Friday, February 10, 2017

Homes

I started the week by basting my hexie quilt, and I was planning to quilt it, but I had a sudden urge to spend time doing something completely different. (I know I've said recently that I'm a planner, but I guess sometimes I do get tugged way from my plans.). I had seen the house blocks that other bloggers and Instagrammers made in response to a call to action by the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild to make quilts for the families of the victims of the attack on a Quebec City mosque in Canada. 

I remembered saying in my first post this year, "I fervently hope it will be a good [year] for our whole fragile world...I'll keep doing my best to make it a better place through quilting." I've been dismayed (probably too mild a word) by things that have been happening in my country the past few weeks and concerned about our relationships not only with each other but with the rest of the world. I'm only one person. What can I do? Well, as a quilter, I know. I can take quilty action. If I have an opportunity to help comfort even one hurting person, I can do that. So I set aside my quilting plans for the week and threw myself into a project for our country's neighbors (neighbours?) to the north. 

I decided to make two foundation paper pieced house blocks. I worked feverishly on these blocks. I'm going to share a little about how I made them, but please do not lose sight of why I made them. It was a response I felt deeply. 

I quickly drew a simple house on graph paper. 


I couldn't quite settle on the second design. I went to bed that night thinking I might want to do something with a log cabin block. I figured I'd sleep on it and by morning, it would come to me. Well it did--when I picked up my phone the next day. It was right in front of me: the "home" icon on the opening screen. I pulled out the graph paper again and drew it, changing the roof line from the icon a bit to make it easier to piece. 



I did two fabric pulls:

Before I started sewing, I traced each pattern in reverse on newsprint for the foundation.

I started with the "home" icon block. When I first drew the block, I left the center space with the heart empty. I thought I'd use that little scrap with the hearts on for the middle, but when I laid out the fabrics, the delicate little heart got lost in the stronger colors of the solids, so I drew a separate graph design with a pieced heart to insert into the original design. 

Here's the finished block:

I also added a dormer with a heart to the roof in the simple house block. I modified the pieced heart for that one and added a little roof edge. In retrospect, I hope it's not too cutesy, but I really wanted to put a heart in there somewhere. 

The blocks are 12 1/2 inches square including seam allowance--the required size for the quilts. I added borders to fill out the blocks to the correct size. 

Please note that although I included the graph paper designs in this post for the record, I made changes to both patterns (the separate heart blocks in both, and the addition of a horizontal stripe in the simpler house), so they aren't exactly ready to be used as pictured for a pattern. If you are an experienced paper piecer, though, you can probably figure out what I did.

Also, for the record, all of the fabrics are from my stash. The pinks are Kona in Dusty Peach, Primrose, Salmon and Coral. The turquoises are Kona Azure, Capri, Breakers and Jade Green. Yellow is Kona Sunflower. There are a couple of Cotton and Steel prints. I've forgotten what the rest of the odds and ends are.

I thought I was done making houses, but yesterday when I was rummaging in my
basement for some boxes, I came across a basket of random quilty bits I was planning to donate to an art upcycling center. Two of them were little houses--extras I had made for my Neighborhoods quilt a few years ago. The quilt is a pattern by Shelly Burge for Quilt it magazine from March 2008.

I found some leftover scraps of the background fabrics and with a bit of finagling, including two weird Y- seams (!), I was able to squeeze them into one block. By dinner time I had a bonus block. 

It's always satisfying to design and sew quilt blocks. But projects like this are also painful. They are an obsession born of a sense of outrage, helplessness, resolve, compassion--so many mixed emotions in the face of senseless acts of intolerance, violence, hatred. I wish there was never a reason to make these kinds of quilts, but if my blocks can be part of quilts that can help ease the pain of the Muslim families who lost loved ones (or are caring for injured family and friends) and help them feel the love and support of their neighbors (both locally and in the country to the south), perhaps I have helped just a bit to make this fragile world a better place. I am so glad to be part of a worldwide quilting community. Together we can cover the world with love and make everyone feel at home, one quilt at a time. These blocks are houses, but they represent homes. Homes.

I'm linking this post to Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday. I'm pretty sure this will also show up at the DrEAMi linky party over at mmm! quilts. I'll update to that link at the end of the month.

I encourage you to check out the details of the quilt block collection at the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, follow their progress, and get involved if you are so moved.  

20 comments:

Katherine said...

Those house blocks emanate love, Janine. What a beautiful, tangible way to express your care and concern! I am off to check out the link - thank you!

Preeti Harris said...

The home is where the heart is, Janine!!! I read that post by Lisa about the Montreal Quilt Guild's request. I am participating too. You put so much love and care into your blocks, it really shows. I hope for healing and peace.
Hugs,
Preeti.

Kaja said...

I like your house blocks, and really admire the sentiment behind them. Quilting is as valid a way to connect with other humans as any other, and right now we need to do all the connecting we can.

Linda said...

Your design is excellent, and your blocks are so sweet.

Andrea Tsang said...

These are stunning! What a tangible way to connect with the community affected by this tragedy as well as to the quilting community.

Ben said...

What great blocks. I especially like the bonus block. You've encouraged me to get moving on making a block for the Montreal group.

Janice Holton said...

That little ombre looking house is adorable!!! Make more!! That would be a great pattern to use on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge everybody seems to be doing. I'm a house block lover. Please blog about it if you ever decide to write up this pattern!

Lin said...

Such a lovely thing for the quilting community to be doing, but so sad that it is necessary. I LOVE the log cabin - I am off to find some squared paper to make a note of it, thank you. xx

Louise said...

The blocks are lovely, Janine. But what's in your heart, your compassion and urge to help, is the true beauty here. Thank you for caring.

Bernie Kringel said...

Janine, you made such beautiful blocks and reading about what drove you to make them is really special. Thank you for sharing this. We are all afraid (and embarrassed) by what is happening lately. You have wrapped some kindness and emotion around much of it and this is a good thing.

As always, I am in awe of your precision. I know you attribute that to the paper piecing but from one who isn't great with paper piecing, it is amazing.

margaret said...

I would love your heart home pattern if you ever decide to sell it. great job!

Carol said...

These are so cute! I will have to check out the "Call to action ".

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

They are both gorgeous blocks, especially the log cabin heart - what a lovely way to send some love and kindness back out into the world :)

Deanna McNay said...

I think all your "homes" are darling! thank you for sharing

Sandra Walker said...

Thank you for being flexible. By that I mean as an organized, planning person, you allowed yourself to be diverted from 'the plan' and especially so for this oh-so-worthy cause. What you've written about "born of a sense of outrage, helplessness, resolve, compassion" encapsulated exactly and succinctly how I feel. I love both of your heart-centred homes and also the neighbourhood (wink-you made me smile) homes third block. Thank you for linking up with February's DrEAMi! My eyes are brimming but my heart is swelling reading this.

KaHolly said...

You are astounding! XO

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Your houses are wonderful! I especially love the pink one with the heart at its center. You really had a lovely idea that will be so appreciate.

canuckquilter said...

Love your house blocks, especially the first!

Vicki in MN said...

I have never seen a log cabin house block like that one before-it's super!

Miaismine said...

I hear your heart.....and it's beautiful how you made such stunning blocks to bring comfort to others....beautiful. I'm so blessed that I found your post on Quilting is More Fun Thank Housework! Thank you for sharing!