A Piece of Her Mind: DAR Exhibit 2019

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When my husband and I traveled to Washington, D.C. recently, we took in an exhibit at the DAR Museum titled, A Piece of Her Mind.  It had a focus on how technology — in an historical sense — affected quilters at an earlier time, just as much as it affects us today.  I thought you’d like to see some of the quilts, so here we go.

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I actually have to give a lecture in 2020 about the impact of technology, and all that was swirling around in my mind were topics such as social media, rotary cutters, our fancy high-speed sewing machines.  But this showed me that technology’s impact is not just a recent phenomena.

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An example of a table-top sewing machine with foot pedals was in front of a beautiful quilt of basket blocks.

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The blocks were appliqued (interesting to note her use of black thread, no matter what color the fruit), and from the appearance of it, stuffed (trapunto?).  It also looks like she quilted the “plain” blocks first, then sewed the basket blocks in between the quilted blocks — a really unusual way to construct a quilt.

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The Red and Green Bethlehem Star Quilt (1840-1860) benefitted from the relatively new ‘Turkey red’ dyes.  According the title card, previous to this invention, “dying cloth this color of red was a complicated dye process. [In addition] [g]reen had to be dyed in two steps (yellow, then blue) until late in the 1800s, but a more reliable option called ‘chrome green’ provided the leafy and emeral hues seen in mid-century quilts.”  This cotton quilt was made by Sarah Hall Gwyer (1819-1882) in North Carolina, or Omaha, Nebraska.

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I loved this broderie perse (or appliquéd chintz panel) quilt from the 1820s not only because of the design, but because of those stitches!  Seeing evidence of another woman’s handwork always makes a quilt more personal for me.

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This Baltimore Album Quilt is from about 1850, and is made by a member of the Hayden family from Baltimore, Marlyand.  It’s cotton, with wool embroidery.

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This appliqué quilt was made by Mary Swearingen King (1811-1902) in Findlay, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  I loved the applique birds:

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They look almost pre-historic, here, feeding berries to their young.

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Beyond the technology-oriented quilts, there was a section on quilts that were affected by the culture of the day.  I was drawn to the red, white and blue quilts.  That center block is the flag from Cuba, explained below:

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I zoomed way in (the ropes around the quilts didn’t permit close inspection) so the picture is a bit globby, but you can see the Clay ribbon in the outside border.

The exhibit also had a series of crazy quilts, some quilts made with toile prints, and quilts inspired by popular fictional characters.

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Afterwards we went to the library–quite stunning in a panoramic view.

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There was also a quilt of another kind in the Renwick Gallery, just up the street, made out of snippets of movie film.  The title of this is “Fibers and Civilization (1959)” and was made in 2009, using 16 mm film and polyamide thread.  This piece of art is from Sabrina Gshwandtner, and I’d seen some of her work before at LACMA.

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Then we hopped on the Metro and went over to the National Museum of American History.  Can you tell I looked up on the internet where all the quilt exhibits were?

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Unfortunately, this spectacular quilt was behind a piece of highly reflective glass, so the only way I could get a photo was to gently lean my photo lens on the glass to cut the glare.  This means that I couldn’t get a photo of the complete quilt, but here are some segments.

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In another small exhibit, they had a lot of crazy quilts.

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I was quite interested in what this title card (above) said about the advent of patterns for crazy patchwork.

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In between all this, we stopped for some lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster shop, meandered around the Mall, and hung out together.  We really like DC, as you probably know.  More photos can be found on Instagram.

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Later that week we had a gathering at the The National Press Club in D.C., where they host the White House Correspondent Dinners, and we had a spread of yummy desserts to choose from.  I chose one of these (it’s the color, naturally!) after I’d had the requisite chocolate treat.

So, here’s your spot of fall color–happy quilting!

 

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Perhaps the UCR Science News was looking for something other than Nobel-prize generating stories or research about saving the world from cancer, but I’m happy that the editor liked my quilts, sent to him by my favorite guy (my husband).  The quilts were displayed around University of California’s campus near some of the science buildings (and in the Botannic Garden).  Thank you!

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In other news, we visited the (tiny) exhibit at the DAR museum this past week (their library, above) in Washington, DC.

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More on the exhibit in another post, but I met three quilters while I was there:

From the top left: Beth, a long-time friend (we always meet together at this particular science meeting of our husbands), Rhonda (who I met when I lived in D.C at the local quilt guild), and Bette (who I met online and since have become good friend with via correspondence and phone calls and occasional meetings). But that’s not all the news.

