Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wonky, Liberated, Variable, or Maverick Stars....



In 1996, Gwen Marston released her now famous "Liberated Quiltmaking" and unleashed the concept of bravely taking scissors in hand and cutting directly into fabric without measuring, without using a pattern, and without resorting to templates of any kind...and the truest concepts of "liberated quiltmaking' were sent out into the universe in printed form.

Once, rotary cutters were invented (Olfa 1979) liberated quilting took on a totally different meaning ;) but a lot of us still prefer to design as we go, no longer use templates, don't mind (and even encourage) slightly irregular measurements and some of us even prefer not to measure for borders, bindings, sashings or cornerstones. We simply wing it with a song and a prayer and let it fly. Tradition lies at the root, experience guides us, but creativity becomes the driving force.

A decade plus later, all of us who embrace free form concepts continue to be inspired by Gwen's ideas and 'processes'. Shown above, Gwen's "Process 12: Free Pieced Stars", which she also referred to as the "Variable Star." And while this has been widely repeated under many different names from liberated stars, to wonky stars, to free-pieced stars, to Bushfire Stars, to stars by a variety of quilter's names.... in the beginning it was Gwen's design from this now famous book that started the free pieced star movement. The single or multiple piecing of the center square may vary, but having that irregular eight pointed star remains the same.

And yes, due to our eager demands ;) a reprint of her book should be coming out some time in the future. Until then, if you're lucky enough to own a copy, as I am, you "Bless Your Lucky Stars!" and incorporate the freedom of technique in everything from traditional fabrics and designs to the wonkiest of orphan block quilting.

Some of my own free pieced stars found their way into a little picnic quilt for my youngest daughter's birthday. Now, living in a small cabin out in the outlying woodlands of a larger town, she has been lucky to see dozens of deer each and every day, a beaver family building their dam, and and many other small animals like porcupines, nutria, weasels or field mice that skitter about. Each day she follows a small path to a lovely little oasis of a creek and sits, watches and listens, to the life which surrounds her.

A little sit-upon birthday quilt seemed called for. And what a serendipitous discovery to find fabric with little cabins and teapots and ducks with the phrases 'Bless Our Cabin' and 'tea cabin' amongst the designs...just as if waiting for me to notice it, among all of the scrap fabric I have collected over the years.

The concept of a little cabin in the woods, translated into a place of refuge; a respite along one's journey where you might sip a cup of tea, commune with all that surrounds you, and feeling refreshed and revitalized, then continue along one's way, became a concept, a blessing, a process and finally...a quilt.

My little quilt 'Bless Our Tea Cabin' was created, delivered, and received at her birthday celebration, along with tins and boxes of tea, a new teapot, a little picnic hamper, tea towels, and wild blackberry cobbler.

Liberated Quilt Blocks and Patterns...Wonky or Liberated Star blocks


8 comments:

  1. Beautiful quilt. Great colors, fabrics & design. Enjoyed your post, as always.

    Thanks for sharing.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  2. i love that quilt, the colors are perfect.

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  3. The colors are beautiful. This wonky quilt is a neat idea, but after fitting into form so much, it might take some nerve for me to try.

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  4. It's beautiful. The colors look great together. I learned it from Jan Mullen's book, where she called it starz.

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  5. What a perfect gift for your daughter- and what a lovely way to spend her birthday- I bet she loved the quilt, the blueberry cobbler and time with her mom! Hope she is managing with her cast okay.
    Warmest regards,
    Anna

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  6. It's a great quilt and a great technique. I smiled when I saw your stars because I just posted on the same patter.

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  7. It should be said that good writing doesn't hide in the shadows but shines, stands out, glimmers and takes you away. Good writing consumes you, brings you along with all your senses and never lets you go until the gift is delivered.

    Exceptionally created quilt, divinely inspired and shared by the dazzling authoress.

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  8. That fabric was waiting for just the right inspiration. Lucky daughter--in lots of ways.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.