In searching the blog world for November’s wonky block tutorial, I discovered the Nine Patch. This classic block in its most basic form consists of nine equal squares, arranged three rows across and three rows down. Early block designs allowed frugal quilters to use very small scraps of fabric and were often made from pieces of left over cloth or cut from old worn-out clothes.
The Nine Patch Quilt was a favorite among quilters and was often used for utilitarian purposes. Consequently, many of the historically preserved quilts are unfortunately dilapidated from use. But the first known and dated Nine Patch Quilts were made at the beginning of the nineteenth century and they are still a popular form of quilt making today. In fact, because of its simplicity, my very first quilt was a hand pieced, hand quilted traditional Nine Patch. So, it is of no surprise that the modern quilt world has created a Wonky Nine Patch Block.
5″x5″ Wonky Nine Patch Blocks
Both Jen Eskridge and Elizabeth Hartman have a Wonky Nine Patch Block tutorial via their blogs that are simple, fast, and easy. As you can see, Jen’s blocks are more traditional looking in nature while Elizabeth’s blocks have a more modern composition. Enjoy!
In the last ten years, ‘wonky patchwork’ has become a prominent genre in the modern quilt world. From wonky stars, wonky log cabins, wonky houses, wonky monkey wrenches, wonky flying geese, and wonky squares, this out of the box approach to block design is redefining tradition. But what is wonky?
Urban Dictionary defines wonky as “weird, whacked out, messed up, askew, non-intuitive, poorly designed, not right, odd”. And yet, cutting or trimming a traditional block at a new angle creates an eye-catching dramatic pattern and fun effect. So to embrace the freedom of improvised piecing, I am going to abandon my traditional restrictive roots and feature a monthly wonky block tutorial from the quilt blog world. The end result … a wonderful Wonky Sampler Quilt.
5″ x 5” Wonky Cross Blocks
To get things started, here are my Wonky Cross Blocks from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! via the blog of Sew, Mama, Sew! I was introduced to this wonky pattern at the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild meeting earlier this month and was astounded by its simplicity and versatility. Try it out!
Alissa Haight Carlton from Handmade by Alissa and the creators of Sew, Mama, Sew! teamed up and delivered an outstanding 2011-2012 Modern Block of the Month (BOM) series. While I have never been a fan of “quilt alongs” and block of the month programs, having not participated in one since 1997, the simplicity of the Modern BOM kept my enthusiasm and challenged my comfort zone from beginning to end.
BOM Quilt Top
This introduction to modern patchwork showcases improvisation, asymmetry, triangles, partial seams, english paper piecing, strip piecing and solid color theory. Although these techniques are rooted in the traditional world of quilting, Alissa’s innovative design aesthetic modernizes the BOM series and keeps it fun.
(L-R, Top-Bottom) April, August, November, May, September, March, October, January, July, December, February, and June.
I truly enjoyed piecing every block, and look forward to the challenge of developing the quilt design.
To: TaMara Howard firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Elizabeth Green-Hartman email@example.com
Subject: QuiltCon Block Challenge
Date: September 3, 2012 12:53 AM
Thank you so much for submitting a block to the QuiltCon Block Challenge! I’m truly overwhelmed by the beautiful block you made.
I’m just sending you this e-mail to confirm that your block will be featured on the MQG blog on Thursday, September 6, 2012. You can follow the blog during the next few weeks to see more fabulous blocks and be sure to check the blog starting September 24th, for the announcement of the blocks that were selected to be included in the QuiltCon Raffle Quilt.
The blocks that aren’t selected for the raffle quilt will be used to make bed quilts for the Austin Children’s Shelter so, even if your block doesn’t end up in the raffle quilt, it is definitely going to a good cause! We’re currently looking for guilds interested in finishing one of the quilts for the children’s shelter so, if you think your guild might be interested, please let me know.
Thank you, again, for participating in the QuiltCon Block Challenge!
The Modern Quilt Guild
Just in time! I submitted my QuiltCon block entry TODAY. Measuring 12.5″ x 14.5″, I created a Rectangular Log Cabin Block that utilizes six of the QuiltCon logo colors: White, Coal, Tangerine, Chartreuse, Lemon, and Turquoise all in Kona Cotton solids.
A traditional Log Cabin block begins with a red or yellow center square (called the “hearth”) with strips or “logs” pieced around it in varying light and dark values. According to www.womenfolk.com, the alternating values represent the sunny and shady sides of a home. In addition, most Log Cabin quilts are composed of multiple blocks arranged to produce secondary patterns and are foundation-pieced for precision and stability.
Reflecting those traditions, my machine pieced rectangular Coal colored center, surrounded by Tangerine, emulates the warmth from the hearth of a home. But the alternating width of the logs in light and dark values adds a modern element to a timeless block.
This is my first quilt challenge entry and the blocks that have been submitted thus far are all AMAZING! Sneak a peak at the QuiltCon Block Challenge flickr group.
I’ve accepted the challenge to use the colors of the QuiltCon logo to make a quilt block that reflects what modern quilting means to me. The block has to be 12½” tall x a width of my choice, machine pieced, and made from a “quilt shop quality” 100% cotton or cotton/linen fabric in any combination of tangerine, gold, citrine, lime, aqua, turquoise, white, and/or gray.
Modern Quilt Guild Board Member, Elizabeth Hartman, will curate the submitted blocks, selecting 20 or more of her favorite to be featured on The Modern Quilt Guild’s blog and to be used to make a quilt honoring the QuiltCon inaugural conference and show in Austin TX. But as a way of saying “thank you” to the City of Austin, the remaining blocks will be used to make quilts for the Austin Children’s Shelter.
With that said, when I think of what modern quilting means to me, I immediately think of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Their quilts reflect both artistry and freedom, making quilting accessible to all sewers.
My favorite pattern within the Gee’s Bend collective is the Log Cabin Block in all it’s varied versions. The Log Cabin quilt has a rich history and is an “ideal example of early American quilt-work, representing home, warmth, love and security”.
With only five days to meet the August 15th deadline, a Gee’s Bend Log Cabin Quilt will be the inspiration for my QuiltCon block entry.
Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts has launched a five-week series of star quilt block tutorials called Solstice Stars. Inspired by Nancy Cabot’s 1930 Quilt Collection, the tutorials will post every Wednesday, beginning January 18th and ending on February 15th, to engage ones paper piecing, triangle, and y-seam skills.
I am joining the fun to create a whole quilt that comprises of ONLY five blocks for my new office and to work with the color … GRAY. Gray has never been a favorite color of mine and I have never used it in a quilt. But growth in all areas of modern quilting is important, even if it is around a single color. So here are my print fabric selections in addition to Kona Cotton solids coal, bone, lemon and herb. Check back to see my completed stars.
Fabric Central-Sunny Collection
My first Folk Quilt project of 2012 is off to a great start. It is a String Pieced Floor Pillow that fuses Jinny Beyer Fabrics with recycled scraps of polyester, rayon, linen, and knit culled from the back of my Grandmother, Mary Beatrice Shorter (1914-2008).
The aesthetic is both fresh and modern, but deeply rooted in traditional techniques such as paper string piecing for stability and body with an added sprinkle of floral applique artistry.
However, my pattern is heavily influenced by the book Signs & Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts by Maude Southwell Wahlman. The dominant design element, multi-patterned string piecing, reflects a symmetrical interpretation of the Kongo cosmogram of birth, life, death, and rebirth – the four stations of our life cycle.
Be sure to add this book to your library. It is a wonderful history of African-American textiles and is an inspirational resource for both traditional and modern quilters alike.