Monday, August 04, 2008

Changing of the Seasons, Month by Month

I don't normally compliment her too much in case her head swells, but now that I have taken over the blog, she'll never see it. It'll be our little secret: I think that Kim is a total genius.

The reason I think this is that every month, she comes up with beautiful blocks for our Block of the Month quilt.

Now, you should know that most quilt shops buy commercial patterns to do their block clubs. But Kim loves to design, so our blocks of the month are unique to our shop. And they are so wonderful!

When you join our block of the month, you have to take a bit of a risk. Kim sketches the quilt out, but then she always changes the design as she goes. Hey, that is the nature of being an Artist. And it always makes the quilt better.

But it doesn't stop with the design. Ideas are nothing without action. Each month, we have to do the down-and-gritty work. I will show you what happens behind the scenes, so that you can fully appreciate those magic packets you get every month.

The first thing Kim does is figure out a block she likes, keeping in mind the general colors she is planning to use. And then she has to write the instructions. See this picture--a picture that is on each instruction?

See all those little lines and letters? Yup. Drawn in one by one, by hand. Well, by computer. But you get the idea.

This year, she is also finding an excerpt from a poem that applies to each month. I have the instructions right in front of me, so I'll give you a sneak preview for August:

Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush-bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.
--Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown

Here is some insider information for you. I know a lot about Kim, and one of the things I know is that the word "riotous" is one of her favorite words--so I bet that's why she chose that excerpt. But please don't tell her I told you that. She might think I'm teasing her a little, which of course I would never do. And she really, seriously likes that word. If she were reading this, she would turn to me and say, "What's your problem with riotous??" Then I would scramble and tell her that I like that word too--that it is very descriptive.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Color. After she drafts the instructions, she has to choose the fabrics. This month, for August, she wanted the colors of deep summer. Here's what she chose:

Aren't they gorgeous?

Keep in mind that she isn't choosing the colors in isolation. This year's quilt has a block for each month's color, from the icy colors of winter, through the pale colors of spring--and now we're getting toward the deeper shades. In August, don't you see the little hints here and there that fall is coming?

Most people have trouble picking out 4 or 5 different fabrics to make a quilt. Can you imagine picking out 12 combinations, a different combination each month--but combinations that still all work together?

Don't tell Kim I said this on account of her head--her precious head--but look at how stunning her colors are when they flow next to each other. From January through July, read from right to left:

This is what you would call "strong visual coherence." (One of my favorite words is coherence. I totally love that word. It's a solid word. A practical word.)

The August block, the 8th block in this series, will look like this (Please. don't tell her that I showed it to you. She likes to keep it a surprise until she shows it at Block of the Month):

I can sneak it to you because I have inside information: I test-sewed it yesterday.

Which brings me to the next stage of the process: test sewing. It's important to test blocks. Sometimes there is a typo, and when there is, we get 70 people telling us about it. Have you ever made a little mistake in your job--like accidentally making the number 8 into the number 6--that causes SEVENTY people to tell you you did something wrong? It is never fun. So if you catch a mistake sometime, be sure to be super-gentle and extra-nice when you tell us!

I did catch one little typo yesterday. Do not panic, gentle quilters! It has been fixed! I'm not even going to tell you what it was.

Today, my job will be to cut all the fabric and put it into packets. Please pray for me that I do the math right when I cut for all those packets. There was one time when 70 people told us that I didn't give them enough fabric.

Kim was nice and kept it a secret from me.

Now that you know what we have to do, be sure to thank Kim for her good work, and hug those packets with appreciation when you get them. Aren't we lucky?

1 comment:

Romi said...

WOW! Stunning!