I’ve been gone to see my mother and father (he had an art show of his paintings) in Utah.  While I was there, I took the chance to download the recent red and white quilt exhibit app onto her iPad.  This made it necessary to stay up late a couple of nights to look at all the quilts.  I’ll be posting about this off and on, but given that red and white is on my mind, I was struck by the lead photo in the New York Times about the current Hirshhorn exhibit of Blinky Palermo, a German artist.

The write-up of the exhibit extolled Palermo’s”breaking” of the canvas, and using other shapes and textures to create his art–even to the extent of creating with the canvas off of the stretcher bars.  In other words, what we quilters do.  But when will we ever have our art exhibited in the Hirshhorn?  When a chicken has lips.  We’ll have to content ourselves with being exhibited in folk art museums, as well as art/craft museums.

The piece above is titled “Composition With 8 Red Rectangles,” and was produced in 1964.

And here’s one from an anonymous woman, which I have titled Stacked Bars, date unknown.  But I know that even if I titled it “Composition with Multiple Red Rectangles” it still wouldn’t make the Hirshhorn.  It’s not ground breaking (notice that Palermo’s composition has squares, not rectangles?), the woman didn’t die young (as did Palermo), she didn’t have time to make more than one quilt a year–if that–and furthermore, she only worked in mediums that are particular to women: cloth, needles and thread.

But maybe, just maybe, in her neighborhood or sewing circle she was looked on as someone who came up with interesting ideas and new ways to arrange them and so influenced the “art” produced in her neck of the woods.  She was the go-to girl for new quilt patterns. She was the one people sought out if they had to get something interesting on the bed and they only had two colors: turkey red and white.  And given the mortality rate of early Americans, maybe she did die young–in childbirth? from a fever?–and is only memorialized by this intriguing composition of stacked squares that fool your eye into thinking they are bars.  A veritable artist who broke the mold.


Visual Snapshots

Are you like me?  Do you see something and either take a snap with your cell phone, or madly sketch out the idea on the back of a gas station receipt?  It’s like we’re flying through rainbows, trying to take samples of the colors we zip through on our way to something else.

Here’s some visual inspiration I’ve found recently; the links are found below the images:

Tomorrow’s Reference

(Dots and text=delicious!)

Bean Bag from Marks & Spencer

Tomorrow’s Reference

Red Pepper Quilts

Tomorrow’s Reference

Daily Drop Cap

Sunday Walks

(I think stripes are in the zeitgeist now.)

Print & Pattern

(Can’t resist at least one Kate and William design!)

Alice Potter

(Reminds me of a row quilt)


This is the new Guangdong Museum in China.  The interplay of light, dark, thin, thick, shape and form could trigger a whole raft of ideas.  Generally, I am drawn to the cute.  Purposely incorporating photos like this in my virtual sketchbook challenges me to isolate the elements I like, perhaps incorporating them into some aspect of quilting.

But as you’ve noticed in this post, then another cute thing comes whomping across my line of sight and I turn and follow it like it’s a siren calling. It’s always yin-yang, push-pull, bitter-sweet with me.

And here’s another image of the Guangdong, this time the exterior.


The Grinza Chair from Milan

La Linea Delta (on right)

A dresser from Front

And lastly, a snapshot of the recent Talbots catalogue on my mother’s coffee table.  Stripes are in the zietgeist!

Quilt Shows

Red/White Quilt Inspirations

I recently wrote to a new friend:

This evening I was looking at the red/white quilt exhibit in that was recently put on in NYC.  My mother has an iPad, so I downloaded the app and was able to view each quilt.  Oh my.  I may spend all my visit here looking at these quilts (which isn’t very sociable).  They are so “vintage,” yet so fresh and modern.  Quite a yin-yang of feeling as I was looking at them.  I noticed that some of the patterns seemed to mimic–or are mimicked by–current quilt patterns.

Enjoy the slide show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Text on Textiles

Just voted on Spoonflower again!  There were a lot of fabrics that I liked, so there are more in my square of votes today.

