My dad turned 80 last year and what does a quilter give to someone who has been a huge part of her life? A quilt, of course. My dad is a true engineer who sees beauty in the laws of physics, and who sees engineering as a way of life. He has always challenged me to learn and understand the world around me. I grew up with questions like how does this toy work, or how can we fix this leaky hose, or let’s build a light for your bicycle. At work he designed test beds for aircraft engines, and at home he rebuilt and fixed an old antique car. My sister and I were his (often unwilling) assistants. We learned quickly to never mix up metric and British units, and to look at a nut/bolt and estimate what size wrench to use. It does come in handy – I can easily tell if my seam allowance is anything but a 1/4 inch 🙂
For his birthday, I felt compelled to try something new and to learn something new, which in turn changed the rest of my quilting journey. This is my very first quilt on my mid-arm machine (Block RockiT 15 from kathyquilts.com). The best thing about making a quilt for my dad is that I know he will love it no matter how good or bad it turns out. He loves it because I made it.
I started with a pattern I picked up at the quilt festival last year, called Mezzanine, by Ruth Ann Berry from quiltersclinic.com. I changed the sizes and layout to make it bigger. The “3D” triangles are called Penrose triangles, arguably the best known impossible figure. Impossible figures are optical illusions – 2D drawings that the brain interprets as 3D but on further study, you realize such a 3D object is physically impossible. The mathematician Roger Penrose as well as the artist M. C. Escher made these intriguing concept popular.
I gathered a number of light, medium, dark fabric from my stash and auditioned them against a grey background. The best method to audition values is to take a picture and view it in black & white. I quilted some airplanes and clouds on the top and some interlocking gears near the bottom. I also quilted every motif I knew. The ruler work was not perfect – chipped off a corner of the rulers and broke a couple of needles (very scary!), the spirals are a bit flat but over all it is not bad for a first FMQ quilt. My dad and mom say they discover new hidden figures everyday.
Fabric: Various light, medium, dark from my stash.
Background: Kona coal (and probably something else – I noticed the slightly different shades of grey only when taking the pictures)