Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to Rekindle the Flame

Ages ago I almost quit quilting. Truthfully, looking back, I was flat out exhausted, having just closed my quilt/fabric shop, Culpepper's Quilts, after seven grueling years in business. I was wondering what to do next. While I didn't want to leave the craft I loved, quilts--especially those in the magazines--were starting to look the same. If I didn't find some aspect of quilting to jump-start my interest, it was time to move on.

After studying an odd antique Irish Chain quilt, I sat down to re-draw the pattern and realized that if I worked in more than one pattern (multiple blocks) within the same quilt, the resulting effects were intriguing. Certainly enough to keep my interest. I'd found my muse. To this day I continue to work happily in multiple blocks.

While on ebay, the online auction site, I came across a seller who offered the book I wrote ("vintage quilting book") as a result of those early multi-block experiments and re-remembered just what fun it was to make those quilts and present the concept of multiple patterns to the quilt world. The book was called Crosspatch and it's still around though no longer in print.

My tastes have changed but the design concepts hold. Whether working in black and white or many colors, I love the idea that when different blocks are sewn side-by-side, the sum is greater than its parts. Beautiful medallion quilts are especially easy to design using Crosspatch methods and the class is still really popular today. In the coming year, I'll teach the class Two Block Quilts at least six times.

I still love to doodle and sometimes the result is almost overpowering. A whole evening can pass as I color graphs. It's kind of like walking a mandala. The act of designing and playing with colors has a calming effect on me. I didn't know when to stop when I designed the piece called If Parrots Made Quilts. The quilt is 92" square and you tend to love or hate it.

The auction for the old copy of Crosspatch is still up on ebay if you're interested. The auction number is 260576446979.