Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The other New York quilt exhibits

The American Folk Art Museum has two other shows going on besides the red and white quilt show. Photography was allowed, but no flash. The light was not the greatest, and as I have readily admitted, I am not that great a photographer under the best of conditions. But, here are some of the ones that caught my eye from those exhibits.

From the "Super Stars" exhibit at the Lincoln Square branch of the museum:

Broken Star, Clara Boutraeger, 1925-1935.

Carpenter's Wheel Variation, 1945-55.

Georgetown Circle Quilt, 1900-1920.

Golden Wedding Ring, 1930-40.

Star of France, 1930-40.
Pattern 151 from Hubert Ver Mehren's Home Art Studios of Des Moines.

From the "Masterworks" exhibit at the museum's main location on 53rd street:
Bird of Paradise, 1858-63.
Speculation is that this was a bridal quilt, but the wedding didn't take place
based on the groom being missing from his place next to the bride in the top row.

Appliqued and embroidered pictorial bedcover, 1825-45.
Maybe I shouldn't have shown this because it's so blurry,
but I love the composition and colors.

Star of Bethlehem, 1880-1900. Silk.
Love that border!

Sunflowers and Trailing Vine, 1783-1830.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts

Wow! The exhibit was fabulous although I have a bit of a stiff neck from looking up at all the quilts.

Joanna S. Rose says she didn't set out to collect quilts. Instead she was a treasure hunter, finding many at flea markets in the 1950s where they sold for $5 or $10 or "were used to wrap purchases." Can you imagine? Of her more than one thousand American quilts, 650 red and white ones are on display at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City through Wednesday, March 30, as an 80th birthday present from her husband. (I got a card, unsigned so I could reuse it, this year.)

The show was not displayed as a typical quilt show, and there was no information on most of the quilts. In a few places, you could call a phone number to hear a recording about a particular quilt, but otherwise no information about the individual quilts was available.

Lots of non-quilters were at the show. I heard one woman on her cell phone telling a friend that she needed to get down here and see this show. "This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen." They were as enthusiastic as the quilters, even buying fabric in the museum shop after I explained to a few what a fat quarter is! Later at another exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum I heard the clerks in that shop talking about how they were selling out of everything at the red and white show!

Pictures were allowed, but the lighting was rather dim even with a flash, the quilts were hung rather high up, and I'm not that good a photographer in the best of conditions. Plus there were so many!

My husband's favorite quilt from the show.
Not sure how you pick just one.
I found one quilt in the same pattern as my Woven Blocks!

Saw several examples of this pattern that is similar to the Woven Blocks.

The piecing and quilting are amazing on this one.

One of my favorites. I'd like to make this.

A few house quilts in the show included a church. 
Most had signatures, which I think means they may have been fundraising quilts.

Loved this one too! Amazing quilting.

This Ocean Waves quilt had amazing quilting too.

Not the greatest photo, but you can see some of the amazing quilting on this one.

Not really a quilt. This is two pieces of white muslin, seamed together to make the fabric wide enough. Then it was covered in red embroidery. There's no backing. There were two examples of this in the show.

I have a piece similar in construction, but without this volume of embroidery. Mine was acquired at a white elephant sale at my grammar school in the late '60s in Maine. I once had it informally appraised at a quilt show and was told the fabric was the width it was because it was hand woven on a loom and that's how wide the loom was. I think I was told the fabric was early 1800s. I'll have to dig it out and show it some time.
Isn't this fabulous? Two sets of owls, and a butterfly
much bigger than the bearded guy next to him.

My husband wants me to make him one of these.
I have the templates somewhere so maybe I will.

