This week I have been dealing with the background of the Franklin quilt. Franklin’s selfie on which this piece is based, was taken in front of the Paris Opera House. I envisioned one of the birds alighting on his hat, the bluebird of happiness. So it was important to me to include the lines of the Opera House.
I first tried to draw the lines in chalk. I couldn’t get them to line up properly and soon had extra lines every where. I cleaned that off the quilt and printed out just the Opera House on card stock and sewed along the lines without thread, making a template.
This template allowed me to use a Pounce Pad (filled with loose chalk) to mark the lines on the quilt. It worked great. When I began quilting those lines, however, the result was weak at best. I had envisioned the lines quilted in gray thread, and the result was simply not good. I thought about just quilting a fill pattern in the background, but I really wanted the Opera House. I wanted the connection between the bird in the Opera House and the bluebird of happiness. I felt that was important. Critical, even. Sampling a number of ideas, I settled on quilting everything but the lines.
I’m quite pleased with the effect. I was near tears last week. It’s hard to shift when you’ve created and carried an image in your mind for months. In the end, as hard as they are to make, those shifts often lead to better things.