In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. I’ve already written two posts highlighting some of Kathleen’s quilts. This post shows a couple of her imaginative quilt backs. Many of us have been tempted to purchase pre-printed fabrics for making stuffed animals, dolls or Christmas ornaments. Here’s a way to use up those fabrics to make your quilt backs more interesting. I love the striped binding too.
My current major quilting project is a commissioned bed-quilt. My client is reasonably local, so we have met several times. I have been to her house to get a feel for the ambiance and her color pallet and she visited me to look at my quilts and tell me what she liked. She wants something traditional and geometrical in purple, magenta, orange and turquoise, and was drawn to my Feathered Star quilts. We decided on a large 28″ Radiant Feathered Star for the center of the quilt with a 9″ compass in the middle.
I fussy-cut the Paula Nadelstern fabric for the star arms. As shown in the photo on the right, the triangles making the feathers are foundation paper pieced and are in a color gradation of oranges. Next, I made four 16″ diamond star blocks, strip-pieced with fussy-cut center diamonds from the same Paula Nadelstern fabric.
I’m now working on four compass blocks and have completed two of them. These are 14″ compasses with 32 points. For these, I am using Robin Long’s strip-piecing method and special ruler. Her technique is really slick and very accurate. It took me about eight hours to make this compass including hand-appliqueing the center circle. Check out Robin’s website. Once all the compasses are finished, I will work out how to put it all together and will be adding smaller Ohio Star blocks between these compass and diamond star blocks. The finished quilt will be in the 80-85″ square size range. In two or three months, I hope I’ll be posting a picture of it!
Earlier in the month, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. This wonderful Hallowe’en quilt was shown at Show and Tell after my lecture. Princess Kat-Rina was designed and pieced by Betty Foley of Prescott. This gaudy witch-princess rescues cats. I like her stripy green leggings and floral accents. All the Stack ‘N Whack blocks in the borders are made from cat fabric. What fun!
Notice how the centers of all the blocks are pumpkins. The orange dot fabric makes a great frame around the pictorial center, separating it from the border blocks. I also really like the orange and black striped binding. This is an entertaining and decorative piece, guaranteed to bring a smile. Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to share your creative art.
My good friend and long-arm machine quilter, Wanda Rains, recently completed this delightful elephant quilt. This appliqué pattern is by Edyta Sitar, Laundry Basket Quilts. Wanda hand-appliquéd the elephants and just for fun, turned one elephant facing the opposite way from all of the others.
Check out these detailed shots of some of the elephants. I love Wanda’s choice of fabrics and all the elephants have eyes. The checked corners in the blocks and border and the dark sashing strips make a pleasing setting for this herd.
I’ve recently completed a quilt that I’ve been working on for a few months, just in time to take it to Italy to give as a gift for dear friends who moved there in April. I’m so excited about going to visit them and the quilt is a surprise. By the time this blog posts, I will be in Italy. This busy design includes very personalized fabric choices. Anne is an accomplished musician and Denise is an electrical engineer. There’s beer for Denise and prosecco for Anne. The grand pianos and piano keys are a major feature along with the flowers for these avid gardeners.
The large flowers are the new ones in Italy, (Anne and Denise and the flowers they will plant) and the small classical flowers are the Italian ones. Here’s a closer shot for more details. They love cats and have one which traveled with them from US to Italy. After completing the quilt, I realized that I omitted any reference to their sporting allegiances, so I added the Seattle Mariners compass, appliqued on and visible close to the center of this picture. The Seattle Seahawks label appears on the back of the quilt (see below).
In this picture it is a little easier to see the three different blocks in the quilt: Snowball, Jacob’s Ladder and Shoo-fly. The detailed shots below show the corner blocks in which I used technology fabric for Denise. Denise generously gave many hours of her time to completing all kinds of technical projects at our church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. She made tremendous improvements to the lighting, so the fabric with light bulbs seemed most appropriate. The shots also nicely illustrate the grand pianos. One of my students brought some of this grand piano fabric to my Bargello Quilts with a Twist workshop and fussy-cut the pianos for her blocks. They looked great and I loved the fabric, so I found it on-line and ordered it for this quilt.
I long-arm machine quilted the quilt with the help of my good friend Wanda Rains, using her long-arm machine. Wanda helped me with the set-up on the machine and advancing the quilt after each pass of stitching. I quilted in a watery meander pattern. The back of the quilt is yellow and sunny; sunshine and water to nurture these new flowers in Italy.
During my teaching trip to Texas last month, one of my kind hosts took me to LBJ’s Ranch also known as the Texas White House. We enjoyed a walk in the grounds and a tour of the house. This quilt was hanging in one of the education rooms.
It looks a little tired and dated, but is of interest because the blocks reflect important events at the time that it was made. For “Operation Stitch Quilt Project” as it was called, the blocks were made and donated by staff and volunteers associated with the Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Parks, and the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association. Each donor was asked to produce a block that depicts something of importance to them regarding the Texas Hill Country and/or the President who made this park a reality, the former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The quilt display at the park was presented for public viewing in March 1994. Here are some detailed shots of the blocks.