This display included my favorite polka dot quilt in the exhibit.
I'd never seen one until this show, and there were at least three on display.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Border mystery solved

62.5 inches/158.75 cm square

This is the border I ended up putting on my version of the mystery quilt. I have enough units left for another round of checkerboard, but I think that would make it too wide. I think I'll stop here. I'll make the binding and backing before I put it in the top pile. Red binding?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red and white quilts

Taryn of Repro Quilt Lover is hosting a Red and White Quilt Exhibit in honor of the show coming up in New York. Here are a couple that I've made. Red is my favorite color. If anyone is hosting a Red and Brown Quilt Exhibit, I've got a few entries for that too.

Woven Blocks, 60 inches/152.4 cm, 1997?
Quilted by Maggi Honeyman
This is one started earlier in my quilting career. Maggi quilted it with red thread so it has kind of a redwork look to it. Once I started making quilts faster than I could hand quilt them -- it took me a couple years to hand quilt my first quilt -- I started going to a long-arm quilter so the top pile wouldn't give me guilt pangs every time I started a new one. 
Split Ohio Stars, 92.5 inches/234.95 cm square, 2007?
I need to do a better job labeling my quilts (and/or putting dates on patterns and class handouts) so I know when I made them or at least started them. Time flies by so fast now I think it's been only a year and it's been three or four, and the top is still waiting to be quilted. (That's code for sent to Maggi!)

I'm excited about the New York exhibit because I'm supposed to be going. Hotel reserved and flight reservations made. But I had big plans to go to the V&A last year for that exhibit and Eyjafjallajökull ruined those so we'll see. If Mother Nature foils me again, I will have to rewatch this video from Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims' blog as consolation.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The A Word

I am determined to finish my version of the mystery quilt. At least to the top stage. If I take it off the wall while I decide on borders, I might not go back to it. I needed to let the options sit for a bit so I picked up the Prairie Flowers UFO and was pleasantly surprised to find that half of the above block was already appliqued. I wonder when I did that? I swear I haven't touched this project in years except to move it out of my way.

Colors not so great in this picture.
I started this in 2004. I remember my friend Lynn and I were going to do a block a month, but only for six months, using Barbara Brackman's book. Right after that I ended up moving across country. I did one or two of the blocks while waiting to be reunited with the contents of my sewing room.

Seems like this one is missing something.
When I finish the fourth block, I think might work on a setting rather than attempt the other two blocks. Although I do have one more cut out. ...
I can feel some freezer paper behind a few of the leaves in this block.
My applique techniques leave a lot to be desired!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Decisions, decisions

Option 1? String border with monkey wrench cornerstones and inner and outer border of squares.

Option 2? Checkerboard three, maybe four, squares deep.

Or maybe both with Option 2 for the inner border and Option 1 after that?

I thought the checkerboard would be too much, but my husband likes it, and it's starting to grow on me. I was thinking this would be a quick quilt, saved from the UFO pile, but once the center was done, then edged in squares, it seemed to need more, and I've got plenty of leftover bits to use up, so it won't be quick.

And, what is up with my brain these days? I typed "boarder" so many times in this post. No rooms to rent here. I've been consistently typing "their" instead of "there" for weeks now. Sent an email out with "roll" instead of "role" once and got asked if I was hungry. ... Always.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Next up

The design wall was empty for about five minutes after I finished the Aboriginal top. I had these pieces from Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll, Cotton Boll! (RRCB) quilt piled up in the sewing room. After I got far enough along in the mystery to realize I was making almost the same block as the Aboriginal top, I stopped working on it. Don't need to add to the UFO tower though so I arranged the pieces I had into something, and this is it.

This plan will use up most of the block pieces. I have to make four more string blocks, which is doable, and trim them down. And I have to figure out whether the remaining pieces -- green squares (on the left) and pink/green/pink units (on the right) -- will work into a border. I liked Bonnie's border, but it doesn't seem to match the scale of this arrangement. Have to think about the border. Suggestions welcome. I have lots of scraps and could be persuaded to piece new units for the border.

Close up of the blocks to be.
Wish I had more than a fat quarter of the pink bird paint by number fabric you see in the detail photo (if you squint). That would have made the perfect border.