President’s Blocks, Part 2
In case you missed Part 1, you’ll want to catch up by reading President’s Blocks, 32 Years Late. I have an idea for reinventing blocks I received from guild members more than 30 years ago.
The blocks are 9″ (give or take) Nine Patches in ’90s blues and muslin, with signatures in ink or embroidery. I have about 40. I’ve decided to create blocks like the one above by slicing the Nine Patches 1/4″ to the side of the diagonal center and joining them with a big red triangle.
When this idea came to me, I went straight to Electric Quilt design software because I knew there were endless possibilities for blocks with a strong diagonal line. An example we’re all familiar with is Log Cabin. Think of all the settings: Straight Furrows, Streak of Lightning, Barn Raising and more.
The first thing was just to draw the block and color it like my fabric blocks. Easy peasy.
The next thing was to repeat the block. At the same time I made the blues and reds scrappy, just like my real blocks. It’s not terribly interesting to set them in rows like this. But wait, there’s more!
This is what happens when you rotate or flip every other block: You get a Straight Furrows setting. It’s getting more interesting.
By messing around a little more with rotations, new blocks seem to appear, and they’re on point. Pretty exciting.
Here’s another variation. Do you see how hours can slip by when you start playing in EQ? I use version 8 but I’ve had several versions and they’ve all been wonderful. If you have it, you should get it out and use it!
Here we have a barn raising set. I’m sure you’ve seen this one before. But it wasn’t until I hit the next one that my heart skipped a beat. I knew this was the one.
In traditional patchwork, I would call this Streak of Lightning. I loved it on the screen, so I had to put the blocks to work and see if they’d do the same tricks.
Just a few blocks in, I think it looks promising. I need more variety in the reds so I branch out as I cut more patches. I add larger prints and several reds with areas of white or light. I’ve gotten in the habit of adding a 1930s reproduction to every quilt I make because I’m out to prove that anything goes if you do it right!
More variety helps and I can see I’m on the right track. Your design wall is invaluable during this process.
Now, let me say…
I’m not expecting this to be an heirloom quilt. All I want is something creative and fun with blocks from people I really liked many years ago.
If you’ve ever exchanged blocks, you know that they’re never all the same size. I had blocks with the values reversed, I had blues with zero contrast and I had blues so dark they read as black.
When I trimmed them, I knew there would be cut-off points and rectangular parts and seams that didn’t line up. I added more than a few coping strips to make things fit.
I made peace with all of those issues right up front.
This allowed me to enjoy the process. Many of these women are no longer living, and as I cut and sewed each block, I thought of them and the fun times we shared in our early days of quilting. It did wonders for my heart.
There was a lot of arranging and rearranging to spread out the darks and the purple-reds and the wilder triangles. But eventually I landed here.
I added a 2″ border in a neutral solid to give it some closure, and I will probably bind it in blue, but that’s a decision that is best left until I have to make it. I could have made the reds less varied to be safe, but this is me. I’d rather make an off-the-wall quilt than a boring quilt.
The coping strips don’t bother me, nor do the off-set seams and cut-off tips. I love every name on this quilt! Even my mother made a block, and she wasn’t even a quilter.
I had to snap a picture when I trimmed her block. I’d recognize that handwriting anywhere.
I’m so excited to quilt this, and because it’s already not perfect, I can relax and try something new. I won’t stress over how beautiful the quilting is, or isn’t. It’s out of my UFO cupboard!
And one more thing.
Coming in the next post! Until then, scrap it up!