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Under the Storm
by Caryl Bryer Fallert

Printable version (563k PDF)

  • Copyright 1991 Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size: 98" x 98" (249cm x 249cm)
  • Techniques: Hand dyed, machine pieced,and quilted
  • Materials: fabric: 100% cotton  / batting: 100% polyester
  • Private Collection: Alabama
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Design Concept

The design for this quilt was based on the traditional quilt block, Storm at Sea. Each individual block is 25 1/2 " square. An 8" border surrounds the nine center blocks. This quilt was designed with pencil on graph paper the year before I got my first computer.

The entire quilt was string pieced. That is, a template for each piece of each block was cut from paper, and as many as nine strips of fabric, in different shades of the same color, were sewn to each template, until it was covered. After all of the blocks were assembled, the paper was removed.
With the exception of the 2" outside black border, and the binding, no new fabric was cut for this quilt. It was made entirely from scraps. When I finish a quilt, I toss all of my leftover strips of fabric into a laundry basket. By the end of the year, the basket is usually overflowing with hundreds of different colors and shades. This quilt was made from my leftover basket of strips from 1989. Before I began piecing, I sorted all of my strips by color, and then subdivided the colors into light, medium, and dark values. The back of the quilt is pieced from many different blue and green flower print fabrics.

To carry out the Storm at Sea theme, the quilting was done in fish and water patterns. Schools of fantasy fish swim from the upper right corner to the lower left corner of the quilt. The spaces between the fish are filled with water patterns, which were quilted free hand. Since I wanted the fish to show, I chose a medium gray thread, for my machine quilting. It looks dark against the light fabrics, and light against the dark fabrics.

I chose the name Under the Storm, when I decided to do the quilting of this quilt in fish patterns. I thought that even if there were a storm on the surface of the sea, the fish probably wouldn't care, and would swim peacefully under the surface. Ironically, the day I began quilting the fish was the first day of Operation Desert Storm. The quilting of the fish became my way of finding peace, during a week when the TV news carried round the clock reports of turbulent and frightening events in the Gulf.

This quilt was purchased by the founder of the American Professional Bass Fisherman's Association.


  • Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2, Williamsburg, VA 1991
  • Marian Kentucky Invitational Quilt Show, 1991, Marian, KY
  • 22nd Annual National Quilting Association Show, 1991, Lincoln, NE, FIRST PLACE
  • American Quilters Society Show, 1992, Paducah, KY
  • Museum of the American Quilters Society (National Quilt Museum) 1993-1995
  • Spectrum: The Textile Art of Caryl Bryer Fallert, Traveling Solo Exhibition, 1996-1998 Museum of the American Quilters Society, Paducah, KY, Illinois Art Gallery, Chicago, IL, Illinois State Museum Gallery, Lockport, IL, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL, American Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin FL, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA


  • Quilters Newsletter Magazine, March, 1992, COVER & p.2
  • Patchwork Quilt Tsushin (Japan) 1992: Issue #48 COVER
  • The Visual Dance, 1995, Joen Wolfrom, C&T Publishing, p.119
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