Thursday, November 11, 2010

Favorite Quilt Tools

EQ Show & Tell at Woodman Hall

Our theme for the November 2010 meeting was "Your Favorite Quilting Tools". Each person was to bring one or two favorite tools to show and share.

Some tools were new to us. Some we had been using for decades. Here is the familiar quarter inch sewing guide that two members shared that day. Many of us have used this particular tool for years.

Your Roving Reporter wishes she had thought to keep a running list of what folks brought to share. Instead she has bugged Anne Dawson all evening to verify details when she couldn't find the needed EQ member at home.

Some of the tools were quite fascinating and new to us. Others were familiar but with suggested new uses.

Becky Huffington recently lucked onto 1934 model of a Singer Featherweight portable sewing machine as a result of being asked to help a woman sort and clean up after another family member had moved away.

These particular sewing machines weigh about 11 pounds so are very popular with quilters who have to haul sewing machines to a class. They are also highly collectible among all sewing machine afficiandos.

Here Christy Sturgill shares a thread dispenser and pin holder all rolled into one that E. L. Heickel of Goldendale, the brother of a friend, used to make.

Carole Knutsen (below) showed us of one of her favorite "how-to" quilting books, explaining how clear she finds each step of its illustrated instructions. (Oh yes, the hat....i.e. fabric on Carole's head. That does deserve an explanation.)

Woodman Hall is very cold but it's amazing how much body heat one can conserve by placing a square of coloful fabric on one's head. It actually works! At the next meeting, bring a square of fabric for your head as well as a small quilting project for your lap and you'll stay toasty warm the whole meeting!

L-R: Christy Sturgill, Carolyn Woodbury, Carole Knutsen

Karen Alexander shared an array of measuring devices that her mother-in-law and EQ founding member Wini Alexander used in her earliest years of quilting in the 1970s and 1980s. Wini had even made a storage bad for them of corduroy.

Candy Midkiff shared an iron that surely doesn't seem that old to most of us. But do you remember ever seeing so many different types of fabrics listed on an iron before?

Click on the photo to read the list of fabrics de regueur of the day!

L-R: Peggy Schuld, Candy Midkill, Carol Whetten
Anne Dawson (below) brought a number of goodies along to share that she carries in her shop.

L-R: Joyce Landau, Nancy Wallace, Barbara Carver, Joanne Bryant
One of her newest products is called "Best Press Batting" for joining together batting remnants so as to create a new batt that is useable. If anyone has attempted to sew batting remnants together in order to use them up, you know how woppy-jawed the batting can become from the sewing stitches. This little product keeps all those pieces nice and flat!
Kathy Montgomery, Carolyn Baldwin, ? , Laurie Latta

Anne also shared a new white mechanical pencil which several members picked up from her shop and love. Several also mentioned how indispenable the small bendable tiny "lamp" is that attaches to your sewing machine. (Anne can also get this item for us. (See mine below).

Nancy Givens shared a new tool used to make perfect binding and mitered corners. She even gave us a short demonstration. The tool is marketed as "Binding Thingy". Yes, you read it correctly!

Barbara Carter shares how she uses the special viewer to see a quilt from a distance. If you can't actually stand back and get that distance physically due to lack of space, this is the tool for you.

Even though the images are slightly out of focus, I couldn't resist adding them; especially this second one because I accidentally captured Barbara's face in the glass.

Since many of the tools were often quite small, your Roving Photographer was unable to get a good photo from across the room of many of them for which she apologizes.

She had great plans for showing you lots of photos and, indeed, did take lots of photos. But!.....quilters were so animated in the showing of their tools that more than half of her photos turned out blurred!

So if you don't see your photo here, it's either because it was so out of focus (see Joann's below as an example) or your object was so small she couldn't catch it on camera from across the room.

Hating to interrupt people's flow of sharing by demanding "Would you please hold STILL!!", she took her chances and lucked out with a few. (Of course it could also have to do with her somewhat limited photography skills. She hopes to have better luck next time with your help.)

Now for some of the quilts that were shared!

Peanut Butter & Jelly without the stickiness!

The following three quilts are a result of Kitty Sorgen's class, Butterbutter & Jelly. Each participant gave her interpretation of the pattern a different food name. Later the group threw a potluck, each bringing the food which reflected the name of her quilt.

"Raspberry Fizz" by Kathleen Montgomery

Laurie Latta's "Butter & Marmalade"

Barbara Carver's rendition of the same pattern, appropriately named Wine & Cheese.

Charlene Demetrick's "One Block Wonder" from a class she took at the quilt shop in Anacortes. The first snapshot gives you a good sense of the movement created by the color and liveliness of the fabrics in this quilt!

Ok, a little less motion here and the pattern comes into focus.

And a still closer look shows us the detials of the fabric itself! The eye's have it here!

Anne Dawson recently offered an applique class at The Quilter's Studio in which you brought your own pattern. Edi Blomberg's fat little turkey based on a pattern Nancy Givens shared at the last EQ meeting.

Janicie Coltran shared a colorful clutch bag recently stitched as a result of a class also at The Quilter's Studio.

Long-time EQ member Anne Dawson, owner of The Quilter's Studio located above Vita's in the village, recently offered another class, "Garden Path". Here is Carol Whetten's interpretation of that pattern thru her own fabric selection of lovely flower prints.

Carolyn Woodbury passed around a photo of her latest quilt for a grandson living in Holland. The quilt contains photos as well as fabric from her recent visit to Holland.

Karen Alexander shared a fragment of an antique quilt top from the 1890s she recently acquired. The pattern is commonly known as New York Beauty and is all hand pieced.

What state of the art needlework tools do you suppose this quilt maker used in her era to make such an intricate piece?

