I just heard of the First Annual Blogger’s Quilt Festival yesterday and my first thought was “why didn’t I think of that?!” What a great idea, bringing quilting bloggers together by sharing photos of our quilts.
The idea is to post photos of your favorite quilt that you’ve made and tell it’s story. Excellent idea, huh!
My all time favorite quilt that I have made, absolutely hands-down, is my Harry Potter quilt. I embarked on this project in early 2006. My family had long been fans (we started reading Harry in 1999) and I’d been quilting for a few years. After discovering what so many HP crafters now know, that licensed fabric is out of print and nigh on impossible to find (and expensive if you do!), I decided to try to design my own.
The very first HP block I designed was Hedwig, though not the one that ended up in the quilt (you can see it in the photo below…bleargh!). It was pretty dreadful, too complicated and just bad, bad, bad. I’d only ever designed simple blocks before, so I changed gears and started with a broom and a lightning bolt. The stack of blocks began to grow. All through the process, I was sharing on the Harry Potter Crafts Yahoo! Group. Members started asking if I’d share my patterns, and before long, my little craft site, then called Jen’s Crochet & Crafts, grew into sewhooked, full of all kinds of crafts, crochet, and now paper pieced patterns.
I went to Lumos in Las Vegas in 2006 and took my HP blocks with me to share with my online craft friends. By this time I was a Moderator at Harry Potter Crafts. Sharing my designs and other projects I’d made with them for myself and friends, on top of the fact that I knew HTML, led to a year and a half as a Crafty Witch at The Leaky Cauldron where I made truly amazing friends. The quilt that wasn’t a quilt yet was already helping me to connect with people.
In the fall of 2006, I decided to attend Phoenix Rising in New Orleans which, like Lumos, was a Harry Potter fandom conference, and was scheduled to take place in May 2007. Even though my quilt wasn’t even close to done, nor was I close to having enough blocks designed for a whole quilt, I entered a mock-up for consideration in the Phoenix Rising art gallery, and was, to my surprise, accepted. With a deadline looming, I started churning out patterns and blocks, finishing up the quilt in March of 2007, just two months before it was to be shown in New Orleans.
This quilt is more just a million bits of fabric stitched together. It represents all the years I’ve loved Harry Potter and some of my favorite things about the series. It has brought me friends, and fans, and brought more quilters that I can count into the wonderful world of paper piecing. In the fall of 2007, I started hp_paperpiecing on Livejournal as way to share more with other Harry Potter quilters than just patterns. I’ve posted over 100 unique HP themed blocks there and have in the process met a lot of awesome quilters and designers, many brand new to paper piecing.
I don’t design as many HP blocks as I used to, though I’m still very involved with hp_paperpiecing.
Harry Potter patterns at sewhooked, free for personal and non-profit use.
See loads more photos of the making of My Magical Lens over at flickr.