Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Go green!

We have such a beautiful, unique, mysterious and magnificent world. Check out the aurora borealis photo to the right.

What can we do to keep our world as it is or help clean up what damage we've done?

Lots of people are talking about going green. The big three auto makers are certainly taking it seriously -- their future depends on it. But what can little old subversive stitchers do to make a difference? First of all, support companies who are striving to go green. And encourage clothing and fabric manufacturers to cut waste, not just the throw aways but the toxins that wash out into our streams and lands.

Most of all -- don't let the world unravel (a creative video you gotta check out)!

Let's go green! What are some things to think about or do within the next twelve months?
  1. Use products made from organic fabrics and organic cotton
  2. Cut down or eliminate the use of plastic bags for groceries and shopping by making your own totes. Use a sheet! Do as is shown in the photo and make a ton of totes from one sheet. Posh Patterns by Jackie's Designs offers a free bread tote pattern.
  3. Reuse fabrics for art quilts and utility quilts or whatever you can think up. Our grandmothers did this during the Great Depression -- we can do the same thing and probably do it better. Denim jeans make great quilts for example. Or scrap memory quilts made from favorite clothing. Deb's blog gives an interesting list of denim uses from pot holders to lunch bags and beyond. I just thought about denim pockets with backing and stuffing to sit under flower pots to protect your countertops.
  4. Use eco-friendly batting. Maybe Dream Green, Warm and Safe eco-friendly and fire retardant,
  5. Join the 'Use What You Have' program and take 30 days in which you use only what is in your stash, do not buy, recycle or use the odds and ends around the house.
  6. Make something out of rag strips. Weave it, knit it, crochet or string piece into usable art or wall art or just something usable. Tote bags, rugs, mats, dog and cat beds, placemats, you'll think of something.
  7. Use leftover batting. Check out these 101 uses that include everything from dust cloths to chink in drafty windows to fill around quilts you're mailing. Or maybe splice the scraps together into a large batting.
  8. Maybe not exactly green, but use your fabrics to make a charity quilt for a deserving, yet needful person or animal.
  9. Use vegetable tanned leather rather that leather produced using the chrome tanning method
  10. Make your exhibits and quilt shows -- green. For example do not sell or distribute bottled water. Reduce landfill waste by thinking about every aspect of the show from handouts to food service.
  11. Embellish your quilts with 'found' objects -- found in nature and around the house. That orphaned button or maybe even an orphaned sock!
And a few extra thoughts
  1. Sew and quilt in the sunlight. Or if possible build your life around the sun -- when its up, so are you, when it's down -- you could head for bed and reduce electric consumption.
  2. Cut down or eliminate the use of chemical fabric sprays and harmful or harsh or wasteful additives.
  3. Use eco-friendly dyes and dye techniques -- Susan Shie advocates this in every one of her classes.
  4. Quilt and sew by hand instead of revving up a sewing machine.
  5. Make miniature quilts to use up scraps or journal or post card quilts.
  6. Learn to make your own starch and dyes and glues from organic and environment friendly ingredients.
  7. Smile more -- it will brighten you AND your environment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quilter's Wishlist

I saw a Christmas wish list posted at Bella Online, but I have to admit her list said more about the quilter's deficiencies than about quilting. Or at least this quilter's deficiencies. A needle threader speaks more to my shaky fingers and poor eyesight; the iron that turns off automatically reminds me of my forgetful nature. And getting new scissors and teflon mats is all well and good, but if anyone wants to make this quilter's heart flutter, check below.

This is a selfish listing of just SOME of the fabric art I'd love for someone to put under my Christmas tree -- in no particular order.

Ruth McDowell's self portrait of Nude Reclining -- or just about anything that Ruth has made.

Virginia Spiegel's 400 Songbirds. I fell in love with this piece when I wrote about her and several other quilt artists' activist quilts.

Valerie C. White's
Sunrise and the Rooster and just about anything else she has made! I adored writing about her for Quilters World. If ever I feel down, I just visit her site and look at her quilts -- they always lift my spirits. Maybe it is the colors or the movements or a reminder of the fun I had writing about her.

