Friday, February 1, 2019

Route 78 - A Finished Quilt

I've lived on the northwestern border of New Jersey for the past 20 years (since elementary school). It has its positives and negatives, but one giant negative is that generally, it takes an hour or more to get almost anywhere I need to go, in every direction. I'm sure it could be worse, but for someone who doesn't enjoy driving or cars or anything related, it can be quite the burden - especially when Interstate Route 78 here is a treacherous and busy road with many accidents (I watch a Facebook group specifically dedicated to NJ/PA 78 updates nearly every day; the sheer number of commuters and trucks is unbelievable).

However, I have found something positive about my constant commutes over the years. Driving home on Route 78 West towards my town takes me over a (somewhat scary) mountain, but the views are astounding. And if I hit that spot right around sunset, it's always worthwhile. Several mountains are surrounded by the most astonishing color spectacle.

I'm always the one driving when this happens and thus have never been able to take a photo, but I did catch the infamous sunset over mountains when I pulled up to Shoprite one night. It's a bit more drastic and mountain-y from the highway, but hopefully you get the idea! I see sunsets like this all year round. Who would have thought - New Jersey, amiright? (Please note: I am a Jersey girl. I love NJ). :)

This quilt (72" x 78") was made over several months of 2018, using lots of special scraps and brick by brick improvisation, which I used to teach. It was all about creating a seamless transition between each color. When you look at the sky, do you ever wonder how those color change? I do, constantly!

So, each block has pieces of the colors surrounding it, which makes it have a pixelated look. What I LOVE about planned improvisation is that there's always a plan, but I never know exactly what the quilt will look like when it's done. I also quilted each color differently (and into the next color) to further emphasize the transition. It was fun coming up with the various motifs and pairing up Aurifil threads: 1320, 4020, 1133, 2600, 1243, 1135, and 2605.

The gray mountains were appliqued on after I pieced the sky. I wanted them to switch from light to dark gray, as if the sun was still lighting up part of the mountaintops. That's not really what I typically see from the highway, but this creates more interest. :) The binding also transitions between colors.

This quilt is really special. Whenever I brought it to lectures last year and mentioned the name, people in this surrounding area seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. Fun fact: there's only one diagonal seam in the whole quilt (besides the mountains), and it's in the above picture!

I'm trying to decide on another landscape quilt to start this year - to use up my scraps and make something once again that completely enthralls me in the process. Isn't that what it's all about? What natural scene would you/have you recreate(d) in fabric?

Linking up to From Bolt To Beauty


  1. Beautiful quilt, and photo. Both are so colorful. I have not done a scene quilt, but am working on a temperature quilt for my hometown.

  2. Really lovely and I like what it represents.

  3. I love this, Jess! I've always been enthralled by the colours of sunsets, too, and I love your fabric interpretation. When we lived in Nunavut the sunsets were incredible and had the most amazing purples that would fill the whole sky. I've never done a scenic quilt like yours, but if I ever do I'd want to try something from one of my favourite beaches.

  4. Jessica, This is a wonderful quilt! I love being able to see the inspiration and then the final result. As a current Jersey girl myself, I love seeing how you embrace and celebrate the state!!

  5. It's gorgeous! Way to get inspiration from something tedious.

  6. I live where it takes at least an hour to get anywhere as well...but most of the time I'm driving on a two-lane highway. Not that much traffic very often, but I do need to watch for deer, moose and the occasional cow or horse that got out! I'll take my drive over yours any time!!! I went to Facebook and watch a video (sped up) of someone driving that one used blinkers and the differences in the speeds of the different drivers was insane!! Beautiful sunset!

  7. This is so beautiful; you really caught that feeling of the mountains and the sunset and the remarkable gradation of colors!

  8. So pretty and I love the inspiration behind it too.

  9. This is so special -- both the lovely quilt and story behind it! I have not made a quilt inspired by a landscape ... yet. I've considered making one inspired by the windy country road I live off of. When the snow has just fallen, highlighting each branch and twig on the trees along this road, it creates the most beautiful canopy. It borders on magical.

  10. Stunning, Jess. I love how you find inspiration in the landscapes around you and turn them into such beautiful quilts. I definitely love the gradient and ombre you achieved here. It will be fun to see what you pick for inspiration next!

  11. I think your quilt really captured the gorgeous colors of that sunset. Just beautiful.

  12. Hi Jessica, I notice there hasn't been a blog entry since 2019...are you blogging somewhere else or have you just stopped blogging? :-)

    1. Hi Sharon! I have stopped blogging altogether though I still write about quilting on Instagram under @quiltyhabit. I may be deleting this website soon as well. Thank you for reading!


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