Sunday, June 13, 2010


My life has felt very chaotic of late. Compared to the lives the rest of you live the idea is laughable. Nevertheless, I've felt the need for a calming influence. So instead of working on any of the half dozen projects I currently have on my To Do list I went searching for something that would be soothing to work on. What I came up with was a UFO from over 10 years ago that I probably put away out of boredom.

I've always wanted to make what I think of as a "pioneer quilt." This would be made of indigo blues, deep or turkey reds, and shirting prints. Reproductions of course. I couldn't really decide on what block pattern or even exactly what type of quilt to make however. Applique was out, and I knew I wanted something that would look like it was pieced as much for practicality as anything else. No heirloom masterpieces for me! At some point I started making 10" Churn Dash blocks. Then, as I said before, I probably got bored or distracted or something and moved on to another project. (I had school-age children then and was active in my quilt guild.)

So when it felt too overwhelming to try to layer and pin baste either of the quilt tops and their backs that I have recently finished and I didn't have the mental capacity to create a new BJP ornament for May or June I pulled out these abandoned blocks. This I could handle. I only have to cut two shapes, the palette is already established, and my piecing skills are sufficient to do a good job without having to pay a whole lot of attention. Perfect. I can mindlessly make blocks until my brain comes back or I run out of fabric (unlikely).

There were about 14 ten inch blocks in the bag along with the 25 or so five inch blocks. (The little blocks were a doll quilt top at one point but it was so busy I couldn't live with it and took it apart. I may end up using those little blocks with the bigger ones somehow...)

First I made these...

And then made four more.

There are two more partially assembled blocks at the sewing machine. I haven't pulled all the fabric I could use in this quilt from my shelves but I suspect there's enough there for at least two quilt tops of some size. I am not going to put pressure on myself to make a complete top at this time though. My goal right now is just to piece blocks until I feel ready and able to move on to something more demanding. Then I can come back to this the next time I need something calm and mindless to work on.

Who knew there would come a day when I would welcome a project I would otherwise consider tedious!


  1. We all need days and projects like this one ... soothing and satisfying!

  2. Nothing wrong with a little mindless piecing! It lets the brain reset. Hope things get less chaotic for you soon.

  3. You know if you make 4 more blocks like the ones you have shown you could sew together a very simple tote bag. You could use up your stash and have something to show for it in a fairly short time.

  4. I can't wait to see your quilt finished...It is going to be gorgeous!! I just finished my churn dash quilt...Pop over to my blog as I just posted pictures of it. I think the churn dash has just become one of my favourite blocks.
    Take care!

  5. These are such lovely blocks, and isn't it nice to have something mindless to work on? Sometimes when I'm too pooped to sew I just cut things out to sew later. To me, that's very relaxing.

    I hope your block-making refreshes your spirit.


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