Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sampler Squishing

Not long ago,  Kara and I (Teri) strolled the afternoon through an antique mall while visiting with my parents in Hershey, PA. We were excited to see the booth where I bought my sampler a couple of years ago (click here.) There were several to see, but one in particular quickly became our favorite. Can you guess why?

Sampler made by Ann Maffin

Description on the back of the sampler reads:
"Early 19th century linen and wool with silk highlights sampler by Ann Maffin. Though undated, the style of stitch work would indicate this piece dates to c. 1830 or slightly earlier. This sampler is just stunning with extremely fine quality stitch work throughout. The top section of the linen is stitched in black silk with the following popular sampler verse, underlined with a strawberry border.
Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand on the first efforts of Ann Maffin's hand
And whilst her fingers on the canvas move engage her sinful heart to seek thy love
With thy dear children Lord give her a part and write thy name dear Jesus on my heart

Detail: such tiny cross stitches!

Details from the bottom of the sampler: bird, flower, basket, boat—exquisite stitching indeed!

With stitches so fine, it resembled punch needle, but we ascertained that they were actually tiny cross stitches.

Plan much?!?

We have no clue how old Ann was when she stitched this sampler. Clearly, spatial awareness and planning were not her forte. My guess is that she stitched the border before the letters, so she had to fit that verse in the space remaining. Then when she got to the end of a line and still had letters or words to stitch, she just squeezed them in how ever she could fit them. How charming is this? (I wonder if her mother thought so at the time.)

I'm reminded of all those fourth- and fifth-grade papers I graded back in the day, with words bending down the side of the page. Some things never change!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On the Road Again...

Over the last five months, I (Kara) have traveled to, on average, one state per month. Even for someone who loves to travel, that is a lot, and certain portions of my anatomy are tired of sitting in a car or plane. It has all been worth it though, because I was able to see so many loved ones over the course of those travels. 

No matter where I travel, I am always on the lookout for inspiration for future works, treasures from the past, or quilts for my collection. You can read about some of the treasure found in Maine (one of my five states) here, but today I am going to share a bit about my most recent road trip to Michigan and Ohio. 

My daughter, McKenna, and I set a course for Dublin, Ohio, to meet my grand-nephew Aiden for the very first time. I had a very belated, baby first birthday present for him, and giving it to him in person was going to be very special. I have been a University of Michigan fan all of my life, but my nephew, Nick (Aiden's father), is an Ohio State graduate and life-long fan of the Buckeyes. We have spent many a Thanksgiving together, trying to be kind when our respective teams played football. When Aiden was born, I knew that only one color scheme for a baby quilt would work for this particular family—scarlet and gray—for the Ohio State colors. Love trumps rivalries, and Aiden loved his quilt, even if it was made by a Michigan fan.

Aiden liked it so much, he tried to do a headstand!

A lot of half-square triangles!

An homage to the Ohio State football helmet

After our visit, we traversed across Ohio and Indiana to get to my parents house in St. Joseph, Michigan. Right on Lake Michigan, St. Joe is a fabulous place to visit, and the downtown is a wonderful place to window shop. 

The Toy Company holds so many fond memories for my children,
and this display of huskies in their window caught my eye.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of quilt shops nearby, but that doesn't stop my Aunt Carol and her friends from getting together weekly to stitch together. I was privileged to join them, and we had a wonderful time chatting, stitching, and gluing some hexies for my aunt's Quiltmania mystery quilt.

Stitching friends are the best friends!

My aunt hard at work

This was my first time gluing hexies, and I loved it!

After a morning of stitching, it was time to get out and see the town, regardless of the weather. I love the beach in the winter, and McKenna loves it, too. Her love extended to getting out and walking on the beach, while I was content to gaze at the water from the confines of my mom's toasty car.

It's hard to tell from the picture how windy and cold it was,
but McKenna bravely got out to enjoy the view.

After McKenna's brisk walk on the beach, we headed south to the Harbert Antique Mall to see what we could find. While we didn't find anything we couldn't live without, we were tempted by a few things.

Some lovely cigarette silks that would be fun in a crazy quilt

Bathing suits sure have come a long way!

This is a creative way to display antique blocks.

This would be a fun quilt  to re-create with English paper piecing.

