A germ of an idea, and a perchance internet sighting of the perfect focus fabric while checking store hours on the website while traveling to the last quilt shop of our Oregon coast personal shop-hop last fall ... in Astoria ...
So, how did this become my inspiration fabric for my newest quilt-in-the-making? Many years ago right after graduating high school, my husband packed all his belongings and his cat into an old Ford van and headed to Oregon. His destination was Astoria, near the coast and where he attended Clatsop Community College while also working at the OSU Seafood Lab. After all these years Astoria and the surrounding area remains his favorite place on earth. So, when we traveled back to Oregon on vacation last fall he suggested we visit all the quilt shops we ran across while driving the coast from Port Orford to Astoria. How could we not? I started picking up random fat quarters of coastal themed fabrics with no particular idea in mind except that they might eventually become part of a lap quilt for him. Then we found our inspiration fabric - perfect theme - perfect dark colors that he favors - and the focal point of his new quilt.
The first couple of blocks:
Nearly every fabric in this top (so far) is from pieces we picked up while in Oregon last fall, with just a couple from my older stash that have Oregon connections. The massive jetty rocks, forest ferns, conifer Coastal Range forests, ocean swells, beach grasses, sand dollars, and doggie footprints (our old dog made the long trip with us) all make an appearance in the blocks.
Cutting the panel into useable block centers did present its issues as the fabric was printed totally askew, and there was no possible way of cutting even rectangles since not only were the outer borders off-grain but some of the actual labels were printed with a bend so the left side of the label angles upward. You can see the upward bend in the labels at the lower left of the first photo in this post. Frustrating, and noticeable on individual blocks, but hopefully with the variety of fabrics being used once the entire quilt is put together, sandwiched and quilted, the imperfections won't be terribly obvious. Faults aside, I am loving the deep rich colors of these quilt blocks. Twelve of the fifteen canning label blocks are completed and the rest should be finished today. Then comes the fun of creating alternate blocks! I can't think of a better way to spend a stormy February day.