Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baltimore Album Quilt Musings & Unexpected Breakfast Guests

Hi gang!
For those of you that haven't been following my blog for very long you may not know that I LOVE Baltimore Album Quilts (BAQ).  In fact, they are the reason that I took up quilting in the first place.  Since then I have grown to love pretty much all things quilt related.  But as much as I love BAQs I have never made one.  I probably have enough orphan blocks to make a BAQ (or two) but they are mostly workshop blocks, technique blocks, samples, etc.   In September 2008 I decided I was going to make my own version of a BAQ and I signed up for a Baltimore Block of the Month (BOM) at my local quilt shop The Quilt Scene.  This coming weekend is the final installment of this BOM series; two 2-day classes with the Queen of BAQ herself - Elly Sienkiewicz.   

I have actually made enough progress on most of the blocks that I have begun to channel the "Little Train that Could" ...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...   I have had many doubts along the way and I have second guessed almost all my choices.  First, I decided to put the blocks all on point.  Second, the color scheme is completely my own - not at all traditional - not at all everyone's cup of tea.  And last but not least, I have used many non-traditional techniques - gasp - including machine applique.  Is Mary Simon spinning in her grave?  I doubt it!  The quilt police (you know who they are - they appear anywhere 3 or more quilters gather) of course are having a field day.  But I'm sure the original ladies of Baltimore are smiling down from heaven.  They were the original art quilters.  They used everything available to them to make their quilts personal to them.  They praised the technology and the technologist (Steam Engines, Clipper Ships, Architecture, explorers, heroes, philanthropy, etc.).  The BAQs celebrate the American Dream.

I am not in their league but their example gives me courage to continue to make choices based only on what pleases me.

Many contemporary quilters inspire me also.  I was fortunate enough to meet and take several workshops with Shirley Bloomfield (http://www.shirleybloomfield.co.uk/).  She has successfully managed to personalize the BAQ style of applique and make incredible art.   Last January she gave me invaluable advice "just make it your own!"  Simple but brilliant.  Not only does it ALSO give me permission/courage to work on what I like, but it renews and refreshes my enthusiasm for my project.  

This weekend's workshops are Pastoral Peacock and an Art Deco style vase.  How perfect for me.  I was born and raised in Miami.  We have entire city districts of Art Deco architecture.  And as for the peacock block - our neighborhood is home to a huge flock (or whatever the correct term is for dozens of loud, screeching, pet food stealing, pooping, big birds).  Oh yes, I can definitely make this block personal.

Here are some of my blocks so far...  And yes, the background is aqua, some of the leaves are blue, and some of the vases are blood red.

Blog Bonus...  Early Saturday morning we awoke to quite a cacophony.  Apparently, Scrub Jays (the blue, black, and white birds in the photos) are quite territorial and therefore were not too happy when a family of Red Headed Woodpeckers decided to feast on the insects in our Bahamian palms.  Come on guys - can't we all get along?  I promise you there are more than enough bugs to go around!

I definitely have enough inspiration to keep me in stitches.

Best stitches!
Mercy in Miami
aka The Savage Quilter


  1. I love your Baltimore blocks! The colors are great- (police- be darned)... I too took a Baltimore course, called Baltimore Elegance, and not only chose my own colors, but added 2 blocks from non-Baltimore block patterns!!! (I care not about the police!) I love your blog- and look forward to the next entries- the reviews of products are terrific too ;) sandy

  2. Oh my! What beautiful blocks - I love them - however you have done them. They are quite vibrant I think. You nature photos are wonderful too. I love photos of birds...feathered ones :)