Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's Important?

Last week I was in Iowa with a group from church. We went to Cedar Rapids to help homeowners still recovering from the flood of June, 2008. We spent 5 very rewarding days working on houses that are almost ready to be called "home" again. We did a variety of things: installed a deck railing, door knobs, and siding on a garage. Some installed windows and drywall. We taped and mudded drywall and did some painting. Everywhere we went we heard "Thank you so much for coming!"
Can you imagine 7 feet of muddy water in the first floor of your house? I can't! And the homeowners only had 3 hours notice to evacuate. What do you try to take with you, knowing that anything left behind will be totally ruined? It really makes one stop to think about what is important in life...Would those bags and boxes of fabric scraps matter? Would I take any of my quilts? Probably, but only if I had time to grab them after pulling together all our important papers and pictures. I truly hope I never have to make that decision! And I admire the courage and determination of the homeowners who decided to come back to their flooded neighborhood!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quilt Adventures

I had more quilt adventures this past week. On Sunday, I attended a lecture given by Beth Donaldson (from MSU) on quilts of the 1930's, specifically quilts that were being made in the Detroit area. She showed pictures of a collection of quilts that the MSU museum acquired from a local quilting family, told the details of the quilts, and spoke about sources for the patterns for the quilts. Several of the quilts are on display at the Lorenzo Cultural Center (central campus of Macomb Community College) until May 8. They are beautiful--so meticulously made! And the reason for that is that the maker was a professional tailor! My favorite is the floral quilt shown in the picture here. The pattern was a series in the Detroit News and was titled Memory bouquet or Flower Garden. I have a collection of old patterns from the newspapers...need to see if I have this one!
I had a "duh" moment after the lecture...for some reason when I think 1930's quilts, I think scrap quilts, assuming that during the Depression years money was scarce so the ladies used what they had to make their quilts. Not everyone, tho. Some people remained affluent (there were doctors and lawyers in this particular family) and could purchase fabric and kits to make their quilts. "DUH"
On Monday I traveled to Battle Creek to do the program for Cal-Co Quilt Guild. I spoke about how my new book, Start With Scraps, came to be. I was warmly received and many members now have the book as part of their quilting library.
Please take the time to look at the book at www.clotilde.com, and don't forget to visit my website: http://carolsscrapquilts.webs.com. Happy Quilting Adventures to you! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Old Quilts #4

The detail that our quilting fore-mothers put in their quilts never ceases to amaze me! Look at all those tiny triangles making up the center of these Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks! But they certainly make for a spectacular quilt, don't they?
I have to admit that this is one pattern that really confuses me. I do fine making the basic blocks, but when it comes to putting them together, that's where I get lost. I know that other quilters have had the same problem--I have some misshapen old quilt tops in my collection that prove it! :)
PS...please visit my website: http://carolsscrapquilts.webs.com

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Old Quilts #3

Before I move on to the 30's quilts, I need to show you this beauty of a crazy quilt. It is in amazing condition for having been made somewhere between 1880 and 1900! The silks and taffeta have not started to shred, as is typical of fabrics in old crazy quilts. What fascinated me most about this quilt is that it contains not just beautiful embroidery designs, but also painted flowers, birds, etc. Was this a group project or was the maker multi-talented?
During her talk, Donna also showed a little doll quilt made from cigarette silks. She dates this somewhere between 1890 and WWI. That's the time period when cigar flannels and cigarette silks could be had as "premiums".
Do any of you have a crazy quilt made from wool suiting fabrics? These quilts were made in the early years of the 20th century. I have two of them, made by a farm woman who lived in northern Indiana. I love them for their simplicity!
If only these old quilts could talk! The stories they would tell!!!!