Mini-quilt · Something to Think About


Occasionally I attempt to clean out my emailbox, which is a vain and futile attempt to generally keep my life organized. But in this round, I found several stacks of emails regarding Quilt Swaps, a thing we did in the quilt world for a while. Some of my quilty swaps:

And here’s one I received:

I had drafted this pattern for her in my then-used QuiltPro software, because — as she wrote to me — she could see what she wanted to do in her mind, but couldn’t get there. I sent it off to her, and she swapped this back to me. If you need a town square quilt, I have a version of this for sale on my PayHip shop, but it’s more colorful as I used a different source for inspiration.

I started to notice a trend in looking at all these quilts from Days Gone By: strong, bright colors with faded backgrounds, what we often called “low-volume” backgrounds. And lots of solids, or fabrics that read as solids. Maybe that’s why the little quilt at the top of the post felt so familiar to me when I was making it?

And in that mess of emails, I found a link to a post from Never Just Jennifer, detailing a “Round Trip” quilt swap that she was participating in (which is where I found links to these photos; I hope she never takes the post down). Be still my heart! Leaves! New York Beauties! Letters! Flying Geese! Low-volume backgrounds! It checked every box. But wait, here’s the quilt, a tribute to New Hampshire, at the next round, with Trees!

Yes, this was in the day before Design Walls and all that, when we just flat out quilted for fun, exploring new ideas, laying our quilts out on the floor before packaging them all up and sending them off with a book to chronicle our progress. I love that last row for the quilt with Foundation Paper Piecing!

We didn’t seem to worry about coordinated fabric lines, influencing, posting-with-polish-hoping-for-likes. We borrowed. We imitated. We sewed.

In that vein, after the final workman left the kitchen and I was waiting for kitchen-drawer organizers to arrive, I pulled out a stack of cream and black prints, and inspired by this photo from my friend Lisa from easily a decade ago, I got to work.

I remembered the tip from Yvonne, about placing your ruler perpendicular to the seam when making hourglass blocks. And yes, if you want a pattern, it’s drafted with two different versions, and I’m testing and it’s coming soon. But I did want to sew again with that delicious feeling of just making. Of just sewing.

You know what I mean.

Rolling Rainbow Star, and all the minis

Rainbow Gardens

7 thoughts on “Flashback

  1. You’re so right – when did we change that, and why? Can’t wait to just go and sew, and maybe even revive my sorely neglected blog. Sew and document, just for myself, never mind the polish of IG and the likes…

  2. Glad your kitchen is finished although I’m sure there will be details to work out as time goes on. And I’m glad you’re feeling inspired and busting out something new. I really like how you quilted up the Drunkard’s path quilt. The lines direct me through a lovely winding path. Reminds me of a labyrinth.

  3. Those swap days were such fun. I still enjoy the row by rows, round robins, minis, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with your blocks.

  4. Elizabeth I never did a swap but envy to the fun of them. Lately I have been just sewing because I was gifted a box of sweet orphan blocks, leftover bits and pieces and scrap fabrics. I decided I was just going to play and have fun so that’s what I’ve been doing. No pattern. No structure; just play. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your past projects and really like the Drunkards Path in your header. The New Hampshire quilt is a real beauty. Thank you for sharing with all of us. 😉

  5. Nice to see your swap quilts. I don’t recall participating in many swaps… except our Mid-Century Modern group. I was also in one, in person, Round Robin. You, obviously, were more engaged than me. But yes, those were the Good Old Days. I’m really happy for you to have that gorgeous new kitchen in which to make your delicious meals, and that you’re able to get back to some fabric-handling too. It’s an unquenchable thirst, isn’t it?

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