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The Fiber of My Being: Second Glances

Last month I went to Houston to experience the world’s largest quilt show. It’s the event I look forward to all year long. Primarily I go there to see the quilts and teach classes.

Phillip de Leon Showing Off Fabric Book

Phillip de Leon, an Alexander Henry Fabrics designer, tempting me with new fabric designs

I was there a few days early for the trade show, Quilt Market, where my new ruler debuted.  I had a behind-the-scenes look at soon-to-be released products including Robert Kaufman fabrics and Alexander Henry fabrics. I’ve already made my 2018 Houston hotel reservation and signed on to teach classes. Maybe, when you read this, I’ll have unpacked.

Flying Dice quilt

Malka Dubrawsky’s Flying Dice quilt pattern featuring her “Mark to Make” Robert Kaufman fabric

It wasn’t until I saw the above photo on Instagram that I noticed how ingeniously Malka used her fabric. Look at the navy fabric in her quilt. Look at her dress. Her fabric did double duty, cut on the straight of grain for the quilt and then cut on the bias, rendering it on-point, for her dress.

Delightful Desert Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman

Delightful Desert quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman featuring her “Terrarium” Robert Kaufman fabric

Do the animals above appear curvy to you? All of the blocks were sewn using straight seams. Have another look. Not a single curved seam was used.  Your eyes see what only appear as curved lines.

English Broderie Perse Coverlet

English Broderie Perse Coverlet, 1844

I could wax on and on about this coverlet that was part of the exhibition Quilts 1650-1850 From “Broderie” to “Broderie Perse.” The piece is bound in red, but there is no batting, making it a coverlet but not a quilt. Broderie perse is French for “Persian embroidery,” by which fabric motifs are cut from “yardage” then appliquéd onto background fabric. I tried this technique once and might have continued had I not chosen upholstery-weight chintz fabric. It was too difficult for me to manipulate — and besides, I found piecing suited me. An exquisite book by Jane Lury, who collected the quilts, can be had.

I visited the coverlet several times, always in awe of the fabric. On my third trip I saw something unusual. I’m still in disbelief over it.

English Broderie Perse Coverlet on display

Now you see it

The bottom center cut-out is on-point. Why oh why oh why? And the seeds! Look at the center column. The three cut-outs are ringed with seeds. There are a few seeds in the left upper area too.

Some of the red cut-outs are made from pieced fabric, some cut on bias and some cut on grain. This coverlet is an eyeful, from the exquisite fabric to the artful and unpredictable layout.

By the way, it’s signed/stitched at the bottom right: E R Hall, 1844

The red cut-outs (pomegranates?) remind me of Park, a contemporary appliqué pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. Her design was inspired by a cast iron gate on Park Avenue in Lake Wales, Florida. A couple of friends of mine have made it their own.

Park pattern by Carolyn Friedlander

By Elisabeth Woo Hardy in progress. Park pattern by Carolyn Friedlander. White fabric is “Botanics,” also designed by Carolyn Friedlander, as is the background fabric “Gleaned.” The fussy-cut images are from a pair of Munki Munki pajamas, long out of print. Elisabeth is the co-author of the book Fussy Cut Sampler

Park pattern by Carolyn Friedlander

By Samantha Lindgren. Park pattern by Carolyn Friedlander.

Ringed by quilt pins. Basted and on the cusp of greatness. More of Samantha’s ethos here.

I snapped this lazy river photo from my room at the Marriott Hotel. At the lower right is a solitary pool cleaner. What was I doing up in the middle of the night? Thinking about quiltmaking.

Texas shaped lazy river
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