Sunday, December 14, 2008

Scrap Quilts

I am a big fan of the Australian quilter, Margaret Rolfe's quilt books. The concept in each is absurdly simple and yet remarkably rich in possibilities. In her first book, co-authored with Judy Hooworth, Spectacular Scraps, 1999, she shows how the basic block, a half-square triangle, that is a square bisected on the diagonal, can be grouped together in groups of four blocks in, hold on to your seats, a staggering 256 different combinations, that is 4 factorial. Then, of course, one can combine those 256 different little four patches in an infinite number of arrangements. My "satellite" quilt group, the Blockheads, twice did a half-square triangle exchange in a given palette, once in earth tones, once in cool colors. Each of us was to make 30 4-square blocks for each other "Blockhead" to be presented at the holiday party in December. We all, of course, ended up with oodles of blocks and I was able to make a number of quilts, large and small.

Fallen Leaves on Frozen Pond
72 x 72 inches

In a later book, Successful Quilts, 2002 co-authored with
Judy Turner, Margaret Rolfe uses a simple rectangle as the basis for a slew of luscious designs. I donated this quilt to the annual fundraiser for Channelkeeper, an environmental watchdog group on whose board my husband Bob serves.

Blue Lagoon
72 x 72 inches

Back in the early 1970s, Bob and I picked up a lovely Triple Irish Chain at a garage
sale in San Diego for $25. We literally wore it out. I hankered to have another and after years of searching, found an easy to follow technique in Tradition with a Twist by Blanche Young and Dalene Young Stone, 1999. My friend Nancy King did the machine quilting and put a different motif in each of the plain squares, just as there had been on the one we used to have.This is the quilt that graces our bed.

Triple Irish Chain
84 x 84 inches

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