National Press Club

I spoke at the National Press Club, after I was proclaimed Queen of England.
Full story, below.

Headline Queen Elizabeth

Kidding, of course.  I merely posed, and the other photo is a leather-embossed rendition of a famous headline, one in a row of famous headlines.

Climate Change Protest

We’d done most of the museums in December when we last visited, and I was wondering what to do one day when the Climate Change Activists staged one of their protests right outside my hotel.  I threw on my clothes and went down to watch.  I remember how the police used to break up other protests long ago, with tear gas and heavy-handedness.  This experience was more like a garden party, as slowly, they encircled the boat parked in the middle of 16th and K. While the activists moved on to march around D.C. the police cut the handcuffs and tethers of those who remained, then towed away the boat.  I was quite impressed with the whole experience, both of those who felt strongly about making a statement, and the police officers taking good care of those who they serve.  Another reason why I love D.C.

Okay, I promise more serious quilty stuff soon.  I’m coming home tonight from my niece’s wedding in the Bay Area, hoping to dive into what I’ve left undone while traveling.  Before I left, I did get one quilt to the quilter’s, after auditioning, digitally, many different designs for quilting.

North Country Sept 2019I also cut more pieces to keep going on my North Country Patchwork Quilt, eeking this one out, bit by bit (photo of what I have so far, above).

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I did get caught up with my temperature quilt, which is turning out to be very different colors than what I expected.  I find it’s easier to do a whole month at a time, than piece-mealing it, day by day.

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Lastly, this coming Saturday, October 5th, I’ll be presenting a (mostly) modern quilt program at the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild in Riverside, California.  They are a small modern guild, with a whole group of interested, dedicated quilters. Maybe you’ll be there?

Bee Blocks, Etc. * March and April *

Bee Blocks, yes.  But first:

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I recently asked Lisa to make me a tote bag out of a Dream Big panel by Hoffman.  I ordered everything, and the bag turned out to be a good size, one that could hold a queen sized quilt, perfect for taking along binding projects. Dream Big Bag_1

I chose a summery floral for the inside (I like bright colors inside my purses/bags, so I can find things).

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Beauty shot in the flowers by the front door.  Thank you Lisa, I love it!

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Now, here are my bee blocks for the Gridster Bee. Here are March’s blocks, requested by Marsha @quilterinmotion on Instagram.  We used this pattern, and it worked up quickly.

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If you decide to make these, I’d suggest switching up the order–put #9 on first, then #8.  It’s a sturdier constuction that way.

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But here’s the cool thing: her center will be four “straight” Flying Geese blocks, with our curvy ones being added to it, for lots of motion in her quilt.

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Nancy who blogs at Patchwork Breeze, and is on Instagram @patchworkbreeze, asked for a patriotic block for a summer quilt.  I guess it’s not too early to get started on the  red, white, and blue, a good reminder to work ahead of the seasons and celebrations (anyone for Halloween quilts?  Christmas?).

Finally, I decided to tally up what I accomplished last year, in terms of completed quilts.  If you remember (or are hoping to forget), it was the Year of Frivols.  So here’s the totals:

• Twelve Frivols
• Three Mini-quilts
• One Baby quilt
• One Small quilt
• Two large quilts
• One large quilt that will show up in Fall 2019 Simpy Moderne

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And for 2019? It’s hard right now because while I can sew the tops, I can’t quilt them myself.  Quilts are only being finished when I can send them out.  But here’s the list of projects so far:

•  Plitvice (finished)
•  Chuck Nohara quilt (binding being sewn on as we speak)
• Nameless other large quilt, being kept under wraps/headed for publication
• Home-keeping Hearts (top only at this point)
• Merrion Square–there are three of these small quilt tops in circulation, and are samples at guilds where I’ll be speaking
• Basket quilt is still on the design wall, as I audition borders.

When I finish them, I’ll catalogue them, above, on the 300 Quilts list.

Speaking Teaching Events
Meet the Teacher for the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds
Utah Valley Quilt Guild, Utah–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop
Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild, Temecula, CA–Trunk Show and Day-long workshop

If you are in Utah, they still have a couple of openings for the workshop on April 16th.  If you are new to this blog (welcome!), you can meet me digitally in my Happy New Year post.

I leave you with a few shots of our California Superbloom.  Happy Spring!

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Visit to Andover Fabrics and New York City

ESE in New York 

I had a chance to travel to New York City this past month, where I joined my daughter Barbara for a long-awaited long weekend.