Anything quilted by Karen McTavish! I love her style and her subversive tendencies. A quilter should have tattoos! Why not?

Eileen Doughty's activist quilts -- any of them -- and her Meteor Shower (shown below)-- any of her landscapes. Oh heck, anything Eileen makes I like and would love to find under the Christmas tree!

Well, it goes without saying -- Hollis Chatelain -- I fell in love with her Burkinabe Mother before many people had heard of Hollis.

Caryl Bryer Fallert. I'm almost afraid to write her name for fear I'll misspell it, but I can't make a wish list without her work on it. Anything, anything. But I did fall in love with her Feather Flower and Feather Study (among others). They rather remind me of Jacobean designs.

Jacobean reminds me of Mary Sorensen's work. I have one chickadee pattern on the blog and would be happy to see that hanging on my wall. But I also have fallen for her Persian Dawn Jacobean design.

Laura Schwarz Smith is new on my radar and I hope to find out more about this artist and her work. I particularly liked her Il Postino shown here to the left. Okay, I liked Imagine and Awakening and....

To look at more quilt artists and their work, Lyric Kinard has amassed a delightful list.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What your workroom says about you behind your back

There's truth in the long list of sayings about quilters and fabrics. You know at least one of those like 'she who dies with the most wins....'

We must amass fabric so that we have the materials we need to create. We need the pieces to put together to take our inspired ideas from mere thought into something we can touch and enjoy with all of our senses. So for most of us a workspace must include storage. LOTS of storage. Jan Krentz gave me a new love for IKEA when she gave viewers a tour of her studio at the end of her teaching CD "Jan Krentz Teaches You to Make Lone Star Quilts."

But the more we amass, the more we must organize or we have chaos. And that chaos eats away at our creative spirit.

On the DIY website, a discussion of the psychology of clutter reveals what lies beneath that clutter. It may or may not apply to you, but when approaching a new year, it is usually the time we decide to make a change. Maybe this is a change worth looking into?

Some things to think about when you look around your 'cluttered' studio or sewing space.
  • Clutter can be a manifestation of either depression or anxiety
  • Clutter can be a way to isolate oneself from others
  • Clutter is an act of replacing people with things
  • There is clutter and then there is hoarding
  • There is emotional attachment to things in that clutter
  • Clutterers are usually intelligent, educated individuals
  • Clutter hinders a productive life

I seem to work better in a space where I can reach out and find exactly what I need without search and rescue tactics. This first photo represents the type of workspace I have in my home. Short on storage and space, my room is decorated with stacks and stacks and STACKS that are even less organized than this space. In the spirit of full disclosure, we have downsized, a problem many people encounter. And many of the boxes in my workspace hold family items. Items that belonged to loved ones living and dead.

I need neat, tidy, inviting, pleasing aesthetics that soothe my spirit rather than irritate it. I immediately know which of these two workplaces would promote my productivity and creativity. Roberta -- I adore your workspace. So organized, so inviting, so full of everything needed to create. Diana McClune's studio gives me a case of the screaming green envies.

Real Sewing Rooms, a website devoted to home studios can help you find ideas to include in your own workspace. I particularly liked this site that shows organization tips and equipment. Drawer organizers, foot rests (sewing machine feet that is), tool caddies, stash drawers, visual ways to display yet protect fabrics, organization for rulers, and simple ways to make a room inviting -- some expensive, some not so much.

Recycling furniture and items for a new use, maybe in your future. One site shows using those old spice racks that never seemed to work in the kitchen. Now they hold spools of thread.

There is definitely a difference between a 'studio' and a 'sewing room.' But whichever you have, the needs are often the same and the basic need is organization for the materials as well as an environment conducive to creativity. Dreading to enter your workspace is your first clue that you need an intervention.

Maybe the new year is the time to work on your sewing space. Another site has drawn together several more sites where you can look at sewing spaces and get ideas for your own.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sometimes I just have to crow!