Sometimes I see these fabrics and I wish I had the skills to design fabric.  I read through the bios of those in the Selvage Contest and many of them had design degrees.  “I think I could learn to do this” hovers in the back of my mind. It was like when everyone was dying their own fabric, ziploc bags filled with squishy reds and yellows and blues.  I made a conscious decision not to go that there–not to jump into that aspect of fabric and quiltmaking.  I think that was after I turned 40 and the energy level took a nose dive and I began to realize that I just couldn’t do it all, nor–if truth be told–did I want to.  Now I’m even older and there’s even more editing of the To Do List.  But I can admire the creators of these designs.  I just don’t have to do the designing.

Blog Strolling

Blog Strolling

I had a few minutes this morning to do some blog strolling–looking around, clicking on links, letting my browsing take me where it will. (Oh, yeah, and I changed the look of the blog again.)

This selvage heart is made by Riel Nason, a quilter in Canada.  I think it’s an inventive way to use all those fab selvages we all acquire–well, at least the ones we’re not sending on to Cindy for her pincushions (and if you don’t have a pincushion yet, you should really get one!).

Carla, of Lollyquiltz, took two simple motifs–that of the sunburst and a birdhouse–and created something cheerful, springy and a way to use up a related novelty fabric.  Maybe I have sunburst-style blocks on the mind after making my Come A-Round quilt, but there is something so appealing about the combination of these two ideas.

Not all the blog-strolling results in quilt ideas, however.  Jen of StitchHack has a nifty tutorial on prairie points, made from one piece of fabric.  Makes me want to leave all my plain bindings behind and try a few novelty edgings!

This is a close-up of a quilt made by Wanda of Exuberant Color.  While I love the swirly black and white setting squares and sashing, it gave me courage to use up some of those batiks I used to stockpile.  I had stopped using batiks after the lack of colorfastness ruined a quilt I gave as a gift (the owner washed it and the fabrics ran–I still feel really badly about giving away a quilt that would self-destruct in the wash cycle!).  But this quilt entices me to use the batiks in a new way–always pre-washing, of course.

This is one of my all-time favorite modern quilts, made by Ashley of Film in the Fridge.  She unfurled it on a fall day, then it disappeared while it was being photographed for a magazine.  I love the patterns of the nine-patch blocks interspersed with the large blocks of fabric.  It’s a way to have our cake and eat it too: cut up those fabulous fabrics we buy into small squares, while retaining large squares to show off the fabrics.  The pattern will be in 101 Patchwork Projects, due out on the newsstands about now!

I’ve been idle long enough today, as I am still recovering from doing a luncheon for 300 women at our church’s women’s conference.  I had a lot of help, but after six weeks of planning, baking and fussing, I’m glad to be moving on to something else.  Here’s the cake we served: Almond-Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache Icing.

My next project?  Yep.  It’s Lollypop Trees Time!


Naming Quilts

I like the idea of naming my quilts–call it the Eve in me–but I don’t name everything. I read a blog post about someone who named their electronics and I like the idea, but I don’t do it.  I do admit that some of my quilts have dorky names. And you’ve read on this blog before that I think people might want to give a little more thought to the names of the quilts that I see hanging up in the shows.  My secret weapon in all of this business if finally revealed.

Yes.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  This edition was compiled by Kate Louise Roberts, and if the cracked spine and archaic title didn’t give away its age, certainly the editor’s full name did. Originally published in 1922, the edition I have is the 1940 edition, purchased at an estate sale when I first moved here.  I’m a sucker for pithy little lines of verse, beautifully written epigraphs, quotable quotes, and terrific sayings from people, both famous and not.  I think I inherited this from my father, who, even in his 85th year, still can find a quotable line for almost every situation–and he recites them from memory.  However, I look them up.

So in naming this current quilt, I was intrigued with the idea of “Spring Life” that popped out when writing the last post about this quilt.  I looked up “Spring” in the Cyclopedia, and found several verses that were intriguing:

Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock’d in the cradle of the western breeze. (Cowper)

Infant blossoms–wow.  What an image.

Now Nature hangs her mantle green
On every blooming tree,
And spreads her sheets o’ daisies white
Out o’er the grassy lea. (Burns)

Lots of old language in this volume.  Liked the idea that Spring puts our her daisy bedding (maybe a quilt?) over the meadow. But the one I liked:

There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track. (Rossetti).

Are you bored yet?  Thinking up a title takes a little wandering through this book.  But I think I’ll go with a hybrid:

Spring/Life’s Alive