Candy Midkiff won the Door Prize!

You'll have to ask Candy! I didn't get a photo of the contents! But I do know that some of the very tools that had been shared were included!

Monday, November 1, 2010

EQ's Scrapbooks Now Scanned!

At last, the first EQ scrapbook of our history is now scanned so that I can post it here on the EQ blog for everyone to enjoy!

This post begins with the Introductory page to the scrapbook.

Click on each "page" below to enlarge. Also, click on highlighted words so that you can access the links that I share with you in my posts.

There are two corrections to the spelling in the list below: I am told Barbara Kuntz should be Kurutz. Also, Millie Gillespie should be Milly Gillespie. And, in spite of what the newspaper articles report below, Wini Alexander's name is NOT spelled Winnie; and Tammy Cowan's first name ends in a Y not IE. The newspaper article has it spelled both ways.

Lynwood Quilt Show 1984

(NOTE: If you click on each page it will become large enough to be readable. If you click a 2nd time, it will get even larger. To go back to the regular blog page, hit your BACK arrow.)

EQ's FIRST raffle quilt!

The Oak Leaf Quilt below is thought to be the 2nd raffle quilt creatd by EQ members. The yellow sticky notes refers to the three quilts that follow Oak Leaf.

In 1985 several EQ members visited a quilt group in Oak Harbor. The yellow sticky note on the page above refers to the three quilts that follow.

There is no information accompanying the three quilts viewed in Oak Harbor. It looks like it may have been a Show & Tell.

However, my research shows that the pattern in the applique quilt immedialy below is a Mountain Mist pattern called Sweet Peas. Mountain Mist first offered the pattern in 1933. If you can lay your hands on a copy of Mountain Mist's 1957 Blue Book of Quilts, it's a nice little collector's item. It is actually a 6"x8.5", forty-eight page booklet. You will see this quilt on page 25. It is number 37 in their catalogue.

The actual pattern that you could use to make this quilt can be found in the book Mountain Mist Quilt Favorites published by Oxmoor House in 1998.

The following quilt looks like a scrap quilt that could date from anywhere between 1895 - 1915 based on the fabrics in the quilt. The pattern name varies depending upon how the colors are laid out. A few of the blocks lend themselves to the Bow Tie pattern, but the over all use of color does not indicate IMHO a Bow Tie pattern choice by the quilt maker. Because so many light colors were chosen, you lose the Bow Tie effect.

This next one looks to be a quilt top rather than a finished quilt. This kind of two-color cheddar orange and blue was popular in the South after the Civil War. However, I think the shade of blue plus the emboidered lines on the blue fabric (to indicate the floral nature of the design) pushes this quilt into the 1920s. It would be extremely unlikely to see embroidery on the blue between 1865 and 1900.

Sometime in 1986 it must have been decided to incorporate a portion of the logo from the Enchanted Needle's needlework shop as the logo for EQ for this stamp plus the bill shows up in the scrapbook.

On the Alexander Deck in 1986

Here is another early photo of the Enchanted Quilters of Lopez and Shaw taken just two years after EQ got its formal start.

L-R: Millie Cowan, co-owner of the Enchanted Needle shop, Wini Alexander (my MIL and the one who inspired me to launch myself into this amazing journey I have been on since I started studying quilt history in 1981), Kathryn Powell, Sue Kline, Rosemary Beagley, Virginia Avery (guest teacher from Port Chester, New York), Francis Currier, Jerry Currier, Doug Cowan. Jinny Avery went on to be inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in July 2006. You can read more about Jinny Avery here on my other blog.

Edmonds Quilt Show - Fall, 1987

In 1988 a quilter from San Bernardino visited Lopez Island as a result of an Elder Hostel tour and met Martha Larson. Later Ellen sent some photos of a quilt exhibit she had seen earlier that year. The photos and letter are now in the EQ scrapbook.

Quoting from the letter accompanying the photos shown below, Ellen wrote,

These quilts were done by black women, many done in the south but they had been collated by someone in Oakland, CA and much of the hand quilting was done by women living in that city. You will note that many of the "patches" will not "match." These were made with what the women had on hand; looking closely you could see all sorts of violations of the laws we have been told we must do. They used any and all sorts of materials, often piecing them within the patches, lace with backing, all sorts of uses like that. It was an interesting exhibit and the freedom of expression made me feel like I didn't have to be so worried about keeping everything precise and straight.

The quilts in the above photos that Ellen B. sent Martha Larson are from an exhibit organized by Eli Leon, a well-known collector of one particular genre of African American quilts.

There has been much controversey within the quilt history world since the early 1980s as to what constitutes a "legitimate" African American quilt.

Even within the African American community the subject generates controversey. It's all quite interesting reading so if you are inclined to enjoy pursing historical or sociological controversies, whether the voices come from "the academy" or the "lay historian", here are a few links to browse.

If you can read only one item, I highly recommend the Introduction to Leigh Fellner's Betsy Ross Redux which you can find here.

For African American quilts in children's literature, click here or Every Month is Black History Month.

If you enjoy the geometry within the one particular genre of African American quilts, by all means be sure to read Fractal Geometry in African American Quilt Traditions by Judy Bales.

Kyra Hicks, a personal friend of mine in the quilt history world, has written a story for children about one African American quilter based on factual history, Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria.

You can see Kyra's books here. I also highly recommend Kyra's blog which you can access from this same link. Kyra will share with you and link you to some of the most wonderful African American story quilts being created today.

If you have stuck with me this far, good for you! Now for a break for both of us! More to come!

EQ's Roving Reporter and Historian signing off until next time!

Karen Alexander

PS: If you are really a glutton for punishment, check out my personal quilt history blog, Quilt History Reports.