American Folk Art: Red & White Quilts

Apparently there is an incredible exhibit of red and white quilts.  Judging from this photo it might give the viewer a sense of having tumbled down the rabbit hole and is now gazing upon a whole pack of playing cards, all arranged into circular forms.  From the website:

The American Folk Art Museum has dramatically transformed the Park Avenue Armory’s historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall with the installation of 650 red and white American quilts, all of which are on loan from the collection of Joanna S. Rose.

While I couldn’t embed the videos I saw on their Flickr site, here’s the link to a short clip from someone who visited there.  Can I just say I’m insanely jealous?  What a sight it must be to have all those quilts flying high up in the air above you–and all red and white?  The Museum’s Flickr group–with their 355 photos at this posting–gives us viewers out here in the hinterlands, a glimpse of what it must be like.  Amazing.

This one is reminiscent of what was hanging in my hallway over Valentines’ Day.

How did I find out about this?  I read Carrie Nielson’s blog (she of Schnibble fame) and found this there.  She’s going.  I’m completely and utterly jealous.  Head over to LaVie En Rosie (the title of her blog) to read more.  She has links to slideshows, the museum, an article in the New York Times–yep, she has it all.  I’m now going to buy the magnets and download the free iPhone app.  I may also download the iPad app, just in case I’ll need it for the future.

Recent Acquisitions to the Elizabeth Stash

I’ve made some recent acquisitions from Fabricworm.

This caught my eye, and I bought it not really understanding that it was printed on a heavier cotton–almost a twill.  But I think the theme of the fabric and the weight will lend itself to some grocery bags to keep in the car.  Now if I will only remember to carry them into the store. . .

I’m a sucker for text in textiles.  “Sweet Fruit” is why this jumped into my shopping cart.

This photo cracked me up because even the camera can’t tell where to focus.  But I include it because it shows the full array of dottiness.  You think I’d be over this type of print by now.

Here’s a close-up of the blues.  No clue where this fabric will land, but it’s inventive and interesting.


Here’s the fabric with my grading pens on top, so you can see the scale.  This is a light-weight cotton, really lovely and smooth and interestingly enough–no selvage printing.

This is why the shopping bug bit: grading papers.
Here’s a fine paper, heavily plagiarized.
Is it any wonder why I need a little fabric now and again?

Quilting World Shake-Up

Okay, so I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while, minding my own business, just stitching along doing my applique for this crazy project I got myself into.  And it’s going along very well, thank you.  I’m getting a lot of Doc Martin (BBC-TV) episodes streamed down on Netflix while I stitch.

But while I’ve been gone, there’s been a seismic shift in the quilting world.  I caught whiff of it this morning on LaVie En Rosie’s blog, then followed it over to Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts where she wrote a post about the Dumbing Down of Quilting. It must have set off quite a firestorm about quilting in-breeding, same-ness, blah-ness, stupid-ness, whatever-ness, judging from what I read in the comments and in other blogs.  What she decided to do was to post a survey about quilting, to sort of “take the temperature” of her reading public.  So, head over there and take the survey if you like.  I’ve posted it below, along with my comments.  You can see, it’s quick and easy–add your .02!

All of the comments I left in her Other box are italicized in this post.

Other than Stack & Whack (which I hate), I pretty much have tried everything in my 37 years of quilting.  I didn’t check boxes where I’ve tried it once and thought–not doing that again.  I’ve only checked boxes that I have done multiple times.

I could have checked her first box, but she had the word “only” in there.  I don’t quilt with square or rectangles ONLY.  See my Christmas Star quilt for reference.  And for your information, I have done everything on her list with the exception of pre-cut shapes and Stack N Whack.  I started to make one of those stack n whack quilts, but lost my nerve when I was layering up about 7 yards of fabric only to mutilate it, sight-unseen, by cutting a wedge out of it.  That’s why I have two lovely flowering tablecloths made out of intended-to-be-stacknwhack-quilt fabrics.

(Did one King-sized quilt.  Never again.)

Don’t see the point in mug rugs.  That’s what coasters are for, although I do have a very cool fabric coaster made for me by someone I traded gave a lot of fabric to in a quilt class once. (Note to self: post about that.)

I use Quilt-Pro 5 as my design software.  While I can draw any template any size, I love this program!

My stash includes everything.  Good to have a variety to choose from.  I even have some fabrics from Ghana (woven pattern in cloth, overprinted with design), Japanese fabrics, French fabrics, even fabrics from Zimbabwe.  Have to admit I’m not a fan of those lines (such as Fig Tree) where everything seems to be the same colorway and print design.

My favorite cut is 1/3 yard.  That’s why I like Sew Mama Sew’s shop, as they’ll cut what I want.  (Confession: I don’t often read their blog.)

I guess Sandi’s fuse blew when she read a line in Sew Mama Sew’s blog where they talked about a kaleidoscope block being an intermediate block.  You can go over to Sandi’s blog and watch it happen.

