Tuesday 29 December 2015

Playing with words

I like words. As long as I can remember I have collected words. In school it was a diary with quotes and things I liked. Later, cuttings from magazines pasted in a "scrapbook", then Pinterest and a "Words" board. I am not such a great putter togetherer of words, but I like them and I have always wanted to do a quilt with words. I have had a million, well maybe ten or so, ideas over the years for word quilts, but they have never really materialized. Until now.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was invited to participate in a Travelling Quilt quilt bee. How it works, you come up with a quilt idea, start it, then send it off to your bee mates. Each month we get a quilt to add to from each member in our group. At the end of the year the last person with the quilt quilts and binds it and then we each get back a finished quilt! I am stoked about this whole business. A little nervous about my skill level, as checking out my fellow bee mates, theses are some seriously skilled Canadian quilters. But I think I can keep up and it's all about the challenge for me this year.

We have had some amazing snow days this week, and I am on vacation (yahoo!) so into the studio I went a couple of days ago and started thinking about what kind of quilt I wanted my bee mates to contribute to. Words!!! I am going to start off with a phrase that inspires me, and then I will ask all to add to the quilt. They can add a word, a phrase, whatever they want! I think it will be cool to see what comes back, and the thing will have travelled the whole country!

I started with the phrase "Go Somewhere New". Simple, but powerful for me. I love going new places, exploring new things. And I need to get off my bum and do more of this. Also, I think it's kind of fun that my quilt will be going somewhere new each month. Lucky devil.

Once I had the phrase, I knew I wanted to paper piece my letters. Now my friend over at Purple Boots and Pigtails, who taught me improv letters this year,  will be appalled that I went to paper piecing. But I have not mastered the art of normal sized improv letters, they are all gigantic when I am done. I used Elizabeth Hartman's Fridge Magnet pattern (which I would give you a link too, but I no longer see this pattern in her shop). This pattern is meant for her special freezer paper template technique, but frankly, that looked like way too much work, so I just modified the pattern by tracing the letters in the reverse so that I could paper piece.

Given that this quilt will be ALL MINE in the end, I used some of my favorite new fabrics. Alison Glass's Abacus and some AMH Luminous. The luminous may not have been the easiest thing to Paper piece with, but it does give my letters a little bit of texture and some sparkle! Everyone needs sparkle.

Once the words were done I also wanted to add another shape to this starter block. I went with flying geese because I loooovveeesss them. I started making them using this method, but quickly had a hot mess on my hands. No points, weird sizes etc. I was rushing I think, excited to get it all together.

So I went back to paper piecing for the geese as well. Much better. The Points don't lie.

In the end I have a starter block that is likely way too big (28 x 15), and I don't expect my bee mates to make something so large, but I LOVE it. And I feel like I designed it all by my lonesome, so I love it even more.

As I am writing I realize that I will not see this wee bit of work back for a whole year! Weird and exciting. Cannot wait to see what the other chicks will add...

Have you taken on a new quilt along or bee, or something equally fun for 2016? I took a total break from all organized things in 2015 and it was good. But I need something to keep me focused and this bee will be fun me thinks.

Happy New Year!

ps. if you would like to follow snippets of our traveling quilts and happen to frequent Instagram you can find us at #travelingquiltscanada


  1. What an exciting beginning! Love these sorts of challenges.:)

  2. this is fun... I love your starter block! would love to do a round robin type bee like this. I am in a monthly block swap bee & love that

  3. Awesome, Ade! It's a perfect start to your quilt. I can't wait to see where it goes. I am confident that you will add lovely bits to the quilts that come to visit you. You rock.

    P.S. I would be happy to go some new places with you this year!

  4. I am so impressed and equally jealous too! I loves your starter block so much and the idea of it going away on a trip for a whole year and then returning home to you all done up is amazing. I haven't joined up anything for 2016. I already have far too much on my list.

  5. I love that I'm not the only one who thinks about word quilts often. :) Your letters are wonderful and it will be excited to see where your words lead your bee mates!

  6. I have pulled back from swaps to try to get more of my wip done, but I am looking for members for a paper piecing quilt bee for Canadians. I love the idea of letters! It will entail making blocks each month for the queen bee.

  7. Sounds like a fun project. Great start. Can't wait to see how it unfolds.

  8. I can't wait to see how everyone adds to your starter block Adrienne. I really want to do a quilt with words and have it on my list for next year. Like you I took a break last year from quilt along and kind of miss being involved. I have joined Do.Go Stitches but still looking around for something else to join along in.

  9. Too cool. You are very brave to let go of this beauty, but I am sure it will be exciting to see what everyone else will be adding.

  10. Word quilts rock my world.... love making letters!
    How ever you got there, the result is lovely... the colours are pretty happy making too....Can't wait to see how this progresses! I'll be watching that hashtag, and I'll be green with envy at this fabulous adventure!

  11. This will be a great follow along. I'm looking forward to future posts.

  12. Oh I love this! And that new AG print is perfect for the main background fabric!

  13. Beautiful start of your quilt. Looking forward to seeing what gets added to it.

  14. This looks so awesome, Adrienne!! I love the colours and the message, too. Can't wait to see it in person :) This is going to be a fun year!