The Man in the Wilderness Quilt Pt. 1

In the spring of 2012 I had this crazy idea. Driving through the country on my way home from work, through a misty rain I saw the brown and ochre landscape slowly giving way to the new bright green buds of the season. It was breathtaking. I knew I wanted to capture this color impression in a quilt.

 And then, on top of that idea, I had been listening to the Natalie Merchant album, Leave Your Sleep. On one of the tracks, Natalie puts music to the Mother Goose poem, The Man in the Wilderness. I loved that poem as a child and Natalie does it more than justice with her musical arrangement. Those colors and that poem were a match made in heaven for me. So I began my design.

Putting my graphic design skills to work, I laid out an arrangement of different sized blocks to fit within the constraints of the queen sized quilt I wanted to make (76" x 90"). I had no idea what was going to go inside those different blocks so I had to research beginner type quilt blocks that would fit in each space. I also specified six big patches to use for embroidery/applique of the poem.

This is the quilt's baby picture.

Now this quilt idea was crazy mostly because I had never really made a quilt and this quilt was going to be so big and include so many different kinds of blocks. As I learned, I thought I would share my knowledge with you as my scrappy log cabin, pinwheel, staggered strips, applique, and propeller quilt block tutorials. I'm so happy about the popularity of these tutorials because my intention was to help beginners like myself tackle some basic quilt blocks with as few tears as possible.

I took my time (obviously by the finish date on this project) and really tried to do things right as I went along. There were some frustrations and self-doubt but surprisingly few regrets. I loved the process and have already started my next project.

I did make the choice to have my quilt professionally quilted by our good friend Stitchlilly. Best. Decision. Ever. I chose an overall stipple pattern except for the applique areas. Those I did by hand with 6 strands of embroidery floss and no set-in-stone pattern. I wanted it to be a little more free-form and playful.

My next post will highlight some of the small details of this quilt an hopefully some better photos. New discovery of mine: photographing something so large is not easy!


PS-I will admit, for a moment, as I was sewing up the colorful scrappy blocks...there was some small panic. Was this going to be too colorful? Obnoxious even? But I pressed on with fingers crossed. Did it turn out to be too much? Hells yes. But I love it anyway!


  1. LOVE!!!!!!

  2. I have got to see this quilt in person. I can't believe this was your first effort--it's absolutely breathtaking!

  3. Wow! That's amazing! You did an awesome job! I can't wait to see more blocks, individually...great work.

    1. Thanks Angela! I'm so glad to finally be finished. :)