Saturday, December 10, 2016

more block printing

I was working on some more block printing the other day. The goal was to cover a bedsheet and make a wholecloth quilt. First part of the goal is complete, I've covered the bedsheet.

Net step is to quilt it, but I haven't decided exactly what to do yet. I'm pretty sure I want a simple, geometric, all-over computer guided design, but I've got a little time to think about it while the piece dries. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

a gift from Siobhan

This beautiful little quilt, made by Siobhan Furgurson in April 2013, has been in a short stack of small quilts waiting to be photographed. I'm glad to finally be working on that pile, and Siobhan's quilt was right on top. The quilt is called "Open Fields" and it is 10" x 8 & 1/2" - roughly the same size as quilts made for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. She surprised me one day by sending it to me, along with a few other goodies. Of course, I was speechless, and now I feel bad about taking so long to share it, but here it is! Thank you, Siobhan!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2017 Pantone Color of the Year - Greenery!

Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year - Greenery!
I have been critical of Pantone's Color of the Year selections in the past, especially last year. This year, they put the thing down flipped it and reversed it. "Greenery" is the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year!


It may be my all-time favorite Pantone Color of the Year, but I am biased. Green is my favorite color. That's a good thing, because I live in Oregon, and Oregon is a very green place.

2016 Oregon State Fair, first-ever cannabis plant display
We get a lot of rain in Oregon, and everything grows like a weed here, including weed. This year, cannabis plants were exhibited at the Oregon State Fair in its newest botanical category, reflecting much change in the culture and economy. Oregonians have a genuine curiosity and love of all things green, from Brussel's Sprouts to Sword Ferns to the Portland Timbers. We approve of Greenery.

The Pantone website has more information about Greenery, including a bunch of color pairings. The "Transitions" color pairings made me giggle, with the inclusion of last year's hideous Serenity and Rose Quartz, but Greenery even makes those colors look good.

So, well done, Pantone! Finally! It's a good time for Greenery. To learn more about Greenery, the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, visit the Pantone website.

reading "the bible"

Barbara Brackman's "Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns" is the bible of patchwork identification.

"The Giant Dahlia Quilt" c. 1935
When I was looking for information about Hubert ver Mehren's "The Giant Dahlia Quilt" design, the pattern and four other ver Mehren medallions were in the book.

The numbers next to the illustrations corresponded with information on the facing page.

Most people who use the book are satisfied to simply locate a pattern and a name, especially when using the book for quilt documentation. The "References" section toward the end of the book is most enlightening.

In the References section, Brackman tracks the publications where pattern names appeared, providing a sense of the origins. Pattern names were largely a product of the quilt industry in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Home Art Studios of Des Moines, Iowa, was the source of the ver Mehren designs. It was one of many businesses offering publications with quilt patterns.

Sometimes the illustrations lead to multiple sources, and in those cases it is good to have references, particularly if the quilt seems to be from the period of the publication.

Recently, I bought a 1970s polyester quilt, and wanted to figure out the pattern name, but wasn't even sure which sections would be considered the blocks. The names from early publications were from the 1920s and 1930s, giving me a sense of what it could be called. 

There were most likely other sources of the design by the 1970s, and other names. So, the information about the pattern as it relates to the polyester quilt might get an asterisk. It is the traditional name, or more precisely, one of the earliest published pattern names.

an 1860s quilt, later called New York Beauty, a 1930s name
When it comes to quilts made before 1900, we need to remember the book tracks pattern names from their earliest publication dates. The book does not presume to designate what quiltmaker would've called those quilts originally. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What am I reading?

I love quilt books. My friends do, too, but they mostly have "how-to" books. The ones I like best are the history books. Of course, there is lots of eye candy, but you learn so much more by looking beyond the illustrations.

You could read these books like novels, and they would be very compelling as such, but I use them more like reference books. If I am looking for information about early quilts in America, for example, I might pull out "Old Quilts" by Dr. William Rush Dunton, or "America's Quilts and Coverlets" by Robert Bishop.

If I am looking for supplemental information from around the globe, I might pull out the "Interwoven Globe" catalogue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or "Quilts 1700-2010" from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Last week, a new book arrived. It is called "The Aloha Shirt" by Dale Hope, and it presents historical information about the garment industry in Hawaii. Looking forward to diving in to this book!

1970s Hawaiian scrap quilt
Pursuing research about Hawaiian scrap quilts has been a challenge. There is plenty of research about Hawaiian applique and flag quilts, but no research about the scrap quilts. It's a new and open field of research, and I've had to approach the subject from other angles; the history of Hawaii, tourism, the garment industry, and other related fields.

So, that's what I'm reading. What are your favorite quilt history books, and which ones have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

more polyester love

pieced quilt, polyester, Peggy Davis Harmon, North Carolina, c. 1970, 62" x 81"
This playful polyester quilt came from an eBay seller in Asheville, North Carolina. According to the item description, it was made by a woman in Madison County, the western mountains of North Carolina. I sent a note to the seller asking if we could retrieve more information, and she sent a link to the obituary of the maker, Peggy Davis Harmon (1943-2016).

The pattern has many names, such as Snowball, Windmill Design, Pinwheel, and my personal favorite from the Kansas City Star, Love in a Tangle. By the 1970s, around the time the quilt was made, it could've had dozens of names.

#1499 in Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns
These designs may be found in my favorite resource for block identification,  Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, #1498 and #1499, in the "Four Patch with Curves" section. There is also a note with the two designs: 1499 and 1498 are identical if set all-over. Each block has 24 patches, and the blocks cleverly mingle to create several secondary designs.

A closer look at the fabrics shows why polyester is such a fascinating, versatile material. Woven, printed and embossed designs offered an endless variety of options. Ultimately, these fabrics infused scrap quiltmaking with dynamic new combinations of color, pattern and texture. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Special Announcement

Happy Monday! Today, I have a special announcement. Apologies in advance for not having more details, but it's exciting news, so I just had to share.

If you've read my blog, even occasionally, you may have noticed I love polyester quilts. I have collected them for several years, and I've got a pretty good collection of them now.

Polyester quilts were part of my first article about the quilts of the 1970s, published in 2013 in American Quilter Magazine.

Around the same time, Generation Q Magazine named me one of the Double-Knit Twins, along with fellow collector and quiltmaker Victoria Findlay Wolfe. We are proud of the moniker. Growing up, Victoria slept under family-made polyester quilts in Minnesota.

Last year, I published a feature article in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, and a research article in Blanket Statements, newsletter of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG). It was the first time polyester was the subject of a research article published by AQSG.

QuiltCon 2015
"Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" at Benton County Museum
Last year, I also had a special exhibit at QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, and the debut museum exhibition of 1970s quilts at the Benton County Museum in Philomath, Oregon. The flurry of polyester left a few connoisseurs scratching their heads, but we were seeing the quilts of the revival for the first time in a new context. I thought it was pretty thrilling.

By now, you may be wondering about that special announcement I had, so I'll stop stringing you along. Last week, I received a phone call from one of the curators at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was an invitation to exhibit polyester quilts at the museum.

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum is a bucket list destination for quilt lovers. It is a state-of-the-art facility with beautiful, spacious galleries. They have a variety of outstanding exhibitions each year.

I visited the museum in 2012 when the American Quilt Study Group Seminar was in Lincoln. The facility is top notch, as is the staff. So impressed!

Happily, I accepted the invitation to exhibit at the museum, and I'm excited we will be exhibiting polyester quilts. It will be an incredibly vibrant, dynamic exhibition, and a fresh look at quilts from the 1970s quilt revival. The exhibition will be in the summer, 2017. Stay tuned for more details.