This has been a busy year so far and my summer looks even busier. On the handwork front, I've mostly been working on old projects, chipping away when I get the chance, trying to move a few WIPs into the completed column. But if you've been following me here for any length of time, you know I often can't resist the lure of a challenge, and last month I caved and joined a very loose group (in the nicest sense of the word) on Instagram who are making blocks from the Quiltmania book, 2001 Nouveaux Blocs de Patchwork. The book is a reprint of a popular Japanese book from the '90s, written by quilter Chuck Nohara, one of Japan's early quilting stars. There's not much text, it's basically a compendium of 2001 blocks.
The people in the group (which anyone can join along) are making small blocks, 5" or 6" square, some of their own choosing as well as some which are chosen as suggestions and posted on Instagram every few weeks. I think it started with several quilters who are taking classes in Sydney from Lorena Uriarte, who has now made two large, award-winning versions. As Instagrammers admired their blocks, more decided to join in and a quiltalong was born. I was nudged by that expert nudger, Thimbleanna, and despite my reluctance to start another project, I broke down and purchased the book a couple of months ago. I do love a new challenge! And the lack of rules appealed to me ~ make it large, make it small...just come along! The book arrived, I flipped through it and then had to put it aside for several weeks because...
...look, I'm a 'Nana'! This is little Teddy, Molly & Chito's new baby who arrived on May 18. I spent the first two weeks of June in Dallas with him and his parents and hated to leave. I think I'll like this new role! But now I'm home so back to my project...
As I said, the book is filled with little blocks. Filled. All kinds. Appliqué and pieced, in many categories. I was familiar with Nohara's blocks because when first published in Japan, some were featured in several articles in Quilts Japan and Patchwork Tsushin, magazines that I often read. May I be honest? I thought a lot of them were kind of wacky. I still do, actually.
But here's the thing. When you see them being made up in a variety of fabrics, and grouped together as more and more are assembled, they are quite charming. My first decision was size and I chose to make my blocks 6" square. Some are going smaller ~ 5" ~ and smaller often makes blocks more appealing. But smaller also limits one's fabric choices. I had been wanting to make another project in busy little prints after making my Valentine quilt a couple of years ago and this seemed like a good time to try that again. (That little quilt is one of my favorites of all the pieces I've made!) I chose several designs that I wanted to start with, scanned the little block designs, re-scaled to 6" (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements ~ very quick and easy) and printed them out.
These were the first two I made, block #606 (cherries) and block #463 (flower pot).
On Sunday morning, I made this block, #823, while watching the men's Wimbledon final. Of course, I had to include a strawberry. And because I don't want my loyal blog followers to feel like they're getting the sloppy leftovers, here's my fourth block, #412, the classic 'Honeybee' block, as yet not shared on Instagram.
I love how it turned out, though I am afraid I may be veering into 'twee' territory and am planning some solid, geometric blocks for my next few.
Here they are, all together. I'm planning to add a more, regularly. You can follow me on Instagram if you want more frequent updates. (Link in sidebar.) To answer a number of kind inquiries, no, I'm not giving up the blog, but any of you who have blogs know that it takes time to write a post. So I will continue to share here when I have something to say and several times a week, I'll share a photo and quick update in Instagram, if you're interested.
I may not be back here for several weeks as I'm having a visitor soon...
Hope you're having a great summer!
***If you're on Instagram and would like to see others' blocks, check out the hashtags #chucknohara and #chucknoharaqal