When issued the challenge to use a song title as inspiration for a quilt I thought that it sounded an interesting idea. I’d not done one before so popped my name into the mix. Then Sylvia gave me the title!
I began to investigate the song and, although it’s one that everyone will have heard, I was a little traumatised to realise quite how depressing a subject it covered. For those, like me, who hadn’t thought about it before the song is about the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber. It was named after the pilot’s mother and, on 6 August 1945, it went down in history as the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb, code name Little Boy, in anger on Hiroshima, Japan.
I believe this was one of the lowest points in our recent history and I had no idea how to create something joyful from something so hideous. (Can you tell I try and keep to the brighter side of life?) Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t think these things should be forgotten, not at all, we need to learn and open our eyes to the devastation that war brings but how to make a quilt from that?
Anyway, as life has a habit of doing, I have been so busy that, although I drafted an idea, I haven’t been able to actually make it! But still thought my idea might be of use to someone out there who wanted to try something similar.
My plan was to work something similar to a Bargello to symbolise the sky the bomber flew across. For those that haven’t made a Bargello, you work in strips, usually 2½”, and then sew them all together down the long side, sew them to create a loop and then slice the loop into the varying widths which is what gives a Bargello design the ‘movement’ across the surface.
The song has a strong main ‘riff’ and I thought this would work as the inspiration, using the notes of the music in quilt form. My idea was to symbolise the notes on a background of patchwork so initially, I was considering Bargello as the way to do it. As I played with the idea I realised this wouldn’t work so changed the background to simple pieced squares. To do this, cut width of fabric strips from your selected colours and sew them together down the long edge. You can then cut them into the same width as the initial strips. When joined together this will give you a top of quick-pieced squares. I then changed the colour concept to match notes on a page so gathered together a selection of neutrals for the background planning on black for the notes. I was planning on appliquéing these to the surface, either as black squares or as actual notes.
One day I may get around to developing this idea and finally make this quilt but for now, my apologies that I didn’t manage it. Feel free to utilise these ideas for your own song challenge.