Monday, October 30, 2017

going slow

Why do snails go so slow? They have to bring their houses with them everywhere! Why else do snails go so slow? Judging by this fun 1970s quilt, snails are just happy to be there. Check out the embroidered face detail.

The quilt came from an eBay seller in North Carolina. It is 51" x 68" and hand appliquéd with hand embroidered details.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

new quilt, rebooted body and thoughts on butter

There was a shirtless selfie circulating last week.

"Wow, I'm thin now."

It was a random slice of life, a shot grabbed in a goofy moment. I was holding up a recently acquired Hawaiian scrap quilt, and my new body was showing. It was there in the mirror each day, but looking at a photo was something else. I thought, "Wow, I'm thin now."

The quilt is made out of Hawaiian fabrics, using an interlocking design that seems to be a variation of the pinwheel block. It is 44" x 54" and came from an eBay seller in Eureka, California. There is no batting or quilting, but it is backed, and the backing material is brought to the front for binding.

Lovely as it is, it will always be the quilt in the shirtless selfie, the end of a long journey, the rebooted body. If you want to lose a lot of weight, it makes a difference to pay attention to what you eat. Butter, for example. I love butter as much as anyone else, but it was probably a good idea to stop snacking on whole sticks of it in the form of shortbread and cheese straws.

Last night was a rare butter treat, garlic bread! It went well with the tomato based shrimp and scallop creole, instead of the usual white rice. Mom's garlic bread recipe is a compound butter. It has room-temperature butter, garlic, parmesan and parsley. I like to add other herbs, last night it was oregano and thyme. After unexpectedly dipping under my goal weight last week, it was nice to indulge is a hot, hearty meal. Wish I could eat like that every day, but at the same time, I'm glad I can't.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

a little more velvet

Velvet turns me on. It's not so much the way it feels, but the way it looks. I love how it catches the light. A few years ago I noticed a velvet dress made by Gretchen Jones on Project Runway, and the way it looked in the light made me sit up and take notice. It shimmered, but not like silk or satin.

The velvet dress by Gretchen Jones caught my attention on Project Runway.

Velvet quilts are not the easiest things to find, but I find them intriguing as Jones' orange velvet dress. Part of my process as a collector is to photograph acquisitions and share them. I can always depend on a velvet quilt to look good in a photograph.

This quilt, pictured at top, is all velvet including the backing. It is dated 1932, and there is also the letter "M" next to the date. It is unclear what the letter means. It could be anything from the initial of the quilt's owner to the letter of the month is was done, but these ideas are really just speculation. The embroidered date is done by hand in chain stitch.

The ring shapes - what are they all about?

Looking at other examples of velvet quilts including one in my collection, I notice there are often partial or full ring shapes in these quilts. If the rings were from garment scraps, what garments could've produced them? Perhaps collar cutaways?

One of my Facebook friends suggested the rings could be from hat making, and I liked the idea, but later thought they looked more like the brims than the cutaways. The storyteller in me would love to make up a tale about a secret society of velvet quiltmakers who used rings as a secret code, but there's already enough romanticism in quilt history. I'm happier just wondering.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Green Velvet

Crazy Quilt, velvets, unknown maker, Indiana, c. 1950, 66" x 79"

I love shiny things. When I saw this crazy quilt, it really caught my eye. The top was made with only one fabric, large patches of luminous green velvet. The patches were randomly pieced to create simple geometric designs within three columns. The velvet is embossed with a repeat wave design, and the patches are outlined with yellow hand stitching along each seam.

It appears to be from the mid-century period, c. 1950, and came from an eBay seller in Bedford, Indiana. There was no additional information with it, but it is 66" x 79", with no batting or quilting, and it is backed with coarsely woven green cotton fabric, brought from back to front for binding. The velvet gives it a hint of luxury even though the piece is kind of kitcshy. A cool find, and green is one of my favorite colors.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The stuff of legends, part 10: why make things up about quilts?

Do myths come from a lack of education?
Or are we really just avoiding the truth?
Why do people make up so many stories about quilts? Some experts say it is that quilts are so intriguing, there must be more to them. Others say it is due to a general lack of education in quilt history, a relatively new field. Both explanations seem plausible, but maybe there is another. Maybe it has something to do with topics we avoid in polite conversation. People's made-up stories about quilts -- the stuff of legends!

During the month of September, I celebrated back-to-school by posting this series of blogs about legends, myths, romantism and hoaxes in quilt history. It was gratifying to exchange messages with readers who already knew about the debunking of these tall tales. At the same time, it was sad to discover how many people did not know, and how willing they were to dismiss historical facts in favor of what they wanted to be true. I guess we need a little more time to spread the word.

"...people have sex on quilts!"

The other day I attended a quilt show and was chatting with a friend on my way out. During the conversation, something dawned on me.

"You know why people make up so many stories about quilts?" I asked, and she shrugged. "It's because people have sex on quilts!" She laughed. "No, seriously! People make things up to avoid talking about the real stories."

Obviously, the real stories behind the quilts are not always the stories we can tell. Myths about quilts do come from a lack of education, the desire to know the unknown-- but there is also the element of avoiding the truth. If you think about what really happens with quilts, perhaps it explains why some folks are happier embracing the myths.

Thank you to all the readers, especially those who commented and exchanged information about the stuff of legends during the month of September. I hope it was a productive and informative back-to-school month.