In one of my first posts, I explained how some of my quilting buddies and I–a.k.a. The Crazy Ladies–challenged one another to make a sunflower wall hanging. We each were to make a sixteen-inch block, cut it into four pieces, so that we could swap and each of us would have one-fourth of each flower, from which we were to Make Something.
But we aren’t called the Crazy Ladies for nothing. The resulting blocks included upholstery fabric and trim, scrunched fabric, foundation piecing, a flower made from the petals of disemboweled artificial sunflowers, odd bits of synthetic sheer fabric, one bit of fabric that had been partly plasticized, one bit that was texturized with an embellishment machine, and up to seven layers of fabric on one block.
And that “eight inch” thing? Not so much. Jane and I took it literally, and Pat and Angela nervously included seam allowances, on the theory–not unreasonable, when you stop to think about it– that they might be nice to have.
Those of you with quilting experience will realize that, when it comes to sewing the blocks together, this is what is known in the trade as “a hot mess.”
It’s also the perfect opportunity to use the techniques I learned in a class I took with Santa Fe art quilter Ann Ferkovich. The class was (and is) called “Many Ravens,” named after Ann’s mind-blowing quilted room divider that was on display at Santa Fe Quilting for several years; I really wish there was a photo online, because each piece of it is a miniature work of art, and the work as a whole beggars description. The class was the most liberating one that I’ve ever had, and is the reason that “to manyraven” has become a verb among quilters in this area.
With this technique, it doesn’t matter whether the blocks are the same size, or even if they are perfectly square. They can be conventional blocks, or collages, or pieces of textile or multimedia art constructed in some other way. Seams can be straight, or not. Even the final product isn’t necessarily perfectly square, since it isn’t bound in the usual way. It is essentially a quilt-as-you-go technique, and you begin by quilting all the pieces that you are going to use separately–the blocks, and goodly chunks of whatever you are going to use for backgrounds or borders.
Hence the heap of stuff in the photo.