About forty years ago my dad gave me this little plastic set of triangle tiles in a box three by three-and-a-half inches. I used a color spectrum set of fine-point felt markers and a package of graph paper from the Ben Franklin 5 & 10 to experiment with four-cornered design. Other times I just doodled while lounging in the backyard treehouse.
Now there's a more sophisticated way to explore quilt-making online. The International Quilt Study Center's Making a Quilt program lets you play around for hours with six basic quilt patterns and endless variations of shading, fabrics, numbers of blocks, and pattern variations. It's fun, but you can't hear the cicadas. You can't feel your skin against the sun-baked boards, or smell the mildewed rope of the bucket dumb waiter. You haven't heard the colored plastic triangles being shifted and rotated in the clear plastic framework. Ants aren't crawling into the oozing sap of the weeping willow tree.
© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder