BBW Mini Quilt Challenge: Think About a Theme

I thought I'd do several posts leading up to Banned Books Week (9/21-27) with some ideas and tips to help you get started on your mini quilt for the BBWMQC. Not familiar with the Mini Quilt Challenge yet? Head on over to my previous post or Sandy's blog post about it and then come back here for some ideas and inspiration!

First, head over to the list of frequently challenged or banned books (here) and pick a book. Once you have your book in mind, you have a few decisions to make in regards to the kind of mini quilt you want to make. You can simply take a look on Amazon and remake the cover of the book, like I did with And Tango Makes Three.

Book cover

My 2013 mini quilt

Or you can dig a little deeper and get even more creative with it by pulling from within the book. The first place would be to think of the message or moral of the story...otherwise known as the theme. So this week let's talk at choosing a theme from a frequently challenged book, then translating them into quilt art. 

Let's look at some of the themes in Looking for Alaska by John Green. (spoiler alert! To discuss this in depth about a book I have to give away the overall plot line. If you haven't already but still plan to read this book, you may want to skip the info below)
  1. Death: The book uses death as a theme to show the readers that death is something inevitable but we can never become ready for it. 
  2. Self discovery: The theme of self discovery is extremely present throughout the whole book. By the end of the book, almost every character has figured something out about themselves because of the experiences they have been through. Self discovery is much more present within Miles because he is the character that undergoes the most change throughout the entire book.
  3. Guilt: The theme of guilt is present throughout the whole book in very mysterious ways. It first starts off with Miles’ guilt of leaving his parents behind in Florida. He also feels a lot of guilt towards the fact that he stayed behind at Culver Creek during Thanksgiving, just to spend time alone with Alaska. The theme of guilt really sets in during the second part of the book, after Alaska’s death.
So how do you translate a theme into art? First look at some of the things that helped you identify the themes and what symbolizes them. For death, you could use the symbolizm of cigarettes. They are smoked throughout the book by the main characters, and admit they are smoking themselves to death. Alaska is identified by Miles as smelling like cigarettes and vanilla.

For self-discovery you could use the lake that the characters always go to as a symbol of independence, freedom, and where they do the most insightful thinking. Every time Takumi, Miles, Alaska and the Colonel need some time to figure something out or find a theory, they always end up going back to the lake.

Guilt plays a huge role in the book and is symbolized by white flowers, alcohol, and an unexpected kiss. Miles feels enormous guilt in not stopping Alaska from getting into the car when she was drunk, especially after she kissed him and made him the happiest guy alive. Alaska got into the car as a knee-jerk reaction to guilt over not leaving white flowers on her mother's grave, as was her habit. I put some key symbols to translate into the art in bold font.

So now that I've shown a more in depth look at theme and translation into art, let's do it a little faster:

Banned/Challenged Book:  Harry Potter series
Themes: death, love, friendship, growing up, courage
Symbols/Quilt ideas: Harry's scar, snake, invisibility cloak (gift from his father/love), Harry's friends, Dumbledore, Harry's parents, quotes from the books

Banned/Challenged Book:  The Catcher in the Rye
Themes: loneliness, alienation as a form of self-protection, growing up, "phoniness" of adult world 
Symbols/Quilt ideas: red hunting hat, field of rye, Museum of Natural History, ducks

Banned/Challenged Book: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Themes:  family as a cause of heartbreak, family as a cause of joy, mischief, intelligence, racism, love
Symbols/Quilt ideas: photograph of Courtney (Gilly's mother), JRR Tolkien books, letters, Mrs. Trotter, Gilly's grandmother, Gilly's 6th grade teacher

Hope that gives you some ideas as you get started on your mini quilt for the challenge. Have fun and be creative with it!



Knitting F.O.: Rainbow Baktus Scarf

Yay, it's done! This is the Baktus scarf, a pattern by Stikkelise. I used 1 skein of Zauberball in the rainbow colorway. I won't go into much detail about this pattern, as this is my second one, and I give its glowing praise in the previous post.

I will sing the praises of this yarn again...Zauberball is fantastic! I can't say enough good things about the consistency in the saturation of color throughout the skein. Even with some "thick-and-thin" spots in the spin, it just adds to the overall texture and soft hand of the yarn.

The gradation of color in the rainbow is beautiful. For this scarf I split the skein in half and alternated every 2 rows. This gives the slight difference in color even as the rainbow emerges.

