Guest Post: Vineyard Quilt

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I bet you’ve thought that Linz and I have probably run out of creative friends to feature on Sweet Athena. Well, you would be wrong. But I liked how it has occurred to you that we know a lot of talented people AND they are willing to share with all of us some of their crafty side. Today we are all fortunate enough to get a peek into Kim’s world. She’s another one of our good friends from middle school. And in case you were wondering, yes this lady always brings delicious homemade wine to the party. I know, Linz and I really do know the most awesome people! ~Jess

“I feel bad for the people who never go crazy.”

Ever feel like everyone around you is more creative than you are?  I’m constantly in awe of crafty creative types and am continually blown away that even in the midst of innovation overload (ahem, Pinterest), people maintain steady inspiration and come up with rousing new ideas for foods, crafts, clothes, hairstyles, games and plot-lines.  I guess that means that there really is hope for those of us aspiring creative types.  I mean, using a broom to paint your walls?  Seriously, who thought of this insanity?!

Well, I can now claim to have gone crazy/created something unique – drawn from a map.

First, a little background… I work in the illustrious Oregon wine industry, which is the fault of my handsome and loving husband who is a vineyard manager for some of the best vineyards in the world.  Most vineyards are planted in a very logical configuration in relatively organized squares made up of specific varieties (Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, etc) and clones*.  Most vineyard maps look something like this:


And, then I saw this one…

Fennwood Map

 Winery Quilt 5

Few straight lines. Different clones that change mid-row. 28 blocks where there normally would be 4 or 5.  And, it was COLOR CODED!  Even the colors on the map match the posts in the vineyard – so that the crew can figure out which block they’re in at any given time.

My first impression: that would make a great quilt!  So… I went crazy and thought, yeah – I’ll make a quilt out of that!

That’s what I did.  I calculated the scale I wanted and printed out a map big enough.  Then I cut out the blocks individually.

Winery Quilt 2

I color coded.

I picked fabrics to match the different clone combinations – if two blocks were color coded yellow, but were different clones, they got different patterns of yellow fabric.  If two blocks were color coded red and had the same clones, they got the same patterns of red.  Oh, yeah.  I’m insane like that.

Laid out the fabrics in order:

Winery Quilt

And then I forgot to take pictures of the next steps….  But, take my word for it.  It involved a lot of fussy cutting, sewing, unsewing, resewing, careful positioning, and more sewing.

Once the top was complete, I sandwiched it and pin basted, then began my quilting.  Of course, one’s only option in such a quilt is to quilt in the vineyard row orientation to mimic the aerial view of the vineyard – So. Yeah.

Winery Quilt 3

The resulting quilt, pictured below, turned out pretty crazy.  It was a gift for the legend who designed the vineyard layout – homage to the craziest vineyard layout of all time. 🙂 

Winery Quilt 4 Winery Quilt 7

If you ever feel like you’re the only loner in a sea of creative types, my advice to you is this: laugh.  Because you’re talking crazy talk.  Everyone is creative.  Some of us express it through fabric, others through food, others through the spoken word, and others through code.  Everyone has talents – you just have to learn how to express them.  After all, someone needs to come up with the crazy idea to use a broom to paint their walls.

*Grapes used for winemaking have come from a long line of laziness…  The vines in Oregon come from a specific single species of grape – Vitis vinifera.  There is a great deal of genetic variation within this one species so over many hundreds of years people have selected for specific characteristics and once they found the combination they liked, propagation takes place by taking cuttings from that plant, or cloning – creating identical descendants.  Obviously, clonal work continues to this day (intentional pursuit of new mutations – and those that take place by accident).  But, many of the grapes we grow in the Willamette Valley come from a handful of clones that were created long, long ago.


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