There are legacies, and there are legacies. Some fit in a pocket, while some are, well, huge like houses. The legacy I received recently is, thankfully, something to which I can relate: antique textiles! What I’ll do with them is something I’ve not figured out yet. Your suggestions are welcome!
Nearly 80 years ago, my husband’s father lived in Tianjin (Tientsin), China with his family. His father was in the U.S. Army and he was posted to duty there until the onset of World War II forced the evacuation of the Americans and Europeans in the city. There are many treasures from their China days, and among them, a collection of textiles and garments. My (extra and very dear) mother-in-law Barbara has been the caretaker since her marriage to my husband’s father and she recently passed the collection to me. Barbara is a skilled sewer and had thoughts of adapting the fabric to her use, but she never quite took up her scissors and snipped. I don’t think I can either . . .
It’s impossible to fathom that these textiles are nearly a century old. Their colors are perfect and the workmanship of the embroidery and the garments is stellar.
A sense of scale is always illuminating and thus the penny. The stitchery is tiny, precise, and quite, quite exquisite.
I absolutely adore the pleating and embroidered details of this piece–it’s something like a wraparound skirt. It’s too precious to wear, even if it fit. The beauty of the garment is in the details as you will see in the subsequent images.
Here’s a close-up of that center panel:
How about even closer views?
Now this detail is one of my favorites in the garment: crystal pleating through embroidered silk. Don’t you just love that last bit of floral stitchery emerging from the pleating?
As I recall, the true test of workmanship is to be found on the reverse of the garment. I think the embroiderer was wonderfully skilled.
There’s a part of me that wants to bemoan the disappearance of exquisite hand stitchery and the dominance of machine-embroidered garments that we can see these days, but I think I’d rather enjoy the artistry of a bygone craftsperson who painted such a beautiful story with needle and thread. I still don’t know what I should do with my textiles, but I hope, at least, that you’ve enjoyed the peek at my little “collection.”
Hello Readers! I’m just back from a visit to my family in Florida. My mother hit an epic birthday (a woman never reveals her age or those of her nearest and dearest) and we just had to celebrate in suitable style. Among our events we held a celebratory dinner at her favorite Indian restaurant–seriously good food–and topped off the party with Sunshine Cake. Mind you, I’ll be skipping all cake for a while cuz daily doses of that deliciousness throughout my holiday was a bit much and totally against my reduced-sugar regimen.
Anyway . . . aside from the frolics, visits home can be poignant, even as they are joyous occasions. My father and mother are aging and my past life in Florida is more memory than fact with its imprint scattered as ephemera throughout their home. Bits of my life show up in odd spots. A guest room drawer disgorged this mighty fine tie that I made in a high school art class for my father. Yes indeed, a batik-dyed muslin tie! Not only tough to wrestle into a Windsor knot, it’s really ugly. Bless his heart, he actually wore it to work a few times.
Now this Pop-era minidress was stowed in the guest room closet. That’s some serious eye-ball-burning color and it’s not even neon. (Can you imagine a quilt in that color scheme? Makes me shudder and I like bright!) The dress was one of my sister Laurie’s wardrobe faves and it featured prominently in an oil painting our mother created when she was in a painting phase.
Our mother said at the time that she never saw Laurie’s face because Laurie was always running out of the house and so she decided to paint her from the back as she exited the front door. (That big hair bow must have been a fantasy–that was definitely not Laurie’s style.)
I’m grateful for these artful bits because, much like Hansel and Gretel’s trail of crumbs, they carry me back to my creative roots. My family has always celebrated personal expression, albeit in fashion or the arts. Our mother was initially the alpha/omega in all matters aesthetic, but over time, as we each followed our own creative passions, we found our voices as well as the confidence to express ourselves. To my own surprise and delight this year, my two grown sons are showing their own artful identities.
Now my mother’s truest and best artful pursuit has been sculpture. In one of her first forays into the art form she made a hilarious kiln-fired clay female figure that we nicknamed “Fanny Buttocks.” I wish I could show you a photo, but I think it’s lost in the family archives. Fanny lived for many years in the backyard of the homestead underneath a row of Florida pine trees. She could have given Kim Kardashian a run for the money with her hefty hindquarters–although what tickled me more about Fanny was the prim pageboy hairstyle she sported even though she was naked! As my mother’s sculpting skill developed she decided to make busts of family members. Here’s mine as a teenager:
Author Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t go home again.” I suppose that is somewhat true, but I think our creative arts can help us remember who we were at the time.
Stay tuned on Friday when I’ll share a beautiful textile legacy I just received from my husband’s family. I don’t know what to do with it, but maybe one of our readers will have an idea . . .
Almost forgot! We have 4 winners from last Tuesday’s post by Mom & Me Quilt Boutique. Send us an email to email@example.com and we will email you the pattern.
Elizabeth Baker, Pat T., Frances Misquez Quigley, and Jennifer Willard
Since SHWS offered its first post to the world of bloggers, we have had our very helpful and knowledgeable “behind the scenes” gal assist us with everything from designing the banner, adding and re-sizing images to uploading videos. We were all new to the world of blogging so having someone knowledgeable to guide us was a big plus. Our wonderful go-to girl just happens to be my niece, Michelle. She was always there for us, day or night, when things just became too challenging for us to manage. Thanks, Michelle for always coming to the rescue!
Over the years, I think all this “quilty” stuff has rubbed off on Michelle, as she has traveled and worked with me at shows and other quilt-related events. I was thrilled when a few years ago she expressed an interest in taking one of my beginning quilting classes, and even more delighted to see the beautiful quilts she has made for many of her friends and family members.
We are all happy to have Michelle share some of her first creations with you today. Please enjoy!
Hello See How We Sew Readers! I am so happy to be able to share with you my new patterns for children’s quilts.
I started my first quilt at age 14 with my mom by my side. I think I got all of the fabric cut out and a few pieces sewed together. Then it sat on a shelf until I was 21. My mom came to visit me in Green Bay, WI and we sat down and finished the quilt together. Mainly me looking over her shoulder and bringing her the next piece to be sewed. But, we did it! The quilt top was finally done and it looked great. I had a friend who was willing to help me tie the quilt and show me how to bind it. This was the easiest part! I love this quilt because it was the start of something. I didn’t know at the time how much quilting would be a part of my life.
About a year after finishing this quilt I moved to the Bay Area. I was less than 15 minutes from the famous Laura Nownes, who I am honored to call my Aunt. She has been such a great influence on my quilting skills and knowledge! I started working with her on her patterns and doing the graphics for them. She suggested I take one of the classes she taught at Thimble Creek Quilt Shop. This was the start of my quilting bug! I learned so much and had such a wonderful time each week gaining more knowledge in this wonderful craft of quilting.
Each week I visited my Mom in Sacramento and we would talk about my fun times quilting. She was going through chemotherapy and when she was feeling up to it we would spend our time together quilting. I would cut, she would sew, and we would figure out how to put a quilt together. It was such great fun and has left me with great memories. She told me that I would be in charge of making quilts for all of her grandchildren. Little did either of us know that I would end up making the four quilts we finished into patterns!
I’ve since given the ‘Child’s Play’ quilt to my son, Warren (left) and ‘Zig the Zag’ went to my nephew, Arlo (right). Mom’s fight with cancer ended in December, 2011 and though she never got to meet either of these little ones, her legacy lives on in the quilts we made together. I am so grateful to have these quilts as treasures for her grandchildren and the memories that I have from making them with her.
I hope you will look at each of the patterns and find one that excites you. We used basic blocks and put them together in fun new ways. Head on over to Etsy and check out my shop!
I am so honored to be able to share my patterns with you that I will be giving away one of each pattern to 4 lucky winners. Leave a comment below telling me which pattern is your favorite and your best quilting memory.
As I mentioned in my post last Tuesday, I just returned from International Quilt Market in Houston. I am not always the most dependable person to be in charge of photos, but I did actually pull out my lil’ red camera to snap a few shots of our favorite friends and guests of See How We Sew.
I also wanted to share a slideshow of my personal favorites in the quilt exhibit. Click here: slideshow to get a peek. My apologies for the adds that are slipped in. You can thank Flickr for that. I also apologize for not keeping track of the artists and quilters responsible for these beauties. Remember, I am not the most responsible photographer. . . so if you recognize a quilt, be sure to let me know and I am happy to add the names to the photos.
I took quite a few photos of the Windham booth, since our quilt, A Day at the Shore (aka Making Waves), was hanging right at the front entrance. How fun is that?
Fabric designer Kim Andersson was sporting an adorable frock made from her Tidal Lace Collection, along with other happy quilts created for her fabric line .
Iza Pearl Designs had an amazing display inside the Windham Booth.
Unbelievable detail on her Paint quilt. And yes – the cactus is made of fabric!
Jessica Levitt had a serene and oh-so-beautiful display for her new line, Cascade, complete with a trickling, water fountain in the background.
And Succulents by Heather Givens – definitely a fabric line that I will be buying.
I kept finding myself just hanging out near this beauty.
Okay, moving on from the Windham Booth, I got to visit with a few friends on the floor. I feel so lucky to know these uber-talented people.
Jennifer Sampou looked amazing as ever with her totally fun black and white booth.
Seriously, how fun are these?
