Posts Tagged ‘traditional patterns’

Mary Ellen Hopkins and the Joy of Simple Blocks

November 25, 2015

The holiday season is staring off with three gifts from the universe. First, I finished my project before the deadline. Second, I pulled out my copy of Mary Ellen Hopkin’s The It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book and rediscovered the joy of simple blocks. Third, I made a special place on the shelves for my Hopkins collection.

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Mary Ellen Hopkins was the first important quilt lecturer I ever heard, and her advice shaped the way I approach the craft. She is the reason I have such an impressive collection of graph paper notebooks – you never know when you’re going to run across a design you can turn into a quilt block.

I wish I could credit Hopkins with an equally impressive collection of finished quilts, but at least I crossed off one more thing on my to-do list. The project with a deadline is for the Progressive Party. I made two blocks for a soft and feminine quilt.

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Pink, green and yellow quilts have the same effect on me as blue and yellow quilts – immediately calming. This block is great for using leftovers from a large-scale print.

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I wanted to add some yellow to this block, too, but the fabrics wouldn’t play nice together. Ah, well, pink and soft green works, too.

Luck and wisdom!

Bait and switch

October 6, 2010

Remember those four unfinished tops that I pulled out for the Challenge project? Remember how I went on and on about finishing them? Would it surprise you to learn that all four of them are back on the UFO pile?

The day for Challenge Group kept creeping closer, and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with those tops. Luckily, there is a never ending supply of well begun but not close to half done projects in my sewing room, so I used two other ones instead.

The first was a block from a previous Challenge project on the theme of home. This block didn’t play nicely with the others I made, so it was put aside until I could make more just like it for a spring table runner.

Since I had to finish a UFO with a twist, I interpreted the instructions literally and twisted (OK, folded) fabric for prairie points. My quilting grandmother had an inordinate fondness for prairie points which I seem to have inherited.

Then I spied another half-completed project – a stack of friendship blocks from 1988. I know this because at least one block was dated as well as signed. My husband had been encouraging me to make a new cover for my computer, one that would extend over some of the auxiliary devices settled into the tray on either side of the keyboard, and these blocks were the perfect size. Also, I had just read Susan Vallallo’s “Beaded Binding: A Sparkling Finish” in the November 2010 issue of American Quilter, so there was my twist.

Detail of beaded binding

Completing these two projects didn’t put a tremendous dent in my UFO pile, but after over a month of not accomplishing anything at all in the sewing room I am thrilled. So much so, in fact, that I tidied up a few of the piles, rearranged a couple of others, and recovered another six inches of open floor space. When quilting consumes your life, it’s important to take joy in the little (really little) things.