Coalescing Ideas

Last year, my good friend, The Fabric Queen, embarked on a project to use a little piece of each fabric she bought all during the year. The goal was to see how the fabric worked in a block, so she could buy more if it worked very well or not worry about acquiring more if it wasn’t optimal for actual quiltmaking. I thought this was a great idea. If I did something similar it would alleviate the problemsthat I had last year with trying to find old fabrics. It is on my mind, but I haven’t yet done anything similar.

Earlier this week, after reorganizing the reading material next to my bed, I came across a Summer 2005 issue of American Quilter magazine and the cover quilt drew me in and got me to thinking, on various levels about TFQ’s ongoing project with her new fabrics.

Jane Blair‘s quilt, Things Change, first of all is a really amazing piece of work. The way the layers peel away to reveal another layer is masterful in construction. However, it was one piece of the quilt on the cover that particularly fascinated me. In the upper left hand corner, the artist has placed some simple blocks made up of two rectangular pieces. I am not fond of the colors, but in this quilt, they make perfect sense and Ms. Blair achieves (what I perceive to be) her goal of showing how quiltmaking has evolved.
The thought began to rumble around in my mind that this block might be quick enough to piece for me to actually make blocks using the fabric I buy throughout the year. Then thoughts evolved to the size of the block and the size of the pieces. I haven’t looked it up in EQ6, but it isn’t really such a difficult block that I couldn’t just cut a couple of rectangles and sew them together, however I do think that the ratio of the patches to each and the whole block would be important. It would also be important to determine the right size of the block, so as to showcase the fabric without taking too much fabric or making too much of a commitment to this exercise as a project. I don’t want to make really difficult blocks with 30 pieces. If I do such an exercise, I want it to be simple and effective.

I think that making this rectangle block in a 12×12″ size would be crazy. I wonder if it would work in a 4×4″ size? The patches would be 2.5″ each, so the block would be a finished size of 4″. I suppose I need to fall back on my mantra, made popular in my circle by Lorraine Torrence, “Make Visual decisions visually. I guess this means I need to wash some fabrics!

2.5″x5.5″
2.5″x4.5″

I sewed a couple of options and it looks like the larger one is better. It is great to be inspired by other quiltmakers. I also like talking about quiltmaking with others and being inspired by our conversations.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

2 thoughts on “Coalescing Ideas”

  1. I like the 2.5″ x 4.5″ block; the pieces are a better proportion to the block overall.

    I’ve been really happy with this project over the past year. I liked the way it got me to cut into my fabrics right away, not just for my swatches, but to actually use them. Nothing seems too precious to use once I’ve cut into it and made something with it. I actually did go out and buy more of some fabrics that I fell in love with as soon as I used them, and I actually gave away some fabrics that made me want to tear my hair out trying to use them. Well, I made napkins with pieces of it and gave the rest away.

    Warning, though: do not engage in this project unless you are prepared to be confronted by the number of blocks you end up with at the end of the year. I just finished the blocks for 2007 and counted them: 685 blocks. Eek! It’s a good thing we won’t be shopping in Denver in June this year…

  2. You will be amazed to know that I washed half of my fabric last weekend. Don’t ask about the pressing. Not done is the short answer.

    I think I like the smaller blocks, too. Your point is well taken about how many blocks will come out of such a project. Hopefully, I won’t buy as much fabric as I did last year. I haven’t recovered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *