The Unraveling (front)
The Unraveling (back)
Holy Ghost Window (front)
Lynda Barry, Syllabus
Gia Tolentino, Funhouse Mirror
The Unraveling (front)
The Unraveling (back)
Holy Ghost Window (front)
Lynda Barry, Syllabus
Gia Tolentino, Funhouse Mirror
Lee Chappell Monroe is the name of the very fine teacher who lectured on precision piecing.
Quilts I talk about from QuiltCon
Loom by Melissa de Leon Mason
Mum’s Garden by Yvonne Fuchs
Carnival by Patty Dudek
Lines of Communication by Suzanne Sadilek
Blooming by Emilie Trahan
Monkey Wrench by Nancy Lambert
Crooked Crosses and Bent Boxes by Charles Cameron
Creamsicle by Michelle Wilkie
This post has been archived.
This picture is apropos of nothing in Episode 224; I just needed a picture. It’s the back of a quilt I made several years ago. I hope for next episode’s show notes, I will have all sorts of finished quilts to show you! Or at least one!
I’ve been asked to join the Board of the Quilt Alliance! To watch a few of my favorite Quilt Alliance “Go Tell It “quilt videos, go here, here and here:
To see Emily Bode’s clothes made from quilts, go here:
See you next time!
Okay, so when last I wrote, my process journey had taken me here:
A couple of friends read my last post and responded with some ideas for moving forward. The wonderful HollyAnne (from String and Story) suggested a “birds on the wire” motif and drew me a picture, which I thought was darling:
It was tempting to go in this direction, but as I have been thinking a lot about abstract art lately, I decided that ultimately HollyAnne’s idea leaned too much toward the narrative/concrete/actual side of things for my purposes. I wanted my birds to be birds and abstractions of birds all at the same time. I remembered Matisse’s paper cut-outs (an early draft of the quilt brought Matisse to mind for my friend Kristin as well), and took inspiration from them.
Polynesia, The Sky – by Henri Matisse
Vicki (My Creative Corner 3) was kind enough to send a sketch that offered a different formation for my birds:
I liked that a lot and started playing around with my own sketches for a flight pattern. I could see in my head what I wanted, but it was harder than I thought to draw!
Ultimately, I decided to draw it with painter’s tape:
And from there, I started pinning up my birds. A friend, seeing the picture below on the show notes for the last episode of “The Off-Kilter Quilt,” noted that a gray background might help the lighter-colored birds stand out more, and she’s absolutely right. However, I had already spent as much money as I planned on spending to meet this challenge, so the background will stay as is.
I played around with some other elements, trying to figure out if the quilt needed something more. While I didn’t hate the additions I played with, I don’t think they added much, and my friends who were giving me feedback online (HollyAnne, Vicki, Kristin and Jen) agreed with me.
After I appliqued the birds to the background fabric, my main concern was that the quilt needed to be wider. To that end, I played with adding a border to one side. First, I tried this (please excuse how dark this picture is):
And then I switched sides and added another row, so it looked like this:
I liked the width it added, but i wasn’t sure about this border in general. When I sent a picture to Kristin, she agreed that it added something, but it wasn’t quite right–it didn’t fit in with the quilt’s curves. Maybe I should just add a solid border? So that’s what I tried next:
I also sort of liked this, but when Kristin said that it made the quilt look like a book, I knew exactly what she meant. So because I have other quilts to make and a life to live, I decided to simply have a skinny quilt. I’ll add a little color by using a variegated border made from all the fabrics in the line, but I’m not going to add any more width.
I made the binding last night (I’m trying to make this my new habit–to make the binding before I start quilting). To get an idea of how it will look, I hung it up alongside the top:
As of this writing, I’m at work on the back. In an effort to spend as little money as possible, I’m using a long piece of muslin I had lying around. It needs to be just a touch wider and just a touch longer. So far I’ve added a pieced trip to the back (and may add one more) and plan to add something to the bottom to give it a bit more length.
I’ve enjoyed how collaborative this part of the process has been. Even when people make suggestions you ultimately don’t use, they’re useful in helping you re-vision your design and consider other possibilities.
Next up, quilting the quilt!
Even if you’re working from a pattern, the quilt-making process involves a lot of decision making, beginning with fabric choices and ending with how best to quilt. And when you’re not working from a pattern? Oy vey.
I’m participating in my first quilt challenge this spring, the Riley Blake/Modern Quilt Guild 2017 Challenge. To be honest, I’m not sure I expected this much of a challenge. What I received in the mail was a bundle of fabrics from the Creative Rockstar line:
Darling, yes, but … a bit limited. There are only two fabrics here that read as dark and can offer any contrast. The rules allow for the use of fabric from the Creative Rockstar line and any Riley Blake solids you care to add. I decided that to begin with I’d see what I could do with these fabrics alone. My first idea was to try hexies.
I’m fairly new to English Paper Piecing, but I find it highly enjoyable (whether I’m doing it right is anybody’s guess). I made a bunch on a Saturday night and then went to bed wondering what I could do with them. At some point in the middle of the night I woke up and thought, ‘I’ll make a hexie star!’
In the light of day, this seemed like a fairly implausible idea, if not absolutely ridiculous. But I did like the idea of making stars, especially since the novel I’m working on right now, Stars Upon Stars (the sequel to Birds in the Air ) will require the construction of several star-based quilts. But if I wanted to make a star quilt, I needed to to start paper-piecing diamonds, not hexies, so after church I sped off to Joann’s, coupon in hand, and bought a packet of diamond templates.
Maybe a big star?
Maybe not–I’d need more fabric choices to make a big star interesting–and I’d also need to buy a lot more fabric. Maybe a little star:
Yes, I liked this little star much better.
But it was quickly becoming clear to me that I wasn’t going to be able to do much with adding some solids to the mix, so off I went to Fat Quarter Shop to order several Riley Blake Solids. There aren’t any solids in the Creative Rockstar line, so I had to cross my fingers that the fabrics I chose would be a good match.
I really did feel like I was flying blind, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.
I loved my first little EPP star, but I was starting to wonder how I was going to make a quilt out of it and its starry brothers and sisters (once they came into the world). I began to question if making two-toned stars was the right choice. Maybe I should only use one fabric per star.
