Friday, August 29, 2008

Baltimore Album BOM

Hi everyone,
I have been so busy with work and preparing the patterns for the OW 2009/2010 Opportunity Quilt that I haven't had a chance to update you on what's going on with the Baltimore Album BOM project (the primary reason I started this group).

Well, the first session was pretty good. Lots of information, and it was fun to spend the morning with friends that I never get enough time with. We saw lots of samples and a slide show of finished BAQ (Baltimore Album Quilts)to start thinking about where we want to go with this project. A major thing I learned is that DESIGN size and BLOCK size are 2 VERY different things! I still remember the first quilt I ever saw (remember I grew up in Miami so quilts were like snow - only things I read about in my Little House on the Prairie books. Or like fur coats - only things you saw on the Let's Make a Deal) and being bowled over by the graphic impact - due in part to the size of the blocks. I remember reading that they were 16 inch blocks. So, for years I have been making 16” FINISHED blocks but was never able to achieve the same impact. Then last Saturday Patsy (one of the instructors and my friend) talked about enlarging and reducing the blocks and suggested we enlarge the block to 16” simply because it would be easier to stitch a grape the size of a grape rather than the size of a corn kernel. And then the clouds parted, the ray of light shown through, and the DUH moment happened! It’s not BLOCK size it’s DESIGN size!!! The block ends up being 18-20 inches finished and the design is 16 inches. I took my trusty copies to Kinko’s and was shocked at the difference a few inches made. Sad but true – SIZE DOES MATTER – at least in precious gems and Baltimore Album blocks. The first thing I did was make sure the OW quilt designs measured 16 inches and cut the background squares for that project 20 inches.

Oh, but what to do about my BAQ project? I had already cut the backgrounds a little larger thinking I would put the blocks on point. In my imagination, I pictured a 13 block BAQ, on point, on a dramatic dark background. But after my epiphany, I realized the backgrounds were not even large enough for a straight set. So now the search is on for background # 2. Questions swirling though my mind…
1) do I still want an on point set?
2) do I still want a dark background?
3) do I use just one background fabric for all the blocks or should I use different ones?
4) Do I still even want to use cotton? I have this dreamy silk dupioni (spelling?) that I bought in Paducah last year that would be the perfect color. After all BAQ are basically appliqué & embroidery, and embroidery does look gorgeous on silk. Yeah, but I don’t think I have enough fabric and I’m not sure I have enough courage to take such a bold chance
5) will Marcia ever leave Rodney for the milk man?
For answers to these and many more questions, stay tuned to “How the Quilt Turns”.

Until next time – happy stitching!
Mercy in Ft. Lauderdale
The Savage Quilter
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baltimore Album Quilt with a Tropical Twist

The Beginning...It was dark and stormy the night my Dad met my Mom ...NO, not THAT beginning...The beginning of how a Baltimore Album Quilt with a Tropical Twist came to be.

It all started when I raised my hand at our local quilt guild meeting and asked the question "Who is doing next year's Opportunity Quilt?" Next thing I knew I was in charge and had a group of 15 volunteers. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially since I am an official card-carrying member of Quilt Fanatics (not really true) and addicted to all things applique (very true). This all happened about three weeks ago.

Since then we have already had our official kickoff meeting, and except for being 10 minutes late to my own meeting, it went extremely well! At the meeting I shared sketches of patterns I drafted (applique of course) in the style of a Baltimore Album Quilt. The theme I chose was Tropical Flowers. No one barfed so I guess they will do.

I then showed everyone the background fabric that a small group of us had chosen. This small group is also in a Baltimore Album Class at our local quilt shop, Quilt Scene in South Miami. While there we spotted the PERFECT background fabric. A light green on green cotton print. The pattern (vines, leaves, flowers) is even perfect to follow for free hand quilting if we choose to not mark the background - not too dense and not too sparse. The green is perfect too - one of those colors that any other color would look great on.

We decided that instead of making up kits, that we would let each volunteer (one to a block/border/etc.) select their own fabrics from their own stash. The only guideline is that they must use a batik or hand-dyed fabric that is pre-washed. A call has gone out to all guild members that we are looking for batiks for this project so I don't anticipate a shortage of batiks or making too much of a dent in any single person's stash. The only tough one will be "whites" for the Gardenia Wreath with Bow block. But we will be fine.

Currently, I am busy trying to finish inking, numbering, and notating the patterns so that they can be handed out to the volunteer stitchers at our next guild meeting.

I will post photos of the patterns and fabrics shortly, and as the weeks progress, post the finished blocks themselves.

Happy stitching,

aka The Savage Quilter!
Join the applique journey