An Iowa Quilt

When we saw the Sum of Many Parts exhibit last January, we also saw the Iowa Sesquicentennial Quilt on display at the State Historical Society. I don’t believe I’d ever seen it before. The log cabin border is stunning, and the quilting is great:

ISQuiltFullIowa became a state in 1846, the Sesquicentennial (150 years) was celebrated in 1996. Each of the 99 counties submitted a block in the shape and scale of their county. Some are embroidered, some appliqued, some just drawn or inked on:

ISQuiltDetail1Polk County is where Des Moines is located (orange block with star on it) and we have a beautiful state capitol building which is in the center of the block. Madison County is famous for its covered bridges

ISQuiltDetail2The one with the John Deere logo is where I grew up, Black Hawk County, home of John Deere Tractor Works and the University of Northern Iowa and named for Sauk war chief Black Hawk.

ISQuiltDetail3This little quilted heart on the Iowa County block is very small, but it really stands out. The hand embroidered sites in the Keokuk County block impressed me as well:

ISQuiltDetail4The background quilting is full a different motifs, corn stalks, stars, banners, eagles, wild roses (our state flower), a goldfinch (the state bird)…


ISQuiltDetail7I was glad we got to see this, I’m not sure if it is on a semi-permanent display or not. But we both enjoyed looking it over for little details and surprises.

Happy Birthday to my big brother, Steve, today!




Sum of Many Parts

Last January, we saw a wonderful quilt exhibit, on display at the Iowa State Historical Society briefly last winter.

This exhibit traveled to six cities in China between Sept. 2012 and Sept. 2013 as a showcase of American textile traditions created by 25 American quilters. Des Moines, Iowa was its first stop in the United States. And, though my photos were taken in January 2014, the exhibit is still traveling and as a matter of fact, opens today at the The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO. QuiltsatEntryThe three quilts shown above are by Alicia Avila, Edna Patterson-Petty and the one on the bottom right is by Caryl Bryer Fallert.

This Star Quilt by Patricia Renault Stuen (a Chippewa) is made in the tradition of Plains Indians; stars are favored by the Indians in part because the design reflects their beliefs associated with the solar system.StuenQuilt

Louisiana Bendolph is a member of the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective and a native of Alabama. Her quilt, Housetop Variation, was pieced by her, and then, as is their tradition, women from the collective work together to hand quilt the piece:BendolphQuilt

Patricia Cox’s Floral Fantasy is hand-appliqued and hand-quilted in the Baltimore Album style. Patricia lives in Minnesota.


Hawaiian quilts–so totally unique and steeped in tradition! Each of Patricia Lei Murray’s quilts tells a story about her family or community heritage. Ku’u Kanae I ka La’l o ka Malu is dedicated to her father.



This is Rise & Shine, Inner City by Martha Ginn from Mississippi:GinnQuiltShe made the Y-units and then laid them out in gradating colors to piece them together.

I was entranced by these next few quilts. Tomboy Bride by Betty J. Collins of Tennessee is a piecing masterpiece! It is hand-pieced and hand-quilted using more than 120 different fabrics. This is a traditional block pattern that would have decorated a wedding quilt.CollinsQuilt1

The Red One, My Charm Quilt by Beth Donaldson, sang to me. I love a good red quilt and what a great hexagon layout:


This is Subtle Sixties by Linda Roy, hard to photograph as it was in a dark corner, but the detail on this quilt is astonishing. There is couching, ruched flowers, yo-yos, reverse-applique, metallic thread art, teeny-weeny quilting stitches… you name it. All expertly executed.AppliqueQuilt1

AppliqueQuilt2If you get a chance to see this in St Charles, MO this Spring or Summer… or next up, Winter Park, FL, don’t miss out. These quilts are amazing and the narrative of the exhibit is so well executed.

Just as I finished writing this post, I discovered there is a Flickr Gallery of all of the quilts–better pics than some of mine and the quilts I missed snapping a photo of are included there.


It’s Quilt Week!

It’s here! AQS Week in Des Moines, this will be the American Quilter’s Society’s largest (to date) quilt show–and Des Moines, and the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild have the honor of playing host!  I’m using a few vacation days from work to attend the show and take a full-day class on Thursday.


