Sunday, June 10, 2007

Improvisational Quilts

Just a warning: this could get to be a lengthy post. (There are pictures at the bottom if you want to skip to the eye candy!)

I pieced my third journal quilt Thursday. I enjoyed the process, it came out pretty much as I intended, but I didn't have a clue as to how I would embellish it. Went to the bead shop(s) with my friend (we actually went to two), didn't buy as much as I thought I might (nothing for said journal quilt), didn't feel very well when I got home - naturally. The next morning my sweetie and I went to see the new Pirates movie. We'd been waiting - well, I had been waiting to see it until some of the crowds died down. He saw it while he was in Idaho. We went to the earliest show possible but the theater was still fairly crowded, and on the way out I passed some guy wearing something he probably thought enhanced his desireability. I gagged. Really didn't feel well after that. It took the rest of the day to recover but I did enjoy the movie. The first one is still my favorite of the three, and the second one would be my least favorite. Nevertheless, kudos to Disney for reawakening the lore and romance of piratology!

Back to the journal quilt. While I was unable to sew yesterday I was able to journal (in my spiral-bound notebook). During the course of my journaling I discovered/realized that the piece I had made on Thursday didn't feel "right" to me. I think it's sound compositionally and I will still try to finish it off someday. But for this particular project (series of journal quilts) it doesn't serve my stated purpose. It did not have the potential of taking me closer to my personal goals. So I'm putting it aside and will make a 'new' third journal quilt. I already have the focus fabric picked out. I'm just waiting for the energy to be creative again.

In the meantime, I have been to the Shelburne Museum web site to see whether there is a catalog available for their current exhibit, Something Pertaining to God: the Patchwork Art of Rosie Lee Tompkins. There doesn't appear to be a catalog, but there are half a dozen detail shots of her quilts on the site. Very inspiring to those of us who enjoy improvisationally pieced quilts!

So then I went to Eli Leon's web site (because he is the one who loaned the Rosie Lee Tompkins quilts to the Shelburne Museum). Eli Leon is the man probably most responsible for bringing African-American improvisationally pieced quilts to our attention. From his site you can go to photo album pages with pictures of quilts from many different quiltmakers. Click on the "More Quilts" badge (about half way down, right hand side) and that will take you to a page where there is displayed one of the most original Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts I've ever seen. It's at the bottom of the page on the right hand side. It was made by Minnie Lee Metcalf and she calls it Grandmother's Rose Garden. Love it!

And now, for your viewing pleasure (I hope!), let me introduce you to my Cattywampus Nine Patch, aka "Hiding From the Pup-arozzi". This was pieced improvisationally four years ago but only quilted and bound in the last six months. I kind of had an idea of how I wanted to quilt it; it took me that long to get brave enough to actually do it! I used a vine/leaf stitch that's on my Pfaff and a varigated polyester thread my sister gave me for my birthday a couple of years ago. I'd read that cats like to hide in foliage - not having one of my own I wouldn't know - and that's what finally pushed me over the edge to get the quilting done. The quilt is actually a trapezoid in shape, not a rectangle. It measures 11.5" across the top edge, 14.5" across the bottom edge, and is 21.5" long. I'm really quite pleased with it!


  1. Fun Cattywampus quilt. love the bright colors. I wouldn't know about cats hiding in foilage either since there are no plants in our apartment - the cats would destroy them one way or another. Thanks for the link to the Tompkins quilts.

  2. There is a catalog for Something Pertaining to God. Love your quilt. Eli Leon


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