Wednesday, January 04, 2012

In the works

I love Stack-n-Whack! (There should be a trademark symbol.) Bethany Reynolds published her first Stack-n-Whack book in 1997 and has published three that I know of, and have. A friend gave me the first one and it sat for a while because I thought: never can I make anything that fussy. A couple years later the same friend gave me a large cut of a Hoffman fabric and in time, I made a stack-n-whack quilt using that fabric. That was so many years ago I've forgotten whether the quilt was sold or given away. I have a photo somewhere. It has a yellow background and was very cheery.

Why this ancient history? Because the fabric you see behind the stack-n-whack squares is the remainder of the large cut and because the squares are two of 24 I've made in the past month -- the first time I've had nerve enough to make this setting with diamonds and Y seams. Bethany's patterns using triangles were less challenging to cut and to piece. I have made several. I feel a childish glee as I sew the blocks together and watch the kaleidoscope patterns come together.

The quilt world is so large, has so many creative people and such a huge industry built around it now that new techniques pop up almost daily. Since let's say, 1997 we've seen broad use of long arm quilting machines, much tread painting, increasingly baroque combinations of piecing and applique, "modern" quilting and much more. I am a slow adopter in many areas of life including quilting techniques. Other people love variety, love taking classes, love new machines with new capabilities -- their enthusiasms keep the quilting world exciting. I return again and again to favorite techniques and patterns. I discovered Maxine Rosenthal's "One Piece" technique which builds on Stack-Whack to make excitingly designed quilts from a single triangle template and single fabric. But for this week -- well, maybe for the rest of this month-- I'm back to basic Stack-n-Whack and very much enjoying it.

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