Have you ever had a quilt almost crossed the finish line and then got put away? That’s what happened with Ricky’s quilt, Chamisa Corral. It is based on a photo he took of the old cowboy corral located on his parcel in the Colorado mountains. The rock is called Autumn Rock and stands about 90’ tall. At the base of the rock are the ruins of a stone cabin and an old corral that was used for breaking horses. Both the cabin and the corral have seen better days but they are a great reminder of life many years ago in a remote area. At 8900 feet elevation, no doubt this was a summer camp for the cowboys. Winters would have been too harsh.
Ricky shares the above photo as a general reference to Autumn Rock. The original photo that Ricky used to create this quilt is buried on some old hard drive. The snows came early in 2004 and the colorful fall leaves of the oaks had not fallen when he took the photo used to create the quilt. It was nearing dusk so there was a blue cast over the snow. The cowboy cabin and corral are in the open area in the bottom left of the photo to the left of the road.
First, the background fabric was stabilized from beneath with a layer of cotton batting and a medium weight tear away stabilizer. He then used a raw edge (no fusible) scribble appliqué technique to create the design. While some may think the quilt is thread painted, it’s really appliqué that is stitched down with thread (and embellished with thread) using free-motion stitching. In some cases Ricky favors really large stitches to get the desired effect.
Once the appliqué and embellishments were complete, the quilt was set aside - for twelve years! Ricky recently took it out of hiding and decided to finish it. All that was needed was to add a backing and then quilt the negative areas and add additional embellishments on the surface which enhanced the quilting but blended with the appliqué.
Fun fact: In the Southwest, Chamisa is a wild shrub brush also known as Rabbitbrush. It is a bushy plant with yellow tufts of fluffy flowers in late summer. When the first snows come, it will blanket on top of the fading flowers. It grows profusely in the old corral.