Monday, January 29, 2018



I decided to do my part towards the effort of making relief quilts for those affected by the Thomas Fire in California.  The Perkiomen Valley Block pattern was suggested by the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild.

Perkiomen Valley Block
I wanted a soothing (but not dull) color palette.  I chose green for dark and white/neutrals for the light.

How green is my stash?

Once I dived into my stash, I realized that I had plenty of fabric to make not just a few blocks, but a whole quilt.

Design Wall

And why not? I had made one block and I really like it. I needed 42 blocks for a quilt measuring 72" by 84".

Piecing in Process

If thoughts on a single subject were a ball of yarn, my brain was playing with several different strands.
1. My thoughts kept drifting to those who lost their homes to the fire and were then devastated by the mudslides that followed. The mudslides would not have happened if the fire did not happen or if it was not as widespread.
2. What caused the fire? Can it be prevented? What can we do now to prevent these fires in the future or at least reduce their impact?
3. If I had to evacuate what items would I take with me?
4. What should I name this quilt?

Green and Greener

Naming the quilt yarn rose to the top.  Well, it is very green. California is famous for avocadoes. Should I call it Guacamole & Chips?
No, that sounds so cheesy.

Birds and Cactus

Cannot call it Greener Pastures. That name is already taken.
What else would you call a pasture? A meadow? A veld? Savanna?
Yes, Savanna sounds like a good name.
That yarn ball was now rolled and put away.

Sheep & Ladybugs

I was still thinking about the fires.  When I was in gradschool, we went on a site visit to the Tall Timbers facility. I remembered the discussion on Prescribed Burning that not only helped manage the undergrowth but also maintained the ecological balance of the system.
Why would California not follow these practices?

Sand Dollar Fabric
Enough mulling already.

I turned on the NPR radio. It was Reveal - the story of a Mountain Jane Doe.  I was so fascinated and gripped by this story, I decided to look up other episodes from the Reveal podcast. 
My eyes landed on an episode called America's Ring of Fire from October 2016.
How is it possible? Just when I am consumed by this very topic, I came across this podcast!!!


I listened to every word as if it was a raindrop on parched earth. When the presenter/interviewee said that a landscape like a Savanna is fire-safe, I almost dropped the ruler.
My choice of the name came from the green color, but the Savanna like landscape is also fire-safe???
Once again the universe communicates...are we listening.

Pop of Purple 

Please please please just listen to it. The Savanna is mentioned 40 minutes into the podcast.

Amish Village

I found the perfect fabric for backing. There was but one problem.  Since the fabric is directional, it would require five yards and I had just four.  And although I could make the backing from just four yards, the village would appear to be lying on its side. No, no, no - that is not a good metaphor. Not when I am trying to send a message of hope and life and revitalization.

Love Grows!!!

I auditioned other fabrics. My stash includes a few 4-yard cuts which are not directional and would work just fine. But but but I really want the village scene.   A few scribblings later, the design was finalized.

Backing Designed

What do you think?

Finished Back

Now the Amish village is framed by a florescent green (near) solid and then the "Love Grows" leafy green fabric. It is not be what I first intended. But that is fine.

"There is a divinity that shapes our ends. Rough hew them or how we will."  Shakespeare.

I chose a purple binding because it makes a nice contrast with the green.

Purple & Green - So bright

And a few more pictures...just because.

Wishing you comfort

and Joy

May this family have peace

and a bright future

Ooh Purple

Rolled Up

Ready to go places

One last look at the backyard

I have also urged my Quilt Guild members to contribute to the effort. I will be coordinating and sending all items to Superbuzzy in Ventura, California.

I wish I did not have to make this quilt.  I wish I never have to make a relief quilt again. I wish we can learn from our past and invest in more resilient and sustainable communities. I look forward to your thoughts.

I will be sharing this post with all my favorite linky parties (see sidebar) and also with Sandra's Dreami Linky Party.


I had plenty of temptations but I forced myself to focus on Savanna and make her first.

Update 3/19/18 - Savanna reached its destination and Annie of Annie's Quilt Orts was on the lookout for it. She then posed with it and posted a picture on her blog. Made me so happy. Take a look.


  1. What an amazing story, Preeti. I love how your rumination, the quilt name, and the podcast all came together. And you taught us something, too! The quilt is lovely, and so are you for encouraging your guild to join you in the effort.

  2. Congratulations on a great quilt! This will make someone's day!!

  3. Such a beautiful quilt. Green symbolizes new life and hopefully the recipient will be strengthened by your gift. I have been wanting to make a quilt for this relief effort and need to put my other projects aside and just make one. Thank you!

