May 26, 2019

I See You



I finished this little quilt a few days ago.  It is now en route to the Sacred Threads exhibit, to be held in Herndon, VA, July 11-28, 2019.  From the website:

"Sacred Threads is an exhibition of quilts exploring themes of joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief and peace/brotherhood. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey."

This year in addition to the main exhibit, there is a special project called Eye Contact: Creating a Connection

"There is a famous quote by Cicero (106-43 B.C.). 'Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi' (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). 'The eyes are the window of the soul' is a variant form of the proverb..."

I find the whole idea so intriguing.  That, coupled with the small size - 23" wide x 5" high - made the decision to make an entry so easy!  The only direction is that the quilt show "two human eyes looking at the viewer".

The project also seems to have a secondary name (it's in the link to the Eye Contact page) of "I See You".  I've been studiously avoiding political comments on my posts, but in this case, I touch in with politics just a bit, as this is a big part of what drew me to participate.  The desire (necessity) to be truly seen seems to me to be so crucial to the divisions and angst that currently plague our political/social discourse.  Everyone on both sides of the aisle seems to be clamoring to be seen, heard, honored, represented.  "I see you" may be the most powerful tool we have to mend our interrelationships.


I had so much fun creating this little quilt!  It was one of those wonderful flow experiences where the right fabrics were at hand, they interacted just like I wanted, and little flashes of extra inspiration kept appearing.  I even made up a way to indicate my curly grey hair with thread!  I used white, metallic silver, and iridescent threads.

I worked from a selfie, isolated the eyes, overlaid a grid to enlarge to the required size, cut and stitched appliqués, embroidered facial lines and eyelashes, quilted around the appliqués and to attach the curly thread/hairs.





 I See You!




May 11, 2019

Visible Mending


Generally, whether repairing clothes or quilts for my customers, my goal is invisible mending.  But with visible mending being all the rage these days and I enjoy embroidery, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I've been looking at all sorts of mends that folks are posting on social media.  I've decided that what I like best are mends that neaten up the tears and holes.  And what I like even better are mends that make something artsy and fun out of the patches and mending stitches themselves.

April 10, 2019

Garden Paths

Here's the quilt currently on my work table:


Quite honestly, Grandmother's Flower Garden is not one of my favorite patterns.  And I do get quite a few of them coming in for repair, so I spend quite a bit of time looking at them. 

If I ever make one, which is not at all likely, it'd be like this one.  I like the addition of the tiny diamond paths between the flowers.  These hexies are about 7/8" inch on a side, and the piecing and quilting are quite nicely done.

Also, I really love this particular print.  Firstly, it's green.  And secondly it's got curvey, viney lines.  My favorite kind of print in my favorite color! 







April 1, 2019

A Fun Couple of Weeks

I've had a bit of a lull between repair projects these last couple of weeks, and have been enjoying working on projects that are mostly for me, meaning they mostly don't have anyone waiting at the other end for me to finish them.  So relaxing!

Here's what's been on my worktable:

March 20, 2019

Booming!

My friend Julia of Basya Berkman Vintage (the person who supplies me with all the fun clothes needing creative repair solutions that you see in these posts) has told me that I need to do this bit of shameless self-promotion.  This is not in my nature.  At all.  But I am following Julia's advice.....

Firstly, my book has celebrated its first birthday.  And there is Big News here in the land of self-publishing:  My book is now on the shelves at both the museum shop of The National Museum of Quilts in Paducah, KY, and the shop at the Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, DC!!!  I am absolutely thrilled!!!  And I am very grateful to these organizations for their votes of confidence in my work.

A Book With My Name On The Cover.  It's still a source of much amazement for me. Wow!

March 19, 2019

Buttons in Boxes and Baskets

 

 

Well, let's just say that when a button collection gets so big that buying two new storage boxes isn't enough, well then, that is a big button collection.  Guess how I know.

March 11, 2019

Recent Vintage Clothing Adventures

There's always something new and interesting when repairing vintage clothes for Rare Jule Vintage! I'm sharing some highlights of the last few months of creative repairing.  From buttons (of course there will be buttons!) to darning to alteration to a fun accessory. 
   

February 25, 2019

Improved 9-Patch


I really enjoyed working on this quilt.  It's a kind of quilt that I have dubbed a "quilt-y quilt" - meaning it personifies what lots of folks think an old quilt ought to look like.  A traditional pattern, scrappy, cozy and bright.

The pattern is called Improved 9-Patch, and with all the curves and narrow points, probably not a beginner's quilt.  The stitching, both the piecing and the quilting, is very well done.

Well at any rate, when I first laid it out to study it and make an estimate, we became friends right away! On top of that, the quilt is still in the family, and the current owner shares info and photos of the maker below.

