A message of support

In August, my friend Karen and I checked out an installation of The Monument Quilt in downtown Des Moines. It’s a powerful project to experience. The Monument Quilt (this link has many more photos from across the country) is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse, with the purpose of creating a culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed.

I studied art and art history in college and graduate school, and I’ve always appreciated that art has the potential to deliver difficult messages and instill understanding and compassion across cultures.

The full installation originally took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and since then, parts of the quilt have been displayed all over the country. This image of the mall in Washington is wonderful (one of support materials distributed when the quilt is displayed):

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The portions displayed in Des Moines included the same message:

IMG_6014The quilt has interactive components, one can create their own 48″ x 48″ panel to submit to the project, or share their story at one of the installations by adding to an existing panel:

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IMG_6002Some of the stories are shared behind pieces of fabric (a flap that can be lifted); allowing the viewer to choose whether or not they want to read the survivor’s words… These stories have the potential to be emotionally draining, difficult to “hear”. There are volunteer “supporters” on hand for viewers to talk to about what they are feeling as they view the installation.

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The myriad of fabrics, mediums, colors, images and words create beautiful and strong messages. If you have the opportunity to visit this project in person, I highly recommend it.

The Des Moines installation as photographed from above (photo by Eric D. Sammon):

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“Your Positivity Truly Inspires Me”

 

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.

CoxQuilt

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.

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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:

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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.

 

Coming Soon: Iowa Quilting Events

If you are near Northern Iowa, you might want to consider signing up for NIACC’s Quilting Treasures: Workshop for Quilters on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Yours truly will be the Keynote speaker, along with my business partner

Quilting Postcard 2014 copyTo register, call or email the contact information on the image above.

And of course, AQS Des Moines is just around the corner. You can see my Diamond Dust Quilt up close and personal in the AQS Juried part of the show:

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And I’m supposed to be moving to a new town home somewhere in the midst of all of this… wish me luck!

Happy Sewing, 

Doris

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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

How I almost ruined, and then saved, a quilt:

Do you pre-wash your fabrics? I used to be a faithful pre-washer, but then pre-cuts entered the picture, and well, you can’t pre-wash a charm pack… so I stopped pre-washing my other fabrics. After the experience I’m sharing with you today, I think I’ll start pre-washing again.

In May, I shared this lovely finish with you:

Love in a Mist Quilt

With the exception of the outer border print, this quilt was made entirely from my scraps and stash (even the fuschia Petal Power piece peeking out from the back was in my stash).  The white background came from my stash and scrap basket. And that is where the crack in the system occurred.  Stick with me…

On our pattern business blog last week, Trina wrote this in regards to using white as a background fabric: This is my word of caution about using white (which I totally love). If you are using white make sure it is the same white, (brand and color) …all white fabric is not created equally… take a look at some aged quilts with an assortment of white fabrics and you will find the whites are not the same color of white & some look transparent. Doris found this out the hard way, with a laundry catastrophe, about three weeks ago. ;-) ”

Yep.

And I know this, and I try to follow this advice.  With this quilt, as I was cutting and sending out scraps to my Bee members to be sewn into blocks, I thought I was cutting all Kona White for the quilt… but I figured, it’s scrappy anyway, it shouldn’t matter. Right?

Then came August 19th. We had had visitors for the weekend and this quilt was on the bed in the guest room; and our cats had slept on it during the day, so I wanted to wash it because it was one of my entires for the Guild Show that will run in conjunction with next week’s American Quilters Society Show in Des Moines.  Later that evening I posted this to facebook:

“I am a Shout Color Catcher disciple; but the ONE time I forget to throw one in the washing machine, I get pink bleed on a quilt. And of course, I didn’t discover this until i pulled it out of the dryer. I’m sick about it. Just ordered Sythrapol Detergent that will be here by the weekend and commenced praying for the miracle this situation will require. Another fabulous Monday.”

Well, as it turned out I DID have one Color Catcher in the load (I found it on the floor later) but I should have had a BOX of them in there!  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of PINKness of the quilt, but then again, I was TRAUMATIZED by the whole situation, so maybe I subconsciously chose not to take a photo for posterity sake in case I couldn’t get it out, anyway!  The outer border was VERY pink, and the white was all a little pink looking. So…

  • First I soaked it for a few hours in Norwex detergent, then washed it (LOAD #2).
  • Then I soaked it overnight in Sythrapol, and washed it in hot water (LOAD #3).  Better, but not white, yet.
  • Again I soaked it overnight with Sythrapol, and washed it in hot water (LOAD #4)
  • Then a wash with just cold water and a small amount of diluted bleach (LOAD #5. NOTE: each wash included three color catchers) the pink is nearly gone from the border print.
  • Another soak and wash with diluted bleach and Dawn Dish Soap (LOAD #6)
  • Looks pretty good, so one more wash to rinse whatever detergents are still hanging on in there (LOAD #7).

