Monday, April 14, 2014

Following the Quilted Path

Quilt detail
A detail from a quilt made by my mother - one of my
early quilt inspirations.
My first quilt inspiration was my mother’s yellow quilt. Yellow was her favorite color and I believe this quilt was made out of 1930s and 40s fabrics. I remember sleeping under it when I was younger and being fascinated by the many small cotton prints on the quilt. I think they may be feedsack or dress prints. My mother usually followed patterns for creating, and I would love to know where the pattern for the quilt came from. 

I wish I had asked her questions about the quilt, but I didn’t think about it at the time, I just knew that it was a part of our life and environment. Mom would wash it in the washing machine, then hang it out to dry on the line, and later when the quilt became worn, it was put into storage in her cedar chest. I now own the quilt, and keep it folded and displayed on a quilt stand in my bedroom, where a look at it inspires me on a daily basis.

quilt detail
Another section of my mother's quilt - the quilt includes fabrics
from the 30s and 40s, I believe
My first quilt-making experience was as a teenager, at age 16. While visiting my Country Grandmother, she taught my cousin and I how to make a quilt. We chose fabrics from her scrap box - left over fabrics from sewing clothes. I chose pastel gingham fabrics for my quilt, I remember pink, lavender and green pastel checks - there may have been some yellow as well, and a floral fabric to tie the gingham fabrics together. (I had wanted to include a photo of my first quilt top in this blog - but I haven't located it yet! It is in my storage. I did enjoy a trip down memory lane whilst searching, looking at my wedding back to the quilted path....) Grandma suggested a good beginner’s block, a 9 patch, for my quilt. She prepared cardboard templates for tracing and cutting the block pieces out of fabric. This was in 1973, prior to the invention of rotary cutters and rulers for cutting fabrics. We traced the templates with pencil on the fabric, and cut out the pieces with sewing scissors. I remember asking whether the blocks could be sewn together by hand or machine. She said either way would work fine, so I sewed some of my blocks by hand and some by machine. When I had completed all of my blocks, I purchased a green fabric (green was my favorite color at the time) for tying the quilt together. After it was all sewn together, I didn’t feel the quilt top “worked”, so I haven’t finished that first quilt. I still hope to finish it one day. I may take it apart and reassemble the blocks with different fabrics, and with a different layout. (Once I locate my quilt top, I will update this blog with its photo!)
Grandma always tied her quilts. Several years later I made this hearts and hands wall quilt, and tied the layers together using threads and beads:

Hearts and hands wall quilt
One of my early wall quilts - I tied the quilt
with thread and beads rather than quilting it,
the way my Grandmother finished her quilts.
My Grandmother always created her own designs by laying out the blocks, rather than following a set pattern. This was also an inspiration for designing my own quilts. Since I learned to create in this way, I didn’t think of designing the quilt as a difficult thing to do. She liked to use the snowball, bears paw and maple leaf block patterns.
Quilting and needlework have always inspired me and have been one of my passions. The quilts I make today often include needle felted appliques, embroidery (machine and hand) and beaded details. I have started including tatting in my work, inspired by the early memories of my other City Grandmother’s tatting and my uncle’s tatting (a subject for another blog!).

The traditional blocks are sometimes an aspect in my work, but I also love creating my own appliqued designs. I have explored many facets of art: drawing, painting, ceramics, metalworking, silkscreen, photography, video and audio, but have found my home in creating wall quilts out of fiber, inspired by those first quilt experiences.
More of my wall art quilts can be viewed on my website at:

Note: My Following the Quilted Path blog entry was created in response to a Blog contest with As part of the contest, you get to pick 5 items from Here are the 5 items I found that I would love to win - who doesn't love virtual window shopping!:

Inkle Loom Kit - this kit includes a Schacht Inkle loom, Schacht Belt shuttle, Inkle Weaving A-Z workshop DVD, and an Inkle Weavers Pattern Directory. Before I looked on the website, I didn't even know what Inkle weaving was! I found this very inspiring page on PinInterest, by googling Inkle weaving: It looks like a fun, new adventure!

New Tatting, by Tomoko Morimoto - I would love to check out this new tatting book.

Burda Style Spring 2014 - currently on sale for $7.50 (through April 17, 2014, I believe) - Did I mention, I've ventured into sewing some of my own clothes in the past year? I've always liked the Burda magazines, which include patterns for sewing.

How to Sew Like A Pro: Create, Construct & Embellish with Tricia Waddell - download - (I need all the sewing help I can get!)

Sew Wild Download, by Alisa Burke - this just sounded like fun.

If you haven't checked out the website, or, I would highly recommend their sites, as great sources of inspiration for your creative endeavours.

Happy Creating!  - Denise A. Buchwalter-Losczyk