Episode 166: And So the Summer Begins

Welcome to Episode No. 169 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Dresden Update

The trad plates:


The modern plates:


Want to make your own Dresden (please, join in!)? Go here to access Jaye’s tutorial:


Post a picture of your Dresden plate on Sherri’s flickr page for us Dresden gals:


At last–the video the Man and I did of Uncle Eli’s Quilting Party!


Thanks to Nonnie for posting this link on Twitter–it’s the latest episode of Crafty Planner, with a very interesting interview with Mary Fons. Good discussion of the importance of knowing your quilt history and the pros and cons of learning how to quilt from the Internet.


What am I reading?

The Edible South by Marcie Cohen Ferris

 Shedding My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood by Jim Grimsley

The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

21 Replies to “Episode 166: And So the Summer Begins”

  1. BACKGROUND fabric … I personally love NAVY as a background and think of it as a neutral.

    Take your blocks to the store and view them on the fabrics you like… do not be afraid to even try a few subtle prints. but solid backgrounds are very traditional. Preview the blocks and I think you will find something you like.

    As for MODERN quilts … I think they use too many GRAY colors ,,, I think gray muddies the beautiful fabrics that are used in many MODERN QUILTS. Gray is a fad … in future years a lot of people will regret using so much gray in their quilts. Like many fads that go with HOME DEC phases .. those are the quilts put away in the closet.

  2. Frances. THANKYOU. Your video was just terrific. You have the best speaking voice. I do listen to you religiously. Watching the video you have made, gave me a lovely fuzzy warm feeling. Thankyou for sharing and please share more of these things if you can.

    Regards and happy stitching from Vanessa in Bannockburn, Australia.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Mr. and Mrs. Dowell,

    Kudos and congrats on a lovely and fine video. My, it was professional and Frances, your narrative voice was wonderful.

  4. Such a good episode I took notes for my comments!

    Love the Uncle Eli video – I shared it with our guild. I agree that you did a great job narrating and have a wonderful voice.

    On gardening, I have been enjoying my herbs so much this year. I have been adding them to salads (mashed with a clove of garlic and a little salt in the bottom of my wooden salad bowl) and they make all the difference!

    On kids with different brains, I’m right there with you! My oldest is now taking college math courses that I’ve never even heard of. Sometimes I think he just makes stuff up to mess with me.

    On magazines, I haven’t bought or subscribed to one in years. Paper drives me crazy to begin with, and that feels like such a waste of money for printing and mailing and ads. eZines seem like a good idea, but I can barely get through the free content I subscribe to. Like you, I think all of the patterns and articles run together (along with quick and easy recipes, quick and easy organization tips, and ways to drive him wild.)

  5. Frances-the video is wonderful. Give Clifton a big thumbs up. Your narration was great.
    Just finished reading “Early Warning” the 2nd in Jane Smiley’s current trilogy.
    I have given up all of my quilting magazine subscriptions. I subscribed to QNM from 1984 through 2013. It just stopped speaking to me. I pick up some individual quilting magazines at the local Barnes & Noble but none on a regular basis anymore.
    All my herbs are in pots outside and I did spend $ for plants. In PA the growing season is too short unless you start things inside.

  6. Hi Francis,
    I just wanted to say that I think quilting magazines are starting to mimic scrapbook magazines whereby every article is repeated in some form or another every month. Sadly, most scrapbook magazines are out of print now. I hope quilting magazines can come up with something new!

  7. I am back after a sporadic listen. (We had a big 16th birthday to celebrate.) Here are some thoughts.
    I used to hate hats, but I have since decided that I don’t care how dumb I look, it is way worse to either be sunburned on my head or put sunscreen in my hair. Last year I got one at the dollar store and made a cute fabric band to put on it. I have noticed that tons of people here wear them on the beach and for walking. You can come to SoCal and blend in with us weirdos.

    I also came across a 30’s fabric quilt I saw at a quilt show here that I blogged about a few years ago that has a sashing I like. It doesn’t have a background fabric. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lvyzdOdJHgU/T4zVmf0AdoI/AAAAAAAAGP4/kAn5qYpt7Gw/s640/HHSA04-14-12-IMG_5211.jpg
    If that pic link doesn’t work, here is the post link. You would have to scroll down.

    I am subscribed to Block Magazine from Missouri Star Quilt Co. It is beautiful, more like a book and no ads. Family stories and patterns pretty much. It is a great beach read. Not diverse as far as articles go. Pretty fluffy.

    I wanted to get Quilty but could never find a copy to see if I liked it. And now it is gone. American Patchwork and Quilting sounds great. I try to grab old copies my library sells. But they are usually REALLY old. If you are interested the library has copies of old Quilter’s Newsletter. I would be happy to pick up any I find.

    Food history is totally facsinating. I am going to assume that you have heard of the “Supersizers go…” series (https://www.youtube.com/user/Supersizers) about eating (and dressing the part) in various periods of history. I love these shows. If your readers/listeners have not watched these I highly recommend them. They are fun, funny and educational.

  8. Frances the video is terrific. Job well done for both your husband and yourself.

    I was listening to your podcast while driving back from visiting my daughter. You mentioned QuiltCon 2015 and said you would love to go. I got all excited for a minute and then you said that you probably wouldn’t. I laughed at myself because if was literally a yay. . .oh. I totally understand though, it can get expensive. QuiltCon 2016 is in Savannah, maybe you could make it to that one. I plan on going with a few friends and I would LOVE to meet up with you.

