Thursday, September 1, 2016

Speaking of weirdness

I've been indulging in two hobbies -- quilting and pen palling -- for decades now. Pen pals since I was in the 8th grade (long, long ago in a galaxy far away) and quilting. Quilting is slightly more recent. I got into it in the early 1970s. Occasionally the two hobbies overlap.

In a post a number of years ago I mentioned that one of the ways pen pals used to (and still do) find new pals was through the exchange of friendship books, aka fbs. Most people call them eff bees; I tend to refer to them as fibs, possibly because Pen Pal Land has always had its fair share of fantasists. Long before the Internet came along to provide people with a platform for fictionalizing their lives, people did it in Pen Pal Land. But that's normal human behavior and definitely not what I'm thinking about today.
Shady Lady hand applique quilt block

In addition to the fbs, people swap exchange slips, i.e., short form chain letters. Instead of going through the whole rigamarole of "Send $1 to the first name on the list, cross it off, add yours to the bottom, make six copies and pass them on" an exchange slip will just say "2 Viewcards Exchange - 6 copies" (often abbreviated as 2 VC - 6 c) or "Sheet of Seals Exchange - 6 copies." Name an item and somewhere out there exchange slips probably circulate for it, like tea towels or dishcloths.

Or quilt blocks or fabric swatches. I used to do 12-1/2 inch square friendship block exchanges (pieced or applique), tumbler exchanges (a tumbler being a polygon shaped sort of like a drinking glass) done to a standard template, and a few others. At one point I had quite a few blocks other people had sent me. There was no standard pattern for generic friendship blocks, although there were a few exchanges for specific themes (Sunbonnet Sue, pinwheels) or holidays (Christmas). I must have really been into the whole blocks/swatches/whatever exchange thing for awhile. I made two Christmas wall hangings using Christmas blocks people sent me -- my standard Christmas block was one that mimicked a wrapped package -- as well as one full-size quilt top. I do still note in fbs that I'll "swap f/s blocks, 12-1/2 inches sq., pieced or applique" but no one's offered to swap in years. I think all the old ladies I used to get quilt blocks from have died off and no one's replaced them.
Christmas pinwheel, 12-1/2 inch square
Anyway, I'm at that point in the Woman Cave where one quilt just got finished and I have no idea what to do next. I have some vague ideas, but nothing solid. So I've been going through the stash: the multiple Sterlite bins and Rubbermaid totes and the dresser drawers. I'm pulling out odds and ends and kind of inventorying what I have. Do I want to do a quilt that is done from just one or two fabrics or do I want to do another scrap quilt? Maybe I want to take some of the odds and ends of extra blocks and parts of blocks and just sort of start in the middle and work out and see what happens? Not exactly a framed medallion, but the same general idea.
Grandmother's Flower Garden segments

In the process of inventorying, I discovered I still have quite a stash of stuff obtained through exchanges: ordinary blocks, some Christmas-themed blocks, some sets of hexagons for a Grandmother's Flower Garden (I didn't even remember ever getting into swapping those), some humongous butterflies ready to be appliqued on to something. Tumblers, lots of tumblers, enough tumblers sewn together to qualify as an extremely colorful table runner if I felt like putting a backing on it. Most of the finished blocks were quite good; one of the appliqued blocks, a Shady Lady (shown at the top of this post), is so nice that I don't want to put it into a quilt. I want to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall.

Cow pie? Lily pad? Or just plain weird?
And then there's the cow pie. Or perhaps it's supposed to be a lily pad. A kidney bean? Just what was the point? The blob is hand-appliqued so whoever sent it took her time assembling it. But, wow, it's weird.The fabric isn't bad. . . but the execution is definitely strange.

My standard f/s block pattern, for what it's worth, was Rolling Stone. We moved so often that it felt appropriate.
 You know, maybe that's what I should do next -- cut enough pieces to do an entire Rolling Stone quilt. It would be an especially apt project to work on this winter when we're on the road in the Guppy. Definitely something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. I love quilts. We have three that friends mad for us and we use them constantly - for comfort and beauty.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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