I have been teaching a class called "That Favorite fabric" where we as a class discuss ways to use fabrics that are to precious or to interesting to cut. These are some examples of ways to showcase a busy or bright fabric. Of course these were my trials in class so there is no right or wrong way. [well there can be a wrong way...but that is only if you personally dont like it]
Look at how amazing the project came out!!
I am so proud of my students. They really stepped up to the task.
We took what we made day one and cut it up and shuffled it around to create a new piece. It becomes a visual history of the two days we spent learning and playing.
I have asked them to lend it to me to finish. I want to make sure it ends up done, square, and flat so it can live in the collection of the school.
I had the immense pleasure of teaching in Lithuania. I knew I had 18 students of various skill levels and majors, 5 sewing machines, and two days, all of which is slightly different than I am used to.
I had the opportunity to think differently.
I decided that rather than each making a small project we can all participate on one larger project. that will allow us to put roughly 200 person hours into a single project rather than 15 into smaller individual projects.
I will admit [after the fact] that I was nervous.
I find the transition from learning to teaching akin to that of child to adult. really there is no change, just one day you announce it and then people expect you to be more responsible.
So we began.
I had asked them all to bring clothing to cut up or yardage to add, so the quilt would be a conversation between the whole of the class and the textiles they wanted to incorporate.
I showed them how to wrangle clothes into yardage and then we embarked on learning some traditional methods of piecing. I wanted to show them ways of creating traditional patchwork so they can get a sense of the how if they wanted to explore some more intricate piecing later. We also worked on creating some larger panels from strips of the fabrics we had to show ways of using multiple fabric types in the same project.
The we as a class turned it into one big top.
day one done.
I had the pleasure to visit the Leopold Museum in Vienna.
This space held the collections of the Leopold family who had a Huge collection of both Klimpt and Schiele. I haven't spent much time in front of the actual marks of Schiele. His portraits are haunting; the way a painter should create marks: It's more than a photo. His hand adds the depth of the artist to the image. I, for one, looking at these drawings and paintings, am inspired. In my case to learn how to imbue my work with a greater sense of my own mark making.
The take away for me was his commitment to his work. He spent his time in the studio with whatever means he had working on his projects and continuing to grow as a maker as best as he could. That speaks to me and my studio practice that is so often punctuated with travel and my pursuit of a partner.
I am often confronted with a wall of choice: "where do you spend the finite time you are allocated between meals and sleep?" One of my greatest values is my community, which I wonder how that fits in to the schedule of those important creators that came before me.
If you arent familiar with his work. I advise you go take a look at some of his pieces. Some of them arent for the much younger audience.
The History of Quilting Patterns
When the English and Dutch first arrived in the New World, blankets and bed covers were sewn and woven by the women with no artistry, and when resources were scarce and blankets were wearing out, they had to resort to desperate measures to keep everyone warm during those chilly winter nights. From there, the colonial women began to patch, combine, and use fillers for the blankets. Quilting was born out of necessity so that they could function as bed covers, as well as door and window hangings, and it was “only in the later years, when fabrics were being manufactured in America and were more affordable” that gave them the artistic freedom to work with different textiles and create their own patterns.
Quilts from the European settlement period took years of intricate sewing, and the elaborate detail would later make them a channel into American history. Despite the lack of magazines and mail order patterns in the 18th and 19th centuries, women were still able to share their patterns through sewn blocks (or pattern books in cloth) within their communities, thus becoming an outlet for creativity for women across the country.
Because it is a natural fiber with excellent durability as described by the fabric guide on Adam & Eve, cotton was the most—and still is—the most commonly used fabric for quilting, however a variety of other fabrics, such as voile and linen, have also been used to execute some of the vintage or antique patterns.
Also called the Gone to Chicago, Off to San Francisco, Road to California, Stepping Stones, Trail of the Covered Wagon, and Underground Road, this bold, diagonal, heavy design was inspired by the Bible, much like other patterns that also adopted biblical names. One of the first references to this pattern was made in Marie Webster’s first known quilting book, published in 1915, where she illustrated it as one of those striking quilt designs. Contrasting fabrics (light vs. dark) were typically used for these quilts.
Truly a cherished style of quilt is the Honeycomb, better known as Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Although it was popularly manufactured when quilts were flourishing, the pattern is rarely used as often as other designs today. First occurrences of the hexagonal style were in 18th century England and then made its way over to America, but only saw the pattern blossom during the 1920s Great Depression.
