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.
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.