Tuesday, January 7, 2020

New Block of the Month for 2020

The new block of the month for 2020 is called Southwest Sunrise.  This is a real change for me from my usual floral and geometric designs.  Do I have a signature style as a designer?  If so, then this is very different than what I usually do!

The quilt is 75 x 75, and could easily be larger with the addition of another plain border.  It will be available in twelve installments, one each month, starting January 15, 2020.  A new block will be offered every month, along with its story and meaning.  The pattern will be available by Subscription for $6.00 a month for 12 months.  If you prefer printed copies, they can be obtained for $8.00 a month, and will be mailed out each month to subscribers. 

There will be fabric kits offered along with the subscription for those who prefer to purchase the pattern and the fabric.  The kits (one each month for 12 months) will include all the fabric needed to make the entire quilt top.

Those who subscribe to the program will receive a private link to a video tutorial showing how to make that month's block.  

For those who would prefer to pre-pay for the patterns or kits, that option will also be available.  It offers a discount off the cost of the whole pattern or kit.  

There is a $4.00 registration fee, a one time charge that covers the cost of credit card processing and web hosting, both of which are new and separate expenses for offering this program through my current web host.  (Like Sew, my web host, charges $50 a month to use their subscription module, and World Pay charges an extra $10 month for tokenization, a fancy word for storing your credit card securely so it can be automatically charged each month without having to re-enter it.)

I hope you will enjoy making this new block of the month along with me.  I will offer the usual half price patterns on my website each month, and an occasional surprise and give away throughout the year.  Stay tuned for the fun.   For more details, see the 2020 BOM tab at the top of this blog post.

 Remember:  Signups begin January 15!!! 

I would like to thank all of my readers and Newsletter subscribers who have supported my free block of the month quilts for the past 12 years.  I hope that you will continue to support my efforts, and the efforts of all independent women designers who work hard to bring you beautiful quilt and sewing patterns and projects all year long.  You are more than my customers, you are my friends and I deeply value the relationship we have developed over the time we have known each other.
Thank you!

Now for something completely different: 
(In the words of the iconic Monty Python)

Several people have asked why I designed this quilt, which on the surface, appears to be very out of character for me.  I thought I would tell you a bit about what went into this design, and why I felt it was time to bring out a project I had been contemplating for a long time. 

For those who are interested, here is the backstory (you can skip this part if you want). 

Prior to retiring 5 years ago I taught college at an American Indian University for 23 years.  It had a profound affect on me in many ways, but the most important was the understanding of and respect for Native Cultures and Peoples I learned while interacting with students and faculty during my tenure.  On occasion I was asked to make a quilt for a person or occasion at the college, but I felt unqualified to do that.  Native quilts, such as the Star Quilt, are sacred, and when made by the tribal community members, represent an honor and gift of great value and importance. 

I once asked another faculty member from the Delaware tribe if I could make a quilt incorporating tribal imagery and he told me I would have to ask permission of the tribe.  I understood that the images were more than just geometrical imagery.  They represented sacred ideas which guided the physical and spiritual life of the community.  To use them for commercial purposes would be disrespectful. 

One lesson I learned is that there is no distinction between spiritual and secular life in Native culture, there is just LIFE.  This is one of the reasons Native people find the use of Native symbols and images associated with sports teams so offensive.  It is because it takes the symbol out of context, stripping it of its importance and spiritual meaning.  This profane use of the spiritual is taboo in most cultures, but the brutal and cruel history of the genocide of the American Indian peoples makes this use especially hurtful to Native Americans.  They tend to see it as one more way the invading Europeans continue to strip them of their land, their languages, their customs, and spiritual beliefs.

So it was with much reluctance that I approached the design of a quilt incorporating Native imagery.  What made me change my mind and go ahead with this project?  This quilt tells a very important story.  I have to say that it is time to tell this story.  In the face of an America which is morally divided, a government which acts without honor or concern for her people, and who shows no willingness to protect the next seven generations by its indefensible actions toward our planet and her resources, it is time.  I knew the lessons I learned from my years of working with Native people could only be told by using the tools they so generously shared with me.  Designing and sharing this quilt would give me an opportunity to tell the story that so desperately needs to be heard right now in our culture and our time.

With the release of each block in this quilt, I will tell the story of what it means and the lessons we may learn from it.  These are the lessons we must learn if we are to restore harmony in our communities and in our country.  As a teacher, I have learned it is best to teach a lesson using many tools to illustrate the ideas for learners who come from many different backgrounds.  I am not so bold as to think my quilt will help the world get along better, but it is a small beginning, using the tools I have and the gifts I possess, and a voice which can no longer remain silent.  If my grandchildren, and their children are to live a life of freedom, peace and happiness, it is up to me to help make that happen.

Southwest Sunrise calls upon symbols and cosmology of many of the Southwestern Tribes:  The Zuni, the Pima, the Navajo, the Hopi, the Pueblo, the Apache, the Tohono O'ohdam.  I knew many  people in these communities which were my students and colleagues, and the iconography of these tribes belief systems has become associated with this region of the country, even among the non-Indians who inhabit this region.  In addition, I lived in the Southwest for two years, while I was a graduate student, and always thought about capturing the color and warmth of those years in a quilt.

In my next post I will begin the story.  This story is about hope, it is about women, and it is about saving our world.  It is a positive story with, what I hope will be, a happy ending.   I will begin by telling  the story of the pottery vessels.  It is the first block in this quilt. 

Thanks for hanging out with me.  Be happy.


  1. While I know little about the tribes you spoke of, I love that you are trying to respect their beliefs in the making of this quilt top. While I don't need another project, I am seriously thinking of signing up for this one. I've always loved the Southwest Designs and wanted to make a quilt with the theme.

  2. I'd love to hear/read the stories of the quilt blocks. I'm not able to participate in the bom, will you post the stories behind the blocks? Thank you!

  3. I have been enthralled by your post, and I can't wait to hear more. I live in Canada, and have always been interested in our North American indigenous people. I can't help but feel outraged in the way they have been and still are treated, when they could teach us so much. It is a fact that if they were still the custodians of our forests, we would not have the huge fires that just continue to get worse. Their respect for nature would have been a better choice for the future, especially when compared with our current climate disaster. Let's hope the world comes to its senses before it's too late.
    But besides the rant, I have always found the indigenous peoples' symbology both mesmerising and beatiful. And I am fascinated by your stunning quilt. Thank you Reeze.

  4. A wonderful Southwest Sunrise quilt with interesting stories. Can't wait!

  5. I've been interested in Native American heritage since learning that my dad's great-great grandmother was a full-blood Blackfoot. I love your designs and can't wait to see the patterns each month!! Thanks for sharing your creativity and stories.

  6. Beautiful post and lovely quilt design, Reese! I am looking forward to following along on this journey and will be participating in your BOM for 2020! Thank-you!

  7. The quilt design is beautiful. This will be my first BOM with you! I can't help but make this beautiful quilt. Sign me up for a fabric kit the whole quilt. Thank you so much Reese


I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for sharing your ideas.