Friday, November 25, 2011

Two new Baby Quilts

A quick post about two quilts I recently made for colleagues who are expecting (separate) babies.
I enjoy making baby quilts. A lot. They offer great opportunities to experiment as they are smallish, and, honestly, the parents are happy with them pretty much no matter what, and the baby won’t have much of an opinion, until he/she is older anyway.
In other posts I’ve ruminated on the meditative aspect of baby quilts, and the thought process that goes into making them. This post is not about that. This post is about the beauty of using fabrics from my stash and repurposing them. 

Here are the two new quilts:
And a close up:
(The colors are more accurate on the close up)
And the second one: 

The tops for both are made entirely from fabrics I already had, all in flannel, saved as remnants from earlier projects (such as PJs for the kids when they were little). The first one is a simple Bargello type pattern (I made a much more complex one Here). Part of the beauty in Bargello is in its simplicity. You sew strips together into one piece, and then sew that piece into a tube. Then you open the tube in different locations to determine the layout. So the first row was opened between fabrics the dark blue and the yellow fabric, the second between the yellow and the froggy fabric, and so on. Then, because I wanted it a bit bigger, I included another row of all the fabrics, which is why the rows begin and end with the same fabric.

The second top is made in one of my all time favorite patterns, the disappearing nine patch. The pattern is fairly simple, and the secret here is in the layout. To make this you sew a nine patch, nine squares of different patterns into a larger square. Then,  you cut the nine patch into four, creating four squares that are larger than the original pieces. Then you lay those out in any pattern you want. For this one I chose to randomize the squares, and then played with them to increase the “random” effect.

Both of these patterns are lots of fun to work with as they yield such different results depending on color and layout. And in the end they bring comfort and cozy cuddles to new babies and their parents.
Really it’s a win-win-win.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I find quilts inspiring. I find the art form itself inspiring, as well as find quilters themselves inspiring.  I find inspiration in the colors, creativity, versatility, and variation found in quilts and quilting.
The art form is inspiring because, among other things, it is so versatile. If you type “quilt” into a search engine you will get many many (many) hits, and they will be quite different one from the other. Quilts are made for function, form, art, therapy, memorials, and many other reasons. Quits are made from a HUGE variety of materials. Art quilts often may not be used as blankets, while I find all quilts to be art. There are numerous techniques, and styles to quilting, and they vary by region, time in history, and available materials.

And this is also where my admiration of quilters comes in. Quilters use what they have, from feed sacks to silk, from buttons to branches. Quilters use scraps of fabric as well as specially-bought material. They use worn out clothes, and clothes of the departed (in memory quilts especially). They use ribbons and lace and whatever else they may find and they use it in endlessly creative combinations.They use these materials, and create combinations, inspired by what they see around them, what they see in their mind's eye, and the results are both varied and wonderful.

As with anything, quilting goes through fads and a quick history lesson will show patterns that were popular at one region or time, falling out of usage in others. A textile expert can look at a quilt and tell you when it was made just by the color combinations (and dye techniques) seen in the fabric.  During times of financial hardships, certain materials are used more; during times of transition or social crisis (wars, depressions, etc) quilts reflect the mood and mindset of the quilters and their communities. Quilts are used as visual histories of families and peoples.
I’m not an expert, in textile or quilting history (though I have several research projects already mapped out, in my head), so my inspiration comes in random waves. People send me links (especially my mother-thanks Imma!), or magazines, or books. I’ve been to quilt shows and craft fairs, museum exhibits and garage sales. And every once in a while, something will grab me, REALLY grab me.

The latest quilter whose work has grabbed me is this one: Jimmy McBride. 
Now it’s rare to find a male quilter; this is by and large a female dominated art/hobby/craft/what-have-you. So when a male quilter comes to my attention, I sit up. And in this case, the quilts are stunning. I got a link to this man’s work from my husband (thanks AJ!):
And when I went there I found space-themed quilts of such detail and intensity, I was floored.  The quilter goes by “intergalactic transport” and has a website, blog, and etsy shop which are amazing to peruse (and I did). In his quilts, he incorporates real images from space with images of his own. He does piecing, appliqué, embroidery and quilting. The quilts are detailed, very detailed.

Here’s one image: 

The Pillars of Creation. (I copied the image from his Etsy shop: Stellar Quilts)

You can see the rest of his stuff, and read about his creative process (with lots of photos!) at:

So inspiring!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Purple Doodle

In keeping with my monochromatic doodling endeavors, here’s a picture, or two, of another quilt, this time in purple.

The design is my trusted disappearing nine-patch. I love this pattern! It is so versatile and easy. And the trickiness of it is that it looks so random. It keeps the eye wondering along it, looking for repetitions and patterns. I find this pattern dynamic, and relaxing all at the same time. And I think it’s even more so with the monochromatic palette I’ve been playing with recently.

Here’s a close up-can you tell where the blocks are?

And here’s the back.

Next up-two flannely quilts for colleagues expecting babies in the next month or so.
Also, coming soon, pictures of my daughter’s Bat Mitzva Quilt, which I’ve finished but have yet to photograph.