Monday, January 31, 2011

An Adventure in Swapping

FLW Inspired Window mini
 Two years ago my best friend Kelli sent me an invitation to join a group of swappers.  It had been sent to her, but she didn't feel she had the time or the discipline to participate.  That was the beginning of one of the most marvelous adventures of my life.

I responded and was accepted into the Flickr group.  Flickr is a photo streaming community supported by Yahoo.  The group was Swap 'Til You Drop.  S.T.U.D.   Each month members of the group sign up to participate in either an "Anything Goes" or themed swap.  At the start of the game registrants are matched to partners.  They are then responsible to create a mini quilt (no bigger than 15" square) and have it mailed to their partner by the end of the month.  Players often exchange e-mails, and small gifts along with the quilts.  Many of them become good friends.

FLW Inspired Window mini - back
 The photos I'm sharing with  you today are of my latest offering. 

This Anything Goes swap is due by the end of February.  My partner is a new quilter, a man named Kurt.  Kurt and his family live in Green Bay Wisconsin.

My first step was to get a feel for his taste.  On Flickr the best way to do that is to view a person's photo stream, favorites, galleries, and profile, and see what they have been up to.   I found  his latest project - a jewel toned quasi-crazy quilt for his brother-in-law.   I'm thinking straight lines, solid fabrics, and bold contrasts.

About the time  I signed up for this swap I received a book about making Frank Lloyd Wright window quilts.  FLW's windows are beautiful and the quilts they inspired were equally so.   This seemed perfect for Kurt.

Jackie Robinson wrote "Quilts In The Tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright" in 1995.  In it she explains the construction of 18 different small quilts that she designed based on particular FLW windows.  All of them are dynamic, geometric, bold, works of color played against black and white with large unbroken spaces.  Jackie's method is pieced.   Since that time, quilters have developed bias tape methods for making stained glass effects.  This is the method I chose to create a one of a kind FLW inspired window for Kurt.

I drew my design out on paper then copied it onto white muslin; fused on the colored bits (in this case,  scraps of silk); and  fused on black 1/4 in biased tape over all of the lines.  I then went back and sewed the tape down very close to the edges.  (FYI - if you attempt to replicate this process cut your colored bits about 1/4 larger than their corresponding spaces.  Otherwise the edges may pop out from under the bias tape and leave you with a tiny gap.  Says the voice of experience.)  I quilted it using my domestic sewing machine and white thread - echoing 1/4 inch inside each of the white spaces.  The project was easy, fun, and resulted in a fantastic mini.

The package I sent to Kurt last Friday contained this mini, the remnants of my roll of fusible bias tape, a needle tin complete with magnet and new needles, and a fat quarter of  reproduction fabric.  I can't wait for it to get to it's new home....should be today or tomorrow before I hear anything.  I'll let you know how my partner likes it.

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