I don’t want a long-or-short arm quilting machine.  I did the math.  And do I really want to have to do one more thing?  However, I reserve the right to change my mind about this. . . or anything on this survey at any time.

LOL at your “getting sidetracked by the computer” line.  Perfect.  I get WAY more done when I get off the computer.

I can also get sidetracked by eating chocolate, talking to my husband.  I am forced to get sidetracked when I have to do lesson prep or grade papers (like I should be doing now, instead of writing this post).  I can also  get sidetracked from grading by doing quilting. It’s a vicious cycle.

I take a digital snapshot of items on the web and store them in a folder on the computer.  I’ve stopped buying a lot of print magazines because I can make most everything they show and a lot of it is re-run stuff, although I do glance at them in the grocery store or when I’m at Jo-Ann’s.  I do buy books (between 5 and 8 a year) as I like to see a quilter’s progression/ideas in aggregate, and they are good references.

Of course, one of the best inspirations is the internet, which is why we all spend so much time here.  I also like going to quilt shows to get inspired, as well as a quick (or long) trip to my local fabric store, where just seeing the fabrics can trigger a design idea.

Hope you can take time to do the survey.

Looky! Part II

Yep, it’s Looky! Part II.  Applique is all done (obviously by the gap between posts, it’s evident that I’m not a quick appliquer), and I’m ready to attach the two side borders.  One of the difficulties of this quilt–with all due respect to its fabulous designers–is that the instructions are majorly confusing.  REALLY confusing.  And I don’t think I’m that dim of a bulb, either.

So while you may cut the borders according to the dimensions listed, that won’t be the finished width.  No, you now have to cut them down.  This is a problem if you have leaves and flowers that go near the edge.  I had puzzled over these directions before, and decided I would cut the borders closer to their finished width inititially, leaving a little extra.  So, I fudged on the instructions, not cutting the inner border as narrow as they called for (I was NOT keen about unpicking leaves and flowers).  In the photo above, I’ve folded back the leaves.

I’ve drawn the line and am trimming down the border.

The two side borders, attached, and the extra blossoms and portions of leaves stitched down.  Thank you, Netflix and Downton Abbey, for keeping my brain engaged while I did more applique.

I had already determined that my pin wall wasn’t big enough to accommodate the next task: putting on the top and bottom borders.  So I “pleated” the quilt in half, and pinned it up.

Borders being tried out.  I’ve run out of the chrysanthemum fabric, but now know that there’s no need to obsess over those outer borders.  Just get the fabric up there, and get it sewn on.  So I tried to match the fabric in terms of value (light-to-dark) and hue (color).  I think I did okay.  Another reason why it’s taken me a while was because I was interrupted here and there by having to go to work (imagine!) and grade papers.  I should be doing that right now, but I wanted to get these photos up. It’ll be a late night.

Ta Da!!  Flowers pinned up and placed.

Tomorrow after teaching, I’ll pin them on with my teensy applique pins and start stitching again.

It’s nice to be at this point (reprise).

Deep in the Trenches & Twined Thread

Or rows of flowers, as the case may be.

It’s winter, so that means some sort of flu bug or sickness will find its way to me.  So, I sat on the sofa and appliqued my flowers while I watched The Social Network.  Twice.  Once straight through and once with the actors all talking about what they did/thoughtabout while they did their scenes.  My husband fixed dinner, cleaned it up (I know–I’m not trading him for anything) and I went upstairs to do lesson prep for today’s teaching–like I had a cotton head or something. Luckily appliqueing doesn’t take much brain power or we’d be in trouble.

I took down the other row this afternoon after class, with all the pins skitty-wampus through the pieces.

I lay them on my table, and trade out the monster, regular pins for tiny applique pins (see the comparison, above).  This is a trick I learned from the quilters when I we lived in Virginia for a year.  They are accomplished appliquers, all.  They also told me to use silk thread, which I do, for the thread just disappears when the piece is stitched on.

I traded out the Wintery Branches quilt in my hallway a few weeks ago for the Valentine Quilt I’d made out of turkey red and cream.  I’d always wanted a turkey red-white quilt, and was at a little teensy-tinsy quilt show, where one booth had some turkey red yardage.  I didn’t prewash the red fabric, so I guess I’ll never throw it in the laundry.  It would probably end up a turkey red-and-pink quilt then.

It’s a fairly simple quilt, with intertwined stripes, but I like it not only for its coloration, but that lean, linear quality.  This is also the first quilt I machine quilted.  Ever.  I started out with cream-colored thread, but hated how it looked when I stippled over the red.  (Everyone did a stippling pattern in those days!) I switched out to monofilament thread after unpicking yards and yards of stitching.

Here’s the label on the backside (sorry, I know it’s a little blurry).

The verse reads:

No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread.–Burton.

The name of this quilt is Twined Thread, and it was completed July 1997.  Of course, you all know it’s in honor of that man who will cook me dinner and do the dishes when I am laying sick on the sofa.  Love holds us fast together.