Monday, May 6, 2013

The Eternity Quilt: From Go To Whoa

Around August last year, the service I attend at my church decided to do a creative project, where creative people in the congregation put together an artwork based around a line from the Apostle's Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

I chose the line "the life everlasting". Which is a bit of an odd duck choice for a quilter - how do you design a quilt that embodies the concept of everlasting life?

While pondering my choices (infinity, a fibonacci sequence, some kind of spiral quilt) I also considered the synonyms for 'everlasting' and one of the options that came up was the term 'eternity'.

'Eternity' had a lot more Google results than 'everlasting'. In particular, it had the Arthur Stace Eternity graffiti tag, which is well-known to Sydney Christians. Arthur Stace, returned from WWII, turned to a life of crime, only to find God in the late fifties. He then started chalking the word 'eternity' in copperplate all over the sidewalks and walls of 1960s Sydney - a reminder that our life on this earth is short and that we'll face judgement and eternity after.


Another result - and more immediately relevant to the quilter in me - was the Eternity puzzle - a mathematical/computer puzzle of 209 pieces.


Yes, it looks complicated, but it can be broken down into equilateral triangles and half-equilateral triangles by rows.

So I had a design - all well and good! Now how to put it into practice?

What I needed was a large collection of fabric in a large variety of colours. Oh, so conveniently, the Kona solids series had 213 colours (at the time) - with an extra 28 colours coming out in late 2012. Perfect! All I had to do was buy the Kona Lights and Kona Darks boxes - each with 100 solid colours.

My credit card nearly had a hernia.

eternitymosaic1 1. Kona colours, 2. Kona colour matching!, 3. Kona darks, 4. EternitySolution, 5. Selvages! Getting there!, 6. Eternity quilt: pieces, 7. Eternity quilt: I really don't want to think about how many pieces there are..., 8. Kona lights, 9. Eternity quilt:organised be sewn next week!, 10. Greens and browns and creams., 11. Eternity quilt rows 1&2, 12. Eternity-ArthurStace, 13. Eternity quilt: pieces laid out

Organising the colours, arranging the colours, and then labelling each colour was a herculanean task. I needed at least eight equilatriangles of every colour to make each puzzle shape - one or two of them needed nine, due to the half equilatriangles.

And then there was the piecing. Oh boy. The piecing.

eternitymosaic2 1. Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung., 2. Eternity quilt: closeup, 3. Half triangles to eternity, 4. Eternity quilt: as at Friday, 5. Rows laid out, ready to sew. I could probably get these done tonight., 6. Pieces of eternity: taking longer than expected. *sigh*, 7. Eternity quilt: ready for basting, 8. Eternity quilt: the signature doesn't seem quite big enough..., 9. Quilting like a crazy quilting thing!, 10. Eternity quilt: Saturday, 11. Eternity quilt: Saturday, 12. Trimming, 13. Eternity quilt: sewing together

The plan was always to quilt 'Eternity' on it - in honour and memory of Arthur Stace and the bible verse:

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11, New Living Translation

Eternity quilt: the signature doesn't seem quite big enough...

I quilted it myself, using the Avanti HQ longarm at Hobbysew Top Ryde.

Quilting like a crazy quilting thing!

The main pattern is my trademark 'fiery curls' - fairly large, getting smaller as they go further in, with a fine stipple all around the quilted 'Eternity' signature.

Eternity quilted!

I would have preferred to do some trapunto to plump up the word "Eternity", but didn't really have the time or the know-how then. It seems visible enough.

The ladies of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild helped me sew the binding on at one of our sew-ins - just in time for Swap Day at Material Obsession!

Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung.

Since then, it's been photographed for the booklet my church is putting together on the Apostle's Creed (with photography/prints of many other artworks), and has just accepted into the Sydney Quilt Show 2013 where it's going into the "Art Quilt (Open)" category for judging!


  1. Now a project to be very proud of. Loved hearing the whole story.

  2. WOW. Stunning and amazing.

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  4. What an amazing piece of art!

  5. What an amazing piece of art!


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