We stayed midtown Manhattan, so I walked past M & J Trimming many times, a happy spot on my walks.  Anne Brousseau, a good friend who used to work in this industry, arranged a visit for us to Andover Fabrics, and of course I said “YES!”

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Cliff Quibell, the Vice President, gave us a tour of the different processes and departments, from design development to printing to editing.  We were able to see an artist hand-painting a new design, but of course, no photos were allowed.  There is so much involved to getting one bolt of fabric to our local quilt shops!  We appreciated Mr. Quibell taking time for us, given the fact that they had just returned from Quilt Market.

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He introduced me to Gayle, who works for Andover, and hanging in her office is this amazing quilt, made from old clothes from when she lived overseas in Tunisia.  Her sister, Elizabeth Porter, made this quilt for her as a memory quilt.  (I think I got those details correct!)

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There was so much there that I couldn’t photograph, but he did allow a shot of their bookshelves.  I would have loved to have browsed those titles and made notes.

From there it was a short walk over to Gotham Quilts, another thing on my Must-See list.  I loved their selection of modern fabrics and of course, that see-through Bernina in their front window.
Here are some tidbits of other Fashion District finds (click on any cirle to enlarge):
  • tables in the pedestrian area
  • artwork in the buildings (they let me creep in to photograph it)
  • Desigual building with a terrific mural on the side
  • the heavy weave of one of their winter coats on display
  • Mokuba, a ribbon shop
  • close-up of the wares in the Mokuba window

I went into last shop, thinking I’d like some of that fancy metallic ribbon in their front window display. After some minutes, a little lady pushing a cart rolled up to where I was, opened the fat book on the top, and scanned the list.  She looked at me.  “Twenty-seven dollars,” she said.  “Per YARD.”  Gulp.  I smiled, thanked the lady with her little cart, and slunk out.

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This pedestrian barrier was near the Folk Art Museum, which I didn’t get to.  Next trip.

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We were on our way to Zabar’s, a New York Institution, where I almost bought a set of glasses (Macy’s got the business when I arrived home), but did buy a nutmeg grater.

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Sculpture on the High Line; the birds perched there, but they are not a part of this piece of art

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Another day found us at Chelsea Market, after walking the High Line, on the East Side.

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Her husband purchased Hamilton tickets for her for her birthday, and I got to come along (we first had a meal at Eataly near the Flatiron Building).

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We got ourselves to the Occulus, the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and we visited the recently opened subway station underneath it:

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Another chilly day (you need to know that I am from Southern California and she is from Arizona) we drove around looking at street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.  

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A few more iconic sights: taxi shoes at Kate Spade, the Empire State Building from our hotel room, posing with a man from the Empire Shield Task Force (he told me to point to his badge), and finally, the glorious sight of Grand Central Station.

Until next time, New York!

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Berlin)

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a visual sampling of some of the patterned surfaces and interesting places that caught my eye while in Berlin, not an exhaustive travel write-up.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The first full day was the Berlin Marathon, with 40,000 runners and a record-beating time.  Because of this, we had more access to the Gate and enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

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Underground stop for the Brandenburger Gate

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I made my way to the former East Berlin, where Frau Tulpe’s shop was located, and ended up buying some fabrics of her own design.Berlin Frau Tulpe_2Berlin Frau Tulpe_2aBerlin Frau Tulpe_2b

It was a fun place with lots to look at.

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A lot of times I’d go to look at a sight the guidebook suggested, then wander off course and find interesting places like this: the Berlin Craftsman Association building, with wonderful light coming in through that back double door:

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You can hear the Singing Lesson in this IG video clip.

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This was seen on one of my many bus rides.  I’d climb up to the top level of the bus, try to sit in the front and have my own private tour.

Berlin Hotel Chocolate Hour

Every day at 4 p.m., the hotel would put out treats for “Chocolate Hour.”  I could see this happening at a quilt retreat, although we’d need a lot more.

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There were two main locations to see the Berlin Wall, and this one had paintings on one side.  I had two favorites.  This one showed the crush of ecstatic East Berliners, finally allowed to cross through their oppressive borders.  I can recommend the book, Forty Autumns, if you want a taste of this (previously recommended).

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And I like these women, who reminded me of women from the turn of the century.

