Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lovely Old Thing

While traveling recently in Missouri, I had the chance to see a wonderful early quilt. My hostess brought out an old family quilt from upstate New York that had been in her grandfather's family. It's a huge four block piece, with interesting applique shapes and classic side sprays of vining flowers in the border. The quilted motifs are trapunto (stuffed) and oh yeah, the quilting stitches are minute and there's about 12 stitches per inch!

Not a seamstress herself, my friend assumed her quilt's repair was far beyond her limited sewing skills. Moreover, she also had been told that the quilt dated from 1720 and was afraid to touch such an ancient object. My opinion: this quilt is well worth saving and repairing. Even when an applique element is totally missing, the tell-tale stitches remain in the fabric as a guide to future repairers. Plus I think it's a 19th century piece, not as early as thought, and has the look of a classic 1840-1860 design.

Although usually drawn to applique, this old beauty took my breath away. At the least, I have to record and draw this wonderful folky pattern.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

News from Buckingham Palace

About four years ago, a lovely English lady by the name of Kate Badrick emailed me and asked if I would write a letter of recommendation for a mutual friend. No problem. Kate is a crackerjack publicity agent.

The friend in question was Lynne Edwards of Bildeston in Suffolk. On several occasions I've had the pleasure of staying with Lynne and her talented artist husband Brian (right). On the upper left is one of Brian's hand drawn Christmas cards that you receive if you're on the Edwards' A-list.

Lynne is well-known both in the UK and the United States for her quilting skills and numerous awards and books. "What's this for?" I asked and Kate replied, "It's a recommendation for Lynne to become a MBE. You mustn't tell her-this campaign's a secret. We're doing it to honor her for all she's done for quilting." I knew that Lynne was popular and that one of her students has to pass on for someone to get a place in her weekly classes but was truly ignorant of the scope of this friendly conspiracy. "Sure thing-" I said, "I'll write a letter," all the while thinking that MBE must be some quilting honor, like Mistress of Batik and Embellishments.

But today July 3, Lynne Edwards, along with other worthies, was present at Buckingham Palace to be invested with the MBE, Member of the British Empire award, for her accomplishments in quilting. The medal was pinned on her by no less than Prince Charles himself and Lynne looks as though she can’t stop grinning! Way to go, Lynne!