A Quilted Yurt
Quilted Yurt © 2010 Linzi Upton
The concept of a quilted Yurt first occurred to me while considering how to insulate the canvas of the one that I have in my garden. When I was invited to exhibit my work at LLQS I decided that it would be fun to create a wall of panels to be viewed from the outside. Ruth Higham was intrigued and encouraging but had no idea that I planned to make something so big. I did not originally set out to create such a large project. I was meant to make a smaller Yurt of 10 feet diameter but when I saw the 18ft frame that YurtMan had constructed I knew that it had to be big enough for several people to walk inside. I was successful in being awarded a Craftmakers Award by Aberdeenshire Council to pay for the framework and gradually collected all of the materials together. I decided to use shot cottons in earthy colours with accents of gold lame. I bought many yards of discontinued tweeds from Alexanders of Scotland, a bolt of cotton for dyeing, 50 packets of dye from Hungary, several large cones of thread and huge rolls of industrial velcro. I sketched out rough ideas to include circles and Celtic inspired designs.
I pieced a few panels, quickly realising that I would need to keep them simple in order to finish the project within a year. However, I kept being side tracked by customer quilts, renovating my studio, keeping pigs and looking after my children. By the end of January 2010 I realised that my project was in jeopardy of not being completed on time. I appealed for help with piecing on an international longarm quilters’ forum and was overwhelmed by the response. I made packages of fabrics that included my design ideas and sent them off to my internet friends. They quickly returned tops to be quilted and even some fabulously quilted panels. The project attracted much attention on the internet and soon the president of the American Quilt Society got in touch inviting me to exhibit at a large show in the USA. The Quilt Museum in Paducah enquired about the Yurt as an exhibit and 2 American publishers asked me if I would like to write a book. I never imagined that the Yurt would generate so much interest beyond LLQS where it was exhibited for the first time in May 2010. The visitors were amazed at its size. I was relieved that it was completed on time after my visit to an American longarm quilting convention was extended by 2 weeks following the volcanic ash cloud flight disruptions.
My next challenge is to work out how to get enough sponsorship to ship the Yurt to America as well as transport it to talks and shows here in the UK and Europe. I will make a second one so that it really can be in two places at once and a miniature one that will be more transportable. I have to take the Yurt to a scenic and sunny Scottish location to get some good photos for a book while still keeping on top of all of my other commitments. I suppose my life would be so dull if it was less hectic...