Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Selvage Quilts

I have followed Karen Griska's Selvage Blog for years.
With every post I stand in awe of the things people make from the leftover selvages that run along the edge of our quilt fabrics.
Usually, we just throw away those end strips.
That is why I was particularly drawn to the two selvage quilts on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textile show Scrap Art.

Jacquie Gering of Tall Grass Prairie Studio made a stunning traditional Spider Web quilt mainly drawing from a large collection of selvages.

Tin Ceiling, 2010
45" X 60"
Paper Pieced by machine

Look at her beautiful quilting!
This truly fits the definition of Scrap Art.
Love the minty green solid used for the background.

Jacquie wrote "The piece is a quirky spin on a traditional spider web quilt. The spider web blocks are made with over one thousand selvage pieces. The selvage were collected from fabrics used in quilts I have made since I started quilting, so the quilt is a visual history of my work. The outer selvages in the webs are cut wider to showcase the fabric in addition to the selvage. The outer rings of the webs create bold splashes of color throughout the quilt. The selvages were carefully selected to balance, color, text, and glimpses of fabric. The quilt is densely machine quilted and creates a vintage feel in contrast to the modern fabrics within the spider webs."

Bette Haddon

Rainbows From The Edge
48" X 48"

Strip quilting- "quilt as you go"

Bette wrote:

"Fabric selvages provide information, color, variety and stability to any piece of fabric work. I enjoy arranging the 3/4" - 1 1/2" strips by "warm" and "cool" hues, and love the rhythm of machine sewing eh strips on a foundation of batting and backing."

I've taught several classes using the Quilt As You Go method, but I never thought about incorporating selvages.


And ever since I started reading Karen's blog, I've been collecting selvages although I've never had a plan on how to use them.

Both of these quilts have sparked new ideas!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diversity In Scrap Quilts

One of the things that was so impressive about the Scrap Art exhibit from the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles was the diversity.
From Chinese Indigo-dyed antique quilts, to Americana, the collection gives a taste for every scrap artist's pallet.

Marianne Lettieri
Old Glory, 2007
Cotton, denim, gloves, pincushions, scarves
Assemblage, pieced, applied
64" X 80"
Collection of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
Gift of Jonathan Glick

Look at this amazing collection of pincushions!
I was especially moved by the artist's statement:
"The base for this work is a utility quilt made by my grandmother, Carrie Martin, in South Carolina around the time of the Great Depression. She made it with bits and pieces of denim overalls that show wear and mending. This piece gives tribute to the women of humble origins who built a mighty Republic. They were self-sacrificing homemakers with can-do attitudes and a great deal of moral fiber. They knew how to make something out of nothing. While altering this simple and honest piece of American folk art, I thought about those strong, hard-working women of an earlier age. Old glory, indeed!"

I don't think I've ever seen a quilt quite like this one in originality, and felt the presence of many generations of loving hands.

And to add to the diversity, an antique crocheted pincushion.

Yao Applique Quilt, 1920's

Cotton scraps; plain woven indigo-dyed cotton back and border

69" X 47 1/2"

Such intricate workmanship.

Yao Applique Quilt was one of 8 Chinese Textiles provided from the Collection of Chinalai Tribal Antiques.

I only photographed this one.
The Scrap Art Exhibit will run through October 16th if you are interested in seeing a more in depth view.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fragmented Pieces and Leftovers

I thoroughly enjoyed the Scrap Art Exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.
They provided a great cross section of scrap quilts from contemporary to vintage.

As you enter the main gallery there is a well written insight into the minds of the artists:
The definition of scrap-fragments, pieces, leftovers, junk, odds and ens, used and discarded-implies a vast wasteland of useless stuff. What is it about this stuff that has always been a source of great inspiration to artists and makers?"

Louise Groom
Unnamed c. 1920-1930
Hand sewn
101" X 87"
Collection of Michael Groom and Christine Morse
"The quilt was made by Louise Groom who lived in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Louise was born in 1904 and probably made the quilt sometime in the late 1920's or early 1930's"

The quilt seemed to me to be a little bit of a Trip Around The World mixed with a Postage Stamp pattern.
Look at the variety of fabrics and small squares.

The red diagonal squares stop the eye, acting as an inner border.
Notice the solid cream/white for edges gives the effect of being painted on a canvas.

And the hand quilting seems as random as the fabrics.
Do you think the maker might have traded fabric squares with neighbors and friends to gather such a collection?

Nine Patch Variation c. 1925-1950


Hand Pieced, hand quilted, backing is pieced: 3/4 one printed fabric and 1/4 solid blue fabric, brought to front on three sides.

