Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In Which I Stack and I Whack


I guess it has been about ten years now since the Stack and Whack craze hit the world of quilting. I was intrigued by it from the get-go. The method, developed by one Bethany Reynolds, yields magnificent blocks that look like unique (yes, Honna, unique) kaleidescopes, all lined up on the quilt top. I was dying to take the class, to try it for myself. But I was heavily involved in school and young adult children, and juggling many responsibilities, and never quite managed to do it. My interest waned and I nearly forgot about it.
. . . .
Then I found out that my friend Sue from church who just happens to work at the LQS (Local Quilt Shop, for those nonquilting readers) was going to be teaching the class over the past Saturday with one night preceding for a lesson on fabric selection. I knew that Joe had committed himself to a major sidewalk square replacement project to occupy most of the holiday weekend, and decided to take Sue's class.
. . . .
I wasn't sorry. Not only did Sue turn out to be a fine teacher who achieved a remarkable balance between group instruction and individual attention, but the class was small and filled with amiable women with varying tastes in fabric. Part of the fun was wandering around to the different tables to see how each woman's blocks were turning out. The project Sue selected was the Lemoyne Star quilt and she had hers there for us to ooh and aaah over. And ooh and aaah we did. It was magnificent. I wish I'd taken a picture. This picture is of a Lemoyne Star Stack and Whack quilt that I found on the internet. This is the pattern that we made. This one features such vivid and intense colors; Sue's was much lower in contrast and just as beautiful.
. . . .
The first step was fabric selection, and we spent quite a bit of time on that. The ideal fabric would be one with some black in it, a large scale print, a repeat of about 12 inches, and not a lot of open space in the background. One woman had green background fabric with dice and aces of hearts on it. Two people found an autumn vegetable print irresistible -- they had punkins, gourds, corn ears all over. Another lady selected a terrific black background with international costumes, and there were a couple of large florals. I looked at fabric for quite a while. Initially I was looking for a kiddy print, thinking my project would be for Sam. But nothing caught my eye. I kept going back to a fabric that really isn't my usual kind of thing. Kept telling myself, "That's Bonnie's fabric, not yours." In the end, Bonnie's or not, I had to have the dusky green background with the cardinals, bayberries, and pine boughs.
. . . .
The cutting of the layers of fabric and the pinning together was precise and tedious work. It really helped to have two chattery, friendly new neighbors across the table -- the time went by fairly quickly and soon we were finished stacking and ready for whacking. Precision was just as important here. Once we had our sets of parallelograms pinned together, we were ready to start putting our blocks together. Bethany's method for the usually very tricky Lemoyne star involves no set-in seams, and before long various members of the class were springing up, "Look at mine! Look at mine!" And we looked. And we ooohed. And we aahed. The fascinating thing was that we would be surprised anew with each block -- there was really no way to plan or to anticipate what the blocks would look like! It was an exciting adventure. The finished project calls for twelve blocks. I have about five or six finished, and because of other pressing quilting commitments, am going to have to put this project aside until winter break. I'll be eager to return to it.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I am also a stack and whacker wanna be. Perhaps one of these days.....
Kathy B

Karrin Hurd said...

Beatiful blocks Nancy!

Susan said...

Oh my gosh your fabrics are beautiful. I wish that I could do that. Alas, I'm stuck in the realm of paper piecing.

Ms. Jan said...

Fabulous blocks Nancy! I'm like Kathy B., one of these days I'll give it a "whack." (Sorry) =)

Susan said...

I love your blocks. You chose a wonderful fabric for this, and the colors are very soft. I chose a wild chicken fabric with a black background. =) One of these days, I will finish it. Moira showed me what to do in a day of sewing at her house. I did the other one that wheels around. Fran took a class and did the hex one. All the ones I've ever seen are gorgeous. I quilted one that was black with bright fish, and it was such fun to quilt!