Sunday, April 12, 2015

where to buy the book - please add your links!

Friends have been asking where they can get a copy of "New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection" recently released by Quiltmania. So, I thought I would post a blog with the links I know about, and ask readers to post their links in the comments section. Every time someone asks, I will be able to share the link to this blog post.

Here are the sources I know. If you know of other sources, please add links in the comments section. Merci beaucoup!!

Sew Graceful Quilting (Arkansas, US)

The Quilt Merchant (Illinois, US)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Polyester Circles Quilt

This quirky polyester circles quilt came from an eBay seller in New Mexico. It is 62" x 87" and is backed and bound with a heavy canvas fabric with a plaid similar to Madras. The circles are raw-edge machine appliquéd and tied in the centers with black yarn.

Fun piece, an incredible bargain, very lively colors. It is a pattern I have not seen before in a 1970s quilt, so it caught my eye right away. When I saw what an insane bargain it was, I clicked Buy It Now. Love it!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring: Hana Matsuri, Portland Japanese Garden

Spring is here, and this weekend the Hana Matsuri exhibition of Ikebana by the Saga Goryu School is on display at The Portland Japanese Garden. My friend David Komeiji worked on several of the arrangements including the stunning large arrangement outside. His best work, I think. Saga Goryu School is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Open from 10am to 4pm today. For info about visiting the Japanese Garden, click here.

The Japanese Garden is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year, but especially vibrant in the spring. Enjoy the pictures, and Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

More Radiating Patchwork

This dynamic quilt was plucked from a pile in the Friends Boutique and Bargain Corner at the 21st Airing of the quilts two weeks ago. It is mostly silk with some satin, and is from the first half of the 20th century, most likely in the 1920 to 1940 period. Dimensions are 64" x 80", blocks are pieced on cloth foundation with appliquéd, central circles, and the condition is fair with some silk deterioration. There was no additional information with the quilt, but the design was familiar.

One name for it is Thrifty Wife, a 1939 pattern by the Kansas City Star, but the silk quilt and this wool and velvet example from Wisconsin could have been made before that pattern was published.

A more precisely pieced, two-color version of the design was made around 1900, before the publication of the Kansas City Star pattern. The quilt was once part of my collection and is now in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. It has almost 800 embroidered names, references to the Spanish American War, and it is currently on display at the museum as part of the "Covering the War" exhibition.

It is interesting to see the secondary, four-pointed star design formed with the blocks lined up edge-to-edge with no sashing. The same effect randomly appears in the more improvisationally-pieced quilts with radiating patchwork designs.

Another quilt in the collection uses its own method of construction, with similar results. Four fan blocks form central circles in each complete grouping. Along three edges are pairs of blocks forming half-circles, with single blocks and quarter-circles in two corners.

Quilts with fan blocks are very intriguing. There are so many variations. The quilt I found yesterday on eBay came from an unknown maker. The seller, Ruth Childress of Longview Texas, sells antique and vintage quilts on eBay and finds a lot of her quilts locally. This quilt is 68" x 74" and includes blocks set on point in a diagonal grid.

This Victorian period quilt includes fan blocks configured in another clever design, often called snake trails. The solid background fabric creates negative space between the snake trails, a great blank canvas for the wonderful embroidered motifs.

The most unusual fan quilt in my collection is an original design made of velvets, c. 1920 from New York. This quilt is well known for appearing on the cover of the first edition of "American Quilts, The Democratic Art, 1780-2007" by Robert Shaw. It came from Laura Fisher in New York.

Tim Latimer of Lansing, Michigan made this quilt with vintage fan blocks and sashing made of coordinating reproduction fabric. His process is documented in his blog. The quilt uses the New York Beauty as inspiration for the overall design, and is one of many interconnected variants in my new book, New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection.

When you see the book, you may understand why I'm such a fan of fans. They are related to the New York Beauty and other designs with curved shapes and radiating patchwork. It's always fun to see how these designs are related, and how they blend together. To get the book, click here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

I'm still a fan of fans!

This morning, on my last gulp of coffee I spotted a very interesting fans quilt while scrolling through eBay quilt listings. I was chatting with Marjorie Childress, a collector in Albuquerque with an exceptional eye for soulful, offbeat quilts, and was sharing another auction with her.

As it turned out, the auction was her mother's, so we LOL'd, and I scrolled through the other offerings. There were a few really interesting ones, but the quilt that stopped me in my tracks was this 1950s or early 60s fans quilt. Buy-It-Now, great price, done!

Moments later I told Marjorie I bought her mother's quilt. "LOL!" - "LOL!" But we both thought it was a very interesting quilt. Different. I love how the fans are solid pieces of fabric in some blocks, and more improvisationally pieced in other blocks. Reminds me of elements in the work of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, the elegant peeling away of layers.

The colors are also unusual, and took me by surprise. The earth tones, black, and pops of red with other multicolored, scrappy fabrics show a departure from earlier quilts with softer, pastel colors. There's a wonderful strangeness about the combination of colors, and quilts from the period are a little less common than you might think. I have found very few for sale, and do not have many in the collection. Can't wait to see this one in person.