Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Variations

Only 4 more posts after this in the Blogging A to Z challenge. I'm so proud of myself for having made it through. Going to Malaysia in the middle of the month actually was a great help as I knew I had to get myself organised ahead of time and I actually had all of my blogs written before I left. I have done a bit of editing of them as they have gone up... sometimes after the fact when I have seen them "live" and realised that some were a bit clunky. My daughter Fangirl has read them each time and has alerted me (via text) of any spelling errors or typos or other errors that have needed to be edited. I've done the same with her blog. If you haven't read hers please do. She writes a geeky cross stitch can find her here at Fangirl Stitches

Variation is the spice of life.

Really there are only so many ways to cut up and rearrange fabric and sew them together again to make a quilt. Well really there are only so many patterns in the world but, because of the choices that the patchworker makes with regards to fabric, arrangement, and size of blocks and quilts, it does seem that the choices in patchwork are endless.

Since I got into patchworking in a big way... well bigger way, I have rarely been known to repeat a pattern. As a newbie quilter though I joined in a monthly block swap. They were all nine patch blocks but each month the theme for the fabrics used would change. I am not sure for how long I participated in these monthly swaps but it was for well over a year... perhaps 2. Each month I would make a number of sets of blocks (there were 5 blocks per set I think ... or maybe more. Can't remember now... too long ago) They would all be the same. I'd send them in to the co-ordinator and at the end of the swap I would get that same number of blocks back - blocks made by other participants so they would all be different.

Eventually I had to do something with those blocks. I was so busy making the blocks for the swap that I didn't get around to making any quilts from the sets I got back. I had gone from being a finisher of quilts to a maker of UFOs (Unfinished Objects. Projects begun but not completed and not currently being worked on.) Ultimately I  I dropped out of the swap and made myself work on getting those blocks I had already collected made into quilts
9-patch block named because it is made from 9 units sewn together in the basic 3x3 format.

I made in these swaps.They have been put together in different ways and combined with other blocks and so create a wide variation of quilt tops

One place I see a lot of variation is when our group has a block of the month project where we have a set pattern and colour scheme but participants are free to choose their own fabrics. We get some really interesting blocks then. Sometimes there is a bit of variation in size too which can cause some headaches for the person who puts the quilt together.

Currently I am putting together a quilt for our group made from blocks made by various members. Its been quite challenging!! you can see the same block made in lots of different colour ways in this quilt.

Pinwheel block

The back is made from some "Bonus blocks" These were other blocks we made for other months that were made in the wrong colour. (by me... oops)

At a retreat I attended a few years ago we had a shirt challenge. Participants bought men's cotton shirts from 2nd had shops and these were cut up into 5 pieces. We were put into groups and swapped the shirt fabric between us so that we all ended up with a piece of every shirt in our group. We then had a year to make a quilt from the fabric. We were allowed to use other fabric as well but the idea was to use a piece of every shirt in our quilt. I called mine the Shirt off my Back series and ended up making 4 quilts. The fabric I added was all recycled fabric - lots of it was sheets and other linen from my Aunts estate. We had a reveal the following year at our retreat and it is amazing to see the huge variation of quilts made from the same fabric.

I took photos of the quilts but have to admit that I can't remember which quilts were from my group and which were from other groups. It doesn't really matter though. You can just enjoy them

First of all - my 4 quilts. I called these
1. Sombre Brown

I gave it to my brother in law for his 70th birthday (it was only a year or two late)

2 Sombre Blue. 

This was also a gift for another brother in law, also for his 70th birthday. I was only 6 months late with this one!

 3 Not so Sombre Stars for Derek. This was made for a friend who was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma last year. He had a pretty rough trot and I made the quilt for him.

The back of the quilt was signature squares - messages from family and friends with in our church. The surrounding fish fabric was significant as Derek loves fishing. Again all the fabric in ths quilt was either recycled or came from my scrap basket

4.Sombrero Stars. This quilt went into my cupboard for 6 months and then in February this year I gave it to the minister of a church that is in a community that was hit hard by a cyclone. I have told her to use it however she likes - give it to a needy family, sell it, raffle it... whatever. I am not sure what its final home is yet

The quilts below were made from the shirt fabrics. I am not sure which ones were in my group - at least some of them were :) 


  1. One of the things I love about quilts is that one simple pattern can look so different just by changing the fabric and color.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

  2. Wow, those quilts are just gorgeous! I've done quilting before, several times, but I'm not really a quilter. The ladies at our church often get together to yarn-tie baby quilts together, and I'll help with that. We used to do that at church, too - piece blocks, that is - but it's been decades since we did that. Just as well, though; I haven't got the eyesight to piece anymore.