Remembering Sotchi: Behind the seams of an Award Winning Quilt!!

I am so excited that my quilt “Remembering Sotchi” will be featured this year at International Quilt Festival in the A Celebration of Color exhibit.  You can see it in Chicago from April 12 to the 14th and in Houston from November 8th to the 11th.

I’m preparing a short story about the quilt for the Guide by cell tour and have managed to tell the story in less than 90 seconds.  But that made me realize that there is so much more to this quilt!  So I thought a blog post would be the best way to explain my design process for this quilt.


Claire Haillot, “Remembering Sochi”

How the story begins

It all began in February 2014 when the Winter Olympics began in Sochi.  While my husband was watching the hockey, I was obsessed with the intricate designs around the rink.  I realized that there was many use of the design, in various colors.  There was multi-colored flags and banners floating around as decorations in the Olympic village and that’s when I started to think that it would make a great quilt!

I played around with fabrics to achieve the look.  Many samples were made and then set aside as the process was tedious and I am all about lazy quilting.

In Fall 2015, I was at the Houston Quilt Market helping out my friend Deborah Miller in her PlumEasy Pattern booth while writing an article about her for Quilter’s World.  Writting the article on the plane ride home, there was one quote from Deborah that resonated deep in my soul:

“I started PlumEasy Patterns because I had a great pattern (Folded Star Hot Pad) and wanted to share it with the world. And I didn’t want it to die with me, it had to be my legacy.”

That got me thinking about my quilting journey.  If I died tomorrow, what would be my legacy?

I thought of the last quilt I had made and felt that it was not my true self. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful Lone Star quilt that won a second place ribbon.  But it was not a reflection of what I liked to do as a quilter.  It didn’t take too long for my inner self to scream out what I truly wanted to finish.  That’s when my Sochi design came back to mind… I knew then and there that I had to finish what I started.

The good news was that Deborah could help me!  Her pattern is based on a printed interfacing and I realized that this was also the best way to make my design simple.

knowing what I had to do

When I got home from the airport, my son was working on his geometry lessons.  I stole his rulers and made a mock-up which I photographed and sent off to Deborah asking if she could print that template for me.  A few weeks later, the interfacing was at my doorstep and I spent the next month working on the project every spare moment I had.  I even took half the space in the basement to create a home studio, which I call my Quilt Cave.  This enabled me to work from home instead of having to go to my other studio in the Quilt Shop.

I washed every piece prior to use

There are more than 200 different fabrics in this quilt.I knew I needed lots of colors, so since early 2014 I started collecting  fat quarters with big prints and lots of colors.  The yellows and purples were the most difficult to find as they didn’t have much contrast. And this design needs lots of it to work. 

Choosing the color for the border was probably the most difficult part of the whole quilt. I envisioned it black, but once the panels were finished, it just didn’t work. I auditioned whites, grays, chocolate, skin tone, even teal but it was the Navy that made it all work.

Collen worked her magic with custom quilting
Quilting design by Colleen Paul

By Christmas, the quilt was off to be quilted by my very talented friend Colleen Paul.  I knew exactly how to quilt the panels but had no idea on the borders and sashing.  Colleen once again worked her magic and quilted beautiful designs that complemented the panels.

The surprises along the way

Presenting my pattern

While working on the quilt, I would send up-dates to Deborah to let her know how the interfacing panel solved so many problems.  And that’s how we came up with the Dancing Diamonds pattern that was presented at the Spring Quilt Market of 2016.



I also submitted the quilt to the Vermont Quilt Festival and won a second place ribbon in June 2016.  I was planning on redecorating my bedroom to place the quilt above my bed but had to deal with health problems so it literally spent a year stored away in my Quilt Cave when a tweet caught my attention over Christmas last year.  Quilt Festival was reminding quilters to enter their quilts for their up-coming new exhibit entitled “A Celebration of Color”.  Since it was rolled up doing nothing in the basement, I figured I had nothing to lose.

And the rest as they say… is history. Hoping this will help you start your own story!


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