Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reversible Crib Quilt: Side Two

Here is the second side of the reversible crib quilt from Deborah Ursell in San Antonio. The previous blog showed the other side, but in case you missed it, here's the other side.

Cats and dogs, how adorable!! Here are some details.

Reversible Crib Quilt: Side One

Here's the first side of a reversible crib quilt, just received from Deborah Ursell of San Antonio. She thought of me when she saw it, and here it is! Coming later...side two!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Quilts Matter: Three Black Cats

My February guest blog for "Why Quilts Matter" is now posted, and this month's topic is cats. It's the story about how a quilt became a symbol of my affection for black cats, specifically my old cat, Boo, and new cat, Lulu.

Notice the expression on the cat's face- similar to Lulu (above)
As a bonus, there's a link to my recent blog about about another wonderful black cat quilt. To read this month's Why Quilts Matter guest blog, click here.


Just a quick note for my readers. I was trying to remove spam comments before having my coffee, and inadvertently removed comments for half the month of February. I'm not sure how to restore the comments, so if you happen to notice comments that have been deleted, that's why. Sorry about that. I have a lot of traffic, and a lot of spam messages to monitor each day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bicentennial Sampler Pictures

The Bicentennial sampler quilt is here, and I thought I'd share some pictures. The quilt is all handmade, with some great embroidery. Check out the block details. Many thanks to Judy Howard and Buckboard Antique Quilts for unearthing this treasure! I love it!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where is Lulu now??

I guess Lulu wanted a view of the ocean today.

The painting is by Gustave Cimiotti (1875-1934), and came from my grandparents' home in Essex Fells, NJ. As long as Lulu doesn't try to dive in, we're good.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Modern Materials: Ten Polyester Quilts

The Modern Quilt Guild is holding its first ever national conference this week in Austin, Texas, and to celebrate, and as a tip of the hat to Roderick Kiracofe's exhibit of Modern Historical Quilts, I thought it would be fun to post ten of my 1970s polyester quilts. As Modern Quiltmaking gains momentum, there is growing interest in the roots of the movement. For me, all roads lead to the 1970s, a pivotal time in American quiltmaking, when modern materials such as double-knit polyesters were more readily available than cottons. Just like today's quilts, the polyester quilts of the 1970s display a fresh, innovative use of color.

String Quilt
Thirty-Six Patch
improvisational patchwork with applique
Crazy Blocks, with raw-edge applique
Twenty-Five Patch
Octagons / Snowball Variation
Hexagon Diamonds
One-Patch Variation
The quilts of the 70s demonstrate a very distinct point of view. It's a bold, playful aesthetic immediately recognizable as representative of the time. The most memorable movements in quilt history have specific visual characteristics. Red and green quilts of Civil War, Victorian Crazy Quilts, and Easter egg colored quilts of the Depression era, are easily identified. In the future, when historians look back at the beginning of the 21st century, the will see many wonderful Modern quilts, immediately recognizable for their distinct point of view, just like the polyester quilts of the 70s.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bicentennial Americana Group Sampler

Bicentennial Americana Sampler, 1976, Oklahoma, 80" x 102"
I was poking around recently on the Buckboard Antique Quilts website, and came across something I absolutely had to have- a Bicentennial quilt! This quilt is a group sampler made by Extension Homemaker Clubs in Oklahoma, and it's got a lot of things going for it. There are inscriptions and dates, there is the Bicentennial star logo, American flags, eagles, an America-shaped USA patch, and the Liberty Bell in several places.

I've only seen these three pictures from the website, so I'm really excited to see it in person. The Bicentennial is really one of those crucial points in quilt history, and much of what we're seeing today that's new can be traced to the quiltmaking revival of the last half of the 20th century. 

Modern Quilting

Look what Mary Bywater Cross handed to me at the Columbia-Willamette Quilt Study Group Retreat earlier this week. It's a book she found at an estate sale in McMinnville, and it's called Modern Quilting!

