Thursday, January 27, 2011

Block Head

I decided I wanted to work on something with a low challenge threshhold tonight, so I figured I'd catch up on my . . . well, I'm not sure what to call them. You know where someone--like Moose on the Porch--does a sampler block quilt thing and invites different designers to design blocks? She calls them quilt-alongs, which seems like a good name for them. But then I'm doing this Waiting for Spring "block-a-palooza" thing too, which also seems like a good name. If you're quilting on crack, anyway. But I guess you know what I'm talking about now, right? So that's what I decided to do.

Sometimes I ask myself why I participate in these things, and I don't really have much of an answer. I guess they're just kind of fun. Do you like to play too?

One thing I've found is that not all designers are equal. I guess I knew that before, but I'm reminded of it every so often with these quilt-alongs. You can tell that some designers just throw something out there that's easy for them, and they don't put much thought or work into it. I don't really "get" that because this is their chance to attract new potential customers to their patterns and designs.

For instance, one block we were given in one of these things had been used for another quilt design, and when many of the same block were put together, it made for a cool pattern, but one block by itself--well, it just didn't seem to make sense. Still, there are plenty of good designers who take time to find or design some interesting blocks for us.

This is the first block of the Waiting for Spring thing, which was designed by Quilt Dad.

I like the design, but I'm concerned about the low contrast in fabrics. Maybe I should have just listened to my inner quilter and selected fabrics with more contrast, but since it was the first block, I thought I'd make it according to design and wait and see. By the way, I was amused that my foot ended up in the photo, so I left it there--a friend gave me these crazy socks for Christmas and I feel like I should be in a Dr. Seuss book when I wear them!

Here's the other block I made--this one is from the Layer Cake Quilt-Along--no foot in this one.

I really liked this design--it went together well and I like the way it looks. It was designed by Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods.

One of the things I really appreciate with the designs we're given is a good PDF file of the block pattern that can be printed in one or two pages and taken into the Sweat Shop for cutting and sewing. This second block was perfect--two pages with some nice colored illustrations. The first block? The PDF version was 18 or 19 pages--much, much too long for me to want to print, so I spent time going back and forth from my sewing room to the computer--unfortunately, I don't have a lap top, darn it!

Every so often, I think of doing my own block-a-thon project here on my blog--with me as the designer, of course! What are the things that you like and that are important to you when you participate in something like this? And what are the things that drive you crazy? Any tips you can share would be appreciated!


Annie said...

Hi Kim :) Your block for the block-a-palooza is beautiful! I'm so in love with the Sunkissed fabrics. Unfortunately I can't participate in that one right at the moment, but it looks like fun! And your block 7 for the Layer Cake Quilt Along is great too!! I love your fabric choices.

I'm doing the layer cake QA as well. I completely agree, some blocks have been wonderful (like our most current block) where some just weren't clear enough or felt like they had no effort put into the design. I think that's very important in a quilt along, for each block to have thought put into it for that specific quilt alog.

And I agree about the need for a clean simple PDF file to go along with it. I have a Kindle e-reader and you can email PDF documents to it and read them very clearly from it. That way I don't have to print them off if they are so long. It's handy, but I know not everyone has laptops and kindles etc, so it's important to have those PDFs for printing.

So the most important things to me in a quilt along are: Beginner friendly PDF instructions, unique and fun designs, and I also think participation by the host is very important. I love how Moose on the Porch does the give aways every week, weighs in on the discussion boards and has the Flickr group just for us.

I appologize for my long winded answer! I realize you probably weren't looking to read a novel in response to your simple question!! :) Happy Stitching!

kimland said...

You totally should do a quilt along! I love watching what you create. Your quilts are always so interesting and full of color. Here are a couple of thoughts for possible themes... a fun halloween quilt or "christmas in july!"

Wilma NC said...

I like making new blocks. I have become disappointed in the Moda Bakeshop lately. The patterns are so simple, the only difference is that the fabrics are Moda. I like to see new and interesting things designed by others, mainly because I,m a maker, not a designer, lol.

Glenna @ Hollyhock Quilts said...

