The Fire Quilt

Our community is still reeling from the aftermaths of the Butte Fire. The final report was just released last night–the fire is 100% contained. The fire started on Wednesday, September 9, and I evacuated the following day. I came home tentatively on Saturday, the 12th, and the following morning, I somewhat reluctantly made my way to church, which was still close enough to the fire that it was smoky in the building. Our church was filled, and several families were there whose houses had burned to the ground! It was such a moving service of worship and sharing. I had an idea for a quilt and drew a little sketch in my journal.

In the next couple of days, I started working on my idea. I had the thought that I would finish it in a week and share it at church the next Sunday. Hahaha. Anyway, I got out all my landscape fabrics (I didn’t have nearly as many as I have had in the past,) and my fire fabrics (surprisingly, I had quite a few fabrics that were fire-like, since red is not one of my favorite colors.)

And then I sat and stared at the pile of fabrics for a day. I don’t know how to do this. So the next morning, I just took the fabrics and placed them on the design wall in the approximate area I thought each should be. And that’s when I had the beginning of an idea. Instead of making it a realistic landscape, I would just make a representational simple patchwork of the colors and fabrics I had chosen. A start!

I think it was googling “fire images” that gave me the next idea. I knew I wanted to include pine and oak trees, but in the fire pictures, many of them were just in outline. That’s what I would do–I would make silhouettes of the trees. Again the thought, I don’t know how to do this. But I googled “oak tree drawing,” and sure enough, there was the inspiration I needed. I was able to draw a rough outline of an oak tree pretty easily. The pine tree was even easier. So there it was.

It took a whole day to zig zag the trees in place, because I don’t like using fusible. But, these were huge pieces, and I had the idea to just use little pieces of fusible to make sure they stayed in place. I found my package of Soft Fuse, recommended by Sue Nickels, and it worked fantastic. In fact, I liked it so well, I might use it a little more in the future.


I took a picture, and sent it to BF, and that made me think it looked a little empty. So the next morning, I got out a few more “fire fabrics,” and added some flames.


Now this is the part that I was very sure of. I planned to have the doxology written in large block letters across the middle of the quilt. I thought about making block letters with black fabric and fusible web. But that will take so long, I told myself. I’ll just embroider them. Hahahaha. Two weeks later, the lettering was finished 🙂

Two days of quilting, and an afternoon of adding a facing, and the quilt is finished. Its always so fun to finish a project and really like what you have done. Its the reward at the end of a long, sometimes boring, sometimes worrisome journey. I’m excited to share it with my church this Sunday.

Here’s some close-ups of the quilting:




And here’s the finished quilt:


8 thoughts on “The Fire Quilt

  1. Debby, as a fellow evacuee and a resident of Mountain Ranch I can tell you that your quilt gave me goose bumps! Well done, I’m sure your church will be honored.

  2. Wow, this is such a striking piece. Quite different from what you usually do; you can really feel the emotion coming from it (not that you can’t from your other works, but this one is really strong). Love it, and I’m sure your church family will, too.

  3. What a wonderful piece came out of that very scary time. I loved walking through your design process. You really have a knack on adding the right details to bring it all together at the end. The quilting on the trees is perfect, and doing the lettering by hand was definitely the right choice.

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