We are excited–because our (Row House Creations, LLP) new pattern, Mums for Melissa is being featured in a demo in Booths 1003-1005 by Denise of the Iowa Falls Sewing Machine Co.–you can visit their booth to purchase our pattern.


Denise paid us the best compliment, she called to order more patterns and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me how awesome this pattern is?” Seriously, does it get any better than that?! She told us she thought it was a snowflake quilt waiting to happen (We Know!) and/or a sunflower quilt waiting to happen (Great idea, Denise!) — so many ideas, so little time.  So stop by and see Denise at booth 1003-1005! Tell her Trina & Doris said hello!

Chrysanthemum Mums for Melissa Modern Quilt

Living History Farms, a living history museum complex in Urbandale (a Des Moines suburb) will be hosting a vintage quilt show, also October 2-6.  It’s always worth a visit!


Also, on Wednesday, a new exhibit opens at the State Historical CenterThe Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st Century America. It will hang until January 31st. This exhibit is traveling from China, but consists of contemporary American Quilts.  Des Moines is the only U.S. city that will host the full exhibit.  I’ll be finding time next week to pay a visit to that one, I think…

Des Moines is a great City in which to be a quilter!  We also happen to be home to Meredith Corporation, publishers of American Patchwork & Quilting, and all of the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications.  Just outside of Des Moines, in Winterset is the home of the Fons & Porter Love of Quilting publications.  We are also home base for a major publisher of quilting books, Landauer Publishing.  We have more than one active & thriving quilt guild, a Modern Quilt Guild chapter, numerous quilt retreat opportunities, a handful of great local quilt, fabric & yarn shops, and really friendly people! Like we said, Des Moines is a great place to be a quilter.

Are you planning to be in Des Moines this week?

Fair Game

Today is Opening Day at the 2009 Iowa State Fair. I’m not going to the fair today, I’ll be working a nine hour day. However, last night was a Special Preview of the Fabric and Threads Exhibits for anyone who entered a project and their guests. I went with the seven women who make up my new small group, Seams Sew Easy.

There was some beauty to behold. First the BLUE RIBBON ROOM (Hint: my bag and quilt were NOT displayed in here.)

This lovely pink applique quilt was made by a woman from our guild…lovely. And this fabulous Oriental & Indigo Quilt also was created by one of our guild members…

Upstairs, the rest of the quilts, knitting, tatting, embroidery, cross-stitch, garments, etc. are all displayed in one large room. Sadly, with most of the quilts, you only get to see a 2.5 foot by approx. 5 foot slice. It’s a form of torture for a quilt lover to not let them see the entire work of art.

If you look in the upper right hand corner of this photo (below) you will see my Purely Perennial quilt (at least a part of it!). It didn’t show well, at all, in this room, but what can you do? Hope for a better showing next year, I guess…

I also entered my Miranda Bag, shown at the bottom right, here…no ribbons, but I wasn’t expecting any…

My friend Veronica won a BLUE RIBBON on her retro apron (sorry, no photo!), and Beth received an Honorable Mention Pink Ribbon on her first quilt:

Here is Lisa’s cute little quilty…her son was asked to draw a Family Tree in school…this is what he drew, a Christmas tree with his Mom, Dad, brother, sister and himself flanking it. His clever mama turned it into a quilt:

Loved this strip pieced quilt in mostly Kaffe Fassett florals…it received a Second Place Red Ribbon:

Here ‘s a shot of (or, a portion of) our group’s charity Spools quilt…I didn’t have a hand in this one, they completed it earlier this year just before Veronica and I joined the group. Unfortunately, their lovely applique doesn’t show:

Anyone who knows “quilter” Doris, knows that I loathe Sunbonnet Sue quilts. (Seriously, it has it’s own website?!?) Sorry if you happen to be a fan, but I just don’t get the appeal. And, the Straw Hat Sam blocks? Even worse. Don’t get me started… But, even I have to agree that these little Geisha Girls are pretty darn cute:

Before we headed off for dinner, we had an official shot of our small group taken (I think it’s the first time all eight of us have actually been together!)

Dawn, Teresa, Lisa, Me, Beth
Emma, Veronica, Tricia

I was so inspired by the quilts…I went home and whipped this up for Alissa, my August block for the Sew Connected 2 Bee:

Alissa likes wonky, and asked for no triangles. Other than that we had free reign. So I went for an assymetrical block with curved piecing to accent it. Hope you like it, Alissa!

