Picture a Quilt
By Sara Barron, Tri-Cities Chapter
An out-of-the-box, handmade auction item
When the January/February 2016 Bugle arrived, I knew I had found the perfect model for my first attempt at creating a quilt picture! The cover on the magazine, an image by longtime Bugle contributor Jake Mosher, was striking—a stunning photograph of brilliant northern lights, a shooting star and an elk skull on a fence post. I have been a quilter for several years and had grown tired of the typical geometric patterns. I wanted to try something new. I had tried buying quilt picture patterns—kind of like “paint by number” with material—with limited success. I don’t follow other people’s patterns well, so I was searching for the right picture and right time to design one myself.
While finding material for the ground, the night stars and the brilliant green horizon was easy, figuring out how to capture the wavy, blending colors for the aurora was more difficult. I finally used a multicolor batik pattern—kind of a watery tie-died look—with ribbons appliqued on and covered by a white netting material to try to simulate the effect.
I drew the skull on three differently colored pieces, and then I cut, layered, and embroidered it to create the shadow effects. The shooting star was captured by painting it into the sky. Fabric paint was also used to create the additional stars shining through the northern lights. The project took about 5 months to complete.
From the very start of the project, I had the idea of donating the quilt to our local Tri-Cities Chapter banquet to raise money for RMEF. My experience as merchandise chair had taught me that locally acquired, hand-made items—one of a kind—are most appreciated and sought after by banquet attendees. Good items can generate excitement, competition and high bids. I hoped my quilt would attain that favored status in an auction.
Like many artists, I constantly fish for compliments… but the most I could get from my husband was, “It’s OK, if you like that sort of thing.” Fortunately, my banquet committee members were more enthusiastic and happily accepted my donation into the silent auction for our banquet on April 9. It was a key item, and raised $350 for elk. I definitely plan on doing another quilt for our next banquet. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike!
Sara Barron and her husband Robert Margulies are RMEF Life Members, as well as Monarch Level Habitat Partners. Robert is past chair of the Tri-Cities Chapter, Washington committee, and Sara was merchandise chair for several years.