Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Strippers

Oh, I meant spring strip quilts...just thought this picture might get your attention! Between Cincinnati and Maysville KY there's a huge garden shop that displays a parking lot-full of cement works of art. As my sister Mary Frances and I drove through, I snapped pictures right and left. This was my favorite. The grouping makes me think it needs a caption. Something like,
" God bless America where we can walk in the sun-both clothed and nude."

Back to strip quilts-there's hundreds of different patterns you'd call 'strip quilts' and all they have in common is that fabrics are cut into strips and then sewn back into blocks. If you're not a quilter, don't question the logic of cutting up perfectly good fabric and then sewing it back together again. And if you're married to one, just be glad that quilting keeps us off the streets and out of the bars.

Back to strip quilts once again: strip quilts can be scrappy, funky, and informal or quite elegant. The Shadow Box quilt (image from an ebay listing) is one of the simplest of strip quilts: start with a square in the center and sew until the quilt's the right size.

A little further up the strip quilt tree is the Log Cabin pattern. Again start with a square but this time divide your strips into light and dark groups and sew the work into smaller blocks. When you have a pile of blocks, then have even more fun by arranging the blocks into some interesting overall pattern. The quilt pictured here (ebay image) is quite an individualistic take on a Log Cabin arrangement called Sunshine and Shadow. I like the way it's off-center and even has a few all-light and a few all-dark blocks. Like, "Fooled you! You thought this was an average Log Cabin-naaa!"

Then there's the queen of strip quilt patterns and the most dressed-up-to-go-to-town Log Cabin, the Pineapple block. It also starts with a square but eventually blossoms in eight directions. In the 20th century, pattern makers for quilting columns in the newspapers got ulcers trying to draft this thing but I make the Pineapple old-style: cut strips, lay down on a backing block, sew, and then cut to size. Works for me.