I thought today would be a good day to post it since QuiltCon is going on right now in Austin, and I'd love to be there. Victoria Findlay Wolfe and McLisa Tangerine Starfish Sipes won Best in Show with their stunning double wedding ring. I've never seen anything quite like it- it's like a DWR deconstructed. Another quilt getting some attention is the one with numerous playfully done word blocks, each with the "f" word. Some might find it shocking and vulgar. I find it extremely witty. If it was for sale I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

The exhibit I'd really love to see is Roderick Kiracofe's Modern Historical Quilts, which includes modern examples from the second half of the 20th century. The idea of drawing connections between the past and the Modern Quilt movement is brilliant, and the exhibit should be seen as groundbreaking. A couple years back, he and I started talking about the quilts of that period, and I think we both agree it is exciting, relatively uncharted territory for quilt historians and quilt lovers alike.

Back to the book, it's a very thin volume of patterns published in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine back in the 70s. The book was first published in 1977, and reprinted in 1979. It's funny to look at these quilts and see how vastly different they are from our current idea of a "modern" quilt. Maybe modernized would be a better word. Just like we saw in other periods of quiltmaking revival, pattern designers drew much inspiration from the past, but updated certain things in the designs, and gave new pattern names. They even offered a new one, the Jonathan Livingston Seagull pattern.

So, definitely a fun little book, and something I thought would be good to share today. Wish I could be in Austin, but I hope everyone will take lots of pictures, especially of the Historic Modern Quilts exhibit!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last Night's "New York Beauty" Lecture

pieced and appliqued quilt, c.1870, Kentucky
Last night I did a lecture for the Tualatin Valley Quilt Guild, and the topic was "New York Beauty" quilts. As I do in all my lectures about these quilts, I explained the history of the genre, or family of patterns, and how the name originated and was popularized. This time, I was able to give a little more detail since I'd just recently outlined historical highlights in my post, "New York Beauty: Why THAT Name?" If you haven't read that post, please do. I believe it's most illuminating.

pieced quilt, c. 1850, Kentucky
block, sash and cornerstone detail, pieced quilt, c. 1850, Kentucky
MacMillan Family Quilt, 1868, Monroe County, Kentucky
As usual, I presented the quilts in chronological order, and discussed origins, names, construction, design, trends in quiltmaking, and the whole overarching story of the New York Beauty as represented by my collection. I brought along 15 quilts, and this blog includes most of the quilts with the exception of two I still need to photograph. If you've followed this blog, you've likely seen them all before, but I like to do recaps of my lectures on my blog. It helps me remember what worked well, what didn't, and what I brought to show each group if I'm fortunate enough to be invited back. :)

pieced quilt, c. 1860, Kentucky
pieced quilt, c. 1870, Florence Caldonia Corley Shealy,
Saluda County, South Carolina
"Suspension Bridge" c. 1910, North Carolina
Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930 - suggested colors
Mountain Mist New York Beauty, c. 1930 - "traditional" colors
"Box of Crayons" quilt, c. 1940
"Torches of Liberty" c. 1950, by Gertrude Barr, Oklahoma
"Oriental Express" 1999, by Debra Kerns, Indiana
"Cinco de Mayo" 2008 by the Buda Bee Quilters, Texas
"New York Beauty" 2010, by Nancy Tanguay, Connecticut
"Great Cities²" by Christine Wrobel, Washington
"Lady Liberty Goes to Hawaii" 2011, by Marita Wallace, California
One thing I noticed about last night's lecture was it had three distinct sections, a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning was the high-end, mid 19th century Southern quilts; the middle was the turn-of-the-century and Depression Era quilts; and the end was where we are today. Each part included information to contextualize the quilts, such as the effect of industry and the mass media on the quilt design, and notes about the introduction of foundation piecing.

It was a lot of fun visiting with the Tualatin Valley Quilt Guild again, and I thank them for inviting me back. I had visited them last year with 20th century quilts, my first time doing that lecture, and it was nice to come back and give a lecture that's much more of a well-oiled machine. I've learned a tremendous amount about these quilts- enough to go for hours without stopping, but the guild was probably glad I stopped after an hour. Seeing these quilts in chronological progression, accompanied by the deluge of information, can be kind of an intense experience!