wanted the quilt to look like photo negatives hanging up in a darkroom, hence the cut-outs (they took ages and the fabric distorted when I cut it out and sewed it but I have thought of a better way of getting that effect without the distortion). Ideally I would have had pegs holding the negatives on to a line (in the darkroom) but they would have weighed it down so I discarded that idea.

Like I said before I have learned heaps from this challenge and I am glad that I was able to make it so personal. There are more Alaskan quilts to come (I bought heaps of fabric when I was over there). DH and I were very good at finding quilt shops in towns along the route of our cruise of the Inside Passage but I think I need some easy sewing to do for a while after this quilt! The negatives were the hardest thing - measuring, then drawing the squares then sewing around the square, then cutting the squares out, then zigzagging around each one. Sew 1cm, rotate, sew another cm, rotate, again and again ... aargh! This might be why this was a challenge quilt ... in more ways than one!


Jodie said...

Hi Bern,
Congrats on such a fabulous return to quilting. What a perfect way to record your memories.
It's wonderful you are "back on your horse" so to speak. I hope you will continue to make lovely pieces, and to share your work with the world. Thanks so much!

Vickie said...

wow Bern, that quilt is awesome well done on the perserverence(sp)and finishing it..what a wonderful holiday memory,cheers Vickie

Prue said...

Hi Bern, well done on finishing your quilt!! We were in Alaska in 2007 so can identify with many of your pictures.
Hugs Prue

Jenny said...

Congratulations on your wonderful quilt, what a great return to quilting after so long. But I guess you have been quietly working away for some time?
We also have been to Alaska, just to Juneau, and have many fond memories too. We saw the salmon returning home up the streams where we we staying, and the beautiful eagles everywhere. It is truly an awe inspiring place.

Fran C said...

that's a lovely quilt Bern. Very whimsical. Have you seen Marlene King's Best of Australia, which uses a similar technique of film strips hers are curved like a roll of film from their trips around Australia.

Helen from Hobart said...

Lovely Bern. I'm so glad you persevered and finally finished it.

aykayem said...

wow ... and I thought I had a few long breaks in between blog posts! lol
... good to see you are back to quilting, and blogging ... hope you get to keep making quilts, and blogging, without having to take any more long breaks for the wrong reasons ...
btw - the film strip thing makes the quilt look good, and adding the amimals/bird make it even better.