Friday, August 31, 2012

Rose Applique, and Double Wedding Ring

Two more quilts from home...


This Rose Applique was pieced from a kit by my great-grandma "Two" and quilted by her sister.  It wasn't quite finished in terms of the quilting (in some places you can still see faint blue lines where quilting should be) but it has held up remarkably well.  This quilt was my post-college quilt.





The following is a Double Wedding Ring quilt made by Two in the 60's probably (?), and given to me by Grandma Mary Lou when I got married in 1990.  It is in near-perfect condition.




Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bed quilts from my youth

One day before returning to Japan, I begged help from Miss N and Tommy for a little impromptu photo shoot of the quilts we have at home in MA.  I will break them down into several posts.

This first one - "54-40 or Fight" was made by my Great Grandma "Two" in about 1969.  The pictures don't show the big holes where my first dog, a beagle named Sally, chewed up the quilt years later when it was relegated to basement storage!  I have often contemplated cutting up the quilt and making pillows or something, but I just can't bring myself to do that.




That quilt was replaced by the following Butterfly Quilt, made by Grandma Mary Lou in 1976.  This quilt was on my bed for years, and it's what inspired me to make my own version, which I blogged about here and here.


And when I went to college in 1982, Grandma Mary Lou made me this Irish Chain.  It is one of her early machine quilting efforts.  It really grew on me over the years - a classic pattern.


"Are we almost done, Mom?" :).


More quilts from home soon.... stay tuned!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lowell Quilt Festival - IMAGES 2012 and Fons&Fons

Here are just a few of the quilts that caught my eye at the Lowell Quilt Festival, IMAGES 2012 show.

I really appreciated that photos were allowed in much of the exhibit, provided we are careful to document the maker's name, etc. and when the photo was taken.  Hence the long subtitles below:

I had to chuckle when I saw on the stage, front and center, this exquisite taste of Japan:
Sakura I: Hanaogi Views the Cherry Blossoms, 98x60, by Megan Farkas, Sanbornton, NH.  Hand pieced, appliqued and quilted; embroidery; permanent marker; "silk" flowers; beads.
Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012. 
I loved the following quilt by Timna Tarr.  It won Best Use of Color:

Catena by Timna Tarr, South Hadley, MA, Hand appliqued and quilted; machine pieced and quilted.  Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012. 

Catena by Timna Tarr, South Hadley, MA, Hand appliqued and quilted; machine pieced and quilted. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  


And another by the same quilter, Timna Tarr (Hey Timna, if you have a blog, I'd love to know about it!).  This is another great color study.  Makes me want to clear out room in my quilting room for a whole stash of solids - I have so few right now.

Yolk Magic, by Timna Tarr, South Hadley, MA, hand appliqued; machine pieced and quilted. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  
I found myself drawn to some of the applique quilts, especially the brighter ones.  The following one used Kaffe Fassett fabrics and the quilter wrote that she enjoyed the challenge of using red as a neutral.  I love it!
Aunt Millie's Garden, by Maureen Braconi, Sharon MA.  Hand appliqued; machine pieced and quilted.   Pattern source:  "Aunt Millie's Garden" from Piece O Cake Designs.  Quilted by Dianna Annis. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  


I really loved this next applique quilt too, by Elizabeth Hastings.  I could have studied it for an hour!  

Not Your Mother's Roseville Vases: Different Times, Different Sensibilities by Elizabeth Hastings, Georgetown MA.  Hand appliqued and machine quilted.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean's Roseville Vases.  Quilted by Julie Crossland. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  


Detail from:  Not Your Mother's Roseville Vases: Different Times, Different Sensibilities by Elizabeth Hastings, Georgetown MA.  Hand appliqued and machine quilted.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean's Roseville Vases.  Quilted by Julie Crossland. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  
Detail from:  Not Your Mother's Roseville Vases: Different Times, Different Sensibilities by Elizabeth Hastings, Georgetown MA.  Hand appliqued and machine quilted.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean's Roseville Vases.  Quilted by Julie Crossland. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  