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While in Frau Tulpe’s, someone recommended this store, Karstadt, which called for another bus ride.Berlin Karstadt_2Berlin Karstadt_2aBerlin Karstadt_2b

Couldn’t believe that I was seeing Free Spirit, and at a bargain price! (about 8 bucks a yard)Berlin Karstadt_3Berlin Laundry

Everybody needs a wash day while traveling, and I brought my stitching along.

Berlin Idee

Another place we saw fabric was at idee.  This one was next door to KaDeWe, a big, fancy department store, but I also saw idee. at the Mall of Berlin, next to the two-story slide.Berlin Idee_1Berlin Reichstag

Climbing up the Reichstag Dome presented so many interesting shapes and patterns, all with a view.

Berlischer Galerie

This building reminded me of a quilt pattern.  It was across from the entrance to the Berlinischer Galerie (yellow tiles). It had several wonderful exhibits.

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Grill (above) and floor tiles (below) from the Neues Museum, which housed antiquities.

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The Bode Museum had room after room of red-and-white patterned floor tiles.  I’m sure the guards thought I was a little bit dotty when surrounded by beautiful art, I was snapping photos of their floors.

Berlin Dome Photo Mus

My husband is always photographing the interior of domes (above); I followed his example in the Old National Gallery (below):

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But one of the most fun days I had was meeting up with Evelinde, and going to lunch and seeing one of her local quilt shops.  We met on Instagram, and I was so blown away by her being willing to meet up with a stranger and spend some time out of her busy schedule.  She’s so lovely, and shared stories with me, answering so many questions.  While there are many negatives to social media, meeting quilters halfway across the world, or the states, is one of the positives, for me.

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We did Show and Tell in the restaurant; this is only one of her many fabulous pieces.  I only had the pathetic little screen on my phone.  She is inspiring!

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She took me here, to Hobby and Handarbeiten (Handicrafts).

I rarely buy fabric overseas anymore, but I always like to look and see.  I loved the embroidery floss–mine is always in bins and tangled up, and was generally impressed with the range of fabrics they carried.

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Since we try to travel cheaply, I purchased my husband’s breakfast (for the next day) when I was out and about, and I thought you’d like to see what I had to choose from.  I also supplemented with yogurt and juice and fruit from the local grocery store.  And we ate great meals at night, mostly from small places near our hotel:

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Doner, from Berlin

Berlin Babelplatz

Lastly, I leave you with the sight of this beautiful plaza, Babelplatz.  The caption is found on the Instagram video. Click to see my farewell to this great city.

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Dublin)

I’m dividing this into two posts: first up is Dublin.  As a quilter, I didn’t know what to expect in the surface decoration, the patterns of everyday life in Dublin. Certainly we all are familiar with Celtic knots and crosses and the like, but I have never been that enamoured of those style of quilts (maybe it’s because I couldn’t face appliquéing all those linear feet of bias strips), so was looking for the “flavor” of Dublin that might interest me, a quilter.  So here follows not a travelogue of the two cities I visited, but instead, a sampling of visual pattern and a nod to fabric shops I encountered.

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Christ Church, in Dublin, is undergoing renovation in certain areas of its property so they erected these fun, bold passageways to usher the visitor forward.  I thought it was just genius pulled out of thin air, until we entered the cathedral:

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The designs are pulled from its floors.  My husband is thoroughly trained as a Quilter’s Husband, so he started snapping photos, too, knowing how I would love the designs.Dublin Christchurch floor2

This is a panorama of one section of floor, and I recognize so many designs, as do you.  You can do a search on them, and find lots of material and more illustrations, but the tiles were either original to the 13th century, or 19th century copies.

Dublin Donuts

If I lived in Dublin, these would be my preferred snack.  They are nothing like American donuts–maybe a little like the filled ones, but their flavors and combinations were addicting.  I could see bringing one of each to a quilt retreat.

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Lots of flowers, lots of green.

Dublin National Library

We went to the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin, after I saw photos of the reading room.  No photos were allowed, so I grabbed this one from the web:

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What a color palette!

Dublin St. Patricks Door

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also in Dublin, brought more eye candy to this quilter:Dublin StPatricks floor1

Christ Church still is the best, I think, in terms of floor tiles.

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Two shops: Hickey’s and Cloth. I zipped right into Cloth and brought home a tote bag (like I need another tote bag, right?).  I smiled when I saw their floor tiles.

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Other decorative surfaces were the tiles design at the Garden of Remembrance, with coving on the side of the pool that imitated the laid tiling:

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Lastly, hexagon stamps…which I admired, but forgot to purchase.

Next up: Berlin.