I started playing around on my design wall, which has been temporarily moved while I work on another quilt (“Sit-in,” otherwise known as The Chair Quilt) that’s being worked out on a queen-sized sheet hanging in the space where my design wall usually leans. Maybe I could make a bunch of blue diamonds out of the second darkest blue solid and use them for a kind of nighttime background to the stars. Here’s as far as I got:
I got disillusioned with this idea quickly (although looking at it now, several days later, I think it has potential). I had the feeling I could end up doing a lot of work (i.e. paper-piece a million dark blue diamonds) and not be happy with the outcome. It was time to mess around a little.
Hmmm. Maybe stars had been the wrong idea? Maybe something else?
Yeah. Huh. The thing that was making me crazy was mixing and matching the Rockstar fabrics. I felt really limited by this.
So it was getting late, and I needed to go to bed. I knew this wasn’t the best time to start deconstructing and reconstructing, but I couldn’t help myself. I started pulling my diamond constructions apart and matching like-fabric diamonds together in pairs.
Which is when I saw the bats. Or the butterflies. Or maybe birds?
The next morning, I dragged my design wall to a more easily accessible spot (i.e. not behind a table) and started making birds. I thought the diamonds’ little kite tails could work as very small bird heads.
By dint of time and fabric usage and the fairly minor expense of diamond templates, I was on the path (EPP diamonds) that I was staying on for the rest of the journey. I didn’t love this fabric enough to buy yards and yards of it until I figured out how to make a modern mixed-fabric block from it. So birds it was, and birds it will be.
One of the things I enjoy about the creative process is the serendipitous moment. Looking at my birds with their tiny heads, I wondered if they might be more visually interesting if their noggins were just a touch bigger. I also wondered if they needed some tail feathers to get to where they were going. I grabbed a couple of triangular scraps from the table and attached them to the top bluebird:
Now that bluebird was getting somewhere! Big heads for everybody!
Right now, all the heads and tails are made from scraps. I think I’m going to use the head and tail from the geranium bird in row four from the right, third bird down, to make templates. I find that particular bird’s balance most pleasing.
So that ends part one of my creative process on the Riley Blake/MQG 2017 challenge. I’ve ordered two yards of RB white, which I hope will be here Saturday. My plan is to applique each bird to a block of white background fabric and then piece the blocks together. My next challenge will be to figure out exactly how I want the birds to be laid out on the quilt. I don’t want it to be a perfect flock. By the way, I will be making a few more birds to bring up the rear.
Feel free to send suggestions–but please do so before it’s too late and there’s no going back! In particular, I’m interested in whether or not more visual elements can be added to the design.
“A truly enjoyable read! Quilters will relive their own first patchwork steps along with Emma as she searches for her place in a new community. Non-quilters will experience vicariously Emma’s discovery of the power of quilts to connect, heal, and restore the soul.” –Marianne Fons
I’m so happy to introduce you to Emma Byrd, wife, mother, introvert, wannabe writer and — much to her surprise — quilter. Like so many of us, Emma longs for a simple life, and like most of us, she discovers that life is rarely simple, even in a small town in a scenic setting.
I wrote this book for a simple reason: it’s the sort of book I wanted to read — a book with quilts and quilt-making at its heart. As a writer and a quilt-maker as well as a wife and mother (and a homebody!), I’m interested in intersection of daily life and creativity, the useful and beautiful. No wonder I love quilts so much!
I hope you read and enjoy Birds in the Air. If you do, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads. Thanks so much!
Birds in the Air, A Novel by Frances O’Roark Dowell
When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face.
Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. But not everyone is happy to see the job go to an outsider, especially one who has befriended an outcast pursuing her own last best chance at redemption.
With Birds in the Air, Frances O’Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) has created a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.
“What a delightful book! … As I read, I was transported out of my chair and into the town of Sweet Anne’s Gap and the lives of the quilters that I can understand so well.” –Annie Smith
“Birds in the Air is a great book and quilt block — it’s as unusual as liking the book and the movie! It was such a pleasurable read. I cared about the characters and what happened to them. I enjoyed revisiting what it is like to be a brand new quilter.” –Kathy Mathews, ChicagoNow
A Quilting Q&A with Author Frances O’Roark Dowell
Marie Bostwick is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books, including A Single Thread, The Second Sister, Between Heaven and Texas, and most recently From Here to Home. Her novels feature creative, resilient women who face their problems with intelligence and humor, and who get by with a little help from their friends. Quilting is a central preoccupation with many of Marie’s characters, making her books especially dear to those of us who love a good novel and a good quilt with equal passion.
I interviewed Marie recently via email. In our exchange I discovered a delightful, funny and thoughtful woman (it’s always a treat when writers you love turn out to be nice people). I’m excited to give away a copy of her new book From Here to Home to one lucky reader. Leave a comment below by Friday, April 22nd, to have a chance to win.
For more about Marie, go to her website: http://www.mariebostwick.com/
Frances: Before we start talking about your marvelous new book, From Here to Home, I want to talk about your quilting. I’ve seen pictures of your quilts and they’re beautiful! How did you start quilting? What are your favorite kinds of quilts to make?
Marie: Well…I’d love to say it was because I had this deep, ineffable need to express myself creatively. The truth is I was walking by a quilt shop in a strip mall in Texas, saw they gave classes, and thought this would be a good way to get a break from my toddlers and engage in adult conversation while I still remembered how. (Bet I’m not the only one who can say that.)
The creativity part came later, when I found out how much I truly adored quilting. It brought me back to that creative part of me I’d given up on after getting a C on my wood sculpture in my fourth grade art class. I often say that I quilt because I don’t paint. (Bet I’m not the only one who can say that either.)
As far as a favorite kind of quilt; for a long time the answer to that question would have been traditional piecing. Now my favorite kind of quilting is whatever I’m working on at the moment. I set myself a goal to tackle a new technique every year or two. That’s opened up a lot of new avenues for me – applique, paper piecing, using made fabrics, learning to quilt my own tops instead of always relying on a longarmer. I’ve been more successful at mastering some techniques than others, but I’ve enjoyed it all.
Right now, I am all about crazy quilting. Perle cotton makes me go weak in the knees!
Frances: Are you a member of a quilt guild or any kind of quilting group? If so, talk about the ways these groups have been meaningful to you. What’s your favorite thing about being around other quilters?