A scrappy, tied, star quilt

I was tempted by this simple quilt top because of some of the reproduction style fabrics used,
but left it behind since I already have plenty of tops at home.
 (See Unfinished Objects of the Past)

This, however, was the biggest temptation!!!
My threads would be so well organized in this beauty!

Alas...the price

While I normally try to stop in at a local quilt shop in the area, the timing for this trip just didn't lend itself to stopping. Although I recently went to an amazing quilt shop in Denver, Colorado, that road trip story will have to wait until next time...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Quilts de Légende

Buckle your seat belts; we are about to embark on a virtual trip to France to see an astounding exhibition of quilts from France Patchwork, a 34-year-old, non-profit guild of 12,000 members. While at Quilt Festival in Houston in November 2016, we had the opportunity to speak with Catherine Bonte, the curator of the exhibit and president of France Patchwork. 

Catherine explained that every two years, the guild plans a special exhibit of quilts that are reproductions of antique quilts, made with reproduction fabrics. The quilts must be made from a picture in a book or a museum, without kits or patterns. All of the work is by hand; no machine stitching is permitted. The members' work is strictly judged for quality of stitches, including quilting. According to Catherine, the quilts included in the exhibit are "the best of the best of the best." 

The exhibit, sponsored by Bohin—which has a needle factory in Normandy, France—travels all over Europe. This was the first time the exhibit was displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. What a thrill it was to study these quilts! We agreed: the workmanship in these quilts was absolutely exquisite. We hope you enjoy this exhibit as much as we did. Many thanks to Catherine Bonte for her permission to share the exhibit on our blog, and for taking the time to share their stories with us.

USS Constitution by Jocelyne Picot
Design Source: American Quilts by Robert Shaw

Steventon, by France Aubert
Design Source: Antique British quilt

Antique Basket Quilt, by Ghislaine Lucas
Design Source: Baskets

Miss Rosetta, by Dominique Husson
Design Source: Log Cabin

Wales, by Aline Joulin
Design Source: Hexagons
Envol Oiseaux, by Marie-José Charpy
Design Source: Wild Goose Chase

La Bertauderie, by Monique Hovette
Design Source: Log Cabin

In Memory of Ann Randoll, by Martine Lanux
Design Source: From a British quilt

Céphée, by Marie-Josèphe Véteau
Design Source: Stars

Champ de Tournesols, by Gabrielle Paquin
Design Source: Compass and Flower
Border detail
Center medallion detail

Chesapeake, by Aline Joulin
Design Source: Broken Dishes

Jardin à la Française, by Nathalie Ferri
Design Source: Mariner's Compass

Légende, by Simone Patouillard
Design Source: Lady of the Lake

Bouquet d'ananas, by Laurence and Eric Durth
Design Source: Union Square

Potomac, by Yvonne Calvez
Design Source: Billing coverlet from York, England circa 1793-1805

Somerset, by Marie-Françoise Grégoire
Design Source: British quilt from Victoria and Albert Museum, dated 1802
Center medallion detail

Illusion d'Optique, by Anne-Marie Sierra
Design Source: Butterflies

Pieced Sampler Quilt, by Maud Trocque
Design Source: Sampler by Salinda Rupp, circa 1870, from Pennsylvania
Jeu de Dames, by Anne-Marie Uguen
Design Source: Rail Fence

Potomac, by Annick Tauzin
Design Source: Grandmother's Flower Garden

Les Oiseaux Roses, by Anne-Marie Schmitt
Design Source: Inspired by a Suzani design

Amish, by Anne-Marie Uguen
Design Source: Railroad Crossing

Sunburst Avec Étoiles, by Louise Marie Stipon
Design Source: LeMoyne Star
Scaramouche, by Dominique Husson
Design Source: Bridal Chest Quilt

Ensemble, c'est Tout, by Isabelle Muzeau
Design Source: The Graveyard Quilt, made by Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell, circa 1836, from Kentucky

We so enjoyed this exhibit that we returned numerous times to study and admire these quilts. The thousands of perfectly stitched pieces in each of these quilts represents countless hours of talented handwork. Indeed, these quilts do a stellar job of telling stories—or retelling them—from areas around the world. What a privilege is was to see these treasures in person. 

Are you as inspired as we are? 
Happy stitching!