The origins of the double wedding ring design dates as far back as the fourth century, the time when metal rings were often the embellishments of Roman cups. Later in the 15th and 16th centuries, people began making gimmal rings that could be interlocked, used in engagement ceremonies. Rumors speculate that the wedding ring pattern reached America through Germanic colonization in Pennsylvania in the late 17th century, and has since been conceived as the most romantic quilting design.
Visit WomenFolk.com for more information on the history of quilts and their patterns.
Author Bio: Gertrude Biggins
Gertrude learned how to sew quilts when she was a little girl from watching her Cherokee grandmother who ran a quilting business. Other than making quilts, Gertrude also loves DIY projects and vintage shopping.
I am pretty sure people don't say Cheerio. I haven't heard it yet anyway.
I am in London. I feel very fortunate to be here. I am able to visit because I am coming to the UK to exhibit at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.
I love LOVE London. Each time I am here I find more to see and more to drink and more to eat and more to drink and more amazing people and more to drink and the space where the ancient meets the new and art and some really fashion forward people and more to drink.
This city seems to greet me and yet not stop for anyone. Like I am pulled onto a running train and I just have to wait and see where it's headed.
I went closing day to the show that has put this man on the minds of everyone, not just the fashion industry he helped create, hone, upend, nurture, invent, innovate, and challenge.
I missed the closing weekend of this show in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There were lines down the block that lasted 5 hours to get in. They were unequipped to deal with this response. The last several days they kept the exhibit open 24 hours after already extending the hours into the night the proceeding weeks.
The same phenomenon occurred at the V&A where I was fortunate enough to see the show even though each ticket was sold out before the show was even opened.
At that time here is what I knew about Alexander McQueen: “dresses”
Now what I know about Lee Alexander McQueen? Those dresses were a product of a mind that was set on pushing through his vision, No matter the cost. Reading first hand accounts of him is like watching in retrospect a train pass through fog. He had the singular vision to make his designs a reality.
Sure, he made dresses, but with those ‘dresses’ one has to note the details.
In details we can see expertise, mastery, and vision.
The details are spectacular. Each shoe created to add curve to the lines of the cloth which was draped to extend or shorten the aspects of the human form expertly crafted by McQueen.
I can go on and on about my takeaways on each thing I saw and what his vision wrought on an industry and those around him but I will digress on that and suggest each of you find a biography and read it. Either the catalog from the Met show or that from the V&A that I have just seen.
There are a few things I have taken away from my experience seeing this show.
I went in knowing there were expectations surrounding this show across the globe in the two biggest arts and culture cites in the WORLD. I am prone to antiestablishment.
[I cant help it, that is what my generation is bringing to commerce and fashion and humanity.]
So entering a show that is supposed to be all that and some more I bore a brow of skepticism while doing my best to take in what there was to see since this was a blessing to get this chance to see a show that will be a seminal marker in the history of exhibitions as well as global fashion understanding.
The curator did her job.
Entering through a darkened space into a sound-bath that evoked the exact feelings of uncanny and dialectic that his work brings you see some clothes on mannequins. Arranged so that you can see the cut, drape and color of each as the edges and corners and fronts stretched in odd ways just enough that you know it was intentional yet living within the vernacular of clothing. This first room was almost a smoke screen the clothing was good, the space was designed, but it was a pallet cleanser. Each subsequent room took you on a journey with more senses than just the vision of some well-made garments. Again I will point you to go find other media to see visions of what these objects can be, are, and will be.
I want to say that for me this was a day to learn what it is to run a vision and not let that vision run you.
I will go back to my studio a better creator.
Today was a day that will forever be marked in my calendar as the day that I was given the truth of vision.
There is enough time but you have to use that time. Each day should be filled with forward momentum and the quicker you can realize a thought into action into creation the quicker you can manifest the next.
If that means running a company to learn the business like McQueen did so he could take his own brand and sweep the consciousness of the world with it so be it. There is always a way forward and it is my responsibility as a maker to find it.
Today marks a line in the sand for me time beyond will not be mired in the accolades or successes of others but marked by the alacrity with which I can turn vision into creation.
“If I return it will be on two wheels or four”
I’m guessing the man was hovering around 50 years old; he had a great rural accent, a clean shave, white tennis shoes and slacks.
I’m not sure that I have ever sat next to a person on their first airplane ride.
Could have happened in the early days before ubiquitous air travel, back when it was amazing that people other than the highly affluent had access to faster than car transportation. If I did, I don’t remember because I was new too.
“Are you ok sir?”
“I’m ok…Can I have a water?”