Marie: My work and travel schedule is hectic and unpredictable so I haven’t been able to join a traditional guild. However, a few years back I started an online quilting group through my website. (That was back when websites still had forums – in the old days of ten years ago.) We started with about 25 people.
Now we have a Facebook group – Cobbled Court Quilt Circle Online – with about 1100 members. We do swaps, charity projects, post pictures of our quilts, share tips about tools and techniques, ask for advice about problems we’re having or what border looks best.
Even though it’s an online group, people make strong personal connections. Sometimes we meet in person too. Recently, I was in Washington DC so I asked if anybody from the area wanted to have a meetup. About 20 of us went to a quilting/mixed media shop in Alexandria, VA and had lunch afterward. It was great getting to talk face to face.
What I love about being around quilters is the way that it opens but avenues to meet and make friends with people I would never have known otherwise, people whose life experience or backgrounds are very different from mine. We begin with a love of quilting as common ground and, before long, we’re finding so much else we have in common.
Frances: You’re a novelist and a quilter. What kind of connections, if any, do you see between making quilts and writing novels?
Marie: Something I have discovered over the years is that artists of all stripes – from writers and composers, to sculptors and choreographers and, yes, quilters and fiber artists too – go through similar stages of the creative process.
It starts with an idea that seems very clear and very, very exciting. At this stage, you can’t wait to get to work. You’re sure you’re onto something brilliant, that you are brilliant!
About halfway in, you decide you are the opposite of brilliant. You wonder why you ever, ever thought this was a good idea. It’s just not turning out like you thought it would – not that you can really remember at this point. (By the way, when I’m writing, this feeling always hits me somewhere between pages 160 and 185. It’s eerily consistent.) You’ll be sorely tempted to give up and start something new. And it’s possible you will. But, if you don’t, you’re probably going back and doing some serious editing, ripping and re-sewing, or the like.
Then – assuming you didn’t give up – as you get toward the end, you start to become excited again. Your project might not have turned out exactly like you envisioned but there are some very good, and surprising, things about it. You’re pleased with the effort, eager to show it to others. You realize that you learned a lot in the process and are starting to think about how you can apply that to your next project. You get excited all over again.
Now, because quilting is my hobby as opposed to my profession, the emotional swings I experience in quilting aren’t as dramatic, but it’s definitely that same creative roller coaster ride. I think this is something just about every artist can relate to.
Frances: In From Here to Home, we return to the tiny Texas town of Too Much and what remains of the Templeton clan. The last time we saw Mary Dell and company, in the final pages of Between Heaven and Texas, it was 1984 and all kind of exciting things were just getting started—Mary Dell’s quilt shop, The Patchwork Palace, the romance between Lydia Dale and Graydon, etc. From Here to Home is set in the present day, which is to say some thirty years later. Why did you make the choice to jump so far ahead in time? And do you think you’ll ever go back and write about the years you leapt over?
Marie: Originally, I did plan for three “Too Much, Texas” books. But when I started to sit down and plot out the middle bit, I realized that the things that happened as Mary Dell built her business and life just weren’t as momentous as what happened later.
A good story requires drama, a seemingly insurmountable problem to be faced. That’s what I was able to give readers in From Here to Home that I wouldn’t have been able to supply in a book focused on the middle years of Mary Dell and Howard’s lives. It’s a plot that keeps you turning pages.
Frances: Mary Dell is just fabulous—she’s the best friend we all wish we had. One of my favorite things about her is that she’s so down to earth and yet larger (and gaudier) than life when it comes to clothes. What do you think this dichotomy says about who Mary Dell is? How fun is it to come up with her wardrobe choices? Do you make it all up, or are her outfits inspired by someone you know in real life?
Marie: You really hit upon something here that is important. Mary Dell’s wardrobe choices are very gaudy – she never met an animal print she didn’t love and one of her favorite sayings is, “more red is more better.” But there’s a reason for that quality that goes far beyond a quirky character trait.
The thing about Mary Dell is this: she knows she has no taste, she even jokes about having, “no more taste than a hothouse tomato”. But, guess what? She doesn’t care. She likes what she likes and she is who she is. She makes no apologies for it. That’s what I absolutely love about Mary Dell. She’s not proud but she is confident, comfortable in her own skin. I think that’s what readers like about her too.
Her wardrobe is really all of my own invention – I just sit there and try to think of the loudest, craziest combinations of colors and patterns I can come up and go with that. Yes, it’s a lot of fun.
Frances: I love Howard! I love that he’s a real (if made-up) person, not just a stick figure with Downs. But I’m curious—was it hard to get inside the head the character of a young man with an intellectual disability? And speaking of getting into men’s minds, how did you go about creating Rob Lee, who’s returned from Afghanistan with PTSD?
Marie: Thanks! I love Howard too.
You know, it really wasn’t hard at all to get in Howard’s head. Cognitive challenges or not, people are people. We want the same things – love, acceptance, happiness in our relationships, satisfaction in our work, a chance to prove ourselves. At this stage of his life, Howard wants to be independent, to go out into the world and test himself, to have control over his choices. I have three grown sons and watched them all go through that same stage of life – perhaps at a younger chronological age than Howard – but the desire was the same.
Learning about PTSD was more challenging. I read many books on the subject. The ones that contained first person narratives from people who had suffered through it, and also from the family members who were walking alongside them, were crucial in helping me get that portion of the story right.
Frances: What’s the hardest thing about writing a series? What’s your favorite thing?
Marie: First off, let me say that I’ve never written a series by planning to do it. What happens is that I finish a book and find that I want to know more about the main character, or I realize that a secondary character has a story of they want to tell.
Part of the reason I never plan to write one is that it is just really hard to do. You’ve got to figure out a way to make the story, setting, and characters seem fresh to people who read the previous books and, at the same time, you have to make sure that you cover enough of the older story so new readers won’t feel like they came in at the middle of the movie. It’s a tricky balance to strike.
However, the part I do like about writing a series is the sense that you’re getting to visit with an old friend, someone you’ve missed talking with. From the letters I get, I know that is what readers like about reading a series as well.
Frances: I know you’re working on something now. Are you the kind of writer who resists talking about her current project or can you tell us a little of what it’s about? If you don’t want to spill the beans just yet, can you tell us when we can expect to see a new book in the stores?
