Now that I quilt, I see quilt patterns everywhere. Like in the pebble-mosaic walkways of the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon! Incidentally, that garden is beautiful, but in the interest of isolating patterns for blogging, I took some very boring pictures of it when I visited on November 15th, this year.
Labeling quilts is an interesting topic for me. Historically, labeling quilts was not the norm. Some modern interpreters assume that the women of the past didn't think their work deserved credit, as this quote from Womenfolk.com exemplifies:
Most women of the past simply didn't think that the everyday or even "for best" quilt they made was important enough to sign. Some even felt it would be too prideful to sign their quilt.
I hesitate, however, to argue motives from a lack of evidence. We have positive evidence of makers marking their quilts in several instances, such as when making signature quilts as gifts or community projects, or when labeling a quilt for laundry purposes. Even the source cited above, which claims women failed to label quilts because they thought their work unimportant, then goes on to describe an uptick in labeling when indelible inks came on the market. Did women suddenly find their quilts important then?
Unsigned quilts were exhibited at county fairs, shipped across the ocean as gifts, saved for generations, and described in letters. Clearly they were not unimportant, even if they went unsigned. So maybe there are other explanations for not signing. Maybe the makers lived in smaller communities than we do today, and within those communities the people who mattered knew who made what. Perhaps the makers didn't care about a hundred years down the line because they never expected their quilts to last that long!
I am not happy with my lioness, for two reasons. First, I think she's too plain. Her yellow colors are similar to each other, and their saturation is similar to the blue sky. And second, I already have a lion, and I want a greater variety of species. So I look for stock photos of leopards and cheetahs, to see if their silhouettes and face shapes are similar enough to give my lioness a change of species. What do you think?
(Unless otherwise credited, I took all the pictures in this post. The lioness paper piecing pattern is available on Etsy.)
Where can you see lions? ONLY IN KENYA!
Remember the Weebl's Kenya flash animation? It's on YouTube now, but I prefer it with the endless loop, for that original dorky charm! When I was in Africa with my mom, I felt that song! We were on the "Holy Crap. Lions! Tour"! The funniest part was when I'd burst into the Kenya song, and my mom, thoroughly out of touch with the enthusiasms of the youth, would give me a baffled/amused look.
Imagine me in a Serengeti campsite, taking this picture. Behind the camera, my mom and I have just washed our clothes in a shared fountain and wait for them to dry over rocks. As we sit and talk, we admire the birds. The blue ones are superb starlings (Lamprotornis superbus). I don't know what the smaller, brown ones are, nor what to call the bossy-looking fellow with legs like a Clydesdale horse! In fact, it's the bossy one that prompts me to take the picture, because we've never seen him before. However, the superb starlings are the ones which stick in my memory a decade later. They are native to East Africa, where they gather everywhere in big groups. The Xeno-Canto website collects their calls, so you can hear them sing!
It's too heavy to stay up on the design wall, so I have draped it over the table... which means you'll have to take my word for it that it's quite nice! Ha ha! However, I am too delighted to wait for a perfect picture to post. So here we have the Acid Trip quilt top, finished, pretending to be a tablecloth:
Now I need to have it quilted. I have decided that the black pieces need to be quilted with stripes that mimic the stripes they would have if they were pieced like the colorful ones. That means paying the long-armer to do custom quilting. So it will have to wait until I have more money! But it's ready to go as soon as my finances permit!
Previous posts for this project:
For me, the defining feature of a scrappy quilt is that I use-up scraps of fabric I already have, rather than select and acquire fabrics on purpose for a theme, color scheme, or design.
My recent Acid Trip quilt having used up nearly all of my long strips of scrap, I just have smaller pieces left, and a desire to use what I can and throw out the "crumbs" -- anything less than 2 inch square. (I don't have the patience for crumb quilting!) Moreover, I really enjoyed foundation piecing to make Acid Trip, so I seek another pattern I can do the same way. The Double Wedding Ring pattern (example above) appeals, because I can foundation piece my scraps onto the "melon slices" and go from there.
The Hunter's Star is a simple, oddly composed block, which creates stars at its intersections with other Hunter's Star blocks. There are actually several ways to make this block. Deb Tucker mentions several of them here, before talking about her method. As I see it, the various ways can result in only two final block options, which I illustrate below.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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