Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Storque delivers!

Okay, I can't help but brag a bit. Through a series of personal and writing connections, I got asked if I'd do some blogging on quilt-related topics for Etsy. I was thrilled to have the opportunity, particularly because it came with some freedom in terms of topics to write about.

My first post for The Storque is up and I couldn't be happier. The folks at Etsy are terrific to work with and it was an interesting experience to think more visually and locate appropriate photos. (I'm spoiled in that I work with terrific photographers and designers in my day job, who typically prefer that editors deal with the words and let them deal with the images.) I also was once again treated to the generosity of spirit I find in so many quilters...the women I contacted about quotes and photos were so passionate about Modern Quilting and so prompt in getting back to me. The entire experience was a pleasure.

Check it out: Modern Quilter Meet-ups: The Quilting Bee Comes Full Circle

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Check it out

Yes, I'm with you...the lamest of headlines...but I've had kind of a crazy few weeks. Let's just say I'm grateful for modern medicine! Fortunately things seem to be headed in the right direction now.

Before it all started I decided that there was no real need to continue using my checkbook cover, which had once been very chic and lovely, but was now just some falling-apart paper and plastic. so I went online, looking for some of those fabulous tutorials that people so generously post. What I love about the myriad tutorials available is that they remind me of the many ways to get something done—that there are plenty of options for constructing the cover and no checkbook police will be hauling me to the pokey for doing it wrong.

Although I looked at several, I wound up liking best the one on Crazy Mom Quilts (she's got some fabulous modern quilts on her current and, sadly, last page: she quit her blog at the end of 2009). She has three options and because I had less than an hour to finish it, I went for simple. The only thing I did differently was use a slightly stiffer iron-on interfacing, because that's what I happened to have on hand.

I first picked a very floral red and pink Kaffe Fasset fabric, but decided I should go for something more gender-neutral, given that it's the checkbook I share with my husband. So I found this great fabric I'd bought at Hancock's of Paducah, on my way home from John C. Campbell in January.(I've somehow cut the name on the selvedge completely off and have no clue who designed this fabric—any readers have any idea?) I used a bubbly batik scrap for the inside fabric. Sadly it barely shows, but I know it's there and that the fabrics combine nicely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Textile translations

I'm a fan of the American Craft Council and managed to find time to read their latest email. It linked to a blog about the American Craft Council show that was held in late February in Baltimore and the Awards of Excellence given to a chosen few participants. The Baltimore show is a granddaddy among these amazing juried craft shows—when I lived in Northern California I used to attend the show at Fort Mason in San Francisco and was always knocked out by the creativity and workmanship of the participants.

At any rate, this year's awardee in fiber is a weaver named Gretchen Romey-Tanzer. As a former weaver, I'm always interested in seeing what's new in the world of warp and weft, so I clicked on her website. The jeweled colors and simple elegance of her work make it evident why she's a winner. It's also an example of the way using quality materials pays off: the reflective quality and depth of color in her cotton yarns makes the pieces glow.

All this is to say that when I saw her multiple-paneled pieces, I was struck by how that technique might be translated into quilting. I've been writing about modern quilting of late, and the graphic quality and use of solid blocks of color in Romey-Tanzer's weavings echo the sensibilities of many contemporary quilts. Make sure to check out her other work for inspiration! (All images by Gretchen Romey-Tanzer, reproduced here with permission.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Over there

During my junior year of college, I had the amazing good fortune to spend the first half of one semester in Florence and and the second half in London. We studied architecture, art history, and theater. Was I lucky or what?

At the End of the Day’, hanging, Natasha Kerr, 2007. Museum no. T.43-2008
In London I discovered the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It was the first time I realized that people preserved and studied textiles like they studied the Medici Chapel in Florence or the paintings of Whistler at the Tate in London. I spent hours just hanging out there, perusing the exhibitions, "paging" through the textile files, incredulous at what anyone who walked in off the street could access. It's remained one of my favorite museums.

Bishops Court quilt, Unknown, 1690-1700. Museum no. T.201-1984

My camp friend Susie just pointed out that there's a quilt exhibition starting this month at the V&A. The web site has some great info, including a curator's blog (can you imagine having that job?) and description of the exhibition. There's even a free Amy Butler quilt pattern to download (although I'm not quite sure why they didn't pick a British quilter for this...after all, Amy's Midwest Modern, right?).

Check out the web site, and if you're lucky enough to be heading to London-town, slot a visit into your schedule.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wanna feel my fabric?

If you're reading this blog, I know you love fabric (or you're my dad).  And if you're not my dad and are addicted to textiles, we have a lot in common. 

Today the Fed Ex guy stopped by my door. Pearl growled and then barked at his knocks and I was a little annoyed...I'm supposed to be working, after all. But then I opened the package he'd left on the top step and out came two large zip-loc bags filled to the brim with fabric folded in the tidiest squares. The colors were rich and the prints better than I'd hoped. And best of all, they'd been marked down 50 percent...totally my kind of shopping.

That said, I'm a big proponent of shopping locally. I get a little annoyed by sewers who want to buy everything online and then are surprised when the local quilt shop has to shut its doors. While there are many amazing online businesses, there is nothing like taking a project into a store and saying "I don't get it" and having them help you. Or taking a class so that you get it in the first place. 

Fortunately for my local shops (Home Ec, Common Threads, and Pine Needles),  I'm a promiscuous fabric buyer. I purchase from all three local and semi-local shops AND from online vendors. 
Yes, yes, of course I have far too much fabric. But I have so few other vices that I don't even feel too awful about it. And every time I take a class or learn a skill I'll see a new fabric (or maybe an old one I've loved but couldn't figure out how to use) and decide it would be just the thing for a Birdie Sling or a wonky house. 

In the case of today's delivery, I was harkening to Mary Lou's advice to include cheddar fabrics in one's quilt. And these purple and blue veggies will be incredible potholders, a la Peg's pattern at Common Threads. And then there is enough of a couple to make a Birdie Sling and to use as a border for a quilt I've got started...

So let's hear what makes you buy fabric—do you buy for a specific project, or do you buy because you see a particular piece you can't resist? 

P.S. Anyone have a clue as to why the font looks different, despite the fact that it's the same font and size as in the previous post?