Deborah Stein's Quilt Story

I've never done a challenge nor a round robin, nor submitted a piece for jury and hadn't planned on doing so. I read about the window challenge and then, later that day, I looked up from a water fountain at my gym and spied a large, gray cinderblock wall with a gray metal door containing a tiny window which looked out to a scene of formidable beauty - spring unfolding. I could only see a very small part of a branch but it was screaming in the lime-greenishness of new, unfurling leaves. I realized that in my mind I knew the rest of the scene, including a river that ran below the tree. And then many other personal spring moments of yesteryear burst forth before my mind's eye.

So I went home and began to make a quilt which soon turned into 4 small quilts, each signifying a season, assembled on a background of black wool that is embellished with actual constellations. A discussion on the Quiltart list about the viewer's desire to touch a quilt and turn it over motivated me to invite just that so I made it an interactive piece.

Each block is about 7" x 9", backed and bound and secured to the background only at its top-side. Each has a handle dangling at the bottom so that it can be lifted. The viewer's curiosity is rewarded with a surprise embellished onto the back of each block.

Because of the nature of the construction of this piece, the delight of it cannot be captured in photography but must be touched and experienced.

Here is the very best part: While buying materials for my quilt I was asked what I was making. In the ensuing conversation, I discussed the piece and mentioned that I would love to have it hang in a prison. The salesperson mentioned a connection she has with someone at MCI Framingham, a medium security correctional facility for female offenders. She is contacting a friend there about the possibility of "showing" the piece in the prison's sanctuary. This would make me happier than showing in a gallery. So thank you for inspiring me to make this quilt. In doing so I discovered prison photography on the Internet and learned about constellations. I let this quilt carry me along and evolve at it's own pace. I loved making this quilt and never would have done so without the Window Challenge. I guess I now fully understand why it is called a challenge.