Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Love Blooms

several masterpiece quilts from the Volckening Collection
will be on display in July and August
In the middle to late 19th century, botanical applique quilts were popular throughout the Mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. Many quilts were made with white background fabric, lots of Turkey red, over-dyed green, cheddar orange and double pink. Fanciful floral motifs appeared in larger-than-life designs, and the quilts were often made with special purposes—for hope chests, dowries, as presentation pieces, and to celebrate happy occasions such as weddings and births.

The dedication and skill required to make these quilts would likely represent the makers’ best work. In that regard, the quilts were always considered masterpieces, but now they are antiquities as well as fancy, decorative bedcovers. Some of the quilts were well used, but most were only used on special occasions. It shows in the condition. This collection showcases some of the finest American needlework from the Civil War period. The quilts are elaborate, vibrant, masterful and full of love.

"Love Blooms: Quilts from the Volckening Collection" will be on display in July and August, 2019, at Latimer Quilt & Textile Center in Tillamook, Oregon. The center is located at 2105 Wilson River Loop Road, Tillamook, Oregon 97141. Phone: 503-842-8622. https://www.latimerquiltandtextile.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Modernism in American Quilts

The Quilt Show #2409 with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims
Recently I appeared on The Quilt Show, episode #2409, talking with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims about modernism in antique and vintage American quilts.

a surprisingly modern design in an 1870s quilt
Modernism is the subject of my second book, "Modern Roots" (2016 C&T/Stash Books) - link.


When I look at old quilts, I see modernism. A lot of antique and vintage quilts do not seem as old as they really are. They look newer, more modern.

this quilt was made in the 1870s
The "surprisingly modern" aspect is one of the things that originally piqued my interest in quilts. If art history is the context for these quilts, as I feel it should be, they would be recognized as predecessors foreshadowing major movements in art history such as cubism and pop art.

1930s Mountain Mist "Jack 'O Lantern" quilt
These quilts are especially relevant today, given the popularity of "modern" quilting and its focus on aesthetics such as mid-century modern. It was nice to have the opportunity to share these quilts with Alex, Ricky and the whole Quilt Show audience.

Bookish


The book shelves are crying for mercy...in a good way. There's a whole shelf devoted to books that include quilts from my collection. Magazines, too!


I wrote three of those books. The latest one, "Inspired Free-Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs Reinterpreted for Today's Quilter" was co-authored with Mandy Leins. 


A few years ago, Bob Shaw published the second edition of his "American Quilts: The Democratic Art" coffee table book. A quilt from my collection was on the cover of the first edition, and was included in the new book with one other quilt from my collection-- a southern pieced quilt from South Carolina.



Sometimes I feel like the absent-minded quilt magnet. Last year, I was excited to hear Christina Cameli's latest book was coming out. The funny thing was I did not remember I had contributed to the book. Christina is a friend. She asked for photos, I said, "Of course!", sent them, and forgot all about it until the book was out.



In the last week, Victoria Findlay Wolfe's new book arrived and I received news of Linda Hahn's new book. I contributed to both of them.



One of my vintage 1970s polyester quilts is currently on tour with the "Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century" exhibition. The quilt also appears in the book.



When I say I am not working on any book projects currently, that may not exactly be true. The good thing is, I love surprises. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Coming Soon: Appearance on The Quilt Show


Last summer, Linda and I traveled to Colorado, where I was part of the taping of two segments for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. For the first appearance, I am delighted to be in the same episode as Barbara Black. Here is the trailer-- episode 2405.


The show will air Sunday February 24th 2019, and will be available to view for free March 3-10. Stay tuned to The Quilt Show website and YouTube channel for more details!


Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims bring the friendliest interactive online community for quilters worldwide! Join today to learn, share, create, connect and watch Alex and Ricky in brand new episodes of The Quilt Show.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Inspired Free Motion Quilting Giveaway Winner!


Thank you to all participants in the Inspired Free Motion Quilting Blog Tour. It is wonderful to see how creative people are using the designs from elegant, old quilts in their work.


Co-author Mandy Leins and I hope the book will be useful and inspirational for many generations, just like the quilts featured inside.


I am excited to announce the winner of an eBook copy of "Inspired Free Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs. Congratulations to Terry Lee Knott! Terry makes some of the most beautiful quilts. I love her work, and look forward to seeing how the book influences her work in the future.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Inspired Free Motion Quilting blog tour!

c. 1800 pieced quilt from Rhode Island with gorgeous quilting designs
When C&T Publishing first approached me with the idea to write a book about free-motion quilting, I wasn't sure how to react. The idea came out of left field. I'm much more of a collector than quiltmaker, and do not always see my collection as a quiltmaker would, but it gave me the opportunity to look at the collection with fresh eyes.

Mandy Leins, co-author of "Inspired Free-Motion Quilting"
I could choose any free-motion quilting expert as co-author, and Mandy Leins was the first person who came to mind. Mandy and I share a love for antique and vintage quilts. She is an outstanding quilter, and we chat about old quilts on Facebook instant messenger, sharing links for eBay and Etsy listings while dreaming about buying all the old quilts we love.


Luckily, Mandy was interested in the idea and available to tackle a book project. "Inspired Free-Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs Reinterpreted for Today's Quilter" was born.


The book includes inspiration quilts from the 18th and 19th centuries-- elegant, very old quilts with designs worth seeing; and free-motion line drawings with instructions on how to use the drawings for free-motion quilting. It's all about looking at old and seeing something new, and Mandy did a superb job with it.


We are happy to announce a blog tour, with eBook giveaways and a Quilter's Planner set as grand prize. On each stop of the blog tour, bloggers will share their thoughts and ideas about the book-- and we are looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Here is the list of blog tour stops:


Don't miss your chance to win! Keep reading along and follow the links to the blog posts! To win today's eBook prize from this blog, Wonkyworld, simply leave one comment in the comments section (below), and a random drawing at the end of the day will determine the winner. When commenting, please make sure to leave a way to contact you, and/or check back tomorrow to find out who won. Thanks for reading along. Enjoy the blog tour and enjoy the book!

Friday, January 4, 2019

how quilts taught me to love history

inscribed Spanish American War quilt, donated to the International
Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
I was the worst history student in high school. Just like all the other high school academic subjects, it was boring and didn't seem relevant. Fortunately, I had an interest in photography and got through U.S. History by writing a term paper about Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. After that, I didn't need to worry about history anymore...or so I thought.


More than 25 years later, I discovered a very interesting quilt on eBay. It was inscribed with many names, and in the center medallions of each block were the names of places, such as Spain. A quick google search led me to the realization that the center medallion inscriptions were not just names of places, they were the names of ships from the Spanish American War.

USS Concord, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
I always knew quilts were history objects, but the artistic and design elements were much more my focus. When I discovered the places inscribed in the center medallions were ships, it unlocked history for me. The quilt taught me how to love researching history.


The inscribed Spanish American War quilt is now part of the collection at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. I donated it to the museum when they were planning an exhibition called "Covering the War" in 2015. I didn't realize it at the time, but Spanish American War quilts are quite rare. Why? As I learned from the quilt, it was a short, very one-sided war.