May 31, 2020

finished and photographed

Super excited about this one. It was a monster to piece. There are 9 blocks and each block is huge. The overall size is 93 x 93 inches. I made this quilt after seeing an antique quilt from the collection of Joanna Rose. The original was red and white. I wanted modern colors, so chose these two Kona cotton solids - Flame and Malibu.

The quilting is very dense! I quilted it on my longarm, free motion with a straight ruler. 

There is also a ton of thread in here. I used Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread, about 90% of one spool for the piecing, two matching colors for the quilting - and the blue sections required 1 1/2 spools! And an emergency trip to the quilt store for that second spool.

The binding is faced (turned to the back with a clean front). I love the back of the quilt too. I decided to use all the fabric I bought and ended up using every usable inch of it!

My quarantine quilt. Photographed in Houston's Memorial Park, May 31, 2020.

May 24, 2020

a whole lot of pieces

This quilt top has been in the works for quite a while. I started it last year when I made one block and it turned out beautiful. Then I made a second block, and it turned out horrible. It seemed like, all of a sudden after 20 years of quiltmaking, I could not piece a block properly anymore. I was frustrated and put it away.

Recently I drug it all back out and decided to make it work. My piecing is still not perfect, but its done! And now its on the longarm and I have started quilting it!

My version of this quilt is based on an antique quilt from the collection of Joanna Rose. When I saw the old quilt, I knew I wanted to make one like it one day, but I didn't know how to do it. So I searched online and found a pattern from Minick and Simpson, called Mrs. Rose's Best. The pattern is for 4 blocks, but I made mine with 9 blocks just like the original.

My quilt is 93 in x 93 in! The finished pieces in the checkerboard are 1 inch each.

Antique quilt from collection of Joanna Rose.

I used almost an entire spool of 50 wt Aurifil thread just on the piecing! Crazy.

I wanted to use a fabric combo that was fun and modern. I tested at least a half dozen combos and ended up with Kona cotton Flame (reddish orange) and Malibu. The quilting will be straight lines, ruler work, in thread that matches.

May 21, 2020

will there be a 46th Festival in Houston?

When my new book "Magic & Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival" was published last October, never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed there might not be a 46th!

I would love to hear from you! What are your plans and thoughts for large gatherings? Do you plan to attend any large group events this summer, or later in the fall? If Houston Festival is held, would you attend?

Comment below or email me at  teresa @  thirdfloorquilts .com

These are painful times in so many ways. I spent several years of my life documenting the first 45 years of the International Quilt Festival and the lives of the two women who founded it. Who knows what will happen next, but its not looking too good.

This week Quilts, Inc. announced they would cancel the Long Beach version of the International Quilt Festival - originally scheduled for July. No surprise there. We've already seen a long list of cancellations, from Quiltcon 2021 in Atlanta, to Quilt Time Festival in Yokohama, Japan to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.

Two of the world's biggest annual quilt events are still a ways off  - so their status is unknown - the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival (January) and the International Quilt Festival Houston (Oct/Nov).

For the past 20 years, I've attended every International Quilt Festival in Houston. And as I explained in my book's introduction, wild horses could not keep me away. But sadly, a damn pandemic might!

Before I go much further, I must say that I am not an employee of Quilts, Inc. and I am not a contractor. I wrote this book as an independent author. During the research phase, I spent a lot of time with the founders Karey Bresenhan and Nancy Puentes, as well as Bob Ruggerio. But since the book was published, we all exchange friendly emails from time to time, but in no way am I privy to any inside information from their company.

So my guess about what will happen next is as good as yours!

My guess is, the 46th event will be canceled, and this makes me incredibly sad. But the idea of tens of thousands of people being together in one space is just not likely to happen for a long time, maybe a year or more. Also, the idea of flying on an airplane for something that is not an emergency is also unthinkable for a lot of people. And on top of all that, millions of job losses have caused a lot of economic uncertainty.

So what's next? I think there will be a tremendous reshuffling of the quilt industry. First of all, the supply chain is disrupted with textile mills and shipping lanes closed, or delayed, all over the world. Case in point, I recently ventured out - wearing my mask - to my local Walmart. The craft aisles shelves were bare. This is only one example, but we are likely to see delays and cancellations of new fabric collections from quilt shops, especially brick and mortar shops who have suffered with the shutdown in retail. Not only have the closed shops hurt, but consumers, including quilters, have cut way back on their spending. Just look at social media to see how many quilters are using up their stash! Some quilt shops will not survive.

