Friday, February 8, 2008

Dorky Homemade How-To: Scrap Quilts

Today, a lesson in Dorky Homemade Quiltmaking.

As you know, I am a die-hard scrap quilter. Nothing thrills me more than to plop a hundred different fabric prints together and watch them duke it out for dominance. I am fearless. Yes, sometimes my adventurous side gets me in trouble, but I don't care. I never met a busy quilt I didn't like.

Yes, sometimes funky things DO happen in scrap quilts, but that's where the magic lies! Timid scrapsters are usually too cautious their first time out. They just can't stand it. They make one scrap block and hate it. They make another and want to give up. After all, every block just HAS to be pretty by itself, doesn't it? A case in point: look at this horribly ugly single block I made:

What was I thinking?
Hideous, right? The background/foreground contrast is terrible--and the background print fights with the block pattern. The orange totally makes you lose the block visually...and the cats? With Fall vegetables? And a paisley? And a dot? Shudder. And how about this dog:

Woof!

Ugh...calicoes, paisleys, repros, batiks, and another Fall print? And is that actually a giraffe print and a gingham in the neighboring blocks? Horrid!!! Is Lisa on drugs??

But let's zoom out a bit on those blocks and see the whole effect. What do you think of the quilt blocks now?

It's okay if you still hate it...but many people don't. As a matter of fact, it's one of my favoritest quilts ever. It has thrifted pieces, salvaged clothing scraps, stash rejects, Woolworth bargains, and some of the ugliest blocks I've ever made. But see how it shimmers? See how the blocks flow into each other like ripples on a pond? Isn't it amazing that all those gooney prints can work together like this?


My teacherly slogan for the day is this: One block does not a quilt make. Think of the entire quilt and be bold with your single blocks. Every block does not have to be beautiful to make a beautiful quilt.

Corn and Beans, 108X108", Lisa Boyer 2005; quilted by my sister, Jane Ann Munroe

This is my "Corn and Beans" quilt, full view with borders. Click on the picture to see more detail. It's a traditional pattern that is also known as "Northwinds." If it looks familiar, you may have seen this quilt on the "Simply Quilts" television show a couple of years ago. This quilt was behind me the whole time I was trying not to melt into a steaming puddle of nervous goo on the studio floor. Ah, fond memories. To see a slideshow of that experience, there's a fun link on the right there to the Flickr photoset of my filming. Backstage pictures and everything!


I'll step down from my lecturn now and leave you Kauai fans with a picture taken during my daily walk on the road I live on. This picture is dedicated to all of you affected by the terrible tornadoes in the south, the bad weather events all across the U.S., and the tragedy in the Missouri Courthouse yesterday. I hope that beauty will soon make its way back into your lives. Those events are just the ugly blocks--remember your whole life as a beautiful quilt. My thoughts are with you.

Class dismissed. Pau Hana!

11 comments:

Andrea said...

Hi Lisa - just found your blog through a link and have been reading your posts and laughing quite a lot - lol ! I adore scrappy quilts and this one is a beauty. I love it and now NEED to make one at some point. I've not long ago made a lady of the lake quilt top and have a million flying geese to make for the borders so it won't be for a while yet.

jan in nagasaki said...

that quilt proves that all is beauty. block by block, gonna make this quilt grow... gonna mulch it deep and low....

and it makes my eyes all funny just looking at it...

thanks for the inspiration...

I too love the "use up the stash" quilt.

CONNIE W said...

Your post today was a great lesson for me. I too like scrappy quilts but I am not too fond of including lots of triangles in my sewing because I dislike it when I stretch them out of shape when I press...arrghh...and I do it on occasion although I really try not to.

Tutu said...

Those are beautiful, kind of 3 D looking.
I just saw your comment on my snow--we went back for the holidays. Do you walk on the trail or just in the country? I have not been on the new trail yet--kind of far to go on a walk but I will someday when I am up that way.

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

Hi Lisa, found your blog via Happy Zombie. I just love that scrappy quilt, it looks so effective. Would you have a pattern name or measurements?

cinnamongirl93 said...

Love the corn and beans! Scrap quilts have to be the most interesting creations in quilting. It fun to look at all of the ugly fabric!LOL! Every fabric can find a home right? The mountains are so peaceful! I bet it is the perfect backdrop for a walk! How's the no sugar, flour thing going? Today is day 5 for me. Perhaps one of the toughest. A patient brought in two huge bags of pastrys from a local bakery. I did peek in one box that had cupcakes in it. UUGGHH! I didn't touch it!BTW the pie was.....fake...yes..that's right....fake!

happy zombie said...

This is so wild... I haven't watched SQ in forever and a day (maybe because I've seen every rerunned episode as many times as I've seen every Brady Bunch episode)...

Anyhoo...
The other night we were up way too late watching Band of Brothers set on dvd, and before closing my eyes I wanted something happy to watch - like a cookie after an intensely spicy dinner - so I turned on the tube for some HGTV and hit DYI by accident instead... and there was SQ with you on it! You. In the middle of the night. Right after going to the post office and mailing you! That was so weird - what crazy timing eh! And I can't even remember the last time I watched SQ. My husband who at that point was no longer fast asleep - didn't think it was so wild. I should have told him Norm Abram or Bear Grylls was getting the strawberry. Oh yeah, he would have been all over that!

happy zombie said...

I rambled when I meant to say... I love your corn-n-beans!

Amanda said...

I love your quote! I have tears in my eyes. Gee! I've been laughing, and now you made me cry!!! lol

I wasn't affected personally by the tornadoes that hit south of me nor do I live in Missouri. However, my heart goes out to these people and to all of the school shootingd that went on. I did, however, have something that happened really bad to my family...I don't talk about it, but it's so true that some things in life are just ugly. Thank God they're temporary even when you think they aren't. In reality it's just a small amount of time in this big life of ours. Hopefully, when I get older and can look at the big "quilt", that "ugly" block will just blend in and not be noticeable at all. It's there, but it didn't change me; it only made me stronger.

Sorry I wrote too much!

By the way...I am making a quilt similiar to that one that was in American Patchwork and Quilting about 10 years ago. I have blogged about it recently, if you want to check it out. It's not finished, but I have all the blocks made.

sew.darn.quilt said...

I'm struck by the illusion of this quilt...it DOES shimmer! Out of all that um ugly came this swan of a quilt! You've inspired me to use this design for my 2013 Scrap Happy Quilt:)
Thank you very much for you spectacular version, I can't wait to get started!

juliequilts2 said...

I know old post, but that's what's great about it. I was just playing around on my phone and bingo I found a beautiful quilt in just my style. I also love the lesson.

thanks Julie Depue