On my ever-so-productive (ha!) day off, I found the most wonderful website/blog relating to beautiful quilting and crafting and to-die-for fabrics. Little Blue Cottage. http://littlebluecottage.wordpress.com/
I was searching for ideas on starting a non-traditional quilting bee, when i found this delightful site out of Santa Cruz. She has ties to Denyse Schmidt and Robert Kaufman, too, which is just too much! Joe and I quilt with Kaufman's Kona cotton solids (however we are beginning to dye our own fabric, and will continue to use the Kona as a base.) Denyse Schmidt is a huge inspiration to me. I started learning to quilt from her book 'Denyse Schmidt Quilts'. (I made a lot of mistakes, and then learned pretty much everything I needed to know from Joe's mom, Adeline.)
So back to the beginning, Joe and I are interested in starting a local Quilting Bee, of the non-traditional kind. We will keep ya updated...
Lately, our palette has included mostly warm "Summer" colors, so we decided to cool things off a bit. Two months ago, my mom treated Ruth & I to a shopping spree at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco for my birthday. We decided to experiment with blues, greens and grays. The "Ultra Mod" is our first offering. The pieced top is 100% Kona Cotton and features my new favorite colors - navy and celedon. When finished, this full-size quilt will measure about 77" x 86". I'm substituting the usual muslin backing with solid cotton (navy as well) for added durability and longevity. To keep things looking clean and simple, I'm employing the "stitch in the ditch" method and hope to be finished soon! - Joe
A few years ago, my sister was living in New York and working for a publisher's distribution company. It was great for me because she would send me some of the coolest books like McSweeney's back issues, coffee table books that I was way too broke to pony up the cash for, etc. One day I was at my mom's and noticed a huge book in the living room featuring the story of the quilters of Gee's Bend. I was amazed by the story of these women who for generations had been (and still are) creating some of the most "modern" and unique quilts I had ever seen. I was most impressed by the red, black, and white quilt on the cover. When I began quilting for the first time last year, I decided to pay homage. I tried to keep most of the same elements, although my version is very symmetrical and machine stitched, of course.
I was very happy to get positive feedback on this design, since it was the first deeply involved quilt I had ever pieced and finished. I always make sure to remind people about Gee's Bend, if they don't already know. There are some wonderful books available and a website too. Just do a simple search and see these masterpieces for yourself. -Joe
(This was a snap of the the top shortly after I had finished. It's completed now and don't think I will ever part with it)
It all started when I was sitting on my bed watching TV. Probably Springer or Cheaters (sad). The blanket on my bed was my beloved "Amish" quilt that my Nana had presented me with when I was about 15 or 16. Ever since, it had been the only blanket I had ever used and was in pretty bad shape. The muslin backing had become very thin and was tearing, and the border had come loose in several places. I realized that if I continued to use the quilt, it needed to be repaired. I felt reluctant because my grandmother Lilly whom had made this wonderful gift especially for me was no longer able to quilt or do much of anything because of the Alzheimer's disease that had taken her mind in the past several years. I hadn't used a sewing machine since taking Home Economics in junior high, so I knew that repairing the quilt myself was impossible yet I felt uncomfortable letting anyone else complete the task. It's only been a few short years since that evening, but I feel confident that I can prepare the quilt for the next half of my life. I guess I know the answer to the "what's the one thing you would save if your house caught on fire" question.