Thursday, December 24, 2015

Lily Love

It's Christmas Eve (December 24) and the red, white, and green bug bit late. I found some pictures of one of the first vintage quilts I bought 20 years ago when I moved to North Carolina. After about a month in residence, Rod and I attended an auction of unclaimed storage locks. Quilts were listed so I was eager to see what my new home state had to offer. 

The quilts came up last at the auction, after the furniture and before the rugs. I ended up buying four of them but he red, white, and green North Carolina Lily pictured here was the prize since it showed beautifully and had no visible holes or defects. 

I love the background white actually being a minute scribble-type print in blue.


This wall hanging is one of mine. Still a top (unquilted) it features my favorite orange, beloved plaids (a shirt I cut up) and some embellishment around the edges of the flowers in Big Stitch. Lacking only handles on either side of the flower pot, this pattern is exactly the same as the antique quilt above.

A few photos stolen from Ebay postings show other different exotic versions. I hope the people who won them love these quilts as much as I do!
The listing said 'from North Carolina-' Of course.

Wild and individualistic Lily version here. I admire the quiltmaker who chose these colors:strong lavender and yellow background, and red stems!

A Lily quilt in colors dating it between 1880-1920 and made right here in North Carolina. Even the triple-sashing and tiny Nine Patches are typical of our state. from the collection of my friend Lynn Gorges.

And the latest Lily was bought from a friend whose father found the quilt in a trunk, thrown at the side of the road in East Detroit waiting for the garbage guys. Fortunately he opened the trunk and knew his quiltmaker daughter would love it. She finished it (it needed binding) and posted it on a Facebook group about vintage quilts. We both feel this is not a Michigan quilt but rather a Southern import. Since there were lots of Southerners who moved to the Detroit area during and after WWII to work in the auto plants, our conjecture makes sense. It's wild, got some large stitches, and has fabrics that are NOT cotton. 

                                      I fell in love with it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pretty in Plaids in December

This past week I've been working strictly in plaids and plains. You might think the two groups are too limiting for a bred-in-the-bone scrap quilter. Not so. My Christmas exchange block for our guild holiday swap a couple of years ago to the right.

Translation for non-fabric readers: 'plaids' covers a lot: woven plaids (also called tartans), homespuns (usually small-scale and look like 19th century shirting fabrics-think Little House on the Prairie), checks and ginghams, and printed plaids. 

Likewise 'plains' means solid color fabrics but includes chambreys (colors woven with alternate white thread--think Oxfordcloth like men's dress shirts) and shot cottons (where different colors for the warp and weft produce a shade different from its components). The shade at left is Garnet from my Peppered Cottons line--a shot cotton of bright royal blue plus deep red.

I went leafing through old photos and realized I use plaids all the time. So here's a small sampling of blocks and quilts that show this personal predilection for plaids. Say that fast five times-

A big honking multi-color silk plaid, cut on the bias, made an interesting Log Cabin block and showcased Big Stitch quilting.

A shimaco or 'stripe book sample' over-stitched sashiko-style shows a variety of interesting cotton plaids from India.

And then there are touches of plaids used because they, artistically, break up prints with too similar a scale. Note the bright blue plaids surrounding the "compass points" of Cheddar. I have no more of most of these fabrics and I regret that this wheel block will have to stand alone. It also illustrates my fave use of batiks (the vague blue leaves in the background border)--best used next to another quite-different print (the rust/black print plus solid-color Cheddar). Batiks by themselves can be muddy. Gorgeous mud but muddy...I loved this blue batik so much I bought what was left on the bolt.

This lovely plaid and plains quilt was made by my friend Janice Pope. Janice keeps busy as a rep (fabric salesperson) for StudioE Fabrics and has her own pattern business called Anything But Boring . Go check it out!
The solid colors are Peppered Cottons shot cotton shades and the checks/stripes/big plaids are from Peppered Plaids, a now out-of-production line I did for StudioE Fabrics. In the fabric business, we call such lines 'vintage' to imply that they are rare and not to be re-ordered. Fabric store owners are used to hearing about lines going out of production. Lesson to all of us who work with and buy fabric: buy it when you see it because it probably won't be there tomorrow and the shop can't get it again.

And then there's this antique quilt from Virginia I sleep under every night with its little baskets pieced of tiny plaids and checks. Aside: Mr. December (Joey Velcro as a kitten) was a feral when we got him but decided to stay when he discovered the wealth of soft things in the house. Almost as good as boxes for feline bait.

Plaids creep into anything scrappy I make, including this teddy bear quilt. 

Bought on ebay: a totally charming plaid scrappy quilt top that smelled so bad it hit the bath tub as soon as it was out of the box. It has holes, some of the threads are rotten, and I totally love it.

This picture, stolen from the internet, is one of the best plaid blocks-ever! I have been contemplating devoting a whole quilt to this plaid madness in 2016. Patterns like this keep me up nights. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pantone Blew It

Usually in this blog I write about quilts, teaching, and occasionally family stuff. One topic I visit during December is the Pantone pronouncement of their Color of the Year. See last year's post (12/4/14) about the color Marsala (reddish-brown). At that time Pantone had just entered into a financial partnership with the makeup company Sephora and it was painfully obvious that Marsala was a shade of blush/lipstick/eye shadow.

This year I'm afraid Pantone's petticoats are showing with their 2016 pick and their color picks are even less applicable to the average consumer. The color company hedged its bets and picked two shades--oh no--the first time that's ever happened! The partnership here: maybe Pampers? No offence intended: babies are my favorite kind of people but smart moms have long since ditched the pink-vs-blue nursery color scheme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The 2016 colors are called Serenity and Rose Quartz but that's Baby Blue and Pink to the rest of us. Pantone pens this about the pink-"...a persuasive but gentle tone-" and for the blue -"-weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us." Puleeze. The company and its partners (there are many of them) are spinning the color choices like crazy. Rose Quartz is being promoted as the upcoming wedding color but occasionally the images and products just go off the rails.

The pink wedding dress reminds me painfully of the toilet paper dolly found in many 1950s bathrooms.

The blue, called Serenity, is likewise a weak choice but I can see how it was brought in to prop up the Pink. See the two-tone Pantone mug left--sure to be a big hit at the next baby shower you attend.

These colors have very little to do with my world (quilts and fabrics) and unless you're a slave to fashion, you won't rush out and paint your bedroom Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue or go shopping for new duds in these colors for fear of ending up looking vaguely like these 18th and 19th century paintings.
Pinched from a Monty Python skit.

Gainsborough's Blue Boy and Pinkie by Lawrence


As 2016 progresses we'll see how Pantone's picks play out but my prediction is that Pantone's relevance and influence to the rest of the world is waning. A lot of us will pass on this pair! #31DayBlogChallenge