Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quilt of the Week

Earlier this week I was tossing around the idea of having a "Quilt of the Week" on Wednesdays. You can see it took me a little longer than I thought. :) I found this great wool quilt up for auction on eBay. It just screams "folk art" in all the right ways.

There are 4 log cabins arranged around a courtyard, and if you look closely, you can see the letters H O M E stitched on the steps up to each house.

I love the design and colors. With bluebirds, sheep, flowers, cherries, and a picket fence, what's not to love. The seller is wwolst12, and you can see more pictures and the description here.

If you've wanted to take a portrait painted doll class with Susan Fosnot, this might be your last chance. The Old Courthouse Arts Center, where she has her classes, has been sold, and they have new plans for it. The class is May 14-15, and will be an 8" girl, painted in acrylics, named Zinia.

Susan always has a new tip or technique to teach, and this class is no exception. She is very excited about a new technique that makes the acrylic paint stay wet for hours, and blend and shade like oils. She says if you think oils are the only paint for you, this class will change your mind. You can see more of Susan's dolls, and details of the workshop, on her website.

In my last post I showed you a sneak peek of the doll quilt I made for Cheryl, my partner in the Doll Quilt Exchange. Here is a picture of the whole quilt. I had a lot of fun making it. Round II starts soon, with a new partner.

Thanks to Cynthia, I found the Lavender and Mint fabric I was searching for. Also, thank to Miriam, who also located some for me. The friends I've met blogging are the very best!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Aloha and a Swap

A couple of years ago I wrote a report for my quilt history group on Hawaiian quilts. I thought it would be a report on the silhouette quilts you typically think of when you think Hawaiian quilt, but I discovered there was a lot more to Hawaiian quilts than I knew!

Long before missionaries brought their version of quilting to Hawaii, native Hawaiians were skilled at making a type of bedcovering called kapa moe, made from a type of cloth called tapa. Tapa was made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree. Women pounded thin sheets of the inner bark into thicker sheets sheets of uniform consistency, which were then sewn into clothing and textiles with thread made from twisted bark fibers. Kapa moe were made with four sheets of white tapa, topped with a layer that was frequently dyed with natural dyes and decorated with stencils. The layers were then sewn together with a running stitch at the bottom. Here are some of the patterns found on kapa moes.

On April 3, 1820, the ship Thaddeus, sailing from Boston carrying women from the American Board of Missions, made a brief stop at Kawaihae. Some of the women on the ship sat in a circle and taught the native women to do "patchwork." It is not know if this consisted of bits of cloth pieced together, or a type of applique, but for the most part Hawaiians seem to have made appliqued quilts from the start. The few pieced examples that exist duplicate designs that were stamped on the kapa moe, including the log cabin design.

In the 1860's, Pennsylvania Dutch Missionaries arrived to start schools in the islands, and brought with them the scherenschnitte cuttings that were popular in Pennsylvania and parts of New England. Two quilts exist that are made up of small scherenschnitte squares, and it is theorized that traditional Hawaiian quilting was influenced by these designs. Early quilters cut the patterns freehand, but later paper patterns were made. This stunner is Queen Kapiolani's Fan Quilt. It is currently on display at the American Museum at Bath.

One legend says the the Hawaiian applique originated when women laid a sheet in the sun and noticed the shadow of the breadfruit tree on the cloth. Since beginners are encouraged to start with a breadfruit, or "ula," quilt, this is the type of quilt most commonly found.

This quilt possibly represents the "Tree of Life" found on chintz quilts imported from India by the British.

Applique patterns were considered intensely personal, as were their names, and both were closely guarded. Patterns were sometimes stolen from a quilt hanging on a clothesline. A talented quilter could stand in the shadows and cut the patterns freehand on paper.

Outline embroidered quilts, what we think of as "redwork," were also popular and were often used for everyday, while the traditional Hawaiian applique quilts were kept for good. When the quilts became worn, the were cut up and used for children to sleep under. Hawaiian redwork quilts were a whole cloth quilt with designs stamped in a ring, sometimes around a central figure, in the style of applique quilts.

Another type of quilt is the Hawaiian Flag Quilt, Ku'u Hae Aloha, or My Beloved Flag. These were believed to have first appeared in 1843 when Lord Paulet of the British Navy claimed Hawaii, then know as the Sandwich Islands, for Britain. Citizens were afraid they would never see their flag again, so they used it as a symbol in their quilts. Later that year, a British Admiral restored the flag, which underwent numerous design changes over the years. Quilts can generally be dated by the design of the flags it contains, however, this is not always the case. It is rare to find a quilt made much earlier than 1875 because of the mildew and pest infestation caused by the humidity. It was a Hawaiian tradition to make a copy of a deteriorating quilt, so a later quilt could have a representation of an earlier flag.

Flag quilts were thought to be very rare, and almost none are found on the mainland, but during the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project, many flag quilts were found. Almost every family that has Hawaiian quilts has a Flag Quilt, but these were often kept in secret, and handed down from generation to generation. Because of this I was very surprised to find on recently on eBay, and the seller has generously allowed me to use her pictures here.

Here is your chance to obtain a piece of history! You can see the auction here.

For pictures of Hawaiian quilts, as well as more resources, check out The Quilt Index.

A while ago I joined a doll quilt swap hosted by Christine over at Once Upon a Quilt, and my first swap partner was Cheryl from So Many Quilts, So Little Time. Things have been so hectic here for the last month that I never got around to posting Cheryl's sneak preview, so here it is.

And here is the wonderful quilt I got in exchange. Cheryl reproduced one from Mary Ghormley's collection for me. I just love it! Thank you so much Cheryl.

You can't go wrong with pink and brown. This is the first doll quilt I own, and now I want more. We have a second round with new partners starting soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tsunami Relief

Photo Credit/API

We've all seen the horrifying images of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, and you are probably wondering how you can help. I've done some research, and here is a link to some of the reputable charitable organizations with relief efforts in Japan. Please note that the American Red Cross is not directing efforts to Japan at this time, and you will be donating to their general fund. British Red Cross donations do go directly to tsunami relief.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a FEMA certified agency that has deployed six dog/handler teams to Japan to aid in the search for survivors. Below is Jasmine and her search dog Cadillac, one of the teams deployed.

World Vets is a veterinary aid organization that is working with veterinarians from the US Army stationed in Japan, and local animal rescue groups, to aid homeless and injured animals. Anyone who saw pictures of Hurricane Katrina victims reunited with their pets knows how important they can be to comforting and healing in the wake of a disaster.

And, of course, prayer.