Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strip Quilts

If you're reading this in hopes of some titillating pictures or prose, you're on the wrong blog. Strip Quilts are made from strips of fabric and have nada to do with the art of undressing. Now go someplace else! All you quilters, gather round. I want your opinion on this subject.

Ready-made packages of strips of fabric, often marketed under the title "jelly rolls," are very popular right now. Quilters have been making quilts from strips, as this tattered Log Cabin quilt attests, for ages. But now there's a formula for designing quilts based on the jelly roll concept. A typical jelly roll contains forty or so 2.5" wide strips (roughly three yards of fabric). Lots of patterns are being designed for using jelly rolls. Do you think this is a good idea?

Are you buying jelly rolls? Do you think they're a good value? Any down-side? To encourage comment on this subject, I'm offering a prize for comments to this blog. if you'll write and post a comment on this subject, I'll put all names (email addresses) in a hat and pull one. You have from today's date (September 23) until the end of the month (September 30) to post.

The winner gets-tada!-a jelly roll of fabrics! That's 40 strips all pre-cut. But get this: I'll custom-cut a jelly roll for you! Got a favorite color? Like strange wild-n-crazy stuff? We can accommodate you!

So give me your thoughts on jelly roll fabrics and post them here. If you don't like jelly rolls but are the winner, will you accept some home-made jelly? I just made kiwi-strawberry jam and it's getting rave reviews.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The little picture shows a stenciled motif. It was a design called Fanfare for my line of home dec stencils (StenSource International www.stensource.com ). Paint stenciling is not as popular as it used to be and I'm not even sure the stencil's still available.
But fan block quilts, if creative, are one of my favorite things. They're segmented versions of Drunkard's Path to my way of thinking. One of my first auction purchases, in Ionia, Michigan years ago, was a fan quilt with a suspiciously dark brown blotch and some torn places. After I'd paid for my treasure, I overheard the auctioneer telling someone that a dog had pups on that quilt! Yuck. I threw it in the back of the truck and immediately dunked it when I got home. Most of the stain came out and I cut down the quilt, rebound it, and sold it a month later.

However, if I had this quilt, you'd never, repeat, never get it away from me! No, I don't know who made this beauty but she was downright demented. Here's a full photo and a close-up of one of the interesting parts.

Wacky and wonderful at the same time.
Talk about attention deficit!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Faded But Not Forgotten

There's a Japanese word, 'Iro-Ochi' , which means a special sort of faded beauty. Usually applied to pottery and printmaking, iro-ochi celebrates and appreciates the individual beauty of imperfection. Why is it that we tend to devalue faded textiles such as antique quilts?

"It's old and faded-" we say and thus dismiss the possibility that the aging process of the piece might be unique, interesting, and even worthwhile artistically. Occasionally I come across, in person or on the web, a quilt that, fading and all, is truly striking.

This one has all the colors of a twilight sky.
I think it's even more interesting because the pieced pattern is so simple-a variation of Drunkard's Path called Pullman's Puzzle. The quilting stitches also are very straight forward-dark parallel diagonal lines that cut across the surface.

I would be proud to claim this quilt, faded or not.