Sunday, March 30, 2008


"Wild By Design" is a catalog of 48 quilts from the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska. ( The selected works range from the 1820's to the 1990's. They are spectacular and inspiring.

In the introductory essay, art historian and quiltmaker Janet Catherine Berlo writes, "In the early 19th century, 'quilting frolic' was the name for the communal efforts that later came to be called quilting bees....'bee' was reserved for more mundane tasks, such as the corn husking bee or the fruit paring bee. Frolic, in contrast, suggess the excitement and high spirits present in a gathering of friends and artistic peers. The quilt frolic was the female equivalent of the art academy and salon....Women brought their pieced tops to be assembled and hand quilted. These would then be admired, discussed, and used as creative fodder for the next quilts to be made within a community of intimates."

I think we should all campaign to make "quilt frolic" part of our vocabulary -- and to practice frequent frolicking!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Honors, Daffodils, and Disappearing 9-Patches

"Women's Art, Women's Vision" is the theme for National Women's History Month, 2008. The Lake County Women's Coalition ( invited each of its member organizations to nominate one of their members for her contribution to art. AAUW chose me! The honorees were recognized at a brunch yesterday. I was the only quilter. The others were a musician, three artists (oil, watercolor, pencil), a graphic artist, a "sewer" (meaning a seamstress), a photographer, a floral designer, a beauty consultant, and a jewelry designer. It was a lovely event, and I am grateful to my AAUW friends for nominating me. Quilty progress: I finished six daffodil wallhangings. They'll be hostess gifts when we go to England next month. The pattern is adapted from a quilt by Nancy Breland in QNM (5/02). Last year I was in a swap for 9-patches made from solids and 30's fabrics. I decided to "disappear" them. The result, with borders, is 54x66 and DONE!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Therapeutic value of quilting

QuiltDivaJulie mentions this on her blog:

I can recollect two very distinct "ah-ha" moments when I realized
what the act of sewing did for my peace of mind/psyche. I say
"sewing" rather than "quilting" because the first was in 1973, before
I was a quilter. I was sewing a skirt (pink poly doubleknit....hey, it
was the 70's!) and I had a sudden feeling of "I really, really like doing
this." The second was President's Day, 1994 -- I know the date
because it was a holiday. We had moved to North Dakota just weeks
before, living in rental properties (DH in Bismarck, I in Fargo), and
I just felt unsettled. The second bedroom of the little rent house was
devoted to storage and sewing. I needed curtains for one room but
didn't want to spend any money on them, so I cut up an old bed sheet.
As I sewed a feeling of centered-ness came over me.

Of course there are times when sewing is just frustrating--the pieces
don't fit together properly, a garment sleeve doesn't set in evenly,
or the buttonholer stitches one side short and the other long--but on
the whole, sitting at the machine and attaching one piece of
fabric to another to create an entire new assemblage is a wonderful