Marie: I really don’t like to talk about a book until I’m finished with it. However, I can tell you that my next book is set in Seattle, involves three sisters who are failed artistic prodigies. One of them is a part time mermaid. As you can imagine, I’m having a lot of fun with that.
Frances: What’s your big quilting dream that may never come true, but is fun to think about (owning your own quilt shop, spending your retirement years taking quilting cruises)? Do you have any special hopes for your writing career?
Marie: My quilting fantasy involves making a Baltimore album quilt – by hand – and doing it well. This doesn’t really seem like something that will ever happen though; my needle turn applique skills are less than stellar. And where would I ever find the time? But it is nice to think about.
As far as writing, I’d like to live long enough to write 50 full-length novels. I’ve got 38 to go.
I’d like to do that well, too. Really well.
Remember, leave a comment by Friday, April 22, 2016, and you’ll be automatically entered into the drawing for Marie’s new book, From Here to Home! Please make sure to leave contact info. Thanks!
So I was walking my dog Travis yesterday and thinking about one of my favorite quilts, Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s “Double Edged Love.” It’s one of her wedding ring quilts, a traditional quilt made modern, as VFW herself likes to say.
When I look at “Double Edged Love” I think of a Robert Rauschenberg collage where images are partially painted over, recognizable and hidden at the same time. Wolfe’s wedding rings are also present and absent; they also cover up and reveal. There’s an implication, underscored by the quilt’s title, that some weddings yield better results than others.
The quilt won “Best in Show” at the first QuiltCon, in 2013, but what’s notable to me about “Double Edged Love” in that context is not its modernity, but its nod to tradition. So, I wondered as I walked Travis up Spencer Street, is it a modern traditional quilt? A quilt that uses contemporary fabric and traditional block elements, but not necessarily traditional block patterns?
Not quite. Not really. “Double Edged Love” is at once more traditional than most modern traditional quilts and more outside of the box. But I don’t think it looks like the poster child for modern quilting, either.
“Let’s call ‘Double Edged Love’ a disrupted traditional quilt,” I told Travis as we continued our walking and pondering, and Travis looked like he thought that was a good idea.
Okay, so “disrupted traditional” probably isn’t going to catch on as a category any time soon. But in a weird way, disrupting tradition is exactly what “Double Edge Love” did when it won QuiltCon—it disrupted not only the tradition it was engaging with, the tried-and-true double wedding ring quilt, but also some of the traditions of modern quilting. By 2013, modern quilting was old enough as a movement to have a generally understood aesthetic–minimalist, clean design, alternate gridwork, solid fabrics, etc.–and it was mature enough to consider new ideas of what it might mean to be modern.
Modern quilting it’s been argued, has many roots—Amish Quilts, Art Quilts, the Gee’s Bend Quilts, Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, Target. You can look at its family tree and everything makes sense more or less: this begat that begat this begat that. And then suddenly: here’s something new, a deviation, born of parents from warring tribes, full of hybrid vigor. In modern quilting’s lineage “Double Edged Love” is the surprise love child that knocks everyone back on their feet.
“Double Edged Love” both reflects and gives us insight into the culture we live in. Many of us are struggling to decide what traditions to hold onto and which to discard. We live in a time in which single adults outnumber married adults, gender identity is fluid, and more of us than ever answer “none” when asked our religious affiliation. “Double Edged Love” is a traditional quilt made nontraditional (disrupted traditionalism!), with parts of itself seemingly erased, parts created out of improvised pieces. At the same time, it literally relies on conventional means and patterns to hold itself together. Like most of us, I’d wager.
However we choose to categorize it, “Double Edged Love” will stand out as one of the most important quilts of the early 21st century. Like our culture and our quiltmaking, it takes from the old and the new—and then dreams itself into something we’ve never seen before. It’s the quilt that opens the door to whatever comes next.
My friend Daisy posted this on Facebook the other day: Have any of you given any thought to submitting anything to QuiltCon next year? I’m playing with an idea . . . Not sure I’m ready for that kind of rejection, though.
I hear you, sister. Rejection’s the worst. There’s almost no context I can think of where it feels good. The problem is that if we don’t risk getting our hearts broken now and then we stay stuck in our little corners and ruts. We remain unstretched; in fact, we may begin to grow brittle. Fearful. Curled up like dead spiders on the windowsill.
Does that mean I think Daisy should go for it?
Not necessarily. I mean, it depends.
On the one hand, if making a quilt to enter into competition seems like fun way for Daisy to push herself as a designer and improve her quilting skills, then why not? As Zina, one of the quilters that responded to Daisy’s query, said, “You can’t look at a rejection as an assault on your character or talent. Especially with a show like Quilt Con, where the emphasis is placed more on design than anything else. You should still make a quilt that speaks to your heart, because if you don’t get into the Big Show, at least you are left with a quilt that you love!”
What are reasons not to enter? Some of the respondents had specific concerns about the judging at QuiltCon. Katie, for instance, felt that QuiltCon judges privilege art quilts and “emotional” quilts over quilts that are functional and apolitical, suggesting that she doesn’t feel that the kind of quilts she makes would get serious consideration. Others found that the possibility of being rejected made the idea of submitting quilts to any juried show untenable. They admitted that it isn’t in their emotional make-up to take that risk.
But it was Tina who tapped into something that goes beyond the fear of being judged and rejected. She wrote about the fear of being shamed.
“I have no problems with quilt judges,” Tina said. “I was very sad for Melissa [Averinos, whose quilt “My Brother’s Jeans” won the 2016 QuiltCon Best of Show] because of the public remarks made about her very emotional quilt. I’m sure we all know the pain of overhearing disparaging comments about ourselves. Being a member of the quiltcon rejects [a flickr group for people whose quilts weren’t accepted for the show] sounds great, but the idea of actually getting in and hearing that I was unworthy or my art was unworthy is scary to me. Maybe I’m a little too insecure but I find such massive scrutiny terrifying.”
Yep. As far as I’m concerned, these days it’s not the idea of being rejected that’s so scary; it’s the idea of winning.
Like Tina, I don’t have a problem with judges; I have no reason to think that quilt show judges don’t take their jobs seriously or work hard to make responsible, defensible choices. That their ultimate choices might be somewhat subjective, particularly at QuiltCon, where the aesthetic and criteria are still evolving, is not a surprise nor a particular concern. This year it’s one sort of quilt that wins, next year it’s going to be another. It’s refreshing, if you think about it.