71" X 84"

The quilt was found in Wingo, Kentucky

From the collection of Roderick Kiracofe

Roderick Kiracofe generously provided 6 vintage quilts from his collection for this exhibit. and I noticed that all were from the Southern part of the United States 1925-1975.

The use of black polka dots on white/ white polka dots on black mixed with red are very popular with quilters today.

The 9 Patches again seem random with a use what you have, rather than a lot of pre-planning.

Even the dark/ light ratio doesn't follow any kind of pattern.

I remember learning that to be pleasing to the eye, when you have a geometric pattern, make sure to top quilt with a circular or floral design. That way the two patterns won't fight with each other.

The maker had a good sense of what would look best, with the hand quilting of circles.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trip Around The World Quilts

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles show Scrap Art featured 3 Trip Around The World quilts.
I am always amazed at the patience of artists who often hand pieced and hand quilted thousands upon thousands of tiny squares.

Trip Around The World is a classic design. It usually starts with one square in the middle, and then row after row of additional colors are added diagonally.
Trip Around The World
c. 1930
hand pieced and hand quilted
81" X 88"
Collection of Julie Silber and Jean Demeter
The Quilt Complex

Details about this quilt:
"We see a significant spike in popularity of this traditional quilt design in the second and third quarters of the 20th century. During hard economic times, larger pieces of fabric were unaffordable to most. Perhaps because this design accommodates a variety of prints, organized by color, a woman could use her left-over sewing scraps to crate an overall cohesive design. This example is distinguished by its many pieces, precise piecing, and skillful hand quilting. It was collected in Michigan"

You can see how each square was carefully hand quilted.

Minnie Kesler Murray

Trip Around The World 1970-1980

70" X 90"

Collection of Evelyn McMillan

"Minnie Kesler Murray, a native of Boones Mill, Virginia, was a resident of San Jose during the 1950's and the 1960's. When she and her husband, Lloyd Murray, retired they moved back to Boones Mill where Minnie became active in the local quilting group. She died in 2007 at the age of 102. This Trip Around The World hand-pieced quilt, made up of approximately 14,000 postage stamp sized squares, was the quilt she made for herself- her masterpiece."

I love the brightness of the colors.

Even with the busyness of each print they stand out with contrast.

Nicely designed finish.


One Patch Trip Around The World c.1900

Hand Pieced top

77.5" X 63"

Collection of San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles


Gift of Leslie Coe

More of a use of darker colors, with black offering the contrast.

In our day we use rotary cutters and the strip piece method to assemble this pattern.

In the 1900's when this quilt was made, I surmise that each piece was cut by hand with scissors, and then individually sewn together.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these Trip Around The World quilts as much as I did.

Do you have a favorite out of the 3?

I may be crazy, but someday I would like to give one of these a try.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

I love coming home.
So many things to see and do in the Bay Area that it's hard to pick.
When I saw that the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles was showing an exhibit of Scrap Quilts, I knew it was a must see.
This current show will run through October 16th.

There was a sign that said no photography.
When I mentioned to the staff how sad I was not to be able to take pictures for my quilt blog, they said they make exceptions for bloggers. Yay! They wanted to make sure we give credit for each quilt, which I am very happy to do.
Be aware that I loved this exhibit and took a lot of pictures.
Today I will show you two, so there will be many posts in the future.

I love scrap quilts, especially antique scrap quilts. There is something so uniquely creative when women pull from what they have and make do.
My favorite quilt from the show was:
Unknown Crosses (Stone Mason's Puzzle)
c. 1940-1970
71" X 81"
Collection of Roderick Kiracofe
*The quilt top was found in Alabama

Look at the variety in fabrics.

A real kitchen sink effect.

Some of the crosses were made with solids.

Some with stripes.

Others with florals.

And some.... well, you can tell this artist made use of every scrap she had.

Unknown Strips

c. 1955-1965

72" X 70"

This is also from the collection of Roderick Kiracofe.

*The quilt was found in North Carolina

From the Museum's handout:

"Scrap ART examines the history of the scrap quilt and showcases historical quilts pieced from small bits and pieces of leftover fabrics."

"Drawn from the Museum's collection of historic and contemporary quilts, ethnic textiles and from private collections, works by invited contemporary artists, and through a community outreach, Scrap Art surveys the long and varied history of textile reincarnation."

The San Jose Museum was the first museum in the United States to focus exclusively on quilts and textiles as an art form.

Located in old downtown San Jose, 520 South First Street