Unfortunately I did have to play "chicken" with the yarn at the end. I've spoken about this on my podcast and probably here before, but I'm convinced my gauge changes as I knit on any project. The pattern and my knitted swatch both "told" me I should have had enough yarn for both the increase and decrease sides to be equal lengths, but I ended up having to decrease much earlier than I'd have liked. So instead of a nice even triangle point, I ended up with a little curly chicken wing.....

Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by!



Freeform Face Mini Art Quilt

10" x 12". Spray ink on canvas fabric. 
Freeform face drawn with a black Sharpie.
Journaling around face with white Sharpie.
FMQ with blue Aurifil thread.



CGM Podcast Episode #67: Big Little Mistakes

Listen to the episode here

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • Back to school!!
  • Routines
Finished Objects:
  • Rainbow Baktus scarf - blog post to come
  • 2 Baby Quilts: blogged about them here 
  • Mini Art Quilts:

  • More mini quilts
Banned Books Week Mini Quilt Challenge!!!
Details here and on Sandy's blog

Book Review:
 Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Thanks for listening!



What We're Reading This Month

Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan E. Phillips
(on sale 8/26, I am reading an advance copy)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Samantha (age 7):

 Sew Zoey series by Chloe Taylor

Madeline (age 3):

Fancy Nancy series by Jane O'Connor

What are you reading this month?



2 "Baby Monsters" Strip Quilts

I made these 2 baby quilts for my nephews (1 already here, 1 on the way), using some solid scraps and cute monster prints. I wanted to keep the design simple and not scream "baby blue" in color - I like bright colors for babies.

Sorry for the slight blurriness in the photos, my smaller quilt-holder started complaining her arms were hurting about 3.5 seconds into the photo shoot.

I got the idea for making simple strip quilts from one of my favorite blogs, Film in the Fridge. She's made several of these, all with different color/print palettes, and I've liked them all. I looked online for a cute monster print, but only found 1 or 2 and neither were quite what I was looking for. While browsing the aisles in JoAnn, I came across several that were all generally in the same color family, and bought 1/2 yard of each. I added in some solids from my stash, and cut them into strips of varying widths of 1" to 5". Then I had some fun playing with the patterns on my design wall, making 1 quilt at a time, not looking at the previous one when working on the second.

I'm losing her here.......

Due to the "my arms are going to fall off" complaining, I forgot to get my helpers to hold up the back of the quilts. I used blue minkee fabric for the backing. Both quilts were quilted with a stitch-in-the-ditch along each strips seam, and bound using 2 colors (blue and lime green).

One of the quilts will go in the mail to my nephew in Texas, long overdue since he was born in April. The other will be gifted at the baby shower I'm attending this weekend for my other nephew, due in October.

Have a great weekend!



3rd Annual Banned Books Week Mini Quilt Challenge

Sandy and I are trying to get out ahead of the curve this year, and announce the BBW Mini Quilt Challenge well enough in advance for our readers and podcast listeners to participate.

Banned Books Week (9/21-27), is a time when libraries, bookstores, and schools celebrate our First Amendment freedom to read while drawing attention to the harms that censorship does to our society and individual freedoms. 
As a self-proclaimed book nerd, advocate, and pusher...(yes, I have been known to meet people on street corners to hand over a book), it should come as no surprise I am also a HUGE proponent of Banned Books Week. Many of the books on the lists of banned or challenged books you will be familiar with, and will find it hard to believe that access to the book was challenged or denied. Some you may never have heard of, but may want to read in the future. The purpose of Banned Books Week is to keep the focus on just that: access to books for all.

For the last 2 years, Sandy from Quilting For the Rest of Us blog and podcast and I have issued a "mini quilt challenge" to our readers and listeners to show their support of a particular banned or challenged book being allowed continued availability and access for all to read. We opened a Flickr group for anyone to post pictures of their completed quilts, and are always so pleased with the response.

Here are my last 2 mini quilts from 2012 and 2013:

2012: Blubber by Judy Blume

 2013: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

I will post more "banned book inspiration" throughout the month, but for now I invite YOU to join us! Choose a book from the lists, and make a mini quilt to post in the BBW Flickr Group

Sandy and I will show off the quilts on our blogs, and for even more fun: GIVING AWAY PRIZES!!!! To be eligible to win sometime during BBW, enter at least 1 picture of your finished BBW mini quilt by 9/27. (Prizes will be drawn throughout the week. However, to give everyone a "last minute" chance to enter and win, at least 1 prize will be drawn on 9/28).

Watch this space for more BBW inspiration, prizes, and quilt pics. And in the meantime - go pick your book!

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