It is rather liberating just to make blocks without a finished quilt in mind. I'm a planner, so I like to sketch the entire quilt and calculate all the yardage required, way before I even think of fabrics. Only after I've washed and pressed my material (and if red fabrics are involved, I wash them a lot), can I start cutting and then set to the work of piecing. I really like the assembly-line mode. I get more done that way.
Is it any wonder that my favorite shape is a square?
This new project has freed me to start working with fabrics I've been saving - for what I don't know. I guess the right project had to present itself.
I've got quite a few pages of ideas for just the way I want to put this together. It's times like this that I want to learn more about machine quilting . . .
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Before last night, I couldn't remember the last time I saw a great documentary. If you're looking for something to stitch by, please see Muscle Shoals. On second thought, don't stitch while watching this. The cinematography is jaw-dropping and the editing makes you forget you're watching a documentary. It's the story of the sound of Muscle Shoals, the Alabama recording studio founded by Rick Hall. If musicians like Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers had any influence on you, you must see this.
When we last got together, I told you how my winter restlessness had gotten the better of me. I struggled to focus on a project; I had many fits and starts and was headed nowhere fast. Recognizing that I needed to get some physical activity in my life, I took up boxing.
Aside from having the absolute best sleep I have ever had in my life, the boxing world has also given me some great inspiration. I dove into my stash yesterday, forcing myself to cut fabrics I have been saving - for what I didn't know. Now I know. Boxing has also taught me to take risks (but let's not get crazy here).
Since you will never, ever see me inside an actual boxing ring, it has become the object of my quilted desire. I researched the boxing ring shape and size and translated them into a block. I did not want to drive myself nuts by making my 'ropes' less than a half inch in width, so I used those as my starting measurement. That and for some unknown reason, a 4" center square.
Boxing Ring: Round 1
I really like the way the ropes look. The block ended up being 20" square which is pretty huge for me but within proportional range of the 16 to 25' side measurement of an actual ring. By the way, the square is called a ring because fighting matches were usually held within the confines of a circle drawn on the ground (thank you, Wikipedia). I'm definitely going to use circles as my quilting motif.
Boxing Ring: Round 2
So it makes sense that I want to make 9 of these and I've got some ideas brewing in my head as to what to do with them. I think this may be the series I was looking for all this time. Whatever this quilt or quilts turn(s) out to be, it will be called Knock Out. Thank you very much to Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches who gave me the inspiration for the name.
Because I am a firm believer in quilt history preservation, I think it is really important to identify a block whenever you use it and try to date and place the first time it was published. My go-to block reference book is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I tried to find the pattern in her book and the closest I found was White House Steps - another one of my favorites. So I am asking for your help: whatever kind of quilter you call yourself (traditional, modern, contemporary, art, artisan, on-the-fence), I'd like to ask this: have you ever seen this pattern and if so when and where?
Thanks very much - your help is truly appreciated!