Detail from:  Not Your Mother's Roseville Vases: Different Times, Different Sensibilities by Elizabeth Hastings, Georgetown MA.  Hand appliqued and machine quilted.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean's Roseville Vases.  Quilted by Julie Crossland. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  
 And this one, from the Amoskeag Quilt Guild in Manchester, NH.
Kaffe Fassett Flower Pot Fun, Amoskeag Quilt Guild, Manchester NH, machine pieced; hand appliqued and quilted.  Made by Donna McDowell.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  
Beautiful hand quilting, too:

Detail from:  Kaffe Fassett Flower Pot Fun, Amoskeag Quilt Guild, Manchester NH, machine pieced; hand appliqued and quilted.  Made by Donna McDowell.  Pattern source:  Kim McLean. Photo taken at Lowell Quilt Festival IMAGES 2012.  

Then.... back to the car for a little picnic dinner.... and then to a really fun slide show lecture - "Beyond the Binding" -  by Fons and Fons, the very dynamic mother-daughter team behind Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine, and Quilty.



Their slide show featured quilts by ordinary women who made extraordinary quilts in terms of:

engineering - Wow, without modern tools that we use today, quiltmakers designed and constructed amazing, complex quilts.  Fun, fun math!

risk  - Ordinary women took tremendous risks with their quilting.  We saw some very "modern" looking quilts coming out of the 1800's.

personality -  The elementary school teacher in me kept thinking about "Voice" from the Six Traits of Writing.  These quilts had "voice" in spades.  Even when the maker is unknown, the best quilts show personality.  I think the takeaway here for me was... make quilts I love... without worrying about whether they "fit in" what's popular these days.

Afterwards, Marianne and Mary Fons graciously signed copies of their magazines.  I had Mary sign mine to Grandma Mary Lou.  Erin donated hers to Grandma too:).  They will be fun to read on the plane on Saturday, on my way to Denver.  The morning after we return to Mass, my son and I return to Japan!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lowell Quilt Festival - NEQM


Today my friend Erin and I went to the Lowell Quilt Festival.  I've been a few times before but it was much more fun in the company of a good friend:).




We started at the New England Quilt Museum.  I love this place!  It never disappoints. 

Downstairs.... gifty items and quilts galore.  

I love that signature quilt - wish I'd gotten a close up shot.

You can see the shuttle bus through the window.  A nice service - reminded me of being on a field trip, though this time I wasn't in charge of anyone:). 

So cute.

I'm always drawn to Log Cabins



Yummy, yummy, yummy

Another log cabin, pastel this time. 

Price tag!

But what a beauty. 

Next we went upstairs to the exhibit "Backstitch: A 25-year Retrospective of Advances and Milestones in Quilting".  No photos allowed.  

Fantastic show, great variety.  I was so happy to see one of Harriet Hargrave's quilts hanging.  The docent mentioned her as being the "godmother of machine quilting - DOMESTIC machine quilting".  I chatted with a fellow museum goer about what a great teacher Harriet is.    

There was also a "Dear Jane"... which I had never seen in person... not a huge fan of samplers... but may change my mind.... and many many other notable and memorable quilts, from traditional quilts to art quilts.




Stay tuned for some photos from the IMAGES show. 

Sashiko books



During my monthly sashiko classes in Japan, I sense that I'm missing some of the finer points.  It's the classic scenario where I can see and hear my teacher giving lots and lots of detailed advice and instruction to the others... but language is truly a barrier to me!

Here is a little table topper (or the beginnings of a pillow perhaps).  It's identical to one I made for my Grandma Mary Lou... and it's from a pattern from my sashiko sensei, Kazuko Yoshiura.


So this summer I wanted to see what I could find in terms of printed material, to reinforce what I am learning in class.