Now I think a lot of people were surprised that the judges chose “My Brother’s Jeans” for best of show. It’s an idiosyncratic quilt, sui generis, deeply personal, one that doesn’t really scream “modern quilt” (at least not to me). I actually think it’s beautiful quilt, but a lot of people I respect remain unconvinced that it was the right choice. And that’s fine–of course we’re going to have differing opinions.
But our opinions should be stated respectfully, with our compassionate understanding that a real, live human being stands on the other side of the quilt we’re discussing. I don’t think this has entirely been case with the discussion around “My Brother’s Jeans.” There’ve been great blog posts, like Katie’s over at Katie’s Quilting Corner, where I feel she tries to think seriously about the quilt and give an honest response. But there’s been a lot of snark. A lot of “I don’t get it.”
To which my response is: try to get it. Even if it’s just for five minutes, try to see what the judges saw. Try to open your mind and heart to the quilt. Because we all know how hurtful it is to be dismissed, swatted away like a fly. Could we please learn some compassion here? We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to stop shaming each other.
I propose we make a Quilter’s Code of Public Conduct. Maybe it could go something like this:
On my honor, I will try:
We all feel vulnerable when we take risks. We are vulnerable. We could get hurt. But how about we all make this promise to Daisy and everyone else who dares–who has the friggin’ amazing audacity–to put herself out there in a big way: we will stand behind you. We’ve got your back. So go out there and give ’em hell.
The other day I went to a friend’s birthday lunch at a local cafe. I was seated among a group of women I didn’t know, and when I mentioned that I made quilts I got the response I almost always get when amongst the muggles (i.e. nonquilters): admiration (“that’s so cool!”) underscored by confusion. People still make quilts? When I mentioned my favorite quilting event is coming up soon—the 85th annual Uncle Eli’s Quilting Party—the woman next to me asked in an incredulous voice, “Do people actually go?”
Sure, I told her. Lots of folks from the Eli Whitney community attend, as do quilters from all around the state. I then gave her the standard Yes, Quilters Still Exist spiel: Do you know there are 16 million quilters in this country? That quilting is a 3 billion dollar a year industry? That there are dozens of quilting magazines and podcasts, and hundreds if not thousands quilting blogs? Quilting, as the Donald would say, is YUUUGE.
The response is always the same: I had no idea.
Why is that? Why do the muggles not know that we exist? If you do the math, 16 million quilters means that 1 out of every 20 Americans quilts. The fact that my local grocery store stocks six quilting magazines on its periodicals rack (For the Love of Quilting, Quiltmaker, Quilter’s World, AQS American Quilter, and Quilting Arts) suggests that quilting is very much a going concern in this country.
So why is the fact that we make quilts so shocking? Why don’t more people know that quilting is vibrant, thriving craft practiced by women (and a few men) all over the country and across the world?
I have a few ideas. I’ll begin with the obvious:
Quilting is a woman’s thing. Believe me, if 16 million men were quilters, Sports Illustrated would cover it like an Olympic event. The Best of Show quilts from Houston and Paducah would be on the front page of the New York Times. There would be a 24-hour quilting cable channel, and quilters’ trading cards would be available at every supermarket checkout line.
(I can just hear it now: “Cool, I got a Joe Cunningham!” “Man, I already have two Luke Haynes! Who’ll trade me for a Ricky Tims?”)
The media does a
piss-poor very bad job of covering quilting. I understand that your average features writer is not a quilt historian, but when, oh when, will we get away from these sorts of headlines:
Most articles treat quilting as though it were a dusty butter churn found in a long forgotten great-aunt’s attic. The general assumption seems to be women stopped quilting somewhere around 1930 and have just recently rediscovered it.
“Modern quilts aren’t exactly what your great-grandmother used to make,” a Toronto Globe & Mail reporter reassures us. “Like the resurgence in rug hooking, another practical craft of generations past, quilting clubs are popping up across the country and guilds are consistently gaining new members.”
Yes, like the resurgence in rug hooking. Yes, exactly like that.
It must be said that sometimes we quilters are not our own best advocates. “Quilters,” one quilter told the Columbia County News-Times in a recent article, “are not a bunch of little old ladies sitting around,” an oft-referenced image that has lacked currency for for decades. In the same article another quilter goes on record to say that the modern quilt movement is “a whole sort of revival of quilters.”
(ETA: One of the quilters quoted in this article has written to tell me that the quotes were in response to a young reporter who began their conversation by exclaiming that her grandmother made quilts. So in fact, the quilters were trying to convince the reporter that lots of people quilt, not just our grannies. Always good to know the context of a quote!)
While it’s generally accepted that in the U.S. quilting had a fallow period from roughly WWII until the late 1960s (though if you read Roderick Karcofe’s Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000, you might reconsider), once quilting took off again in the 1970s, it never stopped. The only time quilters have needed reviving in the last forty-odd years is at the end of a long day at Quilt Expo, and we’ve long given up smelling salts in favor of a nice Cabernet.
(Here’s a dream: next year when every newspaper in Georgia does a piece on QuiltCon 2017, wouldn’t it be great if the only time the word “grandmother” appears with the word “quilt” is in the headline “Woman becomes grandmother when her daughter gives birth on QuiltCon’s Best of Show quilt”?)
There are two other reasons I can think of for quilters’ invisibility in the larger culture. Nowadays, when so many people are hard-pressed to thread a needle, much less sew a straight line and a quarter-inch seam, the muggles believe that making a quilt is a near-impossible endeavor, on the level of performing neurosurgery or splitting an atom, and should not be attempted outside of a laboratory. The idea that someone could make a quilt in her own home by sewing little pieces of fabric together using a sewing machine? Outlandish! Preposterous!
Finally, most of us quilters work in a gift economy. Quilting is a 3 billion dollar a year industry because of the stuff we buy—fabric, classes, books, machines, conference passes—not because of the stuff we sell. Most of us don’t sell our quilts; we give them away. For free. For zero money. In a culture that measures a thing’s worth in dollars, and celebrates and idolizes and fetishizes the stuff the costs the most dollars, is it any wonder that homemade quilts fly under the radar and the women who make them are no where to be seen?