Valori Wells did it again with her wonderful eye for color and playfulness – and scored a blue ribbon for her booth design.
Again, seriously? How cute is that?
Jennifer Moore and her husband David Miguelucci own Mona Luna, a small, independent organic fabric company. Keep your eyes open for this one. Her fabric and patterns are beautiful. We talked about a future visit with See How We Sew in the next month or so.
Carolyn Friedlander – is there nothing this chick can’t do? That sofa was amazing.
Then it was time to take a break for fun with friends.
I met Madeleine Roberg of Domestic Strata almost immediately as I hit the show floor on the first day. She is so much fun. I just wanted to hang out in her booth all day. Next, it was off for dinner with Kim, and two more new friends, Linda Warren (the talented designer and teacher of Linda Warren Designs) and Timna Tarr (you just have to go look at her site, Timna Tarr - I am in awe of her quilts.)
Back to those inspiring booth displays.
So much creativity!
And then a shout-out to a few more Northern California peeps that we love.
In the awesome quilt category . . .
The Reclaimed West Collection by Judy and Judel Neimeyer.
Paula Naedelstern and Whimsical Journey
This was a quilt I fell in love with in the Chenille-It booth. Check this out! It is done with raw edge “blooming bias” tape. Can’t wait to try this.
And I will end with photos from the Soak booth. One, because I felt like I was in a cool cosmetic counter when I visited them and two, because they gave me samples. Thanks ladies! I am already using it.
Hope you enjoyed all my favorites. Have a great weekend.
I just got back from International Quilt Market last week. What a great trip! So many new things to sew; so many new things to try! It was also a really great time to reconnect with friends in the industry, and as always, make new friends.
The big news, this year, was that International Quilt Market celebrated its 35th Anniversary. It’s amazing to think that this huge show to the trade all started with one doozie of a great idea! Congratulations Quilts Inc. for following your dream. So many talented people have kickstarted their quilt-related businesses through this wonderful forum. Quilters everywhere – thank you for this!
Also, International Quilt Festival celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year. In this celebratory spirit, Ruby Red Jubilee was created, a breathtaking quilt exhibit filled with an amazing selection of red and white quilts. All I can say is – it was spectacular! If you would like to watch a video of the show, I am including a link to a video that Pam Holland created. Thank you Pam! http://vimeo.com/110033586
There were many other incredible exhibits at the show. One in particular grabbed my attention. 500 Traditional Quilts, the new book by Karey Patterson Bresenhan, was was on display with selected quilts from the book, including a quilt by our own, Laura Nownes, Harijuku Star. Congratulations Laura!
The Schoolhouse Series, always held the day before the show opens, was jammed packed with announcements of all the latest, hottest fabric lines, patterns, tools and ideas. My personal favorite of this year? Pepper Cory’s class on Big Stitch quilitng, and an introduction to the newest pallette of Peppered Cottons, including Peppered Plaids.
It was also really cool to see how the quilt industry has embraced the clothing sewers. Schoolhouse was filled with lots of patterns and fabrics designed for more than just quilts. For the first time ever, I am inspired to actually make some clothing for myself! Don’t you just love these dress patterns?
Evenings were filled with a meet and greet, Fabric 2.0 and a festival meetup with Modern Quilt Guild members. Both were lots of fun and yet another chance to visit with friends and acquaintances. Oh, and let me tell you – swag bags galore! I could have used an extra suitcase to bring home all my goodies!
What is trending this year? Ok, keep in mind that you are getting this from the world of Pati Fried, but this is what I saw as new and popular on the show floor.
Sizzix – A die-cut and embossing tool for paper – and you guessed it – FABRIC! Everywhere I went, someone was talking about them. And yes, I now have one on order.
Fabric designed for more than just quilts. The seamstress has officially been embraced. Cotton and Steel announced a beautiful new double gauze cotton collection called Bespoke. Yummy!
Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler teamed up to create a fabulous line of cotton knits for Free Spirit. Anna Maria Horner demonstrated how they could be used as a companion with quilting cotton. The tunic below is made of knit, and the applique is quilt cotton. They work so nicely together.
And to wrap up my take on what’s trending – self publishing is becoming more and more mainstream. I attended an eye-opening lecture by Marguerita McManus of Fibers Media, on the subject of self publishing and e-books. These platforms are an easy fit for marketing yourself and ideas in the quilt world. Great information and very inspiring.
Ok, enough for now. On Friday, I will show booth photos from some of the SHWS favorite friends and guests that I
saw exhibiting at Quilt Market.
The winner of last week’s giveaway is Lola. Congratulations Lola! Laura will be contacting you with you gift.
