They’ve lain quietly in the quilt block graveyard since December 2021, and I’ve decided it’s time to resurrect them. I have combed the book I have by Freddy Moran — the designer of this block — a bazillion times, looking for ideas. I don’t know about you, but ideas often go wandering around in my house at night and when I wake up, I can’t find them. So today, I’m writing about my newest take on this quilt.
The Gridster Bee ladies made these blocks and notions for me:
I wanted to use all the blocks, but some are needed to help jumpstart either a planned smaller quilt or majestic back art.
UPDATED: You can find all the patterns up on the circled page, above, in the header.
The center ladies are together and I have notions and blocks on two sides. I liked the giant zig-zag I found in the other books I looked through, but thought pops of color might help make it interesting. All the black will be predominantly black-on-white prints and all the white will be — wait for it — predominantly white-on-black prints.
I’m cutting a bunch of squares and rectangles. The trick is to reverse half the blocks:
So…that’s ten-thousand being made one direction and ten-thousand the other way. I’m taking bets that I won’t do this correctly, but I will be “snowballing” for a while.
Today’s the last day of QuiltCon, and in that spirit, here’s my story. We had a nice speaker at Guild the other night, but I must have sat down at the wrong table. Every quilt she showed (such as a Gwen Marston liberated stars, a traditional spider web, etc.) the lady next to me said (in a not-soft voice): “Do you like this quilt? I don’t like this quilt. I hate modern quilts. I don’t like these quilts.”
The spiderweb block is a modern block?
This is #1306 from BlockBasePlus. Name: Spider Web. Date first published: 1933 in the Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Company periodical. The guild speaker’s blocks were a bit different, with no cute triangles on the corners, but I think 1933 qualifies a block as a “traditional quilt block.”
This full, beautiful quilt is titled Beach Umbrellas, and it’s made by Cindy Wiens of LiveAColorfulLife. It’s made with the free spiderweb block found in my PayHip shop in the Pattern Lite section (three different sizes of blocks!), but unlike what was shown at our guild the other night, I do think Cindy has made it modern. Her use of a softer block in the borders — no, there is no overlay: she used pastels to get that look — and the bright, bold colors really make great use of this traditional block.
Here’s another block (on the right) that might be pushed into the “modern” category with its use of non-tea-dyed, contemporary fabrics, but I’d still consider it a traditional block. I doubt my neighbor would have. This block was from my class at Road to California 2023, taught by Becky Goldsmith. Her quilt:
All of this is to say, thank goodness for the Modern Quilt Guild which has pushed all of us quilters into updating our stash, brightening up our outlook, and helping see the possibilities in traditional blocks. Cindy’s quilt, above, would have been pretty humdrum if it were made in tea-dyed prints with tiny rosebuds on them (or “calicos” as the Guild’s guest speaker kept saying). I’m not going this year to QuiltCon, but I did get my granola made (as promised on IG), and I did watch some rain.
Lastly, another friend of mine has passed away. Judy was a gifted artist, quilter, bookstore-owner, friend, cook, wife, mother, and grandmother and that’s just some of her titles. Last year she’d had a stroke, which confined her to bed, half paralyzed. I tried to visit her often and listen to her stories, as I considered my own wealth of blessings: health, mobility, and an ability to still sew a seam. She kept me focused. She loved Ireland (shown in the photo). She could do a deft mimic of the accents and dialects she heard while there, and I still say Pos-Toffice when I head out to mail a letter.
When I was Trader Joe’s early this month, they were selling those annual bunches of daffodils, and lo-and-behold, these were from Ireland. I dropped by two bunches on the way home, trying to put off that errand because the car was full of groceries, but the little sprite inside kept saying, “Do it now, Elizabeth.” Judy was sleeping, but she awakened briefly to receive the flowers. I gave her aides directions on how to put the flowers in water, saw that Judy was back asleep, tapped a kiss from my fingers onto her cheek, and left. She died within the week.
Thursday my husband and I went over and picked up her fabric and yarn collection from her daughter. As I was sorting through them, preparing them for her friends to come over and have our own mini-version of an Irish wake, I discovered this: a house block signed by Freddy Moran, 2001. And the memory came flooding back.
That was the year that Judy and I both took classes at Road to California. Our classes were right next to each other: hers with Freddy and mine with Joen Wolfrom. At our lunch break we ate our sack lunches together, as Judy, with her delicious sense of black humor, told me some funny stories about Freddy seeming to help herself to her students’ scraps. We both laughed.
While a traditional Irish saying begins: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,” I prefer to focus on the latter half: “Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” In my ladies quilt, l will also include these patches, thinking as I stitch:
my dear Judy, may heaven always look like your beloved Ireland–