Both the blocks are really fun! But I have to say, your socks outshine eveything else!! LOVE that bright pink and lime!!

Tiffaney said...

I just love your designs so I would happily "along" with you! I think a mystery would be very fun.

I have to echo your thoughts on some of the blocks. I am doing the Layer Cake one and have skipped 2 of the 7 blocks and plan to make different blocks since they are just not interesting to me all.

I also wonder why it takes 12 pages for direction on how to make a block when I can get directions for a whole quilt top in less pages.

Gwen said...

I have not makde the blocks for any blogland quiltalongs, but have looked at the blocks and patterns for several. I think the directions range from way too much information to not near enough. I have never been sucessful will mystery quilts so would be waiting to start any thing until there was enough out to tell where it was going. I like directions that I have found labeld confident beginner to intermediate with some photos. I don't mind doing cutting and prefer cutting yardage to recutting precuts. Enough about my likes and ideas. Design something and we'll have fun. Your patterns are always wonderful!

Melissa said...

Kim, you should seriously think about a quilt along, designed by you!

Waiting for Spring is my first quilt along, but I really wish there was a "cheat sheet" for those of us who want to see the final design. I also agree that the directions need to be clear and concise, and certainly not 19 pages long.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim -- I also bought the fabric for this block a palooza but I am waiting to see how it takes shape before I cut it. I like quilts to have a flow to them. Last year I made Twiddletails Pinwheel block a week, but she had a completed one which I knew I would love -- in my own fabric choices.

You have the gift of creativity. I would love to follow and make one that you design. Last night I cut out your Valentine Table Runner which I am hoping to finish this weekend.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Bet you get a lot of feedback! Florence

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Oh I would sooo play along in quilt along that you design! I hope you truly decide to do it. Most points that I agree with have already been covered in the above comments. A pdf that's 18 pages long. For ONE block?!??! That's INSANE! I thought my 8 page PDF for my Valentine Day pillow was too long! And that was for a whole project!

And I agree with your thoughts on the LCQA blocks. I have decided to substitute pinwheel blocks (different ones) for the blocks I truly do NOT like; the block you spoke of is one of them. I was very excited to see the latest block is a version of a pinwheel. My idea will work just fine!

Anonymous said...

I'm not much on the mysery quilt sew-a-longs. If I invest my time and money in fabric, I want to see the project up front before I start on it. I guess I'm too frugal, but at least it will be up to me if I like the end result or not so crazy about it.

I hope you do your own sometime soon!

luv2quilt2 said...

I love doing the quilt alongs, but I have the same concerns that you do. Many blocks can 'stand alone' and look just beautiful, but others require being joined to others that are the same to bring out the design. When one of those is posted, I find a substitute traditional block.
I would love to see you do a quilt along. I love the projects you do and the colors you use. I would definitely participate.

Four dogs and one quilter said...

I am not big on quilt alongs if they are mystery quilts, and I am not a fan of sampler quilts but give me a beautiful design and I'm all in. Would love to see you design a quilt for a quilt along.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, 18 pages is a bit much. Love the second block...

and those socks look nice and warm! =)

Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...


Anonymous said...

I like the second block much better than the first one. I like your socks even better!
I have never participated in a quilt along. I haven't done a lot of quilting (though I love looking at everyone else's beautiful quilts) and am a little afraid/hesitant to get involved in so large a project. I try to keep it simple. Donna K

Bluzbrod said...

I'm using mainly Verna for my Block-A-Palooza and definitely selecting much more contrasting colors. I'd like to see more challenging patterns. I don't think lengthy, step-by-step descriptions and photos should be required, unless it's something really quirky. Shouldn't we assume some basic piecing knowledge? Looking forward to what you decide!

Dorothy said...

I for sure would participate in a block or mystery quilt program. You are a great designer. I know that I get frustrated when you try to print something that is huge, I sometimes copy and paste it into a Word program and then shrink or delete pictures that I don't need. To reduce the number of pages.
Have a great day!

Brenda said...

Your quilts are always inspiring so I would love to see a quilt a long.