Ok, I admit it, I have way too much sewing and quilting stuff. What can I say? I love buying the latest fabrics, notions, and quilting books. However, I’m guessing that I’m not alone, as many of you who have been passionate and true to your craft are more than likely in the same boat. The reality is that there is more stuff than space conveniently allows. The big question is, what to do with all of it: continue storing it or find new homes for it?
The recent challenging and painful experience of helping the son of a quilting friend clean out his mother’s sewing room has pushed me to deal with my stuff now. I don’t want anyone to have to go through the task this son is faces. A friend from the local guild and I went in and hauled it all out.
Now I have been collecting fabric, patterns, notions, books, and many other sewing and quilting-related things for over 30 years. I’m sure when I made the purchases I truly believed I would be using them in special projects . . . someday. Well, the reality is that many of those well-intentioned projects are still waiting to be started and, if my history tells me anything, it will probably never happen.
Fabrics have changed and so has my style. I’m looking at my collection with fresh eyes and have sorted everything into categories.
- What was I thinking? Time to find a new home for this one.
- I still love this fabric/book/tool, etc. and am not ready to pass it on. I will keep them.
- MUST keep this one, not that I ever intend to use it; just has sentimental value so I plan to keep it forever.
After sorting through boxes, bins, bookcases, and baskets, I now have a pile of things that I am comfortable parting with. My suggestion is that, once you have designated it to the “find it a new home” box, don’t take a second look as you will more than likely change your mind.
I have been donating to local guilds for their outreach programs as well as to our local White Elephant Sale which benefits the Oakland Museum. I know they will both find good homes for everything.
Now that we are officially empty nesters, my husband has moved all of his collections into my newly married daughter’s previous bedroom. After 30 years in this business, I am excited to say I now have a dedicated sewing room.
After the sorting process is complete, it will be time to organize everything. I went to the IKEA website and found the perfect wardrobes (PAX System) to store all the keepers. It was actually pretty fun as there is a design program on the website that will allow you to move the parts around and put together a system that works best for your space as well as your treasures.
I’m excited to say that my cabinets arrived yesterday! Now, the fun, and the work begins. I’ll be busy the next few weeks with assembly and organizing.
Hopefully next month I can share some photos of the results of my of my hard work.
If you’re interested in sharing your wish, please leave a comment by end of day Sunday, November 2nd and I’ll see what I can pull together for you.
Now back to purging and organizing. This feels so good. If you haven’t yet, you might want to give it a try!
Since many of you have requested instructions on making the Memory Board Game I made in a previous post, I’ve decided to write a short tutorial giving the simple instructions. It’s a fun and easy project to make, using vinyl chalkboard fabric on the cover. It is a perfect “quiet” game doubling as both a drawing board and matching game board. Start collecting your favorite fun fabrics and kid-type prints and get ready to create! In case you missed the original post on this project, it was included here, with the review of Lisa Fulmer’s new book “Craft Your Stash”.
The finished size of the game board is 10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″. It folds in half like a book and is secured on the side with a ribbon tie. You can certainly make your game board any size, in fact you may want to adjust it to accommodate the size of the picture squares, or rectangles. Just have fun with this one! Will make an adorable game for a special little one in your life.
Here’s what you will need:
10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ piece of vinyl chalkboard/blackboard fabric
Two 10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ pieces of felt
Two 2-1/2″ x 10″ pieces of Timtex or Peltex (heavyweight stabilizer)
Twenty- four kid-prints or fun fabrics; dots, numbers and letters work well too. May be more or less, depending on size of prints.
1/2 yard of fusible web
20″ piece of 1″ ribbon, cut in half
Thread & glue
Rotary cutter – I used a scalloped edge blade for added interest
A walking foot will be helpful for stitching through the layers.
Box of colored chalk
Fabric to make small pouch to store chalk and matching squares.
1. Press the fusible web onto the wrong side of all the kid prints.
2. Cut the fabrics into squares, using the rotary cutter. Need two squares of each image. Remove the paper backing from the fusible web.
3. Arrange one-half of the squares onto one piece of felt, leaving a larger space in the center to allow for folding in half.
4. Arrange the other (matching) set of picture squares onto the other piece of felt.
5. Press to secure the picture squares and then stitch both horizontally and vertically approximately 1/4″ from the edges of the squares.
6. With the right side of the chalkboard fabric facing out, layer with the pieces of stabilizer and then one piece of felt.
7. Insert one piece of ribbon on each side of the board, between the layers. Use a little glue to hold in place.
8. Stitch through all layers around the entire edge of the board.
There you have it, a road map to a completed Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along. Click the Pattern tab for all the instructions. Next month we’ll show you the completed quilt and discuss other finishing details. Thanks to Laura for the final measurements and instructions!