“I’ll get you one when we are at cruising altitude”
I never caught his name. His row 28 seat C small talk hadn’t been developed through years of passing cups and pushing past for a pee break. Before we took off, the steward asked him an additional time if he was ok. We were in an exit row, but I used that as a catalyst to conversation, we had 3.4 hours together almost touching facing the same direction towards the west coast, might as well be polite.
[Plus people are far more amendable to let you to the bathroom if you have started your knowing each other before asking for a favor.]
He was traveling to meet his brother who worked at a shipyard in Long Beach. He was coming to help him on his house and if he liked it, then stay. No return trip booked but he was sure that if it came time to return he would buy a car or a motorcycle and never get on an airplane again.
The flight was taking off, he had his eyes closed and gripping the hand rests, hard.
How often are you present for seminal moments in people’s lives?
I got to tell him when the worst of it was over and then when the captain turned on the seatbelt sign later that it meant there may be turbulence.
It was that feeling of helping an old lady across the street or helping a child reach something on a high shelf or telling a stranger they dropped something of value.
I had a value to another person of real tangible use, knowledge. In this case it was used to assuage fears and to show camaraderie in the face of questionable physics.
[A steel tube flying through the air does seem suspect if you think about it.]
If feels good to be reminded of the human experience of existing. I find that so often I am stuck in a world of cerebral planning or creating similitudes between previous experiences. I don’t register new or present moments often; it’s nice to be reminded of “new”.
I had the honor to be in my home town for the opening of Man-Made at the Asheville art Museum.
And so was my family.
It was SO nice to be able to show my family what I have been up to for the past few years. A little known fact about be is that I dropped out of Architecture school [twice], which for a family of majorly traditional professions seems like one way ticket to bagging groceries. My family has been supportive, but I know a little unsure about what it means to spend all day sewing squares together and not even for a bed.
To be invited back to Asheville, where I spent lots of high-school and to see my works on the wall and to have my family be around to take pictures with me [hi grandma!] was such a beautiful catharsis. Maybe they are still unsure what my actual job is, but at least they know more about what it is that I make/do. AND I was able to walk then through the pieces on the wall and share with them some of the ideas that went in to them further than the obvious.
I have SO much that I have done over the 6 years I have been a full time quilt-maker and self employed! I have so many adventures and trials [and errors] to share. I had a blog for a few years which was all that, but I decided to start over. to curate stronger, content that may reflect my readers. Who are you? [Who am I?] Maybe I will just got forth with telling you about my projects and let my life be kept to the pages of Facebook and at the tables at parties. [maybe a memoir?] Do please keep me apprise of what projects you want to hear about. There's always plenty. you are the reason I can keep going so I want this to be a dialog not a diatribe.
It's fun to write this blog because I get to look back at these projects. This was the second quilt I made. I made it while I was home for the summer from Architecture school. I went to the fabric store and bought the fabrics that I thought were super stellar! Of course batik. I bought what I thought was enough fat quarters then set to work assembling them. [As you can see there weren't nearly enough.] I haven't looked at a picture of this in some time. I love that I used the Half Square triangle for the project. I recall spending a lot of time working on the geometry of this project and wanting to make sure there was a really great secondary pattern within the layout. Looking back now I see a pattern that I am very used to seeing in the vernacular of quilting, but at the time I knew very little about quilting so it was to me a great innovation.
After making the "whole" top I measured and realized that it was WAYY too small for anyone's bed. apparently when you sew fabric together the seams decrease the size of the overall amount of fabric. hah! so I went back to the store and bought another fat quarter bundle and sewed it around 3 sides of the quilt.
This was a present for my college roommate as he got married. After making it I spent so much time and money on it I really didn't want to part with it. Which means it's a good gift. If you have an emotional attachment to the present then you are giving some of your self with the object.
To start off this blog Seems fitting to start at the very beginning. This was the First quilt I made. Started small. 7 feet tall by 10 feet wide. I started it in art school at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I started from an images I had taken in high school. I was studying Chuck Close and decided that using a grid I could translate an image into fabric. I had these squares of red black and blue fabric that Mom had gotten me years ago that I towed around with the rest of the "I should make something out of this" The process of this first one was quite the learning curve. I started the first few pieces hand sewing them together during my 8am english class. That was quickly abandoned in favor of using the machines that were created to make that process more efficient, a sewing machine. The top probably took me 2 years and then asking around I found out that you could just pay someone to finish it! amazing! The reason it was so large was that the pieces I had already were the size they were and I couldn't make the grid any different and still get the details I got. which is still very abstracted.
Here's to the new and the old! Lets start from scratch. I will be adding a post on all the quilts I have made. [the ones I remember and have photos of anyway...] as well as the things going on in the world of LUKE. Stay tuned!