Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Graduation Quilt Progress

Not the final setting
I am making progress on the graduation gift quilt.

I was able to work in some additional fabrics that have personal meaning.  Prints include cats, ducks, turtles, garlic and grapes.  Very fun to step out of my usual reproduction choices and think of my recipient.

The long piece on the left is a bicycle wheel print I am thinking about for binding.

I think if I can make at least 12 blocks a week I think I can get it in the quilt frame before the snow hits!  That's the goal anyway.  I think all these colors and prints will be wonderful to look at as I quilt this winter.

I have so many floral prints in my stash it has been a challenge to find some masculine prints.  I'm digging deep in the stripes!

Velma in her play tunnel

Velma is a very happy quilting buddy.

She's not allowed in the sewing room because she is a thread chewer!  I wish she could join me for sewing sessions, but for now we have to be content with lap sitting as I hand stitch.

Thank you for your encouragement!
Have a great week stitching.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Traveling Quilt, Can you Help?

My Quilt Hanging at Seminar
My 2014 American Quilt Study Group Civil War Era Study quilt was chosen to travel for exhibit the next four years.  

What's an AQSG study quilt?  Click HERE to read to the guidelines.

With permission, I am adopting an idea from Racheldaisy, of Blue Mountain Daisy's blog.

Here's where you can help!

If you visit a venue where my quilt is on display, will you take some pictures and email them to me?  I am making a journal to go with my quilt.  It can be whatever inspires you!  You with the quilt, my quilt next to other quilts, the building etc...feel free to be creative.
From the first stitch of the quilt, to the time it arrives back home it will be a six year journey!

Exhibit Travel Schedule:
Quilt on my wall before Milwaukee

  • February to June of 2015 
    Monroe County History Center, Bloomington IN
  • July 1 to October 2015
    New England Quilt Museum
  • November 2015 to March 1, 2016
    Virginia Quilt Museum
  • March 11-13, 2016 
    The Dallas Quilt Show
  • April 1 to July 30, 2016
    Quilter's Hall of Fame, Marion, Indiana
  • September 15 to December 15, 2016
    Northern Michigan University, DeVos Art Museum
  • December 20 to February 20, 2017
    Baldwin Reynolds House Museum, Meadville, PA
  • March 1 to May 31, 2017
    Gilbert Historical Museum, Gilbert AZ
  • June 2017 to October 20, 2017
    Rocky Mountain  Quilt Museum, Boulder, CO
  • November 1 to February 28, 2018
    Sheerer Museum of Stillwater, Stillwater, OK
  • June 1 to August, 2018
    La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, WA

Antique Inspiration Quilt

My inspiration quilt was chosen because it had a patriotic theme for the 1850-1865 time period.  By current judged quilt show standards it also has an unusual layout.   The unique setting with the central flag appealed to me. 
I was fortunate the owner of the quilt, Jeananne Wright, generously allowed me to borrow the treasured original.  I took close up photographs of the quilt including each star, the flag, binding and backing.  On the photos I added observational notes on thread, fabric and stitching.

In designing my reproduction I reduced the size to fit within the study guidelines and to have a wall size quilt.  It was important to me that I used the same layout as the original and incorporated what we might consider mistakes using today’s aesthetic quilt standards.  The layout includes omitted sashing, partial stars and cut off star points.  In executing the design I stitched the entire quilt by hand as the original maker did.   I used 100% cotton fabric, batting, light and dark thread to replicate the materials of the time.
My quilt in process - completely hand stitched
The quilts central flag design inspired me to research the use of flags in American history.  The American flag was changing during the study period (1850-1865) with the split between the north and south as well as the admission of new states to the union.  Patriotism ran high during the Civil War.  Numerous military flags were used in the civil war in both the north and the south.  There were numerous flags for infantry, cavalry, and artillery regiments and battalions. The navy also used multiple national flag styles.  Brigades, divisions and corps also carried designation flags.  In some cases flags were homemade and presented to the military companies.  Flags were protected by a color guard of a regiment’s most experienced noncommissioned officers.  A flag was also a rallying point in the confusion of battle.

Stars on the original quilt 
Flags are enormously important in the history of our nation.  Seeing the stars and stripes in any form evokes strong emotion and sentiment.  The maker of the inspiration quilt identified with a particular flag design that was important to capture and preserve in a quilt.  Imagine the anonymous makers surprise if he/she could see it now."

It is a stunning exhibit and I didn't have nearly enough time to see it in Milwaukee.  I am hoping to catch it at least once as it travels, I hope you can too. 
Thank you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New England Comforter

Detail of fabric and ties from my NE Comforter
In September I attended the American Quilt Study Group's annual seminar.  This year the annual seminar was held in Milwaukee.  I filled my schedule with three full days of quilt study.

Besides the special exhibits, bed turnings and study quilts there are tours and study centers.  One of the study centers I thoroughly enjoyed was, "New England Comforters:  From the Homely to the Elegant" by Lorie Chase.

 I thought I had one in my collection, as I inspected it after returning home - I was right!

Scrappy, planned arrangement
AQSG Study Center Description:

"Comforters showed up in New England estate inventories in the late 18th century and increased in popularity in the 19th century.  They graced milady's boudoir in the 20th century and became dreaded wedding gift from aunties by mid-century.  Based on a survey of early estate inventories, focused discussion, and analysis of a collection of comforters participants will place comforters in the bedding context and explore their materials, workmanship, use, aesthetics, ownership and value.  Together we will better understand their place in quilt history"

This is a picture of a portion of my New England comforter.
Most obvious at first is the planned color arrangement.  A scrappy, yet thoughtfully arranged and creative comforter.

Fabric and tie detail 

On closer examination, once you get past the wonderful early fabrics, note the color of ties change - in a secondary design element.  It is tied with knots to the front with blue and white wool yarn.
My comforter is in like new condition.  Perhaps in cold New England winters it was sandwiched between layers of bedding - protecting it from wear?
After sharing photos of my comfort with Lorie, she has this exact fabric in one of her comforters.

Shadowy picture - the comforter is really pristine, filled with great fabrics

My example is made to accomodate a four poster bed.  In this photo, the comforter is folded in half.

The nothches allow for the coverlet to drape around the bottom bed posts, rather than bunch up at the corners.

It has deep drop (approx. 24") to still cover the sides of the bed once the sleepers are in bed.  The solids still retain their original glaze.  The maker used many scraps and creatively made it all work.

I have several four poster style quilts in my collection.

I also have a four poster bed in one of the guest rooms - so nice to dress the bed in an antique quilt or comforter.  Years ago I bought a hand tied canopy for the bed.  It had finials to use without the canopy frame.

Rows of ties by color

In the study center, after the presentation,  we broke into small groups and spent time with numerous comforters and examined them up close, hand on.

Using what we learned - we made informal presentations to the group with our assigned example.  The small group I was in had an early example with glazed chintz.  Even the back had been pieced with early chintz examples.

As other groups presented their examples we saw; cottons, velvets, wools and silks.  All tied, numerous edge finishes, creative layouts and piecing, backs that could be fronts - or was the front the back?

Great discussion ensued and much was learned.
I was so engrossed I didn't take any pictures.
I am happy I had an example to share with you.

Have a great week!
If you have a tied comforter please leave a comment and tell us all about it.