Sunday, July 29, 2007

Squares from the Past

Here's one I made for my brother in 2002. I visited him over the weekend, and finally got a halfway-decent picture of it.

The blocks are all paired -- for every block that has a square in Fabric A and a center in Fabric B, there is another one where the square is Fabric B and the center is Fabric A. The pairs couldn't be in the same row or column, and I might have had some other rules too. Since it's 7 x 9 blocks, there is one block that stands alone. I did something different with that one -- maybe signed it? I don't remember for sure.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Blocks for Babies

One of the projects I've been trying to get off the table before the new quilting year starts is finishing up a big set of baby blocks I started a few months back. The baby block is my standard baby-shower gift. They are embarassingly simple -- stuffed fabric cubes -- and yet, they are kind of cool.

A bunch of blocks.
I will give you the pattern, if you agree to send me a large sum of money every time you use it. Deal? OK: You cut out six identical squares of fabric. Sew them into a cube, remembering to leave a little hole so you can invert and stuff that sucker. Then, whipstitch the hole shut. Voila.

Baby Ira of Portland, Oregon, digs his blocks.
Infants find them entertaining to grab, and toddlers find them entertaining to throw and eventually to catch. I usually give a few of different sizes, so they can kind of be stacked in a wobbly sort of way. I put "vocabulary items," mostly animals, on two or three faces of each block, so they're good for a little cognitive work too. Parents like them, in that they look cool, they don't make any noise, and it is really hard to break anything with them.

Baby Maya of Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, enjoys giving her block a good clutch.
Advantages to the maker are: 1) it's a good way to use a little scrap fabric and thread, (2) they cost virtually nothing to make, just a few cents for the fiberfill, and (3) they require very little skill or effort, but you still rock the baby shower by having given something handmade. I make 'em in big batches once a year or so, so I have plenty on hand that I can give to acquaintences at work when they have babies. You give something handmade to someone's kid, they pretty much eat out of your hand after that.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sisters 2007, part II

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is a pretty impressive event. It occupies the entire commerical district of a small town -- maybe 3 blocks by 5 blocks of nonstop quilts. They are on the enterior surfaces of the buildings, inside the shops, hanging from lines, displayed on racks -- everywhere. There are enough quilts, in fact, that it took two hours of walking around looking at quilts before I found my own quilt, which actually had a nice, prominent spot. If you like design and fabric, it was the place to be.

I like the ephemeral nature of the show. It's an enormous undertaking to set it up and take it down, and you can't let quilts sit out overnight, so as major events go it is pretty compressed. Quilts go up, cars and tour busses roll in, the crowds gawk, the quilts go down. It's a short-term experience -- kind of a quilt HAPPENING, man. They must have everyone from three counties either directing traffic, setting up and taking down, doing quilt security, or selling water. LOTS of people were selling water.

Naturally, the male quilter suffered his usual minor indignities.

Picking out "favorites" becomes a pretty meaningless exercise when you are wandering around among 1500 pieces. I basically just blazed away with the camera at anything I liked. I didn't repeat the statistical analysis of last year, but most of my personal preferences (geometrics, symmetry, jewel tones, contrast) are obvious in the ones that caught my eye. The photos are posted here.

Here's some stuff I liked:

There were a fair number of Hawaiian-style quilts in evidence. I think of the Hawaiian quilt as the highest form of the cut-out snowflake. Typically, you've only got two pieces of fabric; the first is symetrically cut in a radial pattern and appliqued onto the other, background fabric. Got that? Maybe an example would help. Here's one I really like: "Hawaiian Applique" by Alice Pedersen of Bend.

There were also quite a few kaleidoscope quilts, which are a little more self-explanatory. I can't picture myself ever doing one of these, but I think they are pretty cool to look at.... which is the point.... Here's "One Block Wonder in Blue" by -- well, I'll be damned -- Alice Pedersen, of Bend. You know, I didn't pay any attention at all to who made what (I just took pictures of the tags as well as the quilts). I guess I must like Alice Pedersen's work.

I like squares. Here's a simple but loveable square-intensive piece called "Cappuccino" by Jamie Conerly of Tigard (quilted by Erin Davis).

Finally, here's one that doesn't fit any particular category. I just think it's cool. "Monica's Graduation Quilt" by Margaret J. Miller, of Bremerton.

Lots more good stuff in the photo album. Or, for another take on the show, rebel wrote up a description too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sisters 2007, part I

Went down to Sisters on Saturday for the annual Outdoor Quilt Show, the largest such in the world. I'll blog it for real tomorrow, but for those of you who are jonsesing for the pictures -- that's you, Jen -- I figured I should post the link to them.


Monday, July 09, 2007

More Baby Quilt Action

No sooner had I finished the quilt for Mr. and Mrs. ChuckDaddy's soon-to-be punk, when another set of friends -- let's call them Mr. and Mrs. Anglo-Lithuania -- are all, like, "oh, we're pregnant too! Due at the same time! Hint, hint!"

Well, what could I do? I made 'em a quilt. Don't tell them, though; I don't think I'm going to give it to them until Thursday. I'm pretty sure they don't read my blogs.

In deciding what to do for this second baby quilt in a row, I wanted to symbolize how cool I thought it was that two of my best couple friends are having babies within a few weeks of each other by having the quilts be somewhat similar. But, I didn't want them to be TOO much the same.

So, this is what Baby ChuckDaddy's quilt looks like:

And this is what Baby Anglo-Lithuania's quilt looks like:

It's got a different color (duh!), no fabric substitutions (I was more careful), and more aggressive quilting (I was more confident). Plus, it makes a nod to tradition with pink in the backing, as the kiddo is expected to be of the female persuasion.

May these and all other babies on the way be fabulously healthy, fabulously happy, and let their parents sleep through the nights. Yeah?