Also on The Off-Kilter Quilt blog…
I recently watched Mary Fons’ webinar, You Call That a Quilt? Quilt Styles in America: Traditional, Contemporary, Studio/Art, and Modern, on the Modern Quilt Guild website. This tour de force overview of American quilts did not disappoint, though I felt a little breathless by the end—Mary covered a lot of territory in a short period of time in her entertaining, high energy style.
I have to admit, though, that I was surprised when she mentioned the PBS series Why Quilts Matter: History, Art and Politics and said something along the lines of “You have to watch this!” We’re talking about a show that over nine episodes worth of quilt talk didn’t once mention her mother, Marianne Fons, arguably one of the most important people in American quilting for the last thirty years.
Not to mention that the series isn’t all that good.
In fact, Why Quilts Matter is problematic on a number of levels. The narration is poorly written, sentimental and clichéd. “The quilt may seem as American as apple pie, but it did not originate in America,” the first episode begins, giving you your first clue that Aaron Sorkin didn’t write the script.
Even if the writing were up to snuff, the emphasis on money in Why Quilts Matter would still be offensive. “Learn what makes one antique quilt more valuable and important than another,” one episode description reads; another entire episode is devoted to the quilt marketplace, ignoring the fact that most quilters operate in a gift economy, giving away their quilts for free.
Even more insulting is not only the absence of Fons and Porter but also the average American quilter. Only a few of the 16 million quilters that make up Quilt Nation appear in the series’ 250 minutes, and unless they’re famous, they’re seen only briefly and mostly shown from unflattering angles. The average quilter has been displaced by far more important people—primarily antiques dealers. In fact, one of the prevailing messages over the course of six-plus hours is that quilts largely matter because there is a market for antique and art quilts. If people will pay lots of money for something, why then of course it matters.
But the biggest problem with Why Quilts Matter is that the claims it makes for the importance of quilts—that they’re historic documents, that some are worthy of hanging in museums, and others have been channels for women’s political expression—have very little to do with why quilts matter.
So why do quilts matter? Here are just a few of the reasons I can think of:
1. For centuries, women have poured their creative energy into making quilts. Whether these quilts were works of art or just nice bedcovers, they were imbued with their makers’ intelligence and ingenuity. For many women throughout history, making quilts was one of their few means of creative self-expression. A woman couldn’t necessarily justify pulling out her paints and easel to do a study of a prairie sunset, but she could get out her needle and thread without anyone questioning how she was using her time. Quilts matter because they are expressions of women’s creativity, resourcefulness and skill.
2. Once cotton fabric became widely available, quilting was anybody’s—and everybody’s—game. The means of production were simple and at hand: needle, thread, fabric, fingers. A piano might not be in the budget, but anybody could take a couple of old shirts and a pair of scissors and go to town. The great secret of quiltmaking is that anyone can make a quilt. Anyone. When it comes to arts and crafts, you don’t get any more democratic than quilting. Throughout history, women of all ages, ethnicities and social strata have made quilts. Quilts matter because whoever you are, wherever you are, you can make a quilt. And that’s cool and kind of profound.
3. Quilts matter because here in the 21st century U.S. quilting is the last traditional American craft still being widely practiced. Go to any periodical rack in any grocery store and you’ll find at least one quilting magazine, maybe two or three. Magazines about blacksmithing, glass blowing, basketweaving and decoy carving? Not so many. In fact, zero. Millions of people make quilts every year, for themselves and for family and friends. Moreover, these quilts are very often functional—which is to say, they’re made to be used. Traditional crafting of all kinds is still practiced in this country, but the products tend to lean toward the artistic or esoteric object—the ceramic bowl that you can’t actually eat out of, the beautiful basket that’s made for decoration, not for carrying your groceries home from the market.
4. Quilts matter because making things matter. Humans are born makers, and we are less than we could be when we don’t make stuff. This is something I’ll write more about in another post, but what I’ll say now is that quilts are some of the last, great homemade objects, and quilters are passionate about making quilts because the making is so deeply satisfying.
One day someone will make a series that does justice to quilts and quilters in a comprehensive, in-depth and truthful way. In the meantime, go watch Mary Fons over at the Modern Quilt Guild (you have to be a member to access the video—worth it) or check out The Great American Quilt Revival. If you think quilts matter, I’d recommend giving Why Quilts Matter a pass.
First, a disclaimer: I know nothing about judging quilts. Okay, I know that you’re supposed to check the binding to make sure it’s sewn on good and tight and plenty stuffed. But therein ends my knowledge. I do know something about judging in general, though, having judged several writing contests over the years, most recently the Scholastic Book Fairs’ Kids Are Authors competition. First of all, judging is hard work. Second, while it’s fairly easy to whittle entries down to the semi-finalists, it’s much more difficult to narrow the field down to the finalists, and almost impossible to pick a winner. Usually each of the finalists has hit all the marks: in writing contests this means plausible plots that move along at a good pace, well-developed characters, well-constructed sentences, and stories with heart. So how does one decide?
Well, you resist choosing the baseball story just because you like baseball, and you don’t hand over the big prize to the kid who wrote a tearjerker about a dog just because you’re a sucker for dog stories. You try to not let your own biases get in the way of making a fair choice. Oftentimes your final decision comes down to originality, personality and a certain je ne sais quoi.
Right now in the quilty world, there are those who are questioning the 2016 QuiltCon judges for selecting My Brother’s Jeans by Melissa Averinos for Best of Show. That there would be naysayers is a given. There are always naysayers. But in this case, what are the naysayers naying about and do they have a point?
From what I’ve heard, those who question the bestness of My Brother’s Jeans feel that it’s not a technically proficient quilt. Phrases like poor construction and indifferent workmanship have been bandied about. Many who criticize the choice feel the quilt got its BOS nod because of the story behind it—the jeans in question belonged to Averinos’ brother, who committed suicide in 2009. The quilt is a mourning quilt and it’s difficult not to be moved by it once you know the story.
Since I’ve only seen pictures of My Brother’s Jeans, I’m truly in no position to judge. I should say I do like it, very much so, but to really know a quilt you need to see it live and in person; photographs rarely tell the whole story. I will also say that I’m more than willing to give Averinos the benefit of the doubt–I assume any roughness in construction or design was intentional and for the purpose of evoking a particular emotional response. But as I said, I’m really not in a position to judge.