I thought I'd let this quilt illustrate making fabric selections for repairs.  I was pretty pleased with the fabrics I found.  Sometimes I'm not quite this pleased, so yes, I am showing off a bit.

February 9, 2019

The Melrose Quilt - Statistics and Stories



 

Now that all the excitement and preparations around the exhibit have come and gone, I'm publishing the compilations of statistics and stories I discovered about life in Melrose, MA, at the end of the 19th century.

A previous post describes the exhibit and events.  Links to many chapters chronicling the research process can be found below.  I hope you enjoy the saga as much as I enjoyed it!

Here are links to the data.  (Depending on your browser and browser settings, you may see the pages here or you may find them in your downloads.)

List of Names on the Quilt - Includes names as written and more complete names when found

Census Records Closest to 1895-1900 - Household members, ages, professions, stories

Census Data Used to Date the Quilt 

Summation of Interesting Facts and Stories

Names Listed in Order of Street Name and Number - In case you visit Melrose and want to look for houses where these people lived

Age Chart - Ages from census records closest to 1895-1900 

Here are all the previous posts:
Part 1 describes the quilt and the initial research.  Part 2 details how I narrowed down the dates, and relates some of the interesting family stories I began finding.  Part 3 tells the story of the Phinney, Dyer, and Hersey families.  Part 4 has general observations on life in the late 1890s.   Part 5 sums up my research.  Part 6 shares the first information from librarians and historians in Melrose.  I wrote a little aside about the fun of being able to look at original records online.  And, since the quilt did initially come to me for repair, and I did eventually stop reading census forms and do the repair work, and wrote up the techniques and choices involved.  And then I went back to the research, and continued to find lots of great information.  After the events, I described the homecoming experience and the exhibits, and wrote about the little quilt I made that was inspired by the historical quilt. 





January 29, 2019

Two Family Quilts

Here are two heirloom quilts that came to me in need of some TLC.

   

At some point, someone affixed typed labels that identify the quiltmakers and the quilts' histories.  This is what's called "provenance" in the antiques biz, and is always a good thing!

Quilt #1

January 21, 2019

A Happy Tale: Returning Lost Quilts to Their Family

 

 

My friends are very good to me.  Every time they see or hear something about quilts, they forward it on to me.  Thanks, y'all!  It always brightens my day. 

A friend sent me the link to a story one of his friends had written.  It's a heartwarming tale of family quilts lost and found.  I asked for permission to share the story with you all.  And she said yes!

Studying the Quilts
Quilts Go Home

The author is Suzanna Leigh.  The internet surely has become a marvelous tool that makes this kind of story possible.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do.  Brava, Suzanna for finding and caring for these family treasures!




January 10, 2019

Ancestor Quilt

So, as I mentioned in the post about all the quilt fun last month in Melrose, MA, the library hosted an exhibit of quilts inspired by the historical quilt I've been researching.  The exhibit was cleverly titled “Red, White, & Words,” referring to the antique red and white quilt that was inscribed with 222 names of Melrose-area residents at about 1897.  (The full list of links about the quilt and the research is below.)


I figured I wasn’t going to have time to make a quilt alongside all the prep I was doing for the exhibit and lecturing and traveling, but then an idea did just pop into my head…. you know how it goes.... and it wasn’t a terribly difficult idea….. 

So I made a tiny 3-block version of the Melrose quilt, inscribed with the names on my own family tree.  It was small, easy to piece, and tied, and I did indeed get it finished and submitted in time.  I even managed to find a red on cream polka dot fabric for the back, just like on the original!

The center block has myself and my husband in the middle, our two children on the sides, and my father and mother at top and bottom.

The top block connects to my father's name.  His brother is at the bottom, and their parents, my grandparents, are in the center.  My great-grandparents are on the left and top.  On the right my grandmother's siblings are memorialized, all but one of whom were killed, as were my grandparents, in the Holocaust. 

The bottom block connects to my mother's name.  Her parents, my grandparents, are in the center.  My great-grandparents are at top and bottom.  My great-great-grandparents are left and right. 

It was a surprisingly powerful feeling to write my ancestors’ names on a quilt!  They are now recorded in a way that is very near and dear to my heart.



Here are all the previous posts:
Part 1 describes the quilt and the initial research.  Part 2 details how I narrowed down the dates, and relates some of the interesting family stories I began finding.  Part 3 tells the story of the Phinney, Dyer, and Hersey families.  Part 4 has general observations on life in the late 1890s.   Part 5 sums up my research.  Part 6 shares the first information from librarians and historians in Melrose.  I wrote a little aside about the fun of being able to look at original records online.  And, since the quilt did initially come to me for repair, and I did eventually stop reading census forms and do the repair work, and wrote up the techniques and choices involved.  And then I went back to the research, and continued to find lots of great information.  After the events, I described the homecoming experience and the exhibits. And a set of summaries of the data and stories that brought the quilt to life. 

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