Apr 20, 2018

sewing with American cotton. its luminous!

Original design. Quilt top made with American Made Brand cotton solids. Teresa Duryea Wong. 2018.
Every quilt has a story. Often times the most interesting part of that story is the fabric - whether its from a special collection, or vintage, or unusual, or foreign. We quilters love these stories and we hunt to find them.

I just made my first quilt top with AMB - American Made Brand cotton solids. This fabric definitely has a story! The cotton is grown in American soil, made into a textile at an American plant, dyed at another American plant, shipped to Seattle, and then shipped to quilt stores all over.

The fabric has a lovely hand and I truly enjoyed sewing with it.

For a million years, I used mostly Kona cotton, and also Moda solids. I prefer AMB. Of course I love that its American, but I think I like the way it feels and I am also very impressed with the deep, deep color. This color has a glow to it... not a sheen, (which would come from the top of the fabric), but something about the luminosity of the color is very special.

I think this will be the first of many quilts using these lovely solids. More stories in the waiting!

Apr 15, 2018

finally finished my Nancy Crow workshop quilt

Eighteen months ago, I took a workshop with Nancy Crow.

Here's my review of that class - from Oct. 2016.

At the end of the week-long class, we had a 'show and tell' type session. When we went around the room and looked at the work everyone had done, I decided I didn't like my quilt top.

I put that quilt top in a drawer and left it there. A week ago, I pulled it out and I finally finished quilting it.
Me at the Crow Barn, Ohio, 2016
When I was back at the "Crow Barn" (as Nancy's space is called), I wasn't having a pity party. In fact, I enjoyed the class and I enjoyed working there. I just didn't think what I had made was very good. It didn't feel like "art" ... whatever that means. Everyone seemed to working in very small sections, with the small blocks being carefully constructed. It seemed like they had a plan. I did not work small. In fact I made this entire quilt top - about 80 x 80 inches. There was no plan, I just sewed. Really fast.

After 18 months, I have totally changed my mind about that quilt top ... and big surprise, now I actually like it.

Funny, isn't it. What makes us feel one way at one point, then feel so completely different a year and a half later?

I can only offer a partial explanation. First, at the time I thought I would go to the workshop and make something awesome. Perhaps be a better art quilter. But when I actually finished my quilt, at the time it just didn't feel all that special. I was not confident. I was critical.

Now, the quilt looks so different. And I realize that it doesn't have to meet some ill-defined definition of art. It only has to be something that I like. And now that I look at this one, I like it. I love the impromptu piecing and the structures I put together... and I love the colors. I see circles and lines and I like the way they play off each other. Besides, this quilt is going on the couch. And when I'm reading a book, or my husband and I are watching a movie, we'll never question whether this quilt is art or not.

This quilt is so big that stretching it was a bit tricky. My home has all wood floors, no carpet. So the floor is not an option. I don't make that many large quilts, but for the past few years I have gone to my friend's house and used her carpeted floor and stretched the old fashioned way.

I heard about stretching quilts as you go --- on a table. So I did some You Tube searching and found this link... and I liked the technique a lot. So I tried it and it works great! Now I have a whole new system for stretching. No more crawling around on the floor.

Mar 27, 2018

quilting cotton made in America

Have you made a quilt with American Made Brand quilting cotton? If so, I'd love to hear from you. I'm researching a new book on American cotton and its connection to quilting.

American Made Brand (also called AMB) cotton solids are the real deal. They are made from cotton that is 100% grown in America. The base textile is made in America and dyed here as well. The company is based in Seattle (they're part of Clothworks). AMB is only available in solids.

I just purchased a large selection of colors. The hand of these fabrics is just lovely. It is a thin, slightly silk feel. I can't wait to make a couple quilts with these.

If you've made a quilt with AMB solids, or know someone who has... please let me know. I would like to hear about your experiences and why you chose this fabric, and of course I'd like to see your quilt! Please leave a comment here - or you can email me directly at  teresa at thirdfloorquilts dot com

Two weeks ago I visited the Texas Cotton Gin in Burton, Texas. One of the oldest working cotton gins in the U.S.

Please note, if you leave a comment, make sure you are not a "no reply" comment, otherwise I can't reply back to you.


Selvedge Magazine excerpt of "Cotton & Indigo from Japan"


The beautiful Selvedge Magazine has published an excerpt of "Cotton & Indigo from Japan" in their Japan Blue edition. I'm so proud that my book is included in this issue of this international publication.

Selvedge's Japan Blue issue features many stunning textiles being made in Japan.

The excerpt from my book covers the art of Chusen - a method used to dye cotton with steaming hot pour dyes.

Read more in their magazine, or order an autographed copy of "Cotton & Indigo from Japan" from my website:   teresaduryeawong.com

Mar 16, 2018

need a moose for your wall? the Bailey's do!

Teresa Duryea Wong. Moose Bailey. 38 x 31 inches. Cotton. Machine quilted. 2018.
Fourteen months ago, some friends of ours commissioned me to make an art quilt for them. Today I finally finished it!

Our friends had seen two quilts of mine (pictured below - the zebras and Holy Cow) in our home, and they looked at them closely and said they wanted something like this for their house. I didn't pay too much attention to the comment, I though they were just being nice.

Turns out, they really did want an original art quilt. So we talked about ideas and color schemes. We settled on a moose! I enlarged the image in black and white to the size I wanted the finished quilt to be. Next, I covered the image with tracing paper and used the photo as a guide and traced shapes that followed the contour of the moose. I ended up changing the image I traced to smooth out edges, etc. and make it work better for a textile.

The image below shows the photograph with tracing paper placed over it. Kind of hard to see, but the pencil marks are how I made the applique shapes.

Next I covered a natural colored cotton with Misty Fuse and got ready to applique. I pulled about two hundred fabrics in the colors I wanted. Then I used a light table to trace the shapes onto freezer paper. I ironed the freezer paper on the fabric and cut them out, then fused them to the cotton shape --- using the traced image as a guide for placement. This applique is raw edge.

It was quite fun to make this one. Our friends want to have it framed... so that is the next step.

I have only done one other commission, and it was a quilt for a kid's room. I really enjoyed making this moose. His name is: Moose Bailey.

Thanks Bailey's for your patience and more importantly, for your trust in me to make something for your beautiful home!

Feb 28, 2018

reflections on QuiltCon 2018: few words, many photos.

Reflections on QuiltCon 2018: few words, many photos

 Pasadena, California exhibit hall: Nice space!

 Day One: its cold in California?!? And I'm so lucky to have a lifelong quilt buddy, Amy G.

 "She Was Warned" by Liz Harvatine won Viewer's Choice. This was one of my favorites too!  

I gave 2 lectures! Whew, that was SO FUN!


"Black, Brown and White in Orange" by Karen Maple is a powerful statement, 
but also a very beautiful quilt.


Modern quilts are changing, but minimalism still reigns. "Mod Garden" by Jack Weise.

By god, there's hope for America! This quilt was in the YOUTH category.  
"Twitter Tantrum" by Cabrina Cabriales.

SAQA had a retrospective on the art quilt. This one is from 2009. Stunning. 
"Edge 6" by Marina Kamenskaya.


Lovely dinner with Etsuko san. She is wearing a top I made for her! 
Featuring fabric designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji, made in Japan by Yuwa.

"Women dress for other women" said Coco Chanel. And women stop other women and ask them about their clothes and shoes! My friend Amy G. makes a new friend... and maybe finds new shoes?

And these two young, beautiful women are friends of my daughter! They recently moved to LA (from New York). Who knows why they would give up part of their weekend to come meet their friend's mom. Lucky me!

Day four: a little warmer. My new handmade mariejay handbag was everything I hoped it would be!

Final thought: The Modern Quilt Guild is a vibrant community 
filled with really cool quilts and quilters. 
I hope I can be a part of Nashville in 2019!

thank you #quiltcon2018

Jan 29, 2018

new quilt finished & hung on the wall: "Moons Over Japan"

 I finally got around to hanging a quilt on the wall over our bed. Its been on my to do list for so long... this one seemed like a perfect choice. I finished this quilt in 2017 and titled it "Moons Over Japan." This may not may be the first thing you think of when you hear the words Japanese fabric, but all of the fabric in this quilt came from Japan and all of it was designed by Keiko Goke. I love the contemporary vibe and the simultaneously bright and muted colors of these fabrics.

Me with Keiko Goke in Sept 2017.
I first met Keiko Goke in 2014 and we've visited on several of my trips to Japan. She's been quilting since the early 1970s and her quilts are infused with color and whimsy. Each one is beautifully made. She also began designing commercial quilting cotton a while back and her fabrics are lovely.

Her primary fabric manufacturer is Yuwa, and some of her fabrics can be hard to find in the U.S.

This summer, Keiko Goke will have a new line of fabrics available with Free Spirit.

So this blog post is about my own personal journey with quilts I have made with her fabrics. 

For a more professional story.... you can read more about her and her quilts in my book "Japanese Contemporary Quilts & Quilters" and learn more about her fabrics in my 2nd book "Cotton & Indigo from Japan."

Collection of commercial quilting cotton designed by Keiko Goke. Printed in Japan by Yuwa.
Photo published in "Cotton & Indigo from Japan" by Teresa Duryea Wong
'Behind the scenes' at work prepping the fabric photo shoot --- at a friend's ranch in Columbus, Texas.

I made this quilt several years ago. It was actually inspired by one of her quilts... its an improv take on a double wedding ring. My husband and I went out to Round Top, Texas to photograph this quilt in front of a small wedding chapel. I've shared it on this blog before, but I decided to share it here again ... so I can show my collection of 3 quilts I've made with these fabrics.

The double wedding ring quilt top is embellished with lots of hand embroidery.

And last.... this little quilt below is one I made about 12 years ago!!! It was one of my first attempts at 'art quilting.' It is all hand applique and hand quilted!

And just for fun... here's two more photos. I took these photos of her booth at the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival in 2014. Seems so long ago. The Tokyo Dome show 2018 is going on now. Wish I was there!