Thursday, March 3, 2011

stitched postcards and fabric tulips

Anne's chili is simmering on the stove, my cornbread muffins are in the oven, and so we are ignoring the damp, grey, windy day outdoors while we happily distract ourselves inside. We are working toward the deadline for our postcard exchange. We've received our swap partners names and addresses and by Monday we are to post literally and digitally. People from 14 countries are participating. It's so much fun watching how Anne is interpreting the concept! And to see her pushing to try new techniques. It's positively delightful.
And though frustrating at times, it's been enlarging for me to go through the process of planning and adjusting and rethinking to where my work has brought me today. I can't share it just yet, but  because I have to walk away from it to keep me fresh and to give my ideas some gestation time,  I've also been working on a new project that has been more than a year in the making. This I'm happy to talk about!
One of my current obsessions is patchwork. I find it hard to call myself a quilter since most of my pieced tops are still waiting for their quilting, but that doesn't stop me from continually planning and making new ones. I learned how to hand piece blocks by watching the Jinny Beyer video series. She is truly amazing. Her block of the month quilt, Jinny's Garden, was available for downloading last year, one block per month, on her Jinny Beyer Studio website. Her colors are always deep and rich, what I call her signature colors. The blocks for this quilt are set on point, which turns the squares off of their flat sides onto their points so they look like diamonds. Her pattern calls for the blocks to be joined with a lattice sashing. All of the flowers are on black backgrounds. Jinny's color choices remind me of Amish quilts.  Our farm is in Vernon County, the county of Wisconsin with the highest concentration of Amish population. Having Amish in my community helps this quilt project to speak to me on several levels.
Here is my first block, the tulip. (Sorry, my poor photography skills cut off the points, and it's too dark now for a photo that captures the true purples, grrr!)

 Here's a look at Jinny's entire quilt. Do you see the tulip block, center of bottom row?

It is constructed using the paper piecing method I posted about a few weeks ago. I have no idea whether or not I'll do all 13 of the flower blocks or the quilt as shown above. But I took a class at Quilter's Destination where I learned how to quilt each individual on point block as it is completed and then attach the blocks with sashing. (It's the idea of putting a whole quilt top under my sewing machine needle that scares me, but quilting small blocks at a time is fun.) So I actually believe this pieced top will get quilted and finished. And it's nice to be sewing flowers when flowers are so much on my mind these days!


  1. Your tulip block is lovely Sharon. I like the graduation of colour. I would be nervous of puting a whole quilt top under a sewing machine needle too! I am not much of a machine sewer and much prefer to stitch by hand. The postcard swap looks fun. I rarely participate in these events as I am so disorganised! It will be interesting to see all the finished postcards.

  2. I love your tulip block, Sharon! What a beautiful project!! I have never done paper piecing, but find it fascinating. It seems to give a very crisp, precise result, and the colors make it glow.
    When you said that you have to give your ideas some gestation time, I really understood what you meant. I'll be anxious to see what you're creating.
    It's always a pleasure seeing what you're up to!

  3. This is really beautiful!