It is my favorite time of year in Chicago, Summer! I made this wall hanging a few years ago when I moved to my current apartment that overlooks Lake Michigan and Burnham Harbor. Every Wednesday night the lake is scattered with hundreds of sailboats for what I think is called the beer can races. The scene becomes especially beautiful as the sun starts to set and the lake and sky shimmer with different colors.
I had a bundle of gradating blue fabrics. I cut them into random rectangular pieces not worrying about the length, width, or shape. I first sewed the pieces together making horizontal strips, (skinny ends of the fabric together) about four or five pieces across. Then I sewed these strips together from dark to light to try and give the effect of the water and sky. I didn't worry about the weird shape it sometimes was forming because I was going to cut the edges at the end anyways. I did keep my eye on parts the were especially wide (or skinny) and would try offset it in the next row with an opposite sized piece. I ended up with a natural curve on the top and bottom and trued up the sides.
I couldn't decide if I wanted the sailboat to be white or dark. I ended up going with a dark navy boat because I had the fabric and sometimes that is all it takes for me to make a decision :) . I used fusible web to applique the sailboat and top stitched around it. I used pellon extra firm material instead of batting and machine quilted the piece free hand making swirl designs. The swirls remind me of both the waves and sometimes brutal wind we have in Chicago. I finished the piece off with a wider binding (It might have been a little more than 1 inch) and sewed on plastic circles on the back to hang it on the wall!