Monday, June 12, 2017

Really Old, Really Stuck

This UFQ dates to a happy event in 2004 -- the 25th Anniversary of my shop, Erie Street Quilts.
Forty 6" blocks made by customers and staff.
The blocks were part of a surprise cooked up by my staff.
They've all been carefully stored in a lovely box for 13 years.
After the success with The Lichen Tree, I feel like I've discovered a new strategy for working through my really old projects. 

I put this one on my #APQresolution list back in January and it was the lucky winner for June.
It you aren't aware of All People Quilt's annual challenge, you can find the info HERE.
Up it went onto the design wall!
Each of the blocks is signed and many of them match the personalities of their makers triggering vivid recollections of their style and memories we share.

This is the most elaborate block.
It was made by Chris who worked at the shop for at least 15 years.  She taught classes in smocking and applique and backed me up skillfully with her ability to organize and her eye for detail.
The leaves are this size of my little fingernail!?!
This scrappy block is the main element of my popular pattern, Mississippi Mud.  It came out of a design challenge from Mary Ellen Hopkins in the late 1980's to simplify the piecing of a block and went on to become my most popular class.  I wonder if it would be an exaggeration to say that half of my thousand or so customers made this quilt at some point during the 26 years the shop was open?
For twenty years, I based my beginning classes on the book, It's Okay If You Sit on My Quilt by Mary Ellen Hopkins.  One of her popular mantras was to use "PPM's" -- personal private measurement. This was before 1/4" presser feet and templates so PPM's were often the easiest way to keep things sized (we NEVER trimmed HST's, but don't let me get started on that mini-rant)!
The classes were successful and lots of enduring friendships were born in them.
One of the common occurrences was to declare something a "PP_". 
Unfortunately I can't recall if all of these really mean something or are just some of our silliness.
And then there is the required "topiary".
Every significant event I've shared with my "inner circle" of quilting friends includes a reminder of the Legend of the Topiary.
Briefly, it was an ill-fated banquet centerpiece that has been passed around the group for lots of silly (and sometimes imaginary) reasons. 
It has been "won", "awarded", and "snuck" into many unsuspecting quilters lives.
It may still be lurking out there?!?
When it surfaces, it always produces lots of cheerful, eye-rolling laughter.
For the past week, I've been shifting the blocks around on the design wall.
There's a surprising amount of yellow and lots of star blocks.
I'm exploring Pinterest and Instagram keeping an eye out for setting ideas to audition. 
I'm enjoying the memories as they recur while waiting for the inspirations!
I know I won't finish the quilt during it's assigned month, so it appears on my list a second time. 
It will be interesting to see what the actual outcome is!
Hopefully, the end of 2017 will see a finished and treasured quilt in my home!

Here's to a good week!!


  1. Whatever you decide to set these blocks, they will make a lovely quilt. Enjoy all the memories.

  2. I'd be inclined to make two more and set them 6x7. My two blocks would tell something about all the others. Sort of like a label in the front. A wonderful quilt in the making.

  3. What a lot of fun times you had! That was fun reading about your quilt classes and how things have changed.

  4. I don't know if you already found an inspiration project but may I recommend one? I've always loved Victoria Findlay-Wolfe's "Kitchen Sink" quilt from 2009 ( I'm still inspired by it and hope to make one someday. It was a great way to put together a collection of blocks of different themes and with so many great memories attached to them.