It was at least 15 years ago that I joined a group at the local community college to work through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron about "unblocking creativity" that I first encountered the idea of not paying attention to "breaking news". One of the chapters in the book urged us to go one week without reading or listening to the news. It was a challenge at first but gradually it has become a habit for me.
I've discovered I feel calmer without the constant negative pounding of minor "news" and when there is really important news, it always comes to my attention. So I wasn't the first to know about the massacre in Orlando this past weekend, but I knew about it by Monday morning via Instagram and a friend who shared the initiative of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.
Perhaps you are also aware of this initiative by now. The guild is gathering quilts filled with hearts to comfort those who have been impacted by this tragedy.
They directed us to cluckclucksews.com tutorial for simple pieced heart blocks.
My first eight were on the design wall Tuesday morning.
As I stitched, I thought of my long time teaching mentor, Mary Ellen Hopkins. She introduced me and dozens of other teachers to this "stitch and flip" technique which she dubbed "connector corners" as a way to create snowball blocks. Over the years, this idea has filtered out through the quilting world and most are no longer aware of it's origins.
Mary Ellen was so excited by the concept that it resulted in five books published between 1990 and 2000. She would be so into this project!!
There are the first heart blocks, on page 41 of Connecting Up. These original hearts have a diagonal orientation but they used those stitch and flip squares to create a rounded look.
I started in my scrap bag looking for mono-color prints in a rainbow of cheerful colors.
Construction of the blocks lends itself to chain piecing and once I've finished digging around for the fabric, I can cut and piece a half dozen in an hour.
The tutorial at cluckclucksew.com includes a chart of sizes from 4" to 10" so I made the largest heart I could from each scrap.
Once I had depleted the usable scraps, I turned to the stash and focused on the largest size hearts.
I had hoped to be farther this morning than a first layout draft but stuff happens (as you know).
One modification I made was to cut large triangles using my Marti Michell Multi-size Half-Square Triangle Ruler -- stretches small bits of background fabric and eliminates new scraps for the bag!!
Before I left the studio last evening, I did clump together the six smallest hearts which I will merge into three blocks.
I pulled all the medium size hearts and will frame those with background strips so all the blocks are the same size. The background fabrics are pulled and I spritzed them and left them hanging over the ironing board to shed wrinkles so the start-up ironing today will go more quickly!
I did the math so that I don't have to think at the beginning of today's studio session -- just iron, cut, and start stitching!
I love that I can be part of this project even though I live 1045 miles away!
I love how quickly the quilting community has supported this project. The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild initiated the first Instagram post on Monday and as of this moment (4 days later), there are 678 posts with the #quiltsforpulse hashtag.
Not on Instagram? -- HERE is a link to the guild's blog and the information about the project or go to their FACEBOOK page to see this project come together day by day.
They are accepting blocks, quilt tops, and finished quilts so all of us that wish can easily participate. Just another example of the good things we do with our stitching every chance we get!!