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.