Imagine the lights on a Christmas tree, the northern lights, the fires to celebrate the solstice, moonlight on snow . . . now imagine designing and stitching original quilts that capture these winter lights. Anna Grossnickle Hines has done just that, sometimes spending more than four hundred hours per quilt, and using more than eleven miles of thread.
The Christmas Tree, by Anna Grossnickle Hines, in Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts
In this stunning Christmas Tree, each colored light is a tiny piece of fabric within a 1-inch strip. The strips are then pieced together in sections, using a method which Anna calls "twisted strip piecing".
There are 15 quilts in the book, and each one features a different winter holiday or festival. In many cultures, people celebrated midwinter solstice rituals to encourage the return of the sun and its life-giving light. Such rituals centered around fire and light. The spectacular "Solstice", shown below, is made with twisted triangles: over 8,450 of them, requiring more than 400 hours to piece.
We bought our own copy of Winter Lights, which is a work of joy. You can read about the design and construction of the quilts at Anna Grossnickle Hines' website: www.aghines.com. The Winter Lights quilts are currently on exhibit at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Southern Colorado (until February 5). Her newest book, called Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace will be out in March, 2011.
Image credits and links: The images are shown with the generous permission of Anna Grossnickle Hines, who is the author of more than 60 books for children.