With an overwhelming need to knit, I needed a big project to make all of that knitting time well spent. I latched onto the idea to make slippers for grand nieces and nephews this year.

My frugal genes (and husband) thought it was a good way to use up leftover yarns. So I sorted through the odds and ends I've collected over the years and pulled out my favorite. It is a soft baby yarn with a glimmer stripe through it. I used it several years ago for crocheted afghans and they turned out better than I had ever hoped. The yarn worked up so nicely and the feel. Ohhhh they are heavenly soft. And they're washable! Dryable! I used two strands of the baby yarn and the afghans turned out so cuddly, soft, warm and luxurious. Why I hadn't thought of using baby yarn for afghans before, I don't know. It is the softest yarn, of course, and relatively inexpensive, so using a double strand doesn't make for expensive projects.

The slippers I made using that yarn turned out just as cuddly and lovely, but the sleeve with the company name and information was long gone. But today as I was ordering other yarn, I ran across this favorite. It is Bernat's baby coordinates. Bless their hearts for making this lovely yarn at such an affordable price!

The only downside to the yarn comes in unraveling a project. That glimmer stripe tends to knot up a bit and the yarn separates a little, but that little glitch is minor compared to the utility and feel of the yarn. The only other yarn I've so enjoyed working with is an alpaca blend. But the price won't allow me to purchase much of that!

I can't put my finger on the article right now, but I seem to have read that the Bernat company began with a knitter inventing her own yarn and is now she is one of the richest women in the world. But darn, I can not verify the info! It is a Canadian company, but so far I haven't tracked down much more than that!

I have had such luck finding great 'free' patterns online. It took more of a search to find patterns for slipper 'socks' that don't require a heel turn. I'm not a very experienced knitter and I haven't mastered the heel turn, yet. But I found a couple adorable (and not so difficult) patterns for tube socks that work quite well. This one "Soxie's Patriotic Spirals" is a joy to work on. Obviously I am not using the Bernat yarn for this project. My grandnephews are little manly men and require a more 'manly' yarn. The red is Lion Brand Yarn wool-ease, and the other is a leftover without label. I really need to keep better records!

And from the top photo you will see I made a pair of the traditional basic slipper that all new knitters are required to make. It is still fun to whip them out in a couple hours. A big pompom and they're good to go. Here's the pattern as old as time:

My Grandmother's Slippers
Size: Adjustable (children to adult)
Materials: About 150 yards each of 2 colors of worsted weight yarn (Color A and Color B).
Size 8 needles
Pompom maker
Tapestry needle
Gauge: 7 sts=2 inches, 6 rows (3 ridges) = 1 inch in garter stitch on size 8 needles
Slipper (make 2)
With 1 strand Color A held together with 1 strand Color B, cast on 29.

Foot portion:
Row 1: Knit 9, purl 1, knit 9, purl 1, knit 9.
Row 2: Knit across.
Repeat these 2 rows until garter stitch portion measures approx. 4-5 inches for children; 7-8 inches for adults.

Begin ribbed toe portion:
Row 1: Knit 1, purl 1, rep from * across.
Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches as they face you to form knit 1, purl 1 ribbing.
Repeat last row until ribbed portion measures approx. 2 inches for children, 3-4 inches for adults or until measurement of piece from beginning is 1/2 inch less than total foot length.

On last row of ribbing, decrease one stitch so there are 28 stitches remaining.

For pointy-toe version:
Decrease for toe: *Knit two together, rep from * across (14)
Next row: Purl across (14)
Next row: *Knit 2 together, rep. from * across (7)
Next row: Purl across (7)

For round-toe version:
Decrease for toe: *Knit 2 together, rep. from * across (14)
Cut yarn, leaving tail long enough for sewing toe seam. Gather remaining stitches together by running yarn through stitches on tapestry needle and pulling tight to close toe, then sew toe seam until you reach the garter stitch portion. Finish off and weave in ends. With separate length of yarn sew up heel seam.

If desired, make 2 large, fluffy pompoms, using both colors together and attach to top of slipper.