As you can tell in this pic of the used Color Catchers, there was still pink leeching out after seven washes!

Sythrapol Color Catchers

But, as for the whites, they did not turn “pink” consistently.  Apparently my “Kona White” background included some other whites, or maybe some Kona pieces that were pre-washed as well as some unwashed Kona.  Either way, certain blocks had a VERY pink background.  Most of it is invisible today, unless I point it out to someone.  Which, anyone who reads this and then sees the quilt on display next week in the guild show will be able to spot it.

This is a pic taken last night in our backyard:

After The Rain _ quilt post laudry disaster

Overall, it looks pretty good (crinkly, as it’s been very well-laundered) 😉  But up close, there are a few white patches that still have a slight pink tint:

After The Rain Yellow Block

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One of the tips I got: a long-arm friend of mine, and longtime quilter said she always washes her quilt with Ivory Soap.  It’s pure, no dyes or perfumes, additives.  I think I’ll make that a new practice; as I will going back to pre-washing.  And I’ll continue to use Color Catchers in every load of laundry I do!

But, I did drop the quilt off last night for our Guild Show, along with two Row House Creations quilts:

Lavender One Big Cabin Girl Quilt Racoon, Owl Squirrel Baby Quilt

Fox in a Box Fox and Geese Applique Quilt

We drop our quilts off at a LQS, this is one side of the room as it looked last night (the last night for entries), there must be 300-400 quilts all tucked away in pillowcases waiting to be hung for display:

AQS Quilt Drop Off

I’m glad I’m not judging them, but it must be a little like Christmas morning to open all of these pillowcases and unfold what’s in them!

Our Des Moines Area Quilters Guild Show runs October 2-5 in conjunction with the AQS Show at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Do you pre-wash?

What do you use to wash your quilts?

Home Sewing

I learned to sew around age ten, and I started with clothing. My mom sewed all of my Dad’s shirts, most of my sister and my clothes, and many of my three brother’s shirts. She also re-upholstered furniture, made curtains, made doll clothing, did mending and alterations for friends and neighbors, made I-don’t-know-how-many plaid uniform skirts for girls from our grade school and our high school… and I picked up her love of all things textile early on.  I begged to go along to the fabric shop with her, and picked out patterns and fabric before I ever learned to make things myself.

Funny, though, my sister never had any interest; still doesn’t. As my sister says, “why do I need to know how to sew, if I need something done, I can just ask you or Mom.” She has a good point. It’s not like we’ve ever said no to her.

This week I made a valance for her youngest, my sweetie pie niece, Zoe Grace. She’s the doll I made the owl pillow for, and there is a quilt in the works to match the valance and pillow.

Valance Detail on Instagram

Click on the photo above to see a clearer larger version on Instagram, I added the hugs and kisses fussy cut detail to set it off!  The walls are a very pretty turquoise color, and I had a tough time getting a good pic with my iPhone, but you sort of get the idea…

Valance on Wall ruffled girly valance

She has a butterfly garland on order for the walls, and other butterfly decor plans.  And these curtain rod finials are just too cute!

Valance Detail Hugs and Kisses

 I can’t talk her momma into it, but maybe I’ll get lucky and Zoe Grace will want to learn how to sew one day!

June has been a bust month for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild… my house was one of the drop off points for entries to go into our first local Modern Quilt show!  On the 15th, my husband and I drove to Ames with the entries and met up with Jill of Modern Quilt Relish, and Greta, the curator at the gallery.  Two hours later, we had the show hung!

Quilt Show installation

Quilt Show Installation 2

This last Sunday evening we had an artist’s reception, and several of us collaborated to give an impromptu Gallery Talk with Q&A.  We were incredibly pleased to have such a good turn out to our gallery opening!

MQG Quilt Show Reception

One of my two entries is the blue and yellow Row House Creations Fox in a Box quilt shown here, next to a “clothesline” display of mug rugs and my friend Emma’s fun “piece, love, quilt” quilt:

MQG Show and mug rug display

The show is on display through July 25th.  For more pics, check out our guild’s Flickr pool.   Our guild has also been busy making a charity quilt to benefit a local hospice center; the fundraiser is sponsored by our local Harley Davidson dealer, and so our colors for the quilt are “Harley” colors (orange, grey, black)…  here’s my block:

HarleyBlock

It’s looking really good so far, a friend of mine is quilting it for us on her long arm.  I’ll be sure to show you the finished quilt!

Happy Sewing!

Doris