Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Friday, 13 September 2019

From Cleopatra to King Arthur

The September challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is to make a child's quilt using the new Accuquilt die sent in Box 2 in July.  Our instructions were to make something colourful and fun, with space for magic and whimsy. What a fantastic directive! 
The die I received was "Cleopatra's Fan".  This is a beautiful block, first published by Laura Wheeler in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1934, and one I have long admired but never sewn.
Since the block looks flowery and feminine to me, when I sketched it out in EQ8, I started with pink blossoms, yellow centres, and green leaves.
My idea at this point was to create some sort of "Secret Garden" quilt.

As I often do when designing, I substituted white for some of the colours, just to see what would emerge.
I got this, and knew immediately where my design quest was headed.
One of my favourite reads when I was young was the King Arthur stories, and especially Thomas Malory's, Le Morte d'Arthur.  We all know at least some of this tale: the gallant Knights of the Round Table follow their King -who has pulled the sword Excaliber from a stone to prove his identity - on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
It's a story that has captivated our imaginations for centuries, and spawned many books and movies. 
If you follow The Curse of Oak Island on the History channel, there is much talk of Templar Knights visiting our beautiful province of Nova Scotia...and even theories that the Holy Grail is hidden here.
Even the Monty Python version shows the red flared cross on the knights' tunics.
It's very reminiscent of the cross depicted on the flag for the Knights Templar...and it's what I saw in the Cleopatra's Fan block. What fun: a King Arthur quilt!
In my Island Batik boxes were fabric which worked perfectly: solid black and grey, and a mottled red and creamy white.  
It took NO TIME to cut the pieces with the Accuquilt Go! cutter, and the notched sections made piecing a dream.
I appliqued grey fleur-de-lis in the corners.  Not only do they symbolize nobility, but to me they bear a striking resemblance to a sword...in this case, Excaliber.
I chose a polyester batting from the Hobbs Tuscany Collection;  the label says it "quilts magnificently", and it does.
 The piecing of the quilt was quick, but the basting took three tries to get it right.  It was one of those days where everything goes wrong...including having the joining seam on the outside of the back. Arrggh - that's a first for me!
Finally it all came together.  I used a solid grey for the backing, and in the centre simply quilted in the ditch along the seam lines.  
I used Aurifil 50 weight threads both top and bobbin in matching colours. 
The outside border is quilted in a rope design, which you can see in this shot. Measuring 45" x 60", it's a great snuggle size for a young Sir Galahad.
Fortunately, we live near the ruins of an old fort, and it was the perfect spot to photograph the quilt.
These shots were taken the day before Hurricane Dorian hit last weekend. (Just in case!)
Mind you, it's doubtful any actual Knights of the Round Table ever visited Fort Beausejour, but we can pretend.

A since thank you to sponsors Island Batik, Accuquilt, Aurifil, and Hobbs batting for supplying the products and inspiration, for what turned out to be a very fun meet up of Cleopatra and King Arthur.


11 comments:

  1. So cool! I am having fun making a quilt with Cleopatra's fan as well - it's really more versatile than you would think at first glance. I adore your inspiration and the setting for your photographs is perfect!

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  2. You have a fort? How cool is that!! Love the quilt design, it would make a good cloak for an aspiring young knight.

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  3. Wow! Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your design process. Well done.

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  4. Wonderful photo shoot setting, and the red with black and white, stunning all over.

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  5. Your cross is very reminiscent of the Cross of St. John of Jerusalem, the symbol of the Knights Hospitaller. Since both my boys were members of St. John Ambulance, they would love your quilt.
    I love Fort Beausejour, thanks for the pictures to remind me of my visit.

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  6. Brilliant use of the die. I love your quilt and your photos.

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  7. That is so clever and turned out super fantastic!

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  8. OH my goodness - that was a brilliant block transformation. My father would read me Le Morte d'Arthur as a young girl; so wonderful to see we share a love for it. My son was into knights for a while, but never obsessed by it. We did have great fun on the walls of York where the knights may have been at some point, although I think what we walk on is "newer" than their time.

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  9. Fabulous post-fabulous quilt. Yes, I admit to following The Curse of Oak Island, I'm a fan of Knightfall as well, a History Channel series. Knightfall does have a story line though. Although I couldn't tell you about the fairy tale that is King Arthur I am fascinated with the Knights Templar and the possibility that they evolved into what we call today the Freemason's. I love history and archaeology, and I love your quilt and the ruins you chose as your backdrop.

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  10. This is so sophisticated and beautiful! BRILLIANT

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