Sunday, February 1, 2015

Smoke Screens


February's Four In Art challenge is based on literature.
One of my all-time favorite books is The Screwtape Letters
by CS Lewis. The book is about a senior devil, by the name 
of Screwtape, who teaches a junior devil about the art 
of tempting the enemy (which are the humans). 
I chose the quote... 

"The game is to have them running 
about with fire extinguishers 
when there is a flood."

I titled the quilt Smoke Screens,
because this is Screwtape's intent... to have the smoke
from the extinguisher prevent us from seeing the real
problem that is at hand. Essentially we're blinded. 
With this scenario people are going through 
the motions of thinking they are solving 
 problems, but with the wrong results.

I found CS Lewis' signature on the internet and 
printed it on red fabric for the fire extinguisher. 
For the actual quote I used Illustrator to
design the text and printed it out on the gray
background fabric (which is extra from a 
skirt I recently made). Since these are actually
CS Lewis' words I thought it would be good
to have them looking like they are coming out 
of the fire extinguisher.

I used silver thread to free motion quilt the text. 
Boy, I was seeing circles after all those little letters!

My youngest kiddo wanted to get in on the 
free motion quilting fun too. 

I really like this quote since it's about 
Screwtape teaching to distract humans during 
a crisis with the wrong resources to life's problems.
How often do we find ourselves in a flood, 
but are tempted or distracted with the wrong solution?

Close up of the fire extinguisher handle. I used silver 
heat-resistant fabric for the handle and nozzle.

Detail of silver text.

I liked the surface patterns pictured here with the
light reflecting on the silver thread.

Blue thread was used in the bottom half of the quilt to represent the flood that the fire extinguisher is being used on. I also added a some red, in the very narrow binding, to help draw the eye across the quilt, to provide some balance to that HUGE extinguisher. 
Blue fabric was added to the binding down where the flood is taking place.  

One valuable lesson I learned is... never free motion
quilt while you are on the phone with 
one of your college kids! 
I accidentally did this on the red knob on 
the fire extinguisher handle and decided the 
quilting there was thoughtless & messy. 

Back side of the Smoke Screen quilt, which looks like the 
aftermath of fighting a flood with a fire extinguisher...
total chaos in a lost battle. 
This is where Screwtape and his minions want us to be,
lost, distracted, exhausted and confused about all our efforts.

Personal Note: 
I have found many parallels between 
the temptations from the adversary and the 
instruction from Screwtape. To me, CS Lewis' genius lies in 
understanding the enemy and discerning his 
intents, purpose and temptations with us. 
I have been training Kyokoshin Karate for 7 years. 
One thing that I have learned from karate is that 
if you are to fight an enemy, you need to study 
them and know their weaknesses and strengths 
so that you can be triumphant. 
And so it is in life...

You can view other Four In Art quilts here.

Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at 
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Susan at PatchworknPlay


  1. Oh, Simone, how perfect!!! While I've read many of C.S.Lewis' works, have to admit The Screwtape Letters has been overlooked (but goes on my list now!). I just love your fabric choices and lettering and free-motion quilting. This is outstanding! (And I love that your "kiddo" is doing some of the quilting - if she can, I can certainly make it over that mountain!)

  2. That is wonderful and the quilting is amazing. I can see why you were seeing circles! Great work!

  3. Great quilt - I love the interpretation of CS Lewis' words. He is very high on my list of favorite authors. That is certainly a lot of tiny quilting and kudos for letting your kids help. I am much too much of a control freak to let them help on my projects. I think that because of this quilt, I will forever remember this quote.

  4. I love your quilted flood, the graphic style of your imagery, and your use of colour in the image itself and in the quilting and in the way your binding balances everything. Perfect choice of backing too!

  5. Wowsers, Simone! This is stunning, and such a good depiction of so much sage advice found in that little tome. I love the technique, the use of color and text, the FMQ, and of course, that backing and binding! All of these combine to make a very successful Four-in-Art quilt. Bravo!


  6. What a wonderful interesting. CS Lewis was a great man of God and I"m sure that he would love your quilt and your pertinent explanation!

  7. Oh, My, Gosh! This quilt is superb in all respects. I have heard of this book, but not read it. I want to read it now. This quilt has captured my curiosity. The various techniques you used all gel together. Very well done.

  8. WOW! What an amazing quilt you have created Simone! I LOVE the depth of the quilting and how that has become the feature! That is an aspect of quilt making I am still struggling with! Great job!

  9. Wow . . . such a great interpretation. You put an incredible amount of thought and work into your concept and the result is a really well done, meaningful quilt. I enjoyed reading the entire post.