Patchwork Blocks and Ennui

Basket Quilt Block

In a recent email exchange with my father, he mentioned the idea of ennui.  It’s not quite boredom, nor fatigue.  It is more of a lack of interest in what lays before you, a dis-interest, if you will.  The dictionary goes one step further: “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest.”  We quilters often describe it as “lack of sewjo,” playing off that phrase of “lost my mojo,” which after reading about in Wikipedia, all I can say is I had no idea.

Essay 2 Grading

Of course, having a stack of grading doesn’t help the ennui, but with the students dropping like flies (long story) I had fewer to grade and they actually performed really well, so it went quickly.  (Bad essays take longer to grade.)


And this lovely distraction also came for a couple of days while the family was moving between houses.

Block part 4

But as Susan of PatchworknPlay and I chatted on Instagram, I noted that sometimes just sewing a block or two can help beat the ennui.  Here’s a new one from the ever-talented Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company, from her latest magazine BLOCK.

Block Magazines

I get these every couple of months as I signed up for the subscription and I always enjoy reading them.  At QuiltCon they gave us all a copy of MODBLOCK in our swag bags.

Disappearing Hourglass

Here’s how you cut it.  She has the measurements in her magazine.  But when I posted it on IG, Krista of Poppyprint mentioned that at their guild sew day, lots of quilters were making the same thing into a star block.  I found that tutorial online *here.*

More Bird Blocks

Bird blocks which can be maddening, but also fun, once you get the hang of it.  I’m using a tutorial for “free-form” birds from my friend Rhonda, which she gave out to her class.  There’s also a tutorial online, which is much more orderly, and if you are into the cookie-cutter precision of paper-piecing, there’s also one of those.

Basket Quilt Block

The last block I made last night, while listening to my latest Inspector Gamache mystery, was this basket block, also shown at the top of the post.  It was late and I was tired, knowing that I’d lose an extra hour of sleep due to the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch (I need to live in Arizona where they never switch). I found *this tutorial* and modified it the measurements I needed, plus used extra leaves from the Pineapple Blocks quilt border (yes, still working on that) to fill the basket.  I needed the block to measure 9″ finished.  One detail is those lower snowball corner on the basket: they were 2″ squares that I snowballed on.  The rest was done by cutting as I went, loosely following the tutorial.

All PatchesThis is why I’m making blocks to beat ennui.  My Mid-Century Modern beemates sent me a whole wall of blocks in January, and I’ve been adding to them, having no plan, but only relaxing fun.  I added the Disappearing Hourglass, the Dresden Plate, the basket, the birds and a couple of fillers. I’m still playing, still arranging.  Happily, the ennui is slipping away.

8 thoughts on “Patchwork Blocks and Ennui

  1. Boo for ennui….I’m feeling ennui too as none of my current projects are really inspiring right now.

    I do love that disappearing hourglass block. There is a video tutorial for it online though so I don’t think you’re giving away any trade secrets from the magazine. Funny about Krista’s guild making the star version – my modern guild did the star block as our block lotto in Dec.

    Enjoy the sunshine today!

  2. In the end of it all, you will be let with a fun and fabulous quilt. That should scare any blues away. I love those fun bird blocks. The blocks are much more appealing than the stack of essays!!!

  3. This project seems like the perfect way to banish the ennui! (It’s a great word, don’t you think?!) your design wall is looking great! I’d like to try that disappearing ….. block. Thanks for all the links!
    But for me, best of all is that stack of graded papers by competent students who seem ready and willing to learn and apply themselves to the task at hand! Hip, hip hooray! They have a great teacher!

  4. Love the birds — want to make a whole flock of them. I’ll have to check out the Block publication. Just got the Gypsy Wife pattern (won a gift certificate) and am thinking that I may have a stash of an old fabric line called Gypsy Rose in both strips and FQs that will work. Have been wondering how your “Double Pineapple” is coming along — that’s the only way I can describe the quilt and border in my head. I need another peek at it soon! Ennui — an interesting word. This is my favorite dictionary site: http://www.onelook.com/ . Can access just about any dictionary in print, I think, starting with the OED. Have a happy, sunny day. Hope the papers don’t take too long.

  5. I’m totally with you on Daylight Savings time. It takes my body months to get use to it. Wonder if it’s because I also suffer from SAD. Lovely blocks, especially the basket.

  6. Hi Elizabeth – There can be a quality to ennui that shifts into acedia. This is hard to cope with – but finding joy helps. I’m glad you know to look for it in color, fabrics, some good papers, and a father.

  7. so much lovely!! I hear you about the ennui… just a bit of block play, and it’s gone! and thanks also for the inspector gamache! I’ll go look him up! I love a good mystery 🙂 XX!

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