June 30, 2016

Cycle of the Seasons Quilt

Long, long ago (early 1980s) in a design workshop taught by Nancy Halpern, I designed a pieced tree block that I called "Timberline."  I made a set of 4 small pieces, one for each season. 

A bit later, I redrafted the trees to make an octagonal quilt that can rotate as the seasons cycle through the year.  It's been hanging in my upstairs hallway and turning to mark the seasons for nearly 30 cycles.  In this format, I call it "To Turn, To Turn."

In drafting this pattern so long ago, I set myself quite a challenge.  The piecing is not easy, I must say!  The tree trunks are 1/4" wide and the tallest are 15" long.  The center point is, well, tricky and then some.

The finished quilt measures 36" across.  I quilted the sky to represent the seasonal changes, too, with winter snowflakes for example.  I sewed a velcro strip on each of the 8 sides, and have 5 pieces on the wall, a full strip at the top and smaller bits to hold the top corners and the sides. 

Just recently, I completed a second seasons quilt to mark a big anniversary celebration at Ronora Lodge, a retreat center in Michigan that we have enjoyed for many, many years.  Here's a view down by the lake.

Here's the new quilt, and some close-ups to show the fabric choices and the quilting details.  I've interspersed close-ups of the first quilt because I enjoy comparing the fabric choices.

the new quilt

summer - new quilt
summer - first quilt
late summer - new quilt
fall - new quilt
fall - first quilt
late fall - new quilt
winter - new quilt
winter - first quilt
late winter - new quilt
spring - new quilt
spring - first quilt
early summer - new quilt

June 22, 2016

My Magical Magic Vine Quilt Is Done!!

So here's the story of a UFO (UnFinished Object) that on Sunday June 12, 2016, officially became a Finished Object......after about 8 decades!

I bought the 1930s top at an antique store in the 1980s.  It was quite a find!  The applique artistry is amazing, it came packaged with more of the same green fabric that was intended for the back, and green is my favorite color.  I decided to do a bang-up job of quilting to honor the wonderful work of the anonymous woman who started the quilt.  Since the 80s, it has been the quilt I take with me when I demonstrate hand quilting and talk about antique quits. 

So I've worked on it just a few hours at a time, just a few times a year.  In the meantime, I've raised two kids and done tons of other quilting and sewing.  A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to actually put some focused hours into it, quite honestly, so the poor thing wouldn't end up for sale again as a UFO....

I can't tell you the rush of emotion as I spread it out Sunday night, all bound and completed!  I am thrilled!  And I hope the lovely quilter is warmed and happy as well, 80-ish years after she stitched these wonderful flowers!

There's more info in previous posts:

"Magic Vine" - Dec 2012
This post tells the history of the pattern, of this particular quilt, and has photo details of all the flower appliques.  

"Magic Vine - Quilting Progress" - June 2015
This post is an update on the quilting progress as of a year ago. 

June 20, 2016

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora

Robert Bein, "Boat Travelers" (detail), 2015.  The George Washington University Museum.
This exhibit sounds great! 

Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora

"In this timely exhibition, forty-four artists share personal and universal stories of migration—from historic events that scattered communities across continents to today’s accounts of migrants and refugees adapting to a new homeland. Co-organized with Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and with assistance from George Washington University’s Diaspora Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs."

Here are the exhibit details:

Through Sept 4, 2016

The George Washington University Museum and
The Textile Museum

701 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-5200

The artworks from this exhibit shown on the website are very powerful images. They are inspirational on both levels of creating art and of celebrating the human spirit in the midst of trauma.

Over the last couple of years, I have been gradually gathering information on my father's and uncle's escape from Germany in 1939 and on the other members of my family who were killed in the Holocaust.  I'd never considered making a quilt about them all!

The photo below was probably taken about 1915.  The little boy on the left is my dad.  In September 1939, he sailed out headed for New York City on the ill-fated British ship the Anthenia, which was torpedoed by a U-boat on the day that England and Germany declared war.  He was rescued from the ocean the next morning by a merchant marine ship.  Neither of my grandparents were able to leave Germany in time, and most of their siblings perished as well.

June 15, 2016

Time To Celebrate!

Last night at about 11:30pm, this happened:

A great, excitingly, BIG number of pageviews!

Thanks to everyone, from my offspring and good friends who urged me to start blogging, to all the folks who visit and follow my pages!  I've ended up really enjoying writing and sharing about the quilts and quilt history that come across my path.  

June 7, 2016


This redwork embroidered quilt needed a bit of repair and a vacuuming after many years on display.

The binding had torn away at the bottom.

I mended that by patching on the back, and then reattaching the binding with a herringbone stitch that went through to the new patching fabric.


These sites tell about the redwork style.
Redwork Embroidery History: From Tea Towels to Quilts, Womenfolk
History of Redwork, Redwork Plus
History of Redwork, The Quilter Community 

Here are detail shots of the blocks.  There are initials or a first name in the center block, and no date.  I would guess that the quilt was made in the first decades of the 20th century.  Redwork designs have a gentle happiness to them, don't they?