Karen writes about life as a Quiltmaker in Austin, Texas; surviving in an empty nest, marriage, cooking, gardening and (did I say?) Quilting...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Piecing a Modern Armadillo

Great good fun this month.

Decided a couple months ago to enter a contest. The Modern Quilt Guild (www.themodernquiltguild.com)  did a call for quilt block entries for a raffle quilt. To be raffled off concurrent with QuiltCon, This new national (international?) organization of "modern" quilters is holding it first annual meet up right here in Austin in February of 2013, and I recently joined the local Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I guess I'm fueling my Geminic nature by playing in both the traditional quilt world that I know so well, and now the "Modern" quilt world. So I thought it appropriate that I enter the block challenge.

I decided the block needed to be "Texas-centric", and if possible somewhat "Austinish"... one of the first things to come to mind was the Armadillo. An animal somewhat unknown much outside Texas and the Southern US, but one that as come to symbolize Austin to some extent. In Austin, the armadillo is of course an almost prehistoric animal found typically dead on the side of the road, or (more often) mentioned as the name of an iconic music venue - known as "Armadillo World Headquarters" -  long closed, but symbolic of Austin's Texas music roots.

The rules were surprisingly specific (IMHO) for what should be a somewhat non-traditional design. The bloock needed to express the modern quilt esthetic, and be entirely pieced... no applique, which likely would have been my first construction choice for putting a critter on the block!

Not one to reinvent the wheel, I searched my library for an animal picture, or even a block pattern that might be adapted for piecing, I recall seeing various pieced animal blocks in a couple of my quilt block "history" books... animals blocks were very popular in children's quilts from the late 1920's until about  WWII.

I found not only a block, but specifically an Armadillo Block. It was not quite the right size, but certainly adaptable with a few changes and the addition of the QuiltCon logo colors...It was found in a 1986 book called "Creature Comforts" by quilt historian Barbara Brackman, and quilter Marie Shirer. The book rediscovered "Animal Blocks" from a number of historical quilt pattern sources, and presented them as "alphabet" blocks... the book is still available on Amazon, and worthy of addition to your quilting library!
 Here's a link...  http://amzn.to/WqHbTR

The design of the source design was for a single color, and the proportions didn't fit the requirements for my challenge block size, so some modifications were necessary...  Here's how the design ended up:

I felt like he really, REALLY needed an embroidered eye, but the rules said NO embellishment or applique, so the armadillo remained somewhat blind!

The block challenge was curated by Elizabeth Hartman, a Modern Quilt author (Modern Patchwork), and MQ blogger: www.ohfransson.com

In September, I was happily informed that my Dillo was to be included in the raffle quilt. And today, I received the happy view of the finished MQG raffle quilt - complete with Dillo - sitting in the lower right hand corner of the quilt top. Elizabeth apparently agreed with my assessment that 'dillo needed an eye, and she added not only the eye, but the date for the quilt in fine black embroidery.

Here's the finished quilt top - complete with dillo....

Here's  a link to the Modern Quilt Guild Blog with additional pictures, and Elizabeth's comments about my block. Can't wait til I can buy some raffle tickets - would be so nice to win this quilt eh?


KaHolly said...

Congratulations, Karen! It's absolutely perfect, and no wonder it was chosen!! Greetings from New Braunfels!

Judy said...

Good post. I checked out the Modern Quilt Guild one's, too. Did they get takers for the extra blocks for quilts for the Children's Shelter? I was unaware of this request before, and now it's sorta late....
Would have been a nice bridge between the two guilds.

KaHolly said...

Karen, I love, love, love that armadillo block!! I'm going to check out that book right now!! Thanks for the link. ~karen

Kate H said...

I came across your Dillo in a Quiltcon search - I am absolutely fascinated by the little fellas and just LOVE your block!