Gotta love those tadpoles…

Des Moines: Quilt Capitol

Okay. Okay. I know Paducah is really Quilt City USA, or “the Quilt Caiptol” but I tell you what, folks, we do it up right here in Iowa. The entire city took it to heart when the American Quilter’s Society agreed to bring their Expo here this October. Our State Historical Museum had a special exhibit, our Botanical Center had an exhibit, there was the Quilt Walk, art galleries with art quilt exhibits, and quilt happenings all over town. Some of them are still going on, and I hope to take them in yet this week. I did get a chance to see the quilt exhibit at Living History Farms last week. They do one every October, and this year, it coincided with the AQS Expo.
LHF is a living history site that includes a recreated fictional 1875 town, Walnut Hill, Iowa, a 1700 Iowa Indian Farm, an 1850 Pioneer Farm, and a 1900 Farm. It is built on the original estate of the Flynn family…their 1875 Italianate style mansion and barn still stand on the site…

There are 360 vintage quilts in the museum collection, every October they bring 30 of the quilts out to display in the Walnut Hill Church…at the East end of town…

I first visited LHF on a field trip in the 6th grade. I remember that day like it was yesterday, this place left an indelible mark on me. I really enjoy the drug store, complete with mortar and pestle in the compounding area, where the duggist would mix your prescription. I remember when I was twelve, being amazed by the container of live leeches on the counter. I checked. They still have a glass container of live leeches on the counter in 2008. Just like they would have had in 1875…

The interpreters speak in first person (they take on a character and introduce you to their shops and homes as they would if they really were that character) This gal is coming back to work at the newspaper after taking a lunch break with her lunch basket in hand…

The printing presses are amazing, you can print your own souvenir here and try out the press…

There is also a milliner’s shop where she was sewing this ruffled trim with her New Home treadle machine…

a doctor’s office, attorney’s office, Post Office, bank, one-room school, livery stable, general store (where you can actually but reproduction fabric!), a carpentry/undertaker’s shop, and the homes and barns. Oh the homes. The Tangen Farm House is my favorite…

Isn’t it gorgeous? There were reproduction quilts (exact replicas of some of the vintage quilts in the collection) displayed all over the houses. I love this pomegranate applique quilt…

Way too many photos to share, and this post is already getting too long…so I will share some of the shots from inside the church of the thirty vintage quilts they displayed this year. This lovely Marie Webster original…STUNNING…

A crazy quilt with very unique appliques, embroidery motifs, and fabric combinations…this one will have it’s own post one day soon…

LHF sells some of their quilt patterns, meaning patterns they developed from quilts in there collection. I bought the pattern for this windblown flowers quilt on the left.

The quilt on the right side of that photo was made by Lydia Wood, the maiden aunt of Grant Wood. The name of Grant’s sister, Nan Wood is printed in the bottom right corner with the date it was given to her by her aunt, Lydia.

This green and red quilt has never been laundered…not ever in it’s more than 150 year life. Probably never used, either. How do they know? Because the green dye is vibrant and bold, and green dyes from that time period faded immediately upon washing.

This was a fun charm quilt…

with just one special, fussy cut hexagon…makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Why just one? Why on the left side, not at the center?

and a lovely Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, with the printed feed sack visible on the backside…

I am so enjoying my quilt tour of Des Moines…and looking forward to next October already!

It’s FINALLY Here!

It’s here! It’s here! AQS Week in Des Moines! A mere 3.0 (THREE!) miles from my home! There was a really nice write up in the local newspaper yesterday, and there are area quilt shows around town by all sorts of groups and organizations: our State Historical Museum, our Botanical Center, Living History Farms, our Heritage Gallery in one of the government buildings, and this event, in Historic Valley Junction, the original downtown of what is now West Des Moines, Iowa: I work at one of the two quilt shops in Valley Junction, and am very excited about this event they organized!

If you are not coming to Des Moines this week, you really should be! But you can come next year, we have it scheduled here for the next three years! Sadly, I will be out of town the first two days of the show, for my day job, but I will be taking in as many sights and sounds as I can Friday and Saturday!

Come see us in Des Moines–GREAT things are happening!