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Zodiac Quilt Block

Every year since the 1970’s the Old Aurora Colony Museum (in Aurora, OR) has held a quilt show. They display beautiful quilts in addition to traditional quilting demonstrations, a quilt raffle, and a block contest. This year my grandmother-in-law “voluntold”* me to make a block for the contest. The 20 winning blocks will be used in the 2012 raffle quilt. All the other blocks will be made into quilted items that will be sold to benefit the Aurora Colony Historical Society.

The theme of this year’s block contest is “Seeing Red,” focusing on shades of red with white background fabric. Having just finished my zodiac print, I could think of nothing else. So I decided to print the block on fabric and construct a border around it.

This idea became much more complicated than it first appeared. I had to find a fabric paint that would capture enough detail on the block, but also stay on the fabric through washing. I first tried a traditional oil based ink. This paint got all the detail, but it lightened in washing, and even shrank a bit. Next, I tried a basic fabric paint from a hobby store. This was an awful one. It didn’t roll on the block evenly and just looked horrible when printed. Finally I tried a silk screen paint. This one worked. It did not pick up as much detail as the printing ink, but it captured enough and it will definitely stay on the fabric.

For the border, I chose a traditional Chinese design. I wanted the border to match the style of the print’s corner pattern.

The little squares are from a fabric that has a lot of Chinese characters. You can see them from afar, but close up you can sort of make them out.

Anyway, I am glad I could help out the ACHS.


The 39th Annual Quilt Show will be held October 14-23, 2011

For more information on the Old Aurora Colony Museum and its Annual Quilt Show, click here.


* Voluntold = a conjunction of the words “volunteer” and “told.” Definition: when another person volunteers you for something without asking you beforehand.