  4. This is a great quilt. And I love the backing. It's like it's a reversible quilt.

  5. I love this quilt! The greens are so vibrant and you had a perfect solution for the backing. It looks fantastic and some family will be very happy to receive it. If only they could all know the story of it's creation as well!

  6. It is gorgeous! I will look for it among the piles of quilts that are pouring in to our guild. Love the name. Speaking for California, there are prescribed burns and many rules for landowners in the hills, but the hot Santa Ana winds are not able to be controlled and the wind-driven Thomas Fire moved with incredible speed. In a short couple of hours it burned more than 10 miles. This was happening in the middle of the night when water-dropping aircraft could not be used. Despite massive response, with the focus on saving lives, houses burned by the dozens. Thank you for your wonderful donation!

  7. The greens are gorgeous! Love this quilt and the backing great idea!

  8. This quilt is wonderful. I love the green and neutral color pallet and I would have told you to include avocados in the name had you not going on to tell your adventures with the Savanna. I think the backing is just perfect as well.

  9. Beautiful quilt for a beautiful cause. Someone out in CA will really appreciate a quilty hug.

  10. Absolutely remarkable! I love that someone from the receiving team has read your post and knows your story! I hope she passes it on. You are one pretty awesome Quilter!

  11. Great quilt, Preeti and a great purpose.

  12. It's a beautiful quilt and a great story (I hope you plan to send a link to this post along with your quilt, so the folks who get it will know how much you put into it)
    happy quilting ~ Tracy

  13. Hi Preeti,
    You are a good egg! What a beautiful quilt with good wishes and love sewn in it. Those backing fabrics - could they be more perfect?! And those temptations - are those grunge dots?! ~smile~ Roseanne

  14. So thrilled to read about your process and your thoughtfulness is much appreciated. California needs to do more with prescribed burning but it is a battle of viewpoints that gets stuck. I live in Summerland which is between Ventura and Montecito and while I am happy that my family is safe, our communities have a long road ahead of us. Thank you so much for responding with a beautiful quilt!

  15. What a gorgeous quilt and a touching backstory. I'm tickled by some of your scrap selections like the little birds (reminiscent of the tweeters quilt) and the sheep. And what a super collection of neutral squares. I keep adding to mine, but I see so many great ones in other people's stashes that I never see in the shops. I'll keep looking. Three stars to you for sending a whole quilt. I sent blocks to Carole at From my Carolina Home.

  16. firstly I love your quilt. I love how all these different greens pull together. Next up, why the terrible fires, and then the mudslides happened. With the chance of offending your esteemed president, I think it comes from climate change . A over realiance on plastics and industry and pollution and all those things affecting the oceans and the air quality and ozone layer. Hence, I am trying very hard to cut down on plastics and energy, but not of course my airmiles. My holidays are sacroscanct and great for the economy !

  17. Great quilt. Great story. You do amazing work. It will be loved by it's recipient.

  18. I so enjoyed reading this post, and your thoughtfulness, Preeti, in making this quilt for such a good cause. It's so full of hope in its colors and in the fabrics you chose.

  19. Nice blocks....I like the 9 patch with the 2 half square triangles. I should keep those in mind.

  20. Its a beautiful quilt - I am sure it will bring some comfort. I am like you - I wish these never had to be made

  21. It's a beautiful version of this quilt Preeti. How interesting that the Savanna is fire resistant......and I love the village fabric. wonderful.

  22. Oh HOW I adore your quilt (as does Judy; she mentioned it to me just yesterday). Love that the Universe puts things (events, people, articles, NPR talk shows) into one's path when one needs them and is willing to absorb the message. Beautiful finish Preeti and I love what you did with the back. :-) I wish we did not ever need another comfort quilt either. Speaking of listening, I need to go listen to a CBC talk with a survivor of the mosque shooting last year in Quebec...

  23. You're quilt is beautiful! Love this block - I have a couple wall hangings from years ago with it.

  24. Gorgeous quilt! I had a bit of a chuckle at your cheesy pun and what a coincidence with your name choice! I love it when the universe communicates like that.

  25. Beautiful quilt!!! and Beautiful post! You are very generous. Someone will love this one and feel comforted.

  26. Love,love,love this quilt. The purple binding is genius. This inspires me to try that block pattern with my scraps! I always enjoy your ideas and quilts. There is a family there that will love this quilt. Nicely done, Preeti.
    mary in Az

  27. It's a beautiful quilt and it will be so appreciated! I love your thought process on picking a name. Naming a quilt is always so hard, but when the one perfect one comes along it's mind blowing!!

