About a month ago, a friend in Houston, Janice Shindler, posted a photo on Facebook of a beautifully executed modern quilt. A little bell clanged in my head. Not quite as loud as the church bells, but an "aha" bell. I commented to Janice how lovely it was and that I would like to create quilts like that - not traditional quilts.
A little while later, I remembered that my friend Mary Carruth is an avid quilter, among many other things, and is involved in a quilt group. I called her. We talked the following week during half-time of a LSU football game and made plans for me to attend the next quilting get-together which was yesterday.
This is not your mother's old fashioned quilting bee. This is an extremely talented and creative group of women with a wide variety of interests. Yesterday there was show and tell. Then a short program on dyeing yarn with natural dyes. Dyes such as marigold leaves, pomegranate bark, indigo, and many other items. Fascinating.
The quilts that were shown were made from old clothes, scraps and leftovers. A myriad of things to add texture and interest. My brain was racing with ideas.
The skillful placement of patterns and colors added the contemporary look to these wall hangings or quilts. Quite a bit of applique work also.
Fascinating to me was this process where men's ties were taken and transferred onto silk. These pieces will be cut out to create something wonderful. I could see a jacket out of the pieces.
Not to be out done by contemporary items, one woman had found these quilt pieces. All had been pieced by hand. Judging by the fabrics, they are from the 20's or 30's and were found in Vermont. Just holding them made me wonder, who was this woman, how long did it take her to make all these pieces, why didn't she finish the project, etc. etc. etc.
After I left the quilting group, I walked home with Mary to her home. She has the ultimate studio for quilting and sewing and whatever else she wishes to create. I hate to admit how much I envied her this space. But, I did.........and do.
However, I sewed for a living when the children were young for many years. Not only did I sew clothes but I made custom applique workshirts which were the "rage" back then. I had a teeny tiny corner in our bedroom by a window. An old rattle-trap sewing machine and somehow I was still able to create and make more money then I could imagine. Even back then in the 70's, I was able to get close to $100 US for one custom appliqued shirt!
My goal is to get an inexpensive machine in Houston next month to sew with since I gave my machines to women in the countryside to make a living. One that has many stitches and begin to create again. Who knows where it will lead me. I need to get my creative juices flowing again.
I can't wait to go to the traveling market (tianquis) on Tuesday and see if I see any unique old clothes or fabrics to use. I'm starting from square one. No fabrics, no implements, no machine. This will be fascinating to see if I come up with something.
First off will be to make quilts for the grandchildren - that's 7. Check back with me in six months and see if I have accomplished that goal.
Those women really inspired me!