The Fiber of My Being: Second Glances

Last month I went to Houston to experience the world’s largest quilt show. It’s the event I look forward to all year long. Primarily I go there to see the quilts and teach classes.

I was there a few days early for the trade show, Quilt Market, where my new ruler debuted.  I had a behind-the-scenes look at soon-to-be released products including Robert Kaufman fabrics and Alexander Henry fabrics. I’ve already made my 2018 Houston hotel reservation and signed on to teach classes. Maybe, when you read this, I’ll have unpacked.

It wasn’t until I saw the above photo on Instagram that I noticed how ingeniously Malka used her fabric. Look at the navy fabric in her quilt. Look at her dress. Her fabric did double duty, cut on the straight of grain for the quilt and then cut on the bias, rendering it on-point, for her dress.

Do the animals above appear curvy to you? All of the blocks were sewn using straight seams. Have another look. Not a single curved seam was used.  Your eyes see what only appear as curved lines.

I could wax on and on about this coverlet that was part of the exhibition Quilts 1650-1850 From “Broderie” to “Broderie Perse.” The piece is bound in red, but there is no batting, making it a coverlet but not a quilt. Broderie perse is French for “Persian embroidery,” by which fabric motifs are cut from “yardage” then appliquéd onto background fabric. I tried this technique once and might have continued had I not chosen upholstery-weight chintz fabric. It was too difficult for me to manipulate — and besides, I found piecing suited me. An exquisite book by Jane Lury, who collected the quilts, can be had.

I visited the coverlet several times, always in awe of the fabric. On my third trip I saw something unusual. I’m still in disbelief over it.

The bottom center cut-out is on-point. Why oh why oh why? And the seeds! Look at the center column. The three cut-outs are ringed with seeds. There are a few seeds in the left upper area too.

Some of the red cut-outs are made from pieced fabric, some cut on bias and some cut on grain. This coverlet is an eyeful, from the exquisite fabric to the artful and unpredictable layout.

By the way, it’s signed/stitched at the bottom right: E R Hall, 1844

The red cut-outs (pomegranates?) remind me of Park, a contemporary appliqué pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. Her design was inspired by a cast iron gate on Park Avenue in Lake Wales, Florida. A couple of friends of mine have made it their own.

Ringed by quilt pins. Basted and on the cusp of greatness. More of Samantha’s ethos here.

I snapped this lazy river photo from my room at the Marriott Hotel. At the lower right is a solitary pool cleaner. What was I doing up in the middle of the night? Thinking about quiltmaking.

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