August 30, 2016

Sunbonnet Sue Spent Her Summer Vacation at My Quilt Care Spa

Hello, Sunbonnet Sue!  It was great to spend part of my August with this little girl, all decked out in her summer frocks and bonnets.

Most of her problems were with the embroidery thread giving out.  The fabrics by and large are hanging in there, although a few are starting to get weak.

Her spa treatment included restitching the loose appliqués, replacing a couple of missing sleeves, and re-embroidering the ribbon bows hanging down from her bonnet.  It's always fun to see a well-loved pattern like this with an extra little flair like those ribbon bows.

The loose appliqués on this little Sue created a great example of how old fabrics have faded over time.  We get so used to thinking of old quilts as subtly colored and kind of misty, but really they were often quite bright when they were first sewn.

The fun thing was that the fading showed me exactly where to replace the running stitches around the appliqués!

Another fun thing is the addition of a few more great conversation prints to my collection.  I am imagining a grandma totally enjoying making this quilt for her very lucky granddaughter.  I can tell that grandma had a fine time picking conversation prints with an eye towards entertaining her granddaughter!

Here's the dish, the spoon, and the cow jumping over the moon.  (I intensified the colors in this photo so the print shows a bit better.)

Here are some circus clowns.

I particularly like this fellow who's balancing a couple of plates on his nose!

And some children at play, with hoops and jump ropes.

And cute little lambkins in a faded yellow meadow.

I like these abstracted flowers and dots.

And here are a couple of floral prints, very much in the style and feel of the 1930s.  One is in the lovely peach of the era, and one girl is wearing a clear purple print dress with green hat and shoes - I include her here just because I always love a green/purple combo. 

The quilting is very well done, and none too easy.  Both the sashing and the white background squares are quilted with lovely cable stitching.

Little Sue is now on her way back home after her spa treatment.  She was a very polite guest! 

August 17, 2016

Favorite Quotes #13 - What is Art

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas

I found this quote in just about the most difficult spot ever to photograph!  It's on an overhang, with a brightly lit ceiling just beyond and a dark tall wall above....  But I loved it.  And I love that it's in a high school, seen by budding artists every day.

I do think successful art has two parts:  first, a sharing of what the artist sees (in the broader sense of feels and experiences), and second, what that touches and brings forth in the viewers' sensations and inner knowledge. That's why good art feels timeless and magical.

Here are two favorite stories:

With One Voice - 2002 - 33" x 33"

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the idea of "drawing" with pattern or texture instead of outlines, and was exploring that concept with this quilt. The large flower is created with lots of smaller flowers lightly stitched into place and then covered by a piece of tulle and secured with machine quilting.  The title was found, as many of my quilt titles are, in the thesaurus, in the list of synonyms for "unison".

The story:  The quilt was hanging at the annual fiber show held at the Botanic Garden.  A young friend, just starting her vocal music career, had gone up to the garden to walk and clear her head prior to a big audition, and wandered into the fiber show by chance.  Not only did the title catch her eye, but then she read that it was made by someone she knew!  She called me right away to say how much inspiration and joy the whole synchronous experience had given her.  

Here's another story:
Nature's Perspective - 1989 - 107" x 81"
The concept of a quilted farmland came to me while driving home through Wisconsin at dusk.  When our friend Jon saw the work-in-progress, he commented that for him the design perfectly represented the way he sees landscapes - the sky's smoothness (uniform diamonds) against the land's textures (the patchwork blocks.) 

I wrote about this quilt in Favorite Quotes #10, where you can read the full story including the process of design and construction of the quilt.

The story touched me so unexpectedly and deeply that it is constantly with me to this day.  Not only is it still the basis for my answer to the perennial question "What is art?", but I look at the world differently myself now, a little view through someone else's eyes.  In other words, art can create a reciprocal exchange of what both the artist and viewer see.

August 8, 2016

Heirloom Cross Stitch Quilt

Isn't this a lovely quilt?  Sometimes the simplicity of a two-color design can create the most impact of all.

This cross stitch quilt is a family heirloom, made by the grandmother of the current owner.  She was living in Columbus, OH, at the time she made the quilt in the 1970s.

The stitching is very well done, including nice feather quilting around the borders.

The fabric and the embroidery threads are both getting weak with age.  There are small tears in the white background fabric.  Some have earlier repair stitches.

I used a herringbone stitch to close the slits.  The stitches are parallel to the slit which makes them less likely to pull through the torn edge, and the diagonal threads that get laid down help the slit lay flat and closed.  Where possible, I slipped a piece of new cotton underneath the slit to help support the mending stitches. 

You can see detail photos of how this process works on this post about a schoolhouse quilt.

Here is a patch I added, on the left, next to an older patch. 

The owner now brings the quilt out just once a year at Christmas.  And what a perfect Christmas quilt it is!

August 2, 2016

Summer Sewing

Sitting out in the back, beading and buttoning on my FFF (folded fabric flowers) project.  This will be another little quilt in the Something From Nothing series. 

It's quite thematic for a summer's day, don't you think?

And then I started looking for other things to photograph....  I love the freedom and the possibility of excess of digital photography!