Category Archives: Lectures & Workshops

Thanks to the Cornerstone Quilt Guild

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to present my “Quilts in U.S. History” lecture to the Cornerstone Quilt Guild in Charlton, Mass. Not only did I see some stunning quilts during Show and Tell but one guild member also brought a top from 1876 from her collection to share.

I mentioned a few things during my lecture that I wanted to follow up on and provide links for:

  • Nancy Kirk of The Quilt Collection is a tremendous resource to learn how to care for and restore antique quilts. Books and DVDs are available from her website:
  • Mood Fabrics in NYC is where I found cotton velvets to use in restoring crazy quilts – now available online!
  • A quick eBay search for feed sacks shows that they are bringing $10 – $20 apiece so using them to make something wouldn’t be crazy. I would still recommend trying to find a feed sack expert to take a look at the collection first just in case there’s a rare feed sack worth hundreds of dollars among them.

Thanks to the Quinobequin Quilters

Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to deliver my “Quilts in U.S. History” lecture to the Quinobequin Quilters in Needham, MA.  The guild members asked some great questions and there were a few that I wasn’t able to fully answer in the moment that I wanted to follow up on:

  1. What led to the 1971 Whitney Museum quilt exhibit? 

Last night, I said that I thought Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof were driving forces behind the exhibit and, according to the International Quilt Study Center, that was indeed the case. They began to see the quilts in their collection as examples of abstract art. I also said that I thought there had been some earlier quilt exhibits that encouraged the Whitney to consider the “Abstract Design in American Quilts” show and that does seem to be the case as well. According to a post by the International Quilt Study Center, the changing perception of craft and ideas of what constituted art also set the groundwork for the Whitney to consider such an exhibit.

2. What innovations in the sewing machine were happening in Europe in the mid 1850s?

According to Wikipedia, there were numerous advances in sewing machine technology, starting with a patent awarded to a German man working in England in 1755. Also according to Wikipedia, the first modern sewing machine design that brought together the advances of the earlier models was invented by an Englishman in 1844, but the patent application was botched. American Elias Howe invented a similar machine in 1845, that Singer improved upon in 1851. Howe won the patent in 1846, according to this article from 1860 in The New York Times. 

It seems that the European companies of the quality sewing machines that we are enjoying today as quilters began in the following decades:

Pfaff – founded in Germany in 1862

Bernina – founded in Switzerland in 1893

Elna, a Swiss brand now owned by Janome, was founded much later in 1940.

There may have been other questions that I missed so if you were there last night and have further questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks again to the Quinobequin Quilters.

This time next week…

This time next week, I’ll be on my way to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA for their annual Meet the Teachers day. It’s a day for local quilt teachers to promote their lectures and workshops and for guild programming chairs to learn about the teachers located nearby.  I’ve been busily finishing a class sample and preparing my introduction and am looking forward to talking about “Creating Your Story in Cloth,” Extreme Piecing,” “Creative Play,” “Finding My Voice,” and “Quilts in U.S. History.”  I hope to meet you there!

Design Wall – Extreme Piecing

This week I am working on a table runner that will be a sample for a class that I am developing called “Extreme Piecing.”  The class will cover creating templates that allow you to then piece anything you can draw, even if it’s complicated. (I almost said, “no matter how complicated”  but you all might remember what a pain it was to piece a 12-point star in the center of “Arabesque #3.” It was possible, but I don’t recommend it!)  I enjoy a good piecing challenge, but this table runner is actually a lot simpler than it looks.


#TBT – Journal Quilt Week 22

Week 22 of my journal quilting project in 2011 was a fun one for me. I’d long had on my list to attend a Quilt Restoration Workshop with Nancy Kirk and I was finally on my way there.  I flew to Omaha, Nebraska where the workshop was held and when I went to pick up my economical, small rental car, the agency told me that they didn’t have any of those available anymore and that they would upgrade me at no charge to this:

Black Mustang

I asked if they’d pay the speeding tickets.

Happily, I didn’t get one, but I did have a great time at the workshop.  Our first day was an optional one before the official start of the workshop and we went to the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, NE.  After that, I had a week of fabric dating, pieced, applique, and crazy quilt restoration, and wonderful time spent with quilters, which I enjoyed despite the morning sickness.  I also posted to Facebook about being in Omaha and had the unexpected treat of having dinner with a school friend I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years who had just moved to Omaha.

It was a great week and I am so glad that I went ahead and did it. I booked it before I got pregnant and had I waited, I’d still be waiting to go!

JQ 22