Kent Allen

Blue Northern

This year’s quilt theme, hopefully there will be another, centered on Earth, Air, Water and Fire.  I sat down and tried to draw from experience how they would fit into a quilt square.  Jeez this is harder than I originally thought.  Weeks pass, still nothing coming to mind, no inspiration. It’s now fall, but unusually warm for this time of the year, please bear with me the outside temperature did have an effect on this project.  Tried a free form layout using different frit and geometric shapes and called this one “Fires Down Below”.  Fires Down Below looked and fitted the title perfectly.  How can I delicately put it, oh well, to call the kettle black, it looked like hell.  It will find its way into a pot melt someday.   The winter temperatures are now dropping.  Is it supposed to be this cold in Texas? Electric bills on the rise, time and patience running out,  I looked into quilt squares and designs from my wife’s numerous quilting books.  I came upon one titled “North Wind*”.  Hmmm, onto something here?  Since it was winter at the time, my ideas and inspirations had definitely turned from hot to cold,  I decided to do something that reminded me of the Cold Blue Northern winds.  Ya’ll know these blow in the winter and freeze the heck out of ya. Get it, ideas, inspirations, turning hot to cold.  At last, it fits. Does the cold wind suck out our thoughts and inspirations, chilling us to the bone? This cold surrounds us, which direction is it actually coming from?  Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  This quilt incorporated Spectrum 130.8SF Pale Blue Cathedral, 538-4SF Steel Blue Cathedral,  1009SF Black Cathedral and clear.

  • Cut 8”x 8” clear square.
  • Cut the colored pieces for the body.  Carefully ground each piece to ensure proper fit. 
  • Usual lay up:  Kiln Shelf, thin fire paper, clear square, then colored pieces.  I held the colored pieces in place with “GlasTac” glue.
  • Fired to a full fuse, using modified Spectrum recommendations:  http://www.system96.com/Pages/FiringGuideF.html
    • 500 deg/hr to 250 hold 12 min
    • 500 deg/hr to 500 hold 12 min
    • 500 deg/hr to 750 hold 12 min
    • 600 deg/hr to 1250 hold 20 min
    • 600 deg/hr to 1465 hold 15 min
    • AFAP to 1000 hold 1 hr, no venting
    • 300 deg/hr to 950 hold 1 hr
    • 200 deg/hr 800 hold 1 min
    • Let cool to room temp.  Don’t peek

*Design Credits:
501 Quilt Blocks, A Treasury of Patterns for Patchwork & Appliqué.
Better Homes and Gardens
Authors and Designers: Joan Lewis and Lynette


  1. That’s a lot of ramping…why didn’t you call if you were stuck for ideas?? why didn’t you have your wife make a hot piece of PMC to fuse into your tile??? Ideas at 90 miles a minute!! Looks great though….thanks for sending the note…Kelly

  2. Nice colors and composition. It evoked memories of cold Northers and snuggling under a quilt just like this one!

  3. My grandmother made a quilt for all of her grandchild when they were born. When I had my son she got to continue the tradition with her great-grandchildren. My son’s blanket has this exact pattern and color block in it. Seeing your piece brought back a lot of memories, of both my grandmother, and of my son’s childhood.

    Thank you!

  4. Kent,

    Nice job with your quilt piece. It makes me want to grab a quilt and snuggle up.


  5. WOW, if not having inspiration gets you on the web, just think… when inspiration hits, you’ll be showing up on magazine covers, books, tromping around the states attending fairs and we’ll be able to say…”we knew you when..”


  6. Kent,
    Your description is a wonderful written description of how many of my projects evolve.
    Your description of cold blue winds gives a vitality to this piece which has a wonderful windy feel to it.
    Susan B

    P.S. It’s way better then my wind piece was.

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