Monday, March 28, 2011

Infinite Variety, Indeed!

Today I went to the American Folk Art Museum's show "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts"  at the Park Avenue Armory.  The quilts are part of a collection of over 1000 quilts belonging to Joanna S. Rose and were on  view for free for 6 days in celebration of Mrs. Rose's 80th birthday.  What a way to celebrate!
Although there was no catalog or audio tour, visitors could borrow iPads that had pictures of every quilt so you could appreciate the design and the workmanship even if the actual quilt were 15 feet above your head!  (There is a book coming.)
The Armory wasn't too crowded, so you could really take your time to enjoy the entire exhibit.  I'm sure most of the visitors were quilters or friends of quilters, but I did have a trio of ladies ask me how the quilts were made, so there were "laymen," too.
This is what you saw when you walked into the room:
The quilts were suspended from the ceiling and looked almost weightless.  They were arranged in circular "pavillions" three rows high; each pavillion was numbered so that you could locate the quilts on the iPad.  Here's one of the pavillions:

There were also rows of quilts hung across the back wall of the armory:

And here are some quilts that I thought were especially interesting/beautiful/intricate:

As you can see, there truly was "infinite variety."  I went with two friends from my quilt guild, and it was great to have three different perspectives and preferences.

Many bloggers have posted a video of the exhibit.  Here's the link from Tonya of Lazy Gal Quilting:

And, if you want even more, there's a Flickr pool of photos here:

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see these wonderful quilts.  If you live anywhere near NYC, try to go see them in person.  But hurry; the show ends Wednesday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Traditions with a Twist

Earlier this year, I visited the school where I worked to attend a baby shower for one of the teachers who had become a good friend.  She knew she was having a girl, and she and her husband had already chosen a name.
Although I have retired, I still think of myself as a librarian.  When you combine librarian + baby, you get books.  And of course, when you combine quilter + baby, you get quilts. 
Well, I upheld one tradition and purchased a few board books for Baby Shea (every baby needs Goodnight Moon  and Sandra Boynton's Going to Bed Book,  don't you think?)  but I deviated from  the traditional quilty gift and made a stuffed animal instead.
I used 1930's repro fabrics to make the toy elephant in Joelle Hoverson's lovely book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.
Here's a picture.  Isn't he cute?

 And to tie it all together, I made what my mother used to call a "ditty bag."  The dictionary says that a ditty bag is a bag that sailors use to carry small tools and personal items.  My mother used to make them for my daughter Emily to keep small toys in, and she made one for her to use to hold her "rest towel" for kindergarten. 
Here is one of Emily's that holds the letters from a long-forgotten Sesame Street magnetic board.

And here is Baby Shea's.

I used more '30's prints, and lined it with the fabric used for the elephant.

So now Baby Shea can cuddle up with her elephant while mommy or daddy reads to her, and she can carry her books, her elephant and her "personal items" in her ditty bag.

Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to sew and for starting traditions that I can continue.

The New Jersey Quilt Fest and Traveling in Style

I went to the New Jersey Quilt Fest last week.  It was an opportunity to see a lot of amazing quilts.

One of the quilts I liked best was "Leaves II" by Susan Schweikhart that won Third Place in Best of Show.  Here's a picture with the quilt info, too.  The quilt was designed around sun prints of leaves.   Gorgeous, yes?

Another quilt that I really liked was part of a special exhibit of quilts made using photographs and Photoshop.  This one is called "Fire and Ice" and was made by Sandy Hart.  I love the use of modern technology in an art form with such a long tradition.

One of the members of my quilt guild won a judge's choice ribbon for her quilt, but I'll let her show it to you at her blog, Fun with Barb .  Congratulations, Barb!

In addition to the opportunity to gaze at such gorgeous eye candy for a few hours, I checked out all the vendors.  I managed to avoid buying a lot of fabric (only a few fat quarters, honest!) but I did come home with a Tutto wheeled sewing machine tote!  I have been looking at totes for a while now because taking my machine anywhere is a struggle; I have to carry it and it's HEAVY!  So now my Bernie and I will travel more easily and in style with my new red Tutto!

I'll get to try it out this weekend when my Guild has a machine quilting workshop with Michele Scott.

Now I can hardly wait to go to Lancaster next week for the AQS Quilt Show.  Looking at quilts by other quilters is fun and inspiring.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Star block #1 and a Pause in the Action for a Little R & R

Although it has been finished for quite a while, this is the first opportunity I've had to post a picture of Star Block #1 for Natalia's Quilt-Along.  The block is a Friendship Star, which I thought was a good choice for the first block.

The photo isn't so hot; I'm determined to improve my quilt photographing skills!  

Posting this picture was delayed because we have been in Florida for 12 days, relaxing, swimming, reading and escaping from the snowy landscape that has been the view out our windows for far too long.  This was the first time I have ever been on the East Coast of Florida, and I loved it.  We visited two botanical gardens and enjoyed walking among plants and trees not seen in the Northeast. 

Lily pads

Banyan tree


My biologist husband says this is the fruit of the tree from which it is hanging.  Some fruit, eh? (Of course I neglected to record the name of the tree!)

My friend Marge and I went to water aerobics every morning.  Fun!

We saw the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from the beach!

And, of course, I visited some quilt shops in the area.  My favorite was the Dragon Fly Quilt Shop in Vero Beach where I bought some Australian fabrics and some Kaffe Fassett fat quarters. No vacation is complete without fabric souvenirs!

So now we are home again.  The sewing machine is plugged in and ready, the fabric has been washed, the rotary cutter has a fresh blade, and I am going to do some serious stash busting.