On the other hand, BOS judges Scott Murkin, Cheryl Arkison, and Lisa Congdon were in a position to judge, and clearly they liked what they saw when they examined My Brother’s Jeans. So just what were they looking for? What are the criteria for an excellent modern quilt? How do they differ from the criteria for an excellent traditional quilt?
There are those who feel that the criteria for excellence in a quilt should be the same across genres. Whether a quilt is modern or traditional or some mix thereof, workmanship and design should be the primary measures of a quilt’s superiority. In a 2015 interview Murkin, a NAQ certified judge, did a marvelous job of outlining what excellent workmanship consists of. Workmanship, he told Mandy Lein of Mandalei.com, “focuses primarily on the structural integrity of the quilt. Secure seams, straight lines (where intended), smooth curves (where intended), well-secured quilting stitches that hold the layers together securely without any excess fullness, straight edges (where intended), square corners and secure edge finishes are all part of this equation. While textiles are subject to the wear and tear of everyday use and cleaning, a well-made quilt should last a long time under general usage conditions. Workmanship that undermines the longevity of a quilt will be noted during the judging process.”
The parenthetical refrain of “where intended” is key to considering how one judges the modern quilt, in my opinion. Modern quilters don’t always have the same intentions as their traditional sisters and brothers. The problem of uneven stitching might recede in the face of an original design or a powerful message. A perfect point might matter, but not as much as the quilt’s emotional impact. Moreover, a less than perfect point might just be intentional, a way of causing friction in the viewer’s experience. In short, intangibles will be considered when considering a modern quilt.
It should be noted that of the three judges on this year’s panel, only Murkin is a certified quilt judge. One of the judges, Lisa Congdon, is not a quilter at all, but a painter and illustrator. Last year’s line-up was similar, sporting only one NAQ certified judge, Stevii Graves. 2015 judge Janine Vangool quilts but is better known as a graphic designer and UPPERCASE magazine editor. In a post-QuiltCon blogpost, Vangool wrote that her favorite entries “had interesting and personal descriptions of how the quilt’s inspiration came into play … Quilts in which the personality of the maker shone through were the most pleasurable to look at—and the most memorable weeks later.”
I believe that by selecting judges who are not actually certified to judge, the Modern Quilt Guild is signaling that while having a securely attached binding may be important, it may not be paramount when judging the overall excellence of a quilt. Not that MQG is uninterested in workmanship. The entry rules state that, “QuiltCon reserves the right to reject any quilts that are in poor condition when received and seen in person. Examples include, but are not limited to, torn fabric, stained fabric, poor craftsmanship or an unfinished quilt.”
So it’s not that MQG doesn’t have standards. It’s not that workmanship isn’t important. But by using judges who either aren’t quilters or aren’t certified quilting judges, there is the suggestion that many factors will be considered when choosing the best of show quilts, not only workmanship and design. What these factors are may vary from quilt to quilt, show to show. The fact is, judging the modern quilt may be a more subjective process than many of us are comfortable with.
Let me end by saying this: I believe all honor and respect are due to the quilter who places a high value on technical excellence. Too often we dismiss her as a member of the quilt police, a little old anal lady caught up in enforcing rules and making the rest of us miserable. Why not think of her instead as the Olympic athlete of quilters, the fabric world’s Michael Phelps? We admire exceptional skill in athletes; why not in quilters?
Moreover, I think workmanship matters, and I think it should and does matter to modern quilters. In the same interview quoted above, Murkin goes onto say, “Modern quilters have to be careful that ‘breaking the rules’ doesn’t become an easy excuse for sloppy workmanship. Workmanship criteria that are no longer valid, i.e. no longer have an effect on the durability or longevity of our work can and should be abandoned when they no longer serve us and just become arbitrary rules. But many of those workmanship criteria have real, demonstrable effects on the presentation and life of our quilted creations and it makes sense to invest ourselves in making our work better.”
I believe that as Modern Quilting evolves we’ll see more and more quilts that are remarkable for their workmanship as well as their design and originality. I think we’re seeing them already. But I’m glad that modern quilters aren’t afraid to give big love to a quilt with a good story and a beating heart.
P.S. I haven’t yet listened to Annie Smith and Christa Watson’s discussion about this year’s QuiltCon, in which they talk about My Brother’s Jeans, but I plan to this afternoon. You can find it on Annie’s website, http://simplearts.com/blogs/ and on iTunes.
Listener Ellen traveled all the way to Paducah, KY, from Scotland this spring to attend Quilt Week. She was kind enough to take notes so we could share in her fabulous experience. Read on for all kinds of quilty fun!
The Paducah Diaries, by Ellen H.
Day 1: Tuesday
We arrived in Paducah on Tuesday afternoon a little later than planned so it was a bit of a rush to get to the Awards ceremony.
We knew that Kay hadn’t won anything (see Kay’s quilts at the bottom of this post), but it was a good opportunity to see the quilts that had won and see some of the winners. There weren’t a great many winners there. One of Kay’s friends, Linda Hrcka and Lisa Bongean, won the large longarm machine quilted for “Sunflower Gatherings,” so Kay was really pleased to be there and see the presentation. “For Tanya,” one of the prizewinning quilts from Quilt Con also won in the Modern section. That was one of my favourites, so I was pleased to see it win here. Miriam Coffey, one of the quilters was there, and she was so excited that she ran down the aisle, onto the stage.and across it to pick up her prize. That will always be one of my memories of this trip to Paducah.
I was sorry that more of the big prize winners weren’t there. When I went to Houston a few years ago the majority of the winners were there. At Paducah a minority were there. I know that there are all sorts of reasons for that and I’m not being critical of contestants but merely observing that it does a disservice to the competition and to those who come to Paducah for Quilt Week.
Immediately after the ceremony we went over to the Convention Centre for the”Sneak Peek.” If you or anyone else is coming to Paducah in the future, it’s worth paying to attend this. It is busy, but nothing like as busy as the next few days and it gives you time to see all the winners and the other quilts much more easily and get photographs without the hassle that it can become.
This is “Majestic Mosaic” by Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin , which was the overall winner. Karen wasn’t able to be there at all. I believe that she was unwell, but Renae was there on Friday.
