Thursday, June 24, 2010

Funky town for October 2010

The October block swap has been a challenge for me.  The only clear front runner/popular requests have either been done recently or are already scheduled or are very similar to blocks we just did/are about to do as part of a special swap (think "stars").  Also, last year's October block had a limited showing, despite being a much requested block, I suspect because of the many things going on in September/October.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I actually have bigger chunks of free time in November/ December than I do as school starts, the days gets shorter & the whole slide through Rosh Hashannah & into Yom Kippur happens (which is doubly odd as we have no children & A is not  himself observant, but there you are).

So I decided that I would take a chance & instead focus on an idea rather than a specific block or color/fabric scheme.  So without further ado: we are making a funky town, each block being different building in our town.  I realize that this block is only likely to appeal to a minority within our overall swap group as we usually lean towards more traditional pieced blocks; I promise this is not a sign that is changing.  This is just a short summer-is-truly-over vacation to Funky Town & the next swap will ease us back to more conventional pieced blocks.

There are a variety of basic house blocks all over the internet, in books, on software.  By & large they are a central square or rectangle with a smaller rectangle representing door somewhere in there & a triangle-more-or-less shape for the roof.  These pieces are by no means set in stone (bahahahahahaha); any building you can come up with that fits in the overall dimension of 9.5" unfinished/9" finished is just groovy.

I made a few houses with something interesting in the windows.  This particular house is NOT part of the swap but was my contribution to a larger quilt on the theme "home for the holidays".  It just photographed the best.

For others I focused on the landscaping, or as in my case, city-scaping.  & do not feel you need to limit yourself to houses.  Schools, hospitals, barns, shops, churches, synagogues, go crazy.  Plant gardens, fly flags or anything else you can think of. 

Still others I just kinda winged it, liberated quilt-style.  My only self-imposed rule was to keep anything pointy or important more than 1/2" in from the border, so it would not be trimmed away.  The frequently seen white outer border is more about my stash than any planning.

As you look at traditional house block patterns, you will see that many have a border around the whole thing but others do not.  For this reason you might want to make your block slightly smaller & then add a border.  That being said, there is no reason any special background feature (that does not involve potential clipped points) cannot be carried out to the edge.  The NYCityscape block could lose up to 1/4" on all four sides & it would not make much difference. 

If you are still on the fence &/or completely clueless what you might do with these blocks: one set of six (your five to swap & one you keep for yourself) would make happy place mats or even a table runner.  Four blocks could be a fun wall hanging.  & any number at all could make a cute fabric book along the lines of the bingo block color book.  As of this posting, a 6th block quilter has not yet come forward.  These could make a kids quilt, but I honestly do not think they are just for kids.  They could just as easily work for a Habitat for Humanity quilt or a cheerful Hospice quilt or...don't let me limit your thinking.  If someone is interested in being the 6th block person, you must make that request through the FaceBook Quilt Block Swap Group.

& last but not least, if you absolutely don't feel up to striking out on your own, Quilter's Cache has a very traditional, very conventional Schoolhouse Block that wants only the small border to "size it up".

I also made a few for which I can give you no pattern because I just went through the scrap bag, looking here anything that might work & free-worked it.  I also searched the interweb for more ideas.  You can find inspiration at  FKA Park City Girl, Tallgrass Prairie Studio, & two of my all time favorites: Lisa Boyer & Gwen Marston


  1. the fabric in the top block looks to be inspired by henri matisse.... do you know what it is? can i still buy it?

  2. it is a matisse fabric & I got it on the clearance rack at Timeless Treasures in Ocala FL, so probably not BUT I do have a few yards of it & could spare some. Next block swap I will tuck it into your envelope :>