Week Fifty Two

Quilts as art (and other musings)

Posted in Uncategorized by sarahbakerhansen on 7 August 2008
Today I’ll get my second lesson in quilting. My significant’s aunt is a fantastic quilter and has agreed, while she’s in town for a few weeks this summer, to give me a quilting tutorial, which she promises I’ll be successful at. (She teaches kindergartners how to quilt; so I had best not be a failure.) I’ve already amassed two yards each of seven coordinating fabrics, most of which are reproduction prints of styles first made in the 1870s, 1930s and 1940s. Today, in preparation for slicing them, I’ve washed, pressed and starched each piece of cloth. I’ll post my first block when I finish making it (and yes, I know this isn’t a craft blog. But there’s some art to the world of handicrafts, trust me.)
I’ve long been a lover of “crafts,” and though I’ve not always excelled at my crafty girl efforts, I find much solace in the idea of making something with my hands: I sure as hell can’t make a painting, but you want a hand knit wool hat? I’m your girl.
I taught myself to knit a few years ago, and I mostly stick to scarves (I love a hand knit scarf more than many things) though I’ve made mittens, hats and other wooly goods, too. Quilting has also always appealed to me, but I’ve never taken the plunge. I think the opening of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln earlier this year pushed me toward finally taking more interest in the idea of making a quilt by hand. The heirloom, vintage quality of a hand stitched, beautifully matched series of patterned fabrics appeals to my love of all things old, to my admitted vintage sensibility. Quilts as art used to seem an odd pairing to me; now, those two words together make more sense. Quilts, like most art, are best appreciated in person, but I think you’ll see a little bit of what I mean when you take a gander at the photos below. I don’t aim to create anything this grand, especially in my first attempt, but hey. A girl can dream.
(These are all log cabin quilts. It’s the style I plan to make.)

above: Log cabin quilt made of wool suiting and gabardine, around 1930-1940

above: Pennsylvania quilt, dating from 1870-1890, made of suiting, serge and wool gabardine

above: Pennsylvania quilt from 1865-1895, made of wool. All images courtesy UNL’s International Quilt Study Center.


One Response

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  1. glea said, on 8 August 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Great idea to make quilts. The Philadelphia Art Museum has a quilts exhibit right now:


    Have a great weekend!

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