Monday, May 12, 2008

Words and Quilts: Something to Shout About

Two things make my heart sing -- books and quilts. Okay, the husband and kids, still place number one on my top hits list. But books and quilts are what I turn to when left to my own devices. When I can combine the two, I'm in heaven.

How to combine books and quilts? Well let's see. Helen Stamm and Jeannie Kretsinger created the "What If" quilt seen to the right.

My heart skips a happy beat when I see words on a quilt. It just makes such sense that a quilt should contain a message. Maybe that's why we all want to embrace the story of Underground Railroad quilts and their secret messages in plain sight. The simple names and dates on crazy quilts make me smile, but when I see Susan Shie's work, I become quite giddy with all of the words!

Remember those autograph or friendship quilts where friends and family made blocks and signed them, or wrote a message on them. They were popular when the Wild West was being settled and the quilts were sent along as a memory of all the people they would probably never see again. These quilts have been popular on and off through the ages.

And the Red Cross quilts that had messages of support and comfort written on them and distributed to prisoners of war or wounded soldiers during several wars.

Or think about quilts that are made from book cover art. Make a copy on fabric of your favorite book's cover and stitch away. Perhaps combine various book titles to form a message of their own. You know "Lassie Come Home" plus "Meet Me in St. Louis" plus "Don't Stop the Carnival" or maybe "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" plus "Eats, Shoots and Leaves." Or want to electrify a quilt -- put Thomas Edison's biography and Nikola Tesla together on a quilt. Sparks will fly!

We've all seen the quilts that look like book shelves with all kinds of books on them. Maybe make a few to open up so we can read the opening lines. Warning. Don't chose Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" -- the opening sentence is paragraphs long if I remember correctly.

Or put together a quilt of the titles that most influenced your life. Or the authors. A little Alcott, Dickens, Jong and her Fear of Flying.... what a combination that makes! You could do a little psychotherapy in cloth just by piecing together the authors and books that influenced your life's path.

Or a children's quilt with kids lit on it. Or again, a quilt of your favorite childhood characters. Peter Rabbit and Madeline meets Junie B. Oh my!

Or your favorite foods and cookbooks and authors -- Julia meets Betty Crocker! Or sexiest chefs. Or old family recipes. You could even do a first aid kit using books you use as resources for diseases.... Well, the possibilities are as endless as the kinds of books. A bodice ripper quilt. An erotic quilt. Hmmm?

And then, there is the combination I'm enjoying today as soon as I finish this blog. Audio book and sewing. I'm going to put a CD from Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" into the old player and sit back in my crap (I mean craft) room and sort through fabrics. I'll cut, sew, create all to the dulcet tones of Davina Porter reading about my favorite characters: Jamie and Claire Fraser.

Books and quilts -- what could be more exciting!?

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