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Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

Vermont: Land of Quilting?

Mr. Apparently and I went on a lovely trip to Vermont, where we stayed at the incomparable Windham Hill Inn and drove all over the southern part of the state in search of the unique, the antique and oh yes, fabric and yarn. Armed with his trusty iPad, we were able to search out local yarn stores on the fly (or rather, in the rental car) and even found two incredible houses-converted-to-stores filled to their attics with fabric.

Not until this trip have I observed firsthand the great divide between quilters and modern sewists. Each of these shops was stocked with hundreds, if not thousands of cotton fabrics, on bolts and in neatly tied bundles of half-yards, fat quarters, charm packs and jelly rolls. (If these terms mean nothing to you, scroll down for a glossary.) Yet almost nowhere in these shops were the modern cotton fabrics I have come to know and love. Let’s not even get into designers (often the dividing line between modern and traditional); the patterns and colors alone displayed a serious commitment to traditional American quilting. I am coming to terms with the sad truth that unless one lives in a teeming metropolis or is a dedicated internet shopper, it’s not easy to find fabrics that appeal to a modern sensibility. Thank [your chosen deity] for the internet. And that I live in NYC with a high-speed web connection.

SoleDon’t worry. I managed to support the local economy nonetheless. In the charming village of Wilmington, I spied a bolt of Valorie Well’s Sole in the attic of Norton House, and along with some argyle, various dots and a few lovely reproductions based on fabrics discovered at Old Sturbridge Village (the school field trip destination of my youth), easily passed some sort of secret “free piece of fudge with purchase” threshold.

At Country Treasures in Chester, I overheard two women telling a third that they had driven two and a half hours to reach the store and planned to stay all day.  This shop was even larger than Norton House, and yet I had a much more difficult time trying to make a purchase. I was stunned and impressed with the sheer quantity of fabrics, not to mention the enormous quilting machine in the attic, but the colors were just not my palette. It was obvious that the fabrics in the shop had been chosen by the same person; room after room and bundle after bundle presented a unified aesthetic that was just not the same as mine. Mr. Apparently left me to wander, and did I catch him making a purchase? Yes, I did. (Isn’t that sweet?) And did he choose a bundle of Sandy Gervais prints that I had already earmarked as a possibility? Of course he did.

I have a feeling that in the bedrooms and attics of Vermont, thousands of quilts are keeping people warm…or waiting to be found by the next generation.

(The careful observer might spy a little piece of “Cars” fabric in my stack of purchases. I couldn’t resist a little something that would make my son happy. One lovely fabric isn’t pictured, as I’m making a surprise for someone who may read this…could it be you?)

Glossary of Quilting Terms, for the Uninitiated:

A half-yard, is eactly that: a piece of fabric that is 18″ high and the entire width of the bolt.

A fat quarter is made by cutting a half yard in half again vertically to produce a rectangular piece that measures 18″ x 22″. (Many people prefer this to a piece that is 9″ high.)
Moda Jelly Roll

Charm packs are stacks of fabric that have been laser-cut into 5″ squares. Layer cakes are stacks of 10″ squares.

And jelly rolls are bundles of 2.5″ x 44″ strips that are rolled up to look like their namesake.

One can also find honey buns, dessert rolls and turnovers. Isn’t this making you hungry? I’m going to have to find some cake.

Modern Quilting

The Modern Quilt Guild has a post today about how every generation calls itself modern, meaning a divergence from past style(s)…and yet a photo then-and-now shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Or at least that’s true in quilting. My friend’s vintage-photography-mashup website, Sepiatown, launched today, and it shows that the more things change in architecture, they more they just plain change.
quilt begun by Vania and finished by me in 2008. You should know this: if you ever give me crafting materials, it’s likely that you will receive something made from them in return. I know this is not your intention. The cyclical nature of giving and receiving just appeals to me.