  28. It's so beautiful, Preeti! I enjoyed reading your thoughts as you worked on it too. Mine always wander in a million directions all the time, so much so that sometimes it's hard to figure out how I got to be thinking about a particular topic when I started so far away from that!

  29. Preeti, This is a gorgeous quilt. I love all your fabric - especially the one with green cacti/succulents and several neutral prints. You have a very interesting stash. Someone's gonna love this quilt!

  30. I think the green fabrics are perfect. The recipients will have seen so much scorched and blackened, brown mud -- the green fabrics speak of renewal, of green shoots coming up out of the burnt earth, of fresh beginnings and the resilience of LIFE. It is perfect.

  31. OH, Preeti! This one is so beautiful. The greens are soothing and speak of renewal - absolutely perfect for the fire/slide victims. There are some really fun prints in the closeups, too. (I lived in Southern California in the 80's, and they did do presribed burns at that time. I'm sure they didn't stop them. There are just so many people encroaching on what used to be wildlands, and much dryness exists over most of Southern California/central areas, as well. Droughts are not uncommon, as far too many people live where there is nowhere near enough water to support. They pull water from several other states, but you're talking a tremendous number of people living there.)

  32. I like the block, the palette, the finished quilt! Good save on the backing fabric. Claire aka knitnkwilt

  33. That is a beautiful quilt, and will be so appreciated by a family who has been affected by the horrible fires. I love that is green - such a life-affirming color!

  34. This is a wonderful quilt and I am sure it will be enjoyed and treasured by the person receiving it. Beautiful work.

  35. What a great quilt for a great purpose! Love your musings and how you (always?) come to such a round circle in the end. And I love the additions to the backing. I think the lime/brighter green gives it so much more attitude and brightness.

  36. What a wonderful quilt and I enjoyed reading your thought provoking post. It's funny how the name came to you and the universe is a magical thing! The colours are beautiful and the backing is great too!

  37. Spotted your quilt on Finished or Not Fridays links. You did a great job on value selection! Liz in Houston

  38. As always, your quilts are stunningly perfect. And I love your stories. Also, how can anyone not like a green quilts with a pop of purple!!

  39. I just love that you shared the back story and your thinking process.

  40. A lovely quilt for a good cause. I love green and purple together.

  41. Wonderful quilt. Someone is going to love having it and seeing all the fun fabrics you incorporated in it. I haven't lived in CA since the early 80s but a couple of thoughts on what's happening with fire/s. Since some areas went through an extreme drought I would imagine (as I haven't verified it, just my supposition) the controlled burns ceased due to worry about fires getting out of control. And, I have a friend whose son has been out in CA taking down trees to help with fire control. So someone is doing thinking of the devastation caused by the fires and then rains. It's a big state. There is a lot that individual homeowners should be doing to keep there property safe. And, the final thought is are people building in areas known for disasterous fires? Ok, off the bandwagon.... climate change is going to be getting worse with more problems if it isn't addressed.

  42. Wow, beautiful story. You have many interesting fabrics. And the backing is perfect in every way. You could also link up to Laura's charity link at Slice of Pi Quilts--

  43. What a pretty quilt. You have some fun fabrics in it, and the purple binding is perfect.

  44. What a beautiful and precious quilt! The way you created the backing was perfect.

  45. Your quilt is beautiful, Preeti! I lived in the Santa Barbara area for most of my life (just moved to Washington State in 2016), and I know it like the back of my hand. Two of my kids still live there. We have all been affected by wildfires for years, but this one was particularly devastating. I can answer a couple of your questions ...

    1. My thoughts kept drifting to those who lost their homes to the fire and were then devastated by the mudslides that followed. The mudslides would not have happened if the fire did not happen or if it was not as widespread. -- Yes, you're correct. Without that fire, there would have been vegetation to hold the boulders and soil in place. Unfortunately, the underbrush in the area had not burned for 70+ years, so it was ripe for a large fire.
    2. What caused the fire? Can it be prevented? What can we do now to prevent these fires in the future or at least reduce their impact? -- Lots of good questions here. It's my understanding that the fire was accidentally caused by Southern California Edison while working on a construction site. Yes, these wildfires can be mitigated, but only through vegetation/underbrush control. Unfortunately, especially in an area like this, it's nearly impossible to set controlled burns because of the remoteness and terrain of the area. Additionally, the mudslides were fueled by millions of gallons of water being released from a Montecito reservoir at the same time of the flooding.
    Hopefully, new ways of dealing with kind of occurrence will come from this devastation.

  46. Such a beautiful quilt for a good cause. I love the pieced backing as well. I also enjoyed reading the story behind it. You have such a wonderful way with words. Fabric too.