Saturday, October 8, 2011

"There are so many colors in a flower, so let's use every one"

I thought this was a very good quilt show by the quilters of Des Moines, Iowa ...

Blind People 'See' Quilts At Exhibit - Des Moines News Story - KCCI Des Moines

when I went to Elma quilt show I ran my fingers lightly over the exhibits to get an idea of the patterns and stitching... I hope nobody minded... well, they didn't say so if they did ;)

So here's a challenge for you... when you're thinking about your quilting, try to make at least one quilt with a tactile difference - that could be in the choice of fabrics, using applique (fabric textures or I've seen some people use little bits of batting to make the applique puff out a little for example), designs using beads or things that would stick to the fabric (sequins), I'm sure the thread could be used in imaginative ways so that it is noticeable to the touch... really, the possibilities are as wild as your imagination!

And if you have a local quilt show, please do encourage your fellow quilters to encourage any blind visitors to touch your quilts and really appreciate all the work that's gone in to them!

... and don't forget to tell your local vision rehab organizations that your quilt show will be blind-friendly! :)

And here's a link to the song from which the title is taken, with a rather cool animation which I can see most of :) on YouTube

And here's a poem about colors and some of the ways they can be seen:


Because everything touches and leaves a little differently every time

Colours are the way you feel,
The tickle of grass under your feet
Is green, emerald when it's warm, darker when it's wet
The skies are blue
Singing with birds and be-anything clouds
Grey are the paths and brown the park benches
On which linger the people you've never met
The conversations you'll one day have
The future you do not know quite yet

Yellow is the warmth that wraps an arm around
Your shoulders, quiet and happy,
Simple, and simultaneously profound
Whispers, in orange
That tomorrow is going to be fine
And never let you down;
Black is the unknown
The enptiness of someone gone
The fears we do not like to own

Pink is a birthday, immediately unwrapped
Giddy with ribbons and party friends
The kind of day that runs until we're super tired, then ends,
Collapsing into purple shades and closing eyes
Your favorite bed
With freshly laundered pillowcases to rest your head.
And lavender, the scent of tiny bags
Exquisitely capturing the garden
Where we walk, hand in hand.

The stories and the dreams, white
The sheet of paper, the field of snow
Wating for footprints to bite
An open canvas to scribble or write;
Curl up, share the flickering fireside
Dancing with gold and ochre and violet
Or the gentle candle light
This heart, red like nothing else
The essence of love and life.


  1. I like the quote! Think you've got some great ideas there for tactile friendly quilts. Even sighted people love to feel fabrics...none more than the fabulous ladies I met today at the blogger meet up! We were all cooing over and stroking fabric!

  2. Hey Giles, interesting quilt show! I cant imagine YOU getting into bother, but I've heard that shows can be very against touching the exhibits - maybe next time you go have a wee packet of hand wipes or sanitiser on you just in case anyone stops you!! I was just thinking yesterday I really need to make much more effort to describe my photos on my blog for you too. I must do better ;-)

  3. I think you should make that an official challenge! Give people a few months next year to send you a tactile quilt to be auctioned off for charity... Do you follow OhFransson? See
    And the extra batting to make bits puff out is called trapunto. There is an easy method i can explain when you get into free motion quilting

  4. I think Laura might be on to something (see comment above). I would love to participate in something like that. Maybe that group you attend could help you organize it. I would be glad to help in any way I could.

  5. Hi Giles, my friend Benta just made a texture quilt for blind friend of her mothers, hope you can follow this link

    Benta has added good descriptions of each block as it is literally made all in cream.

    Glad you survived the Rhondering!

    Hadley, aka

  6. Great post! The quilt I put into a show a couple of months ago was intended to be full of texture and therefore to be touched (I added trapunto for extra squidgy-ness!) but I'm not sure if anyone did as there's such a 'no touch' policy. They do provide white gloves so you can turn them and look at the back but then you can't feel texture...

  7. I can get archives! Yay! I'm wondering if I will hear a British accent, or if you've been influenced by other places you've lived. I decided that tomorrow I will also drag out one of my crazy quilt blocks, close my eyes and try experiencing it tactilely instead of visually.