I am not sure if this is a new challenge, but I should have used this as the first challenge with the little bit of editing I have done.
This post originally appeared soon after my Virtual Quilter blog first appeared, and way before I decided to challenge visitors to the blog to play with quilt design.
This sampler quilt is a random arrangement of a random selection of blocks from the Electric Quilt Block Library. I usually don’t look outside my own libraries for blocks to play with, as there are plenty there.
Not that there is anything wrong with the ones in the EQ library, they just aren’t my designs. I love some of the EQ blocks to death as they include a lot of my favourite traditional blocks, and have pulled many of them apart and put them back together again my way. (The best way to learn how to draw applique blocks is to do just that, pull apart the ones in the library, and put them back together again.)
I follow some blogs where people working with textiles challenge themselves with the question ‘What if..?
I have often asked myself the same question, sometimes when making dolls, or bears, or designing a quilt. My work is pretty traditional in style, but I find plenty of room to ask the question without stepping out of the style I like to live with, and work with.
This has led me to designing every thing I have made over the last ten years, and much of what I made before that. Even when most of the sewing I was doing was making basic clothes for me and the kids, I often thought ‘What if ….’ the buttons are replaced with a zip, the sleeves are wider, shorter, etc.
Being short of cash meant I couldn’t always afford the pattern I wanted to make up, or the materials to make it with, so I would work out how to use what I had on hand, or could afford to buy, to get the effect I wanted. Clothes, dolls, bears, Christmas decorations and, of course, quilts of all sizes all got the ‘What if’ treatment. I should mention that it wasn’t always kind treatment, but I learned something every time I tried something.
But what if I limit myself to designing quilts with blocks from the Electric Quilt library. What if I set some limits, because I can not spend all day every day for the rest of my life doing this. Remember, I have all of those original blocks to play with as well.
What if I select a dozen of them, sort of at random, from the Electric Quilt block library, and see what happens? What if I try to avoid the most common blocks, like Nine Patch and Monkey Wrench, and use both pieced and applique blocks? What if I am only allowed to alter just one of those blocks, and I decide this after I have designed a border corner from one of the blocks!
And what if I limit myself to the same borders, and just a couple of fabric changes. And what if I limit myself to just a straight layout, either 5 x 5 blocks, or 7 x 7 blocks.
Anyone with EQ6, EQ7 or EQ8 can find the blocks and most of the fabrics (the paisley was a monthly download from Electric Quilt I think).
You could also start your own EQ Dozen by selecting 12 blocks and about the same number of fabrics, and using them in any way you can think of in a a quilt layout of your choice.