Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018 AQSG Quilt Study- Jazzy Yellow Checkerboard

Every two years the American Quilt Study Group hosts a "quilt study" based on a particular theme.  the 2018 theme was SOLIDS.  I'd remembered seeing this remarkably "modern" quilt at NEQM, so I decided to study it.  They are so generous at the museum.  They brought it out into their classroom and let me spend hours with the quilt.  It is called White House Steps/Checkerboard Variation, maker unknown, circa 1930's.

I mean I was just blown away by this quilt!  It was worked in cotton sateen, and the colors really did change based on the lighting in the room, and the position of the viewer.

Such a clash - in an interesting way - of yellows:

Very simple quilting.

I brought a lot of solids to the museum to try to color match as best I could:

Checking that my dark was dark enough:

My palette:

A very improv process and I can't believe I didn't take process photos, or even a final photo!  I texted my sister in law photos along the way but those texts are long gone now. 

Basting it:

And that's all I have.  I called it Jazzy Yellow Checkboard.  It was chosen to travel with some of the quilts, to various quilt museums and venues over the next few years.  I can't wait for the book to come out so I can see everyone's!  Until the quilts are all shown at the yearly Seminar, we are asked to not post any photos or hints on social media, so that the judging can be completely impartial.

As part of the project we write an essay, with a word limit.  It's like being back in college with homework, but fun:).  Here is the essay I submitted back in May:

I thoroughly enjoyed studying this circa 1930’s log cabin variation at the New England Quilt Museum.  What a palette!  The addition of lemon yellow to the dominant peachy yellow creates an irresistible, jazzy dissonance.  The use of cotton sateen lends a dynamic sheen — are those blues, or purples?  It truly depends on the lighting in the room and position of the viewer.  The warm yellows and pinks are tempered by muddy khakis and taupes. 

Our frugal quilter pieced many of her logs, and used narrow coping strips liberally to get her blocks close enough to measuring fifteen inches square.  Blocks are pieced in horizontal rows; the vertical rows are offset by up to an inch in some places.  This quilt was not created on a foundation.  A casual approach to pressing, and a generous approach to “easing in” resulted in some folds and puckers within the top.  Quilting is in (or near) the ditch, with three or four stitches per inch, and the border is quilted in subtly curved lines, an inch apart.

I chose to make nine eight-inch blocks.  I matched colors as best I could, and used some shot cottons as a nod to that beautiful sateen lustre.  At first, I tried to exactly replicate the piecing of particular blocks, but that plan fell apart as I quickly realized I wanted to experience the attitude of the original quilter - casual, “make do”, and confident.  I quickly got into the fun rhythm of improvising.  To me, the original quilt is a soulful combination of humble and strong, frugal and free; and I imagine the maker herself embodied those qualities, transitioning from the Jazz Age to the Great Depression. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

chiku chiku sashiko zokin

I am having a hard time with Blogger - I can't stay logged in, to comment on other blogs. I keep reading my usual blogs but I can't comment and it's so frustrating!  I've tried googling solutions, and I just can't figure it out.  I'm hoping a visit to the "genius bar" will help.  But if you have an idea, let me know!

Anyway, lately I am enjoying exploring this primitive, free style of sashiko.  This style was developed by Akiko Ike and you can read about her in this interview here.  I just love her philosophy of using old cloths and making them stronger with the stitches.  And whereas often in Japan there is an emphasis on doing things just right, just as the sensei instructs, in this case, we are free to be casual and individualistic, free and playful.

This is a small piece I purchased at Blue and White in Tokyo in 2013:

These could become wash cloths, dust cloths, or just little somethings to set on a table, perhaps under a casual vase of flowers.

I used cheesecloth and old washcloths, and a random variety of sashiko threads.  Very soothing easy work while watching Netflix in the evenings with David.  Watching something with Subtitles (OK, have you seen Terrace House?!) is no problem with this kind of free wheeling stitching.

My pieces will fade and become more interesting with use and washings (just like the homey wabi sabi quilts I like).

I like the rectangular shape - easy to fold in half and just the right size.

It's sort of the "scrappy" version of sashiko... or the sashiko version of crocheted dish cloths!  The wabi sabi of sashiko for sure.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Catching up

It can't possibly be the end of October, but it is!  I took a little break from social media which was pretty enlightening (in terms of a reality check on how I spend my time) and it has prompted me to permanently pare back a bit.

I have machine quilted Noelle and Keenan's Rolling Stone wedding quilt... (better photos coming soon)

And shared it out our guild meeting.  I hadn't tacked back the binding yet.  

And meanwhile, free spirits that they are, they have moved to North Carolina!  I cried buckets of tears, will miss them so.  But David and I made similar moves when we were young and it's a good move for them, so I get it.

That week, Kaela flew in from Austin for some sister time:

And earlier this month I went with David to London - he was going there for business.  The beauty of  an empty nest and frequent flyer miles.  I can never ever get tired of London and I almost always try to hit Liberty.  Who can resist that Haberdashery Department???  And this time they had these fabulous quilts on display, and for sale.  

But let's make our own quilts!

Borough Market - so fun.... yes that is the world's best gingerbread!

Back home in NH... the prettiest time of year! 

And to top off the month.... RED SOX!!!  with Kaela and Joe repping Boston all the way from Austin.