    As for quilt magazines, I rarely buy any, but I think it was Sandy over at Quilting For the Rest of Us that had a couple of online subscriptions? The good thing about that is if you view on your ipad you can enlarge the image so you can see the detail in the quilting.

    Thanks for the podcast and all the links.

  9. So sweet you’ve missed my comments! I’m actually recovering from a bad bout of depression. Haven’t sewn for a few months. I’m in Kansas City for the Regional Quilt Festival and Twilter meet up. I really wanted to make it. I think I’m on the mend so I’m sure I’ll have fun. Also, I know that the Twilters will be understanding.

  10. Kudos on the video. You two did a great job. I think it would be so fun to attend Uncle Eli’s quilting party sometime! Just caught up on the last three podcasts. As always, thank you for doing them. Always entertaining! Tani in Denver

  11. I’m still listening to your quilt diaries while organizing a closet for someone, just stopped to comment 🙂
    I agree with the others on the navy background for the dresdens. Since all your fabrics are medium to light value, a dark blue background would pop all the colors. Your plates look beautiful! My dresdens were the pointy kind.
    I also have herbs in my garden, this year we planted basil, cilantro, and rosemary, I’ve used basil and cilantro already.
    I will watch the video during lunch and might be back with more comments!

  12. Love your Dresdens. I’ve got to try them soon. Really enjoyed Uncle Eli’s Quilting Party video. I remember going to my grandmother’s home just as the quilting bee ladies were leaving and seeing the big quilt frame in her living room. How I wished I had seen them working & that there was something like that nearby. Maybe it’s not too late to start something.

  13. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of gray as a background, but I kind of like it. I do think it may be just a fad, but then some probably thought that about black years ago, too. I think I like Robins Egg Blue or Navy or the 30’s green, too. You could probably use any solid for background or even tonals or black & white prints or any low volume print effectively. I do get tired of all white backgrounds all the time. I just like to experiment, I guess. I do think yellow is the harshest color on the eye, so I would probably not do that unelss it was a pale buttery yellow.

    As far as comparing your Traditional Dresdens to the Modern Dresdens, I had to open each photo up to see the difference. How’s that for style, from a distance it doesn’t matter so much. I still would NOT want to use the old fashioned “calico” small floral/vine prints, but I do like the 1930’s reproductions. Your modern dresdens are lovely, btw.

  14. Best episode yet. I had to stop and look at the blog for your film. OH my gosh. Thank The Man. What a great job you did on that video piece. I hope for many more. Uncle Eli’s looks like great fun and what a terrific tradition.
    I just want to go so bad.

  15. I am, once again, your favorite podcast delinquent. 😉 I get so engrossed in books that I forget to listen to podcasts and since my iPod died, it isn’t as easy. I am not ignoring you.
    Re: modern – why wasn’t the art quilt movement of the late 1990s satisfactory in fulfilling the ‘non-traditional’ need. A lot of the premises that define the modern movement now (improv piecing, giant blocks) were present in the art quilt movement. Was it because the modern people wanted utilitarian quilts and the art quilt movement focused on getting wall quilts in galleries? I would like that explored.

    Quilting: whole cloth quilts go back through the centuries. I remember seeing an outfit that was basically a whole cloth quilt worn under armor.

    Sampler quilt: We are doing partial seams. I sent you the cutting instructions awhile ago. Did you get it? I haven’t done the tutorial. Lots going on and I haven’t even had time to cut my own fabric. Glad you can still find use for the Dresden templates we made in the sampler class.

    Japanese anime/ dressing up: my niece is very much into cosplay (dressing up). She sews these costumes and I have hopes that she will make quilts one day.

    Grants: go to the library and ask the reference librarian for a reference book on grants. You might have to go a local academic library. I am sure that there is a reference book or specific website that tells you all the grants that are available. It would save you some time, I think. The Foundation Center comes to mind, but I don’t know if that is the right organization.

    Quilt magazines: Meh. They have no imagination. How about a series of articles on really hard quilts? Why not?

    Communal or solitary quilting?: I think you are right in that we do work mostly alone, but I think there is a “new” element of communal quilting these days that stems from being able to post pictures to blogs, forums, etc where people can comment. Even emailing pictures invites collaboration.

    Quilt History and listservs: I love the name ‘Uncle Eli’s Quilt Party”. It just sounds so fun! In general, across a variety of organizations in which I am involved, I think there are fewer messages on listservs. I don’t know why that is, but I think a couple of things: people don’t want to deal with flaming, they are afraid to open themselves up to flaming. I also think people are busy and they don’t want to take the time to respond to something they perceive as taking a lot of time to answer. In some listserves, I think new people ask questions that have been asked before and older members get exhausted. JMO.

    AQS: they did not have to send you the letter 2 days before QuiltWeek. They could have sent it after QuiltWeek. I agree that they are acting very unprofessionally in not responding at all to your calls, much less your emails. I hope that some other publisher is interested in the concept. Have you talked to your publisher? Perhaps they will have an interest even though you mostly do YA (as far as I know).

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