There was a book accompanying the quilt, naming all the makers of the blocks and the hand quilters. I recognized some of the fabrics as old friends from my early days of quilting.
The judged AQS show at Des Moines had almost 200 contestants. Here is the quilt that won Best Hand Workmanship. My Sweet House with Kirara, 68″ x 76″, was made by Ayako Kawakami from Chiba, Japan.
From a distance this quilt looks complicated, but not particularly striking because of the low contrast in the values of the fabrics. However, the closer you get, the better it gets, and up close it is amazing. The details in the hand embroidery on the delicately pieced blocks, quilting, pictorial applique and embroidery embellishments are beautiful. This is an exquisitely made quilt which must have hundreds of hours of work invested in it. Here are some detailed shots.
I’ve just returned from my Quilt ‘N Cruise teaching excursion to Alaska and it was a fantastic trip. One of the many amazing sights was the Duck Neck Quilt displayed in the Skagway Historical Museum. This quilt, protected in a glass case (hence the reflections in the photos, which don’t do it justice), really is made from the duck neck skins of Mallard, Goldeneye, Teal, Canvasback and Pintail!
Julie Curry, one of the other teachers on the trip, told me about it and described it to me over lunch. I just couldn’t imagine it, so of course I made a point to going to see it. My size estimate is in the 60-65″ square range. It was gifted to the museum by Jennie Olson Rasmuson, who lived in Skagway for many years and helped establish the Skagway Museum in 1961. Jennie came to Yakutat, Alaska in 1901 as a missionary for the Swedish Covenant Church where she met her husband Edward who was also a missionary and the postmaster. They lived there until 1914 and had two children.
The Rasmuson family learned the skills required for a subsistence lifestyle from their Tlingit neighbours. Elmer remembers his mother’s appreciation for the beautiful iridescent feathered skins of the ducks they hunted for dinner. She wanted to make a keepsake out of the duck neck skins to help recall the family’s times in Yakutat.
Jennie learnt how to preserve the feathered skins with salt, a technique the Tlingit used in making ceremonial robes and ornaments. She then painstakingly pieced the skins together and lined the quilt with peppercorns to keep the moths away. The saw-tooth trim is made of felted cloth which was sent from supporters of the mission. This piece has remained in remarkably good condition and the feathers have retained their glorious lustrous sheen. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before – check it out if you are in Skagway!
At the June meeting of Kitsap Quilters Guild, our guest speaker was Susan Underwood, member of the American Quilt Study Group and co-founder of the Washington State Quilt Study Group. The American Quilt Study Group establishes and promotes the highest standards for interdisciplinary quilt-related studies, providing opportunities for study, research, and the publication of work that advance the knowledge of quilts and related subjects. Susan has researched and collected quilts since the 1980’s, with a particular interest in 19th century signature quilts and the 20th century quilts that we are likely to find on the West Coast.
This beautiful quilt top is a spectacular example of an 1840’s signature quilt and is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The style is like those made by the Quakers but the names are Dutch and can be traced back to Dutch immigrants from the Dutch Reform Church. Signature quilts may be useful for genealogists especially when there are dates and blocks with the names of several family members. This quilt top traveled from Pennsylvania to Eastern Washington and Susan purchased it at the estate sale of the daughters of Mary Vanartsdalen. Mary’s signature is shown below along with the date of 1843.
The quilt top has a great variety of turkey red fabrics including several better quality pieces from France, England and Scotland. The lower quality pieces were made in the USA where the production process was not yet as sophisticated as that used by manufacturers in Europe. The 64 red and white Turkey Tracks blocks are all signed in the center white squares, except for the final column of blocks on the left side which are blank. In this Victorian era, fancy stationary was all the rage and people used inked stamps with ornamental designs, then added signatures. They used these on fabric as well. Some examples are shown below.
Thank you to Susan for permitting me to share this incredible quilt top.
This stunning raffle quilt, There’s No Place Like Home, 90″ x 90″, was hanging at the June meeting of Northwest Quilters in Portland when I lectured there. The Log Cabin is such a classic pattern and I love this star setting which is offset beautifully on the wide white border with floral applique. The Beautiful Cascading Roses applique pattern was designed by Joy Nichols. Joy, Nancy Tubbs, Gunnel Seitz and Trish Barrilleaux hand appliqued the roses. Long-arm quilter Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted did a spectacular job on the machine quilting. Several guild members pieced the blocks and helped with the completion of this gorgeous quilt.
Raffle tickets may be purchased from Northwest Quilters members and at their 42nd Annual Quilt Show, May 6th and 7th, 2016 at the Portland Expo Center. The drawing will be on Saturday 7th May at the end of the quilt show. The proceeds go to cover room rental for community quilt project sew-ins and materials. The quilts are donated to Habitat for Humanity, Quilts of Valor and Portland Firefighter’s Toy and Joy Program (dolls and teddy bears are wrapped in quilts).