Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicago Quilt Exhibit - Part Two

I promised you more shots of the quilts that were on exhibit in Chicago from the Illinois State Museum collection. They let me take photos but the gallery was dim and I was not allowed to use a flash. Also, I was very excited, so I may have been trembling a little, thereby shaking the camera just a bit, LOL.


Rose of Sharon variation (1862)
Hard to see but the pink is a very small check fabric and the stems are embroidered. So sweet up close.
Star Variation (1865)

Nice to see more pink checks in a Civil War era quilt. Nice touch with the brown and the green. I'll have to remember to add some to mine.

The following quilts were all made by Mary Elizabeth Byrod of  Halifax, Pennsylvania, as part of her dowry. According to the placard, Pennsylvania dowry descriptions reveal a tradition of seven to ten  quilts included in a woman's dowry. We typically think of the number 13 for dowry quilts - twelve plus one that is considered a "bride's quilt." In the 1880s, Mary's daughter Catherine moved to Illinois where the quilts found a new home and were eventually donated to the museum.
Peony and Feather quilt (1855-1862)

Broken Wheel variation  (1855-1862)
Oak Leaf quilt (1855-1862).  At first glance, from across the room, I thought this quilt looked a little dull. 
Wrong! Just beautiful up close.

Yes, that's a small pink print used in the binding. Love it!  The note said that the fringe is either handmade or purchased, but is original to the quilt.  
Hmmmm, so I'm thinking - Some of you are making 12 small quilts along with me this year. Maybe we should add a thirteenth quilt in January to complete the "dowry." What do you think?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quilt Exhibit

I was able to run downtown yesterday to see the exhibit of Civil War quilts from the Illinois State Museum at their Chicago gallery. I live about 25 miles north of Chicago and, while that's relatively close and the exhibit had been here all summer, I was so busy these past few weeks that I just could not get down there until yesterday. Right under the wire too, as the exhibit is closing today.

My sister and I took the "L"  (Chicago's elevated rapid transit system)  into the city to avoid driving and facing any traffic disruptions due to the Chicago teachers' strike. We arrived in the morning and then left by early afternoon just as the marches were getting started so the trip was not as bad as I expected. My son happens to be student teaching at a Chicago Public School right now (or will be as soon as the strike is over) so you can guess where my sympathies lie.

(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

I love seeing full photos of antique quilts but I know it's difficult for you to get a good feel for the entire quilt this way. I took quite a few closeups though so hopefully you can get an idea. There were too many to include today so I'll continue with more pictures next week.

Album quilt (c. 1857 - 1862) made by Martha Jane Gourley, a neighbor of President Lincoln in Springfield IL. One of my favorites, maybe because of its simplicity and awkwardness and all of those imperfections . . . 

This is hand pieced and machine quilted.
Floral Wreath Applique Quilt, c. 1860
Double Irish Chain quilt, c. 1865
 Another one of my favorites - "Seven Stars"  (Seven Sisters), c. 1870
Not perfect by any means. Still beautiful to the eye of this beholder . . .

Sunburst crib quilt, c. 1855
Wool Courthouse Steps, c. 1864. Almost looks like it belongs in a modern art gallery, doesn't it?

Happy me - taking them all in. I'll show you a few more next week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Keep Making Hexagons

We'll be making that little hexagon flowers quilt  in  my book The Civil War Sewing Circle for the October challenge and so it's not too early to get started making the hexagons now. It seems like I've been nagging you all summer. When October comes and it's hexagon crunch time, you'll really be glad you finished a few of them.

Hexagons have been on my brain recently and I am now seeing them everywhere I go. I went to a restaurant and as I was leaving the ladies rest room I noticed the floor tiles and had to laugh. Look - hexagon flowers.

This style of tiles is so popular in bathroom floors in older buildings but I don't think I ever noticed that they were hexagon flowers. They looked familiar and I'm pretty sure I had these bathroom tiles in my first apartment years ago, LOL.
A recent shopping trip -
I've been shopping here for years but never really noticed that the Carson's logo is a hexagon flower, duh.
My bracelet box is a hexagon. Never noticed until today.
I was forced to clean out our front hall closet last weekend, when an attempt to find something  my daughter needed to take back to school with her failed miserably. I knew it was in there  SOMEWHERE.  It's been way too long since I last cleaned out that closet. At the end of the weekend I ended up with several hefty bags full of  shoes, boots and coats (some with big shoulder pads, if you can believe it. Of course you can, LOL.). And then I found this on a shelf, way up on top, in the back. I can't even remember buying it. Maybe it was a gift, who knows? Or, maybe the Hexagon Fairy is living at my house.
Teeny tiny pieces. Seems like the puzzle would take as long as the quilt.

They're everywhere. And this is your last, gentle reminder that you should get started making some little hexagons and hexagon flowers if you're itching to make that quilt with us in October.

I demonstrated just how easy it is to make these at the quilt show I attended in Galesburg a few weeks ago. Several women who watched me whip up a few said they had no idea they were this simple. Quilters - you can do this too! The instructions are in the book but you can find some great tutorials all over blogland if you look hard enough.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Challenge Quilt

 This month's Small Quilt Challenge is a free pattern. Yes, quilters, that's right - you do not have to rush out and buy a single book of mine to be able to make our challenge quilt this month. Yippee.
Here's the quilt I designed for September. You can find the pattern here
Many of you said you liked the small quilt I made from a large orphan block and posted here last month. Same concept - large block made with red and brown fabric but I used a different block for this one. If you do not like red and brown, please make it using your own favorite colors and prints. This holds for any of the monthly challenge quilts - you can always make any of them in different colors; they do not have to look like mine.

I pulled out my fabrics and started cutting mine yesterday -
Since I already made a red and brown quilt last month, I thought I'd play around with some other colors for mine. We'll see how it turns out.

I hope you all enjoy making this quilt. In order to accomplish one quilt every month, try taking it in small steps. Divide your work into weekly sewing sessions that make it easier for you. For example, this week, pick out your fabrics and maybe cut the pieces. This shouldn't take too long. Just have fun with this part of the process and don't stress about finishing the whole quilt right now. Put it aside and then spend a few hours sewing the pieces together next week. The borders can be sewn the following week in just a little bit of time and, before you know it, you have finished your quilt top. Spend a little time quilting it during the last week.

We will be moving on to hexagons in October!


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