Saturday, March 7, 2015

Metropolitan Patchwork Society Show

One of the gorgeous quilts by Kathy White, Featured Quilter
The Metropolitan Patchwork Society is having its biennial show this weekend, and the show will be open one more day, today, Saturday March 7th from 9AM to 4PM at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center at 6651 SW Capitol Highway in Portland. This year's featured quilter is Kathy White, who I know from Northwest Quilters.

Yesterday, Kathy was having a great time sitting in a cozy chair, hand quilting with a hoop and a beautiful appliqué quilt draped over her lap. While we were chatting, a quilt on the wall behind her caught my attention. Kathy started back in the late 1960s but the quilt on the wall was made in the 1970s using drawings from her children and nephews.

The quilt was presented as a gift to the grandparents, and Kathy traced the drawings on to the fabric with special fabric crayons and put the quilt together. Today, she looks back fondly to the days when she was just learning how to make a quilt, and her work shows an enormous progression in skill since the early days. Clearly she loves what she does, and does it well. Still, I was absolutely smitten with Kathy's stories of learning to make a quilt, and her charming family quilt.

I love talking to quiltmakers like Kathy about sewing and making quilts in the 1970s, when they used synthetic fabrics and polyester double knit. You can learn a lot by talking to quiltmakers, and I am surrounded by them, so I always ask them lots and lots of questions. Also, I shared some tidbits about why polyester is so colorfast. There was plenty more to see, and I was able to grab a few photos, but have to admit I was chatting with people most of the time I was there. It was fun to spend time at the Quilts of Valor booth, where they are making great quilts for presentation to those who have served our country.

The quiltmakers think of these quilts as awards, but they are also connected to tradition. During the Civil War, the U.S. Sanitary Commission made quilts, which were presented to soldiers. Those quilts were primarily for use during the war, and there were not many surviving examples. The Quilts of Valor are presented following service, so these quilts will hopefully survive at a much greater rate.

Getting into the spirit of patchwork were three sisters, who I had seen at other shows in the past. They arrived wearing spectacular outfits in a Victorian style, with patchwork skirts made out of neckties. I must find their card so I can send them this picture. In between conversations, I grabbed a few more pictures.

"The Glories of Oregon" - small pictorial quilts by eight quiltmakers
"Geometric II" 2014, by Betsy Sayre, quilted by Stephanie Hinsvark
"Color Wheel" 2015, by Kristie Frey
"A Going Off to College Quilt" 2009, by Dawn DeLong
quilted by Linda Rech
"Hip to be Cycling" 2014 by Jean Kelly
quilted by Just for Fun Quilting
"Happy Moments" 2009 by Claudia Evers
One of the challenge quilts. I did not get the name of the maker
but I voted for it because I thought it was an absolute screech!
One of my favorite quilts in the show was made by Vickie Rooks, quilted by Nancy Stovall, and was called "Picnic in the Garden part two". The thing about this quilt that surprised me most was its fabrics and the style of quilt it was. The design was modern, but the fabrics were more like 1930s Depression Era in color and style. This quilt was made of scraps leftover from her mother's quilt, also in the show. Seeing a modern quilt in these fabrics stopped me in my tracks, and there was something really fresh and new about it. I loved Nancy's quilting, too.

"Picnic in the Garden part two" by Vickie Rooks
quilted by Nancy Stovall
Another great show this year, all kinds of quilts, and something for everybody. Check it out! Admission is $7, and $5 per person for groups of 10 or more. For more info, visit the Metropolitan Patchwork Society website-- click here


  1. What a fresh looking bunch of quilts! Thank you Bill, for putting this together

  2. Thanks for the photos (I visited the show sans camera). I too liked Picnic in the Garden; it reinforced my conviction that a modern quilt does not need modern fabrics. Claire aka Knitnkwilt