Nowadays, when I travel, I don’t buy “regular” souvenirs like I used to. Sure, I get t-shirts for my kids and maybe a keyring. But if I can, I try to seek out unique, independent crafting shops wherever I go, and I bring home some fabric or yarn that reminds me of my trip. Something that will provide at least a few more hours of travel-induced pleasure as I create something from it.
I just broke out some of the fabric I picked up on our family trip to Virginia Beach this summer. There I visited Sarah’s Thimble, a great little shop tucked away in a small strip mall, filled with lots of enticing pre-cut fabric bundles. The one I selected was yellow, orange, and pinkish batiks. Perfect souvenir for that sandy, sweltering beach vacation.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, though—it is very bright. Almost eye-burningly so. Maybe a few darks to calm it down and add constrast? Soon I arrived at an idea by pulling out a few other batiks from my stash.
I’d never really thought about combining yellow, orange, pink and purple before. But somehow it just seems to work. I like the depth of the batiks and somehow, this feels sunny and fun and yet has a weight to it.
I’m using a design I saw in Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. This book offers modern takes on “freewheeling” quilting styles—minimizing patterns and rules and even symmetry. Many of their quilts are inspired by quilters who went outside the norms, in particular, the women of Gee’s Bend and other African-American quilters who favored creativity over pure tradition. The authors give guidelines on sewing a range of “parts” that you can use to make your own masterpiece.
I love most of the quilts in this book. My daughters think they are a scream because of the fantastically bright colors. (My color choices are tame in comparison.) According to Freddy, “red is a neutral.” My elder daughter would certainly agree—to her, red goes with EVERYTHING.
I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with this “house top” blocks, but eventually I’ll square them up and figure out a plan. Perhaps a wall hanging or table topper, or just something to look at when the weather is gray. (By the way, the authors do point out that this is a variation on a log-cabin block, which is just about my favorite–so far.)
Now, to a different color family…. Recently, we took a quick trip up to Mendocino, CA for a long weekend and I stopped off at a small but well-stocked yarn shop. I brought back some wonderful blue variegated superwash wool yarn. The colors remind me of the ocean—that village by the Pacific coast is truly a magical place. The yarn’s perfect to make a pair of hats. Here’s the first one, a work in progress. It’s a Spiral Hat from the 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders, a fun and easy design that alternates knits and purls to create a spiral pattern (please note: this photo makes it look a lot more “electric blue” than it really is!):
This is a perfect “mindless” knit to keep in my purse or do in front of TV. I thought I might wear it, but my younger daughter has claimed it already!
Can’t wait for my next trip so I can seek out more of our great independent crafting shops…