A quick search on Amazon yielded only a few books, some out of print.  I ordered three.  Here they are in order from oldest to most current: 
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The first is Sashiko and Beyond by Saikoh Takano.  A little dated but interesting to have in my collection, and includes a lot of applique projects too.  

The introduction gives a very brief history of sashiko.  Then the book gets right into techniques and designs.  Nothing I particularly want to make immediately...but interesting anyway!

1993, Chilton Book Company, Radnor PA  
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Sashiko Style was originally published in Japan in 2006.  No specific author is listed.  It starts by offering  many linear, curvy, and single-stitch patterns, along with some enticing color photographs of sample projects.  

2007 by Japan Publications Trading Company, translated by Yoko Ishiguro
On page 56 (!) we have the "Getting Started" section, which uses a combination of illustration, photos, and text to clearly lay out supplies needed, how to prepare fabric, how to draft and transfer patterns, and finally how to make a good sashiko stitch.  

The final section of the book contains the project instructions and life size pull-out patterns.   I haven't made anything from this book yet, but to my eye, it's an excellent book.  Complicated (in terms of the actual project directions) and maybe a little intimidating, but inspiring, and, design-wise, spot on.  
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The final book I ordered is Japanese Sashiko Inspirations, by Susan Briscoe, whose name came up often when I searched online for sashiko books. 

2008, David & Charles, the UK.
I appreciate how the book goes into some good detail about the history and significance of sashiko, and then gets right into the "getting started" guide , tools and materials, basic techniques, tips, etc.  There is a good variety of projects, and in general the book has a "zakka" feel.  This book seems to be the most accessible and straightforward, and contains a diverse array of project in terms of thread color and fabric types.  One thing I really like about this book is that Susan gives us a "technique taster" in the form of a very small project alongside each main project (ex. a sachet, then a pillow, or a business card case, then a wall hanging). 

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p.s.  I just picked Susan Briscoe's Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match - and I'm so glad I did - it looks excellent.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Old friends: Quilt books

My view while sitting at my kitchen table. I just love the trees. 

Lily's Quilts
Linking up with  Lily's Quilts Small Blog Meet today!  With 49 followers, I just squeak into the "new bloggers" category:).  If you are a new blogger... this is a great way to find blogs!



Back here in Mass for the summer, it's been great seeing old FRIENDS again - people who have known me deep down for years... great having our DOG around... listening to the RADIO.... watching the OLYMPICS.... shopping for our favorite FOODS... great being surrounded by TREES again... and great having access to our BOOKS again.

This morning I retrieved my quilting books out of my (sweltering) attic sewing room... sat at the kitchen table and leafed through many of them.  Oldies but goodies.

A few of my faves, all highly recommended:

 2004.  Meticulous instruction from a great teacher. 

2002.  A beautiful book
1997 (1988) and 1993 respectively. My first quilting books - classics!

2004.  Gold standard for hand piecing.

1998. So inspiring... 
These next two were written from the perspective of the "modern" era in the 1920's and 30's looking back to traditional quilting roots.  Everything comes back around again, as we are seeing today.

1929 (!).  Reprint 1980.  I wonder whether my great-grandma Two had access to this book or the one below:

1935.  One of my favorites.  


1996.  From the fabulous Museum of American Folk Art in NYC
1999.  From the equally fabulous New England Quilt Museum.  I love learning about the Mill girls. 

2006.  Good history, good quilting.  

1993.  More wonderful quilt history. 
And from my own notebook of quilting ideas and inspiration... way before blogging and Pinterest....


One of my favorite memories is chaperoning a field trip to the MFA in Boston (this was before I became a teacher!) for a field trip Miss K took in fifth grade, years ago.

Maybe someday she'll want to quilt!  For now, I'm so happy that she, like her siblings, appreciates quilts.


Stay tuned - I have several Sashiko books and will blog about them in some detail soon.