Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours

I'm curious about something. As much as we write about quilt making, I seldom see posts about how people actually store their quilts. Wouldn't it be fun to peek at the collections of our quilting friends and see just what they do with quilts that aren't in use? Do they fold them, roll them, hang them, stack them, wad them into balls... Aren't you just a little curious too? I'll show you my storage method, if you'll show me yours. 

At our house, extra quilts are kept in this corner cupboard. Because it’s positioned across from a window, we keep the door closed to protect the quilts from dust and sunlight.

We had the antique wardrobe fitted with shelves so we could fold and stack quilts. The only problem with storing quilts here is that since they're “out of sight,” they’re also “out of mind” and don’t get aired or rotated into use as often as they should.

I inherited another great option for storage and display with an antique china cabinet from my parents’ home. Mom used it to display glassware, but I knew it would look great filled with quilts.

My friends, Sheila and Kathy, offered to arrange the cabinet for me. They hauled armloads of quilts up and down stairs, gently opened each one, shook it out, and let the folds relax a bit. 

It was like an impromptu quilt show, with plenty of “oohs and aahs” for quilts we hadn’t seen in years.

Here, Sheila is folding so fast, she’s just a blur! 

Now I get to enjoy my quilts everyday. Thanks, dear friends, for a job well done! 

When we get together the "show and teill" is amazing! Here's Sheila, sharing a Bow Tie quilt she received from our friend Barbon a very special birthday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Make Your Own Medallion Quilt, with Simple Tips for Prolonging the Process

Create your own medallion quilt in less than two decades. It’s easy. Deliberate, procrastinate, and remember, you can’t rush quality work!

1. Choose a theme fabric. In 1992, I purchased one yard of a beautiful toile print, designed by Jinny Beyer to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America.

Tip: Look for hard to use fabrics like large scale directional prints. Buy just enough to limit your options when designing the quilt.

2. Collect coordinating fabrics. My favorites were reproduction prints from 19th century quilts in the Smithsonian and Shelburne Museum Collections.

Tip: Choose a monochromatic color scheme based on one of your least favorite colors, in my case, blue.

3. Select a quilt pattern. I liked this simple antique medallion quilt (circa 1840-60, owned by Penny McMorris), featured in the Autumn 2005 issue of Designers' Quarters Magazine.

Tip: Use the pattern for inspiration, but change it just enough to require reworking all the math.
4. Wait 10-15 years before you begin sewing. By that time, my MS made the task too challenging. I got this far and the project stalled.

Tip: To simulate sewing with MS, wear mittens and tie one hand behind your back.

Tip: Miss every deadline you set for gifting the quilt: high school graduation, college graduation, grad school graduation, etc.

5. Call in reinforcements. My quilt buddies stepped in to complete the sewing and even sent the quilt to the machine quilter for me.

Isn't this wavy design fun for a nautical quilt?

Tip: Avoid asking your friends for too many favors. I’m pretty sure I’ve worn out my welcome with this crew!

6. Document your work. Photograph the finished quilt in a lovely outdoor setting.

Tip: Nag your kids to take waaaay more pictures than you need so you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Tip: Use one of the photos as the background for your quilt label.

Tip: Design the label digitally on your computer, but never actually get around to printing it on fabric or sewing it to the quilt.


7. Create a nifty slide show.

Tip: Post it on your blog, but don’t mention a word about the quilt itself. Keep readers guessing. The suspense will leave them wanting more.

8. Wrap it up already! Wait another year (you can't rush blog posts either) and write about how to prolong the making of your own medallion quilt.

This Christopher Columbus Medallion was intended as James' "Coming of Age" quilt. He didn't seem to mind getting it a few years late. As you can see, it's enjoyed by the whole family.

*In an interesting bit of synchronicity, today is the 520th anniversary of the day Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on his voyage to the New World. Maybe my 20 year process was meant to be after all.