Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a Winter!

By the middle of January, I am usually holed up in my sewing room and thinking of only sewing.  This winter season has been quite different from recent years.  Any other year, by this date we would have had over 70 inches of snow in Central New York with the worst of the season yet to greet us, and I would have pieced or quilted a few tops.  However...

the grass is vibrant and the Witch Hazel Shrubs are blooming!  This means I've been trying to get outside to enjoy the reprieve from winter. We just planted these bushes this past summer and this is their first winter.  Their intention was to add color to an otherwise snowy landscape since they are the first to bloom in late winter. 

There is something else that is an anomaly for Central New York.  Do you notice the beautiful blue sky?  No wonder nature has been a bit confused this season - no snow and sunny days.

It also seems the Canada Geese are also not migrating as far south as they usually do and flocks can be heard overhead as they circle around from lake to lake.  Some flocks are so large it sounds thunderous in the skies above.

Hearing the geese reminded me of previously admonishing the quiltmaker from the 80's for keeping painstaking records of her fabric purchases.  Now is when I must do a retake and tell you why I admire her... and why the geese overhead remind me of her.

This quilt maker  from the 80's dedicating herself to learning patchwork skills.

Tucked into boxes of 1980's fabrics was this Flying Geese wallhanging unfinished top.  It measures 43" x 45" and is hand pieced.  Rotary cutting was not in a quilt makers vocabulary until Mary Ellen Hopkins revolutionized the quilt making process demonstrating faster techniques and allowing quilters to break from historical ways.

But remember I said I really admired this quilt maker.  It is because she was so precise and meticulous in her craft. 

Notice the careful pressing and trimmed excess fabric to eliminate bulk at the seams.

Templates were traced with pencil and the marks became the seam line.

The quilt revival was sparked during the 1976 American Bicentennial.  Prior to the bicentennial, quilt making techniques had slowly been fading from American culture.  Certainly from my own experience, although my great-grandmother was a quilter it was not a skill my mother possessed.   Growing up during the depression, my mother viewed quilts as a sign of poverty and hence quilts were used as mattress bed covers in our household.

I knew how to sew in the 80's, but it wasn't until I received Let's Make a Sampler Quilt by Diana Leone when I pieced together quilt blocks correctly and gained an understanding of the quilt making process missing in my own sewing vocabulary. 

Take note of the green fabric in the center.... more on some of these greens later :)

So thank you to beautiful skies, migrating geese and quilt makers of the 70's and 80's for keeping the art of quilting alive for quilt makers today.

1 comment: