Monday, June 11, 2007

Riding The Orphan Train...heading west...the annual visit

I'm here with these pictures today for a reason. Tonya at http://lazygalquilting.blogspot.com/ has just finished her version of Orphan Train. That's probably not it's official title, altho it is for my Orphan Train. It's her first as far as I know. She started putting those odd blocks together in 2005, when we were both new to Quilt Mavericks. She profess to love the 'oddball' and 'out there' stuff. She mentions a great book by Gerald E. Roy about his partner in fabric, Paul D. Pilgrim. They came on the design scene in the early 1990's. Great partnership! BUT...orphans
are on my mind today. In her post, Tonya says, "final word" while mentioning Keryn's orphans and crumbs, at http://quiltingtwin.blogspot.com/ . Sorry Ton, NO final words allowed. You aren't finished with orphans yet...you are just getting started. You only think this one challenged you...LOL It turned out really well. It's pleasant, visually stimulating as all your quilts are, well thought out and in colors you like with blocks that didn't make the cut. OK..that's just step one. I hereby officially CHALLENGE you to begin another...behind closed doors if necessary...using ALL the orphans that are lying around. The ones from Hot Crazy Love, Hugs and Kisses, Noel, wonky Hearts, the left over houses and trees. Your experiements that didn't work. Add fabric to make them fit. Can you do that ? My Orphan Train (that you exclaim about) is a later event. The one below came first or second. It's multiple size blocks, and all I did was adjust them size wise....not good design taste, not my favorite colors. Do I love it? No....but I learned things. I didn't know how much more there was to 'this' than just putting the blocks
together into a useful top. That's ALL our sister quilters from days gone by were doing, making do. The orphan block quilt at Yankee Quilter http://scrapsandthreadtales.blogspot.com/ is just such a quilt. Not really designed, just put together. I adore it!!! It is exciting. This attempt of mine is not. I moved on, not realizing I hadn't really given up on the idea. (OK..one too many pictures here....LOL. Gives you a chance to see the design(?) choices I made that I shouldn't have.)

In the last group orphan blocks, I was trying to use up 'production over-run'(a common problem I have). These were left from ONE baby quilt...yikes! They are pretty ho-hum no matter what you do...but I thought the bright sashing might help. The border follows in the same line of thought. The back is equally mixed up and makes you wonder. I practiced utility quilting. When I was done, I didn't like the quilt, but felt somehow it was the celebration of my Mom's life which ended at age 52. So it's ok. The Orphan Train heading west quilt is (at least) the 3rd one, at that I can remember. It began life as leftover snowball and 9 patch blocks. I had put a border on them, and then decided to continue on and make it bigger. I'm glad I did. Once I got
rolling it became a challenge to see what all I could use. NOTHING in the Orphan Train Heading West was made in order to use it here. Spacers were put in as needed to complete a row or section.
One thing you HAVE to know(or understand) about orphan train tops.....Orphan blocks are not generally held in very high regard. They are,however, another link to our quilting heritage. Not every child is beautiful or wanted, but it doesn't mean they don't have a purpose. I'm not much of a "planner" when it comes to quilts. I work more from figuring out how a particular block is pieced, and then pull fabrics (or often, scraps) and begin making them. Sometimes it becomes a quilt, and sometimes I just don't like it well enough to make more, and a new 'orphan' is added to the basket.
Do I have antique orphans? Of course, how could you NOT buy them when you see someone's failed attempt? Do I buy orphan tops? You bet! To I even have orphan block tops that are "recycled"? Yes. That's what I was going to show you today. These 'little guys', like stray cats and kittens, are everywhere. All you need to do is keep your eyes open, as well as your heart. Bits of embroidery would work as well. BUT....is it easy to work with them? No, and if you don't believe me, ask Tonya or Bonnie http://quiltville.blogspot.com/ (who I coached as she pieced one from leftovers in 2006)....it's alot harder than making what you'd really like. And as for the person who asked Tonya if her work was as shoddy as Gwen Marstons....if you are comfortable being critical of anothers work, be brave enough to identify yourself.....back when anonymous was a woman, it was a social standard set by men.
Pieces from my Scrapbag began on 7/13/05. Anniversary coming up! ORPHAN TRAIN posts on 7/22/05, 8/20/06 and 9/08/06...and probably more that I didn't find.

7 comments:

dot said...

Oh once again I get to see my favorite quilt. I jsut love the first quilt. I remember the first time I saw this quilt and I wanted one just like it. Thank-you so much for posting it again. I was just thinking about it the other day. I have orphan blocks but not enough yet to make a quilt. I am collecting them just for that purpose.

Tonya R said...

I'm more than happy to make another orphan quilt, but to use ALL my orphans in one quilt? Can't I do a christmas orphan, a halloween orphan, valentines... etc? Don't make me cry, Finn!

Quilt Pixie said...

you're inspiriing me to gie my orphan pile another look -- they're all such different kinds of fabric I just can't imagine how to make a "pretty" unififed creation...

Barbara C said...

Oh goodie, a challenge! I love your Orphan Train quilt and I appreciate your comments on the design difficulties of pulling one off successfully. Perhaps you'll give us a few hints? The good thing about orphans is, as you say, that even the ugly ones are loved.

meggie said...

I think Orphans have a charm of their own! And they are always sooo unique!
And Ebby loves them all, regardless.

Holly said...

Hi Finn :) There's one of my favorite quilts featured again. I just love it!

sophie said...

Talk about synchronicity. I couldn't help but think of your blog challenge to Tonya when I saw this quilt, The Orphanage, at the NCA show in Columbus OH last week. I also posted the link in the comments on Tanya's blog as some inspiration to consider more disparate blocks in her next orphans quilt ... it certainly inspired me.