The baby spiral socks in the top photo (center) knit in multicolored yarn, took some getting used to. I never did memorize the pattern and I used double pointed needles in a size 3, and this was my first double pointed -- more than two-needle project ever! So I'm quite pleased with them.

The pattern, Juanita's knit booty pattern, I truly enjoyed making, but they ended in a bit of disappointment because the top needs more stretch to it or no one can get their foot in it! I thought about putting in a zipper! But it is a fun two-needle pattern that could be made on double pointed needles by someone smarter than me. It has turned into my "Cinderella slipper". I take it to friends and loved ones and have them try it on. If they can get their foot in it -- it is theirs! I hate to unravel or admit defeat.

More than you ever wanted to know about yarn and slippers, I bet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Global quilting fun

In today's search for new and exciting and interesting and fun quilts, I found Katrins Patchwork. I can't tell you any more about it than that because the words are in German (I think) and I'm a one-language kind of woman and German isn't it. My great-great grandfather would be so ashamed, I'm sure, that I don't know my native language. At least paternal native language. I'm a genealogy mutt as are most Americans, I suppose. But quilts transcend language barriers as you all know.

Anyway, I had to smile at the freedom and fun I saw sewn into each quilt.
While surfing, I thought I'd check out a few other far off lands and since its feeling a bit frigid here in Florida (temperatures dipped into the 40s! Oh my!) I thought of Nordic regions. And stumbled across the Norwegian Quilters Association. This winning entry caught my fancy. The purples and blues look so cold! I also was drawn to the quilt featuring a blue door and a chicken -- the quilt feels of simpler times, an European flavor with the simple blue door.

And then I spotted the Northern Sunflower wallhanging at another site: Quilt Around the World, complete with pattern. They looked cold and so inviting all at the same time. Love the use of colors and the spirals and spikes give a sense of movement. Also on that same site a variation on the pineapple pattern utilized the vibrant blues and looked like a stained glass window with the vibrant colors, yet not primitive or primary colors, more subtle than that. For those who enjoy log cabin designs. Check out the log cabin cube wall hanging. I don't think I've seen that done before.

The children's quilts and other wallhangings hold such whimsy at the Quilt Around the World site. Especially the Dancing Cheek to Cheek. If these quilts don't brighten your winter doldrums or put you in the mood to make something new -- you may require an intercession! Can't you hear the music? The jazzy sax and feel the love? Nothing says love like poultry. It's just so free spirited and fun loving I can't help but love it. And there are patterns!!!

Who says we have to be serious when we're designing quilts! Maybe cold weather will bring out our fun loving sides.

Often while surfing for Norwegian quilts, I came upon sites where Norwegian quilters proudly
offered photos of their quilts and to my dismay they were familiar wedding ring quilts and traditional patterns I grew up with. Yet, there's something to be said about a global community of quilters who can embrace quilt patterns no matter what country of origin.

Hope these samples of quilting in other lands will warm your winter day a bit. It did mine and set my fingers itching to try something just for fun! Maybe for a gift for someone with a carefree heart!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strong statements depict patriotic nostalgia

I know you're looking at your calendar and saying, "Veteran's Day was LAST week." Well, I'm late, but we know it is never too late for nostalgia and any time is the right time for patriotism. So I'm not really late at all!

If you check out my Observations blog you'll see that I have been looking at sites that deal with World War II, war, sending Christmas cards to the troops. But most of all I have been reading the stories being told by some of the soldiers. A friend, Linda Swink, is close to publishing her book that compiles information about the people behind the names on military installations such as Fort Hood or Ramstein Air Force Base or Camp Lejuene, etc. I did some editing and proof reading for her and found myself captivated and devastated at the same time by the hardships and decisions these men and some women had to face. Throwing themselves in harms way, saving their friends, making the difference between winning or losing. Giving their lives without hesitation. I felt so humbled and yet proud to share the name American with such people. And so thankful that there are people who still step forward and fight to preserve our freedom and protect all of us.

Then I started looking for quilt stories and found the PBS site where Bