Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The funnest weekend

When my younger son was little, he would sometimes say at the end of a very good day, "Mom, this was the funnest day." Well, back at the end of February, Jo Morton came to town to teach workshops and speak at my guild - The Annapolis Quilt Guild. I had the pleasure of meeting Jo at dinner on Saturday night and taking two day-long workshops on Sunday and Monday and then listening to her talk at the guild meeting on Monday night. At the end of it all, the thought that popped in my head was "This was the funnest weekend."

I have long admired Jo's books, patterns and the fabric she designs for Andover. How wonderful to meet her in person and to discover what a lovely (and fun!) person she is. Above is my almost finished class project from the hand piecing workshop. Both classes (I also took hand applique) were full of great tips in addition to instruction. Some of my favorites were "no knot" piecing, her little travel storage box and her method for making plastic templates. Thanks Jo!

Jo also shared how she cleverly accumulates her hand pieced stars in a primitive wooden bowl. I thought the idea was charming -- you could actually turn a WIP into room decor. So, I bought a wooden trencher off Ebay. Clearly, I did not pay attention to dimensions because when I put my little star in the bowl, I realized (gulp) I was going to need a whole lotta stars. See below.

Well, that was easily remedied. I just went back and got a smaller bowl. Now, that's more like it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little antique doll quilt!

Today's post is just a quickie to share my new little treasure. I couldn't resist buying this little 20"x21" cutie. It appears to be hand pieced and is machine quilted with no batting. I don't think it was cut down because the binding is the same fabric as used in the top. I think it could use a bath so if anyone has expert advice on bathing old fibers please leave me a comment. Below is a photo of the great shirting stripe on the back. Such soft and lovely old colors. I have a special weakness for LeMoyne stars because of a recent event I attended. I'll be ready to post on that one this weekend. I hope spring is springing where you are!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Excellent suggestion, Mr. Amazon

If you shop for books on sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you know they provide helpful book suggestions based on the titles you view (yeah, it's a bit stalker-ish) and also some "package" deals. After my visit to Mary Koval's house, I had an insatiable urge for some new books about antique quilts. While searching Amazon, I was provided with the choice of buying all three of the books above (Philena's Friendship Quilt by Lynda Salter Chenoweth, Classic Quilts from The American Museum in Britain by Laura Beresford and Katherine Hebert, and American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1780-2007 by Robert Shaw) when I was viewing the Shaw book. I took a gamble and ordered the lot. Let me tell you, this gamble paid off. Talk about eye candy! When I flipped through the books, all I could think of was the line from Father of The Bride 2, "Bye, bye, George. See you next Thursday." I am not going to get anything done except pour over these books.

My interest in the Chenowith book (2009, Ohio University Press, 90pp.) was piqued by my purchases from Mary. I cannot resist red and green and signature quilts and bought the top above plus the signature blocks below. The top is a small one and I hope it is sound enough to hand quilt and finish. Then I'll have my very own antique red and green quilt (yay!). I have absolutely zero information on the signature blocks except they were the best examples from at least 30 blocks. They had all been together as a top at one time because you can see the stitching holes around the edges. I just like the color and the writing and plan on getting them framed. Their story will remain a mystery. The book details the author's research into the Quaker community whose names were inked on a lovely mid-19th century signature quilt from Ohio that she purchased from an antique dealer in California. (How do people find these things? I never get that lucky.)

The Shaw book (2009, Sterling Publishing, 376 pp.) is a coffee table book, but definitely not just a pretty face. It is packed with information and pictures of quilts from museums and private collections. The history of quilts ranged from Chapter 1: Old World Traditions and American Beginnings, 1780-1825 to Chapter 5: A Nation Divided, 1840-70, right up to Chapter 14: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, 2000-2007 (and everything in between). Do you see that blue and white Burgoyne Surrounded quilt with the eagle border on the right below? I held that in my own two hands. I thought that striking eagle border looked familiar and then I remembered where I saw it. Mary Koval has that quilt in her home. Sure enough, the caption states the quilt is from her collection. Now I know why she had this book on her coffee table.

The Classic Quilts book (2009, Scala Publishers, 128 pp.) is another stunner in terms of pictures. It relates the story of the American Museum in Britain (who knew!) and its quilt collection. The photography is outstanding and many photos are full page. You can get an idea of the detail and size of the pictures from the photo below. For those of you lucky enough to be taking a trip to the Victoria & Albert show this summer you should plan on an excursion (and don't forget to tell your story to make us all jealous).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

There is more!

This is the first quilt you encounter when you enter Mary's home. Don't you love the bench she has in front of it? Since her home (an old restored church) has an open plan, you can also see this work of art from her second floor office. What an inspiration!

This old broderie perse beauty is starting to crumble but the workmanship is exquisite. The stitches are so close it is hard to tell from any distance that it is broderie perse. Below is a close-up so you can appreciate the stitching.

Here is another great example of applique. Aren't those colors still amazing?

As you know, Mary has designed reproduction fabrics for several different companies. This is a close up of a quilt that is full of ideas for her. I just love old quilts that contain loads of different fabrics.

Here is another source of inspiration. I think there are something like a gazillion pieces--or maybe it was just something over 7,000. I had tabled my 30's triangles quilt because I was really tired of making triangles. Do you think this quilter ever tired of them?

Again, here is a detail of the triangles quilt. I just love the border on this one. She really stuck in there by making her four color border out of MORE triangles instead of copping out and adding solid stripes. Three cheers!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is this heaven?

No, it's Schellsburg, PA and the home of Mary Koval (expert on antique quilts, collector, dealer, author and fabric designer for Windham). Last Saturday I joined members of the Baltimore Applique Society (BAS) at Mary's home for an exclusive look at some of the exquisite quilts from her collection and a chance to shop from her vast inventory of vintage fabrics. I took loads of pictures, but no notes so forgive me if I have little information about the quilts pictured here. The red applique quilt pictured above is from Cecil County in Maryland. I think some of the BAS members present will be doing some research into the names inked on this beauty. I can't wait to see what they turn up.

The fabrics in this pieced quilt are the same fabrics in the applique quilt above. Mary has designed some great 19th century reproduction reds from these two quilts.

This is another treasure that Mary has used for fabric inspiration. I just love the soft colors of these browns, blues and pinks.

Here are two more very old 19th century quilts. The backing on the one above is a homespun but is of very nice quality. Mary gave me the dates on both of the quilts and, unfortunately, I cannot remember the exact dates but am pretty sure they were pre-1850. I am amazed at the quality of the colors in both.

What a treat to see the origins of some excellent reproduction fabrics. Mary also gave us a preview of a new line of Baltimore Album reproductions coming out this August. For those of you who love mid-19th century applique it will be great. Seeing the document quilt and the fabrics she was spot-on with colors and pattern. Even more exciting quilt news...Mary is opening a shop in Bedford, PA, where she will be stocking both new and old fabrics! Look for that later this spring.
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