For those shops that have the cash to sustain this disruption, I wonder whether they will be able to go on the road as vendors at major quilt events. The costs are high, but so is the reward - in normal times at least. But without a large selection of quality quilt vendors, that is yet one more reason for attendees to ponder their decisions. Its an endless loop.

On the bright side, we are all becoming better adept at technology. I myself have taught several of my quilt friends how to use Zoom and Facetime so we can see each other and chat regularly.

I'm also converting my quilt lectures to Zoom, and this is great for quilt guilds who cannot meet in person right now.

And Quiltcon 2021 will be completely online. And while it is never the same not to see friends and quilts in person, the online option will allow thousands of people to participate who could not afford to travel to the event in person.

"Magic & Memories" by Teresa Duryea Wong.

May 5, 2020

quirky, crazy, color

This huge, crazy quirky quilt all started with one fabric that I fell in love with. Its a print from Japanese manufacturer Kokka of a small leopard surrounded by uneven, organic shaped dots. I loved the print and I cut a series of blocks and placed the leopard in different spots so it looked like she was moving around the quilt.

I added bright dots and stripe prints and a sashing and border. Then, I thought this crazy combo needed some jumbo ric rac. So I purchased 34 yards of big ass ric rac and I took the blocks apart and added the ric rac bling.

Lastly, I added a flange binding. I actually got the idea from seeing a quilt with this binding on IG and then I went and watched Jenny Doan's (Missouri Star Quilt Co) tutorial on how to sew it.

Then we went to the park just outside of downtown Houston to photograph this quilt in the sunshine. First thing that happens is the crazy wind almost whipped the quilt out of my hands. But fortunately my husband was ready and snapped this cool pic. Wind happens! :)

Machine quilted with free motion. No computers. 100% cotton fabric, thread and Warm & Natural cotton batting.

Apr 30, 2020

book review: Heather Ross' childhood story

As a researcher, I read a lot of nonfiction. I am particularly drawn to biography and memoirs, but its tricky to find good ones. "How to Catch a Frog" by Heather Ross is one of the good ones.

This book was published back in 2014. I just heard about it after listening to an interview Heather gave on Abby Glassenberg's podcast. Some of you may know of Heather... she is a longtime fabric designer who has worked with Kokka, Free Spirit and now Windham. She's been around in quilting and sewing world as a blogger, author and maker for quite a few years. I was not that familiar with her or her fabric when I heard the podcast, but Abby made the book sound very interesting. She was right.

Lots of us have stories to tell, but few of us are willing to share those stories in a fully transparent way. Heather shares her childhood story of growing up poor and mostly unsupervised by a mother who fed them only rarely and cared little for their safety. Her recollections of being very young and running around outside in the Vermont countryside are not sad. Rather she fills us with all the wonder of the outside world from the eyes of a child and leaves the reader to fill in the gaps of the absentee adults.

She shares the truth about herself, her twin sister, her mother and family, their ramshackle living arrangements, and so much more. These experieces are ones that most of us would be afraid to put down on paper for the whole world to see.

Most of all, this book is beautifully written. As a writer myself, I often want to take my highlighter to sentences that I admire, except I don't want to ruin my books! In this case, I would have totally ruined it because there are just too many beautifully written passages. One after another.

I purchased a used copy (hardback, in good condition) of "How to Catch a Frog" in from on online book seller. The cost was around $5. Great investment of five bucks and the time to read it!

 Here is the link to Abby's podcast.

Apr 19, 2020

more slow stitching during stay at home

Still slow stitching during this stay at home order. Its peaceful and helps me manage stress. There are so many mixed messages out there from the federal,  state and local governments and they conflict with each other. So what can I do? Not much.... just stay home and sew. Make masks and donate them and donate money to worthy causes like our local food bank.

Almost finished with the 5th block of the hand embroidered wool applique quilt. It is a pattern by Lisa Bongean at Primitive Gatherings. I purchased it at the Houston International Quilt Festival last year... I think it was meant for me.

Mar 31, 2020

making masks for friends and family

I never imagined I would be sewing face masks, but here we are. I started making these about two weeks ago. Originally I intended to make some for my mom and others who are at rhe highest risk. Then I planned to donate them to medical professionals or first responders, but I got so many requests from friends and family that I am just shipping them out.

I convinced my husband to wear his at the grocery store!

I used a free pattern by Orange Dot Quilts. It is an excellent pattern and has full coverage. I included a metal strip for the nose and used steing elastic for the ears. Would prefer quarter-inch elastic, but there is none to be found.

Stay safe everyone!!!