Day 2: Wednesday
On Wednesday we spent the day at the Convention Centre and the Pavilion. Apart from seeing all the quilts, which are over three areas, there were all the vendors. We’re working a system now, which we have perfected over a number of quilts shows. See fabric, etc., once, note where it is, go away and look round the rest of the show, and if it’s still on your mind after that, buy it. It’s certainly cut down on the amount of fabric that I’ve acquired.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable day, met quite a few folk, but by 4pm our feet had had enough. We had been on our feet from just after 8am, after all. Linzi and Kay made their first purchases — antique 1930s flimsies for $40 before 9am and breakfast. (We didn’t realise how much of a bargain these were until the next day). So we retired to Kirchoff’s Bakery & Deli in South 2nd St for a soft drink and some lovely cookies. Don’t miss this bakery if you are ever in Paducah.
Once our feet had recovered and since we were over that way we continued over to Finkels to see the “Hurt” books and meet up with Linda Hrcka at “Primitive Beginnings”. It was lovely to meet up with her and have a chat.
This is “For Tanya” by Emily and Miriam Coffrey from North Carolina. My personal favourite. This one also won at QuiltCon:
This one is “Hard Times”. I believe that there was some controversy about it earlier since it uses a photo taken in the 1930s from the Library of Congress:
Day 3: Thursday
We were out of the house about 8.30 to go for breakfast on Thursday morning and then head for Hancock’s early. We did spend a few hours in Hancock’s, but why wouldn’t you? Kay had a great time spending money. We did have to do an intervention at one point because she went a bit berserk in the sales area. Having only one spare suitcase between three people is a great way of maintaining a focus!
Once we had dragged ourselves away from Hancock’s, we went to the Rotary Club Show. Their display this year featured “hexie”quilts and there were some beauties. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived so we had plenty of time to look at the quilts, but just as we finished looking at them a busload of people arrived, so things got a little busy.
There were quite a few vendors there, including Cherrywood. We met Miriam Coffey, who was one of the people who made”For Tanya,” there as she was helping out on the stall. She was a really lovely young woman, and we had a great chat with her. At the back of the centre was the Cherrywood “Wicked” display. It was an interesting exhibition because there was a huge range of style of piecing and quilting although the colours were all the same of course.
We had to do a bit of spending here; after all, quilt shops need our support. The most interesting booth was Hmong Pandua Needlework. The fabric was from India( I think) and it was gorgeous. If you ever see it at a quilt show, check it out but if you want to buy anything there be prepared for it to take a while (15-30 minutes), because the lady selling the fabric has her own unique style of doing it.
Our next stop off was the Quilt Museum in the centre of Paducah. The quilts on show in the gallery were amazing. I really couldn’t pick one out as my favourite of the ones on show that day. There was a cross section from the earliest to the most recent times, so it was interesting see the changes in styles of quilting–hand to machine, traditional to more expressive (not sure that’s the word that I’m looking for but can’t think of another). Linzi and Kay would pick out different quilts from myself because they are professional long arm quilters. I’m just one “of the rest of us” so we had quite a conversation about a few of them.
We weren’t so keen on the SAQA exhibition which was based around food items. I’ve seen their exhibitions as the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham and they are all quite interpretative and diverse. This one just wasn’t for me. The last exhibition was “Old-Modern” and was based around nine patches. Both the traditional and the modern side of the exhibition were worth spending time on but for different reasons. The traditional side was clearly nine patches used in different ways to interpret the theme. The modern side was more about finding the nine patches. Some quilters’ imaginations knew no bounds. We frequently played hunt the nine patch and they were not always squares. Some were stars, hexies, rectangles …
Obviously the exhibitions at the Museum change all the time, so no matter when you go you will always see something different, but I think that the Museum staff do an excellent job of helping quilters to look outside of their comfort zone.
I should have said at the beginning of this “report,” which is turning into an epistle, that one of Linzi’s friends had arranged for us to stay with the Mayor of Paducah, Gayle Kayler and her husband when we couldn’t find accommodation last August. She and her husband couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful to us during our stay with them and their 3 rescue dogs were just delightful. I had some very long conversations with them.
Anyway about 5 years ago Linzi made a quilted Yurt (see picture at the end of post). It’s about 18 ft in circumference and can seat about 40 people. It’s made up of a large number of panels which have been pieced by Linzi and a number of other quilters. Linzi quilted most of them. The original yurt’s panels were made by folk from the UK and the USA. Linzi calls them her stunt quilters.
The yurt was originally exhibited in 2010 at Loch Lomond. After that Linzi split the panels up and made additional panels for what became the Scottish Quilted Yurt and additional panels for the yurt that became the American one. It was been exhibited in several places including Houston but now it’s on display in a museum in Wisconsin. The Scottish one has never found a home except rolled up in Linzi’s studio. Gayle and Linzi had a conversation the previous night and at the end of our visit to the Museum they met with the Director and other folk from Paducah and the net result is that Linzi’s Scottish Yurt will shortly becoming to Paducah to stay to be used for creative events like the literary festival.
Now was that not the biggest waffle that you have ever read to get to that piece of news? I’m sorry but I can’t think how to say that in a shortened form.
This is “Robbers’ Roost” by JoanneBaeth. If you can look closely you can see some of the things that they have stolen hanging on the tree.
Day 4: Friday
Friday was our last day and we spent it catching up with the few exhibitions that we had missed,walking around the “pop-up” shops in the town and saying good-bye to the quilters that we had met as well as finishing our shopping. It is well worth walking around Paducah and seeing the way in which the town has been rejuvenated. At the same time, you will see all the displays in the shop windows to reflect Quilt Week, displays of quilts in homes and the artisans who have made their homes into their workshops.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Paducah. It was lovely to meet folk that we have only spoken to on the internet and to talk to other quilters in Kirchoff’s Deli and Bakery (a place not to be missed), restaurants and around town generally. The people of Paducah generally are just so warm and welcoming.
The fabric bargains that we got were amazing. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so good for folk from the US but for us they less than half what we usually pay.
A lot of the notions were a big saving too. You are all so lucky!
The final photo is of David Taylor’s winning quilt:
Ellen’s friend Kay had two quilts in the show:
The first quilt is called “Flower of Scotland,” the title of the Scottish national anthem. The second quilt is “The Horse and its Rider.” It commemorates the Battle of Flodden in 1514 and the beginning of the Common Ridings in the Borders of Scotland, where Kay lives.
And here’s Linzi’s yurt, which will be in Paducah shortly:
Thanks so much, Ellen!