October 15, 2011

Breaking Dawn Charity Quilt: Bella's Shield

I saw Jane smile as Edward crossed the midpoiunt in the distance between us, when he was closer to them than he was to us.

That smug little smile did it. My fury peaked, higher even than the raging bloodlust I'd felt the moment the wolves had committed to this doomed fight. I could taste madness on my tongue—I felt it flow through me like a tidal wave of pure power. My muscles tightened, and I acted automatically. I threw my shield with all the force in my mind, flung it across the impossible expanse of the field—ten times my best distance—like a javelin. My breath rushed out in a huff with the exertion.

The shield blew out from me in a bubble of sheer energy, a mushroom cloud of liquid steel. It pulsed like a living thing—I could feel it, from the apex to the edges.

There was no recoil to the elastic fabric now; in that instant of raw force, I saw that the backlash I'd felt before was of my own making—I had been clinging to that invisible part of me in self-defense, subconsciously unwilling to let it got. Now I set it free, and my shield exploded a good fifty yards out from me effortlessly, taking only a fraction of my concentration. I could feel it flex like just another muscle, obedient to my will. I pushed it, shaped it to a long, pointed oval. Everything underneath the flexible iron shield was suddenly a part of me—I could feel the life force of everything it covered like points of bright heat, dazzling sparks of light surrounding me. I thrust the shield forward the length of the clearing, and exhaled in relief when I felt Edward's brilliant light within my protection. I held there, contracting this new muscle so that it closely surrounded Edward, a thin but unbreakable sheet between his body and our enemies.
–Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 690-691

Pattern by Cat, design and piecing by Iris

I'll start off right off the bat saying that I had a hard time translating my idea for Bella's Shield into a fabric block. As soon as I saw that topic on our brainstorm list, I knew I wanted to use Cat's Swiss Shield pattern (without the cross in the middle) and I wanted to use an organza overlay on the shield with bright dots underneath to show the "bright points of light" that represented her friends and family under the shield.

Several obstacles arose.

First, finding the right fabric. I had a piece of the Kaufman Stargazers in Midnight which had some elements I thought would be really good: a swirl pattern to mimic her description of Alec's numbing "gift" hitting her shield; and golden starbursts that fit the "bright points of light" in her description. But since the confrontation is during a snowy day, I wanted something in whites/grays or blues. It took a couple hours of googles but I finally found the Stargazers fabric in Sky, which fit my idea.

I went to print out the pattern, enlarged, and my brain didn't work right and I printed it a bit bigger than I really would have liked. I didn't realize this until after I pieced it. So as a result you can't even see the cool snowflake pattern on the top half of the block. I tried out the organza idea, but even using the really thin printable sheets, you lost the whole pattern with the starbursts & swirls.

I wanted to show "the confrontation", with her friends and family in the shield portion and the Volturi & Nomads around them, and was originally thinking about using fabric markers or embroidery. Angie made a great suggestion to use beads, which I thought would add interest to an otherwise simple block. I used topaz colored ones for her family, placing them mostly in 2's (all the mates) with a grouping at the front to show Bella, Edward, Carlisle and Renesmee. Yeah, I know she has brown eyes, but I got some matte brown beads (which turned out to be brownish/purple) for the wolves. So I made a unified line of those in back of the main Cullen group and had one in front for Jacob. I added a few red ones in the shield for the other Covens. The Volturi "enemies" are lined up outside, with a few Nomad couples behind them. I clustered 3 reds together in the front for Aro, Caius, Marcus, but also added a fourth bead for Renata, and a topaz bead for Katrina. ;)

So, if I had absolute unlimited time, like let's say I was a vampire that didn't need to sleep, or I was just that OCD, I would probably re-make this block just to size down the shield and show more background. However, because I have a wonderfully busy life outside of Twilight, and I still think it came out neat, and I had alot of fun with the beads, it is what it is.


Elizabeth said...

Iris, you did a really wonderful job on this block. Your fabric choices are wonderful. I love the beads and especially how you placed some of them over the starbursts, giving emphasis to the "points of light." Nicely done!

xo -E

joyce said...

I know you see what you mwant for it to be, but I see a lovely block. I think it does capture Bella's shield, and really like the thought you put into the placement, colors, and design - especially with the beads.
We all have things we would re-do on our blocks (OCD, perfectionist,whatever . . .), but if we always gave into that, we'd never finish anything!
It's beautiful and looks great on the quilt. Good job!