Apr 28, 2018

throwback quilt, made 15 years ago, I think

Teresa Duryea Wong. Brick Pattern Quilt. c. 2003. Hand quilted.
Way back when, I made this quilt from a pattern. I have very vivid memories of working on this quilt, except I can't remember what year it was. Funny... or sad! I think the pattern was one by Judy Rothermel and I adapted and changed the borders. Back then it never really occurred to me to design my own quilt. I was super busy as a wife and mom and working a big job, but I loved quilting. So this pattern intrigued me. I still love the quilt very much.

The fabrics are reproductions from the American Civil War era. I do love the soft colors and nostalgic motifs. 

I also hand quilted this one!

I did not label this quilt - so bad me. I'm going to label it now - circa 2003. I dug this quilt out for two reasons. One, I just wrote about it! I am nearly finished with a new manuscript on a book about the 45-year history of the International Quilt Festival and the story of the two women who founded Festival (and a whole lot more). The book will be published by Schiffer Publishing and will be available in 2019. Super excited!

As I was writing the book on the history of Festival, I reflected on my own experience attending over the past 20 years! Festival was a life changer for my quilting. I learned so much from shopping at booths with vendors from all over the world... and also from the hundreds of stunning exhibitions I've seen year after year.

Back when I started going to Festival, in 1999, there weren't any online fabric shops (at least none I shopped at). So if you wanted to collect special fabric, like the reproductions I used in this quilt, you had to buy them at a real store --- or if you are lucky like me, you could find everything your heart desires at Festival! But collecting took patience back then.

The second reason I dug this quilt out is because I decided to use it as a backdrop for my "author photo" for this new book. It seemed a fitting quilt since it all came about because of Festival.

My husband is a professional photographer, lucky me. So after he took the photo of me, I got out of the way and he took these photos of just the quilt. As for the portrait, he is a good photographer, maybe too good --- because his talent and the sharpness of these new cameras shows lots of lines and wrinkles! ugh. Oh well, they are the wrinkles of life and I'm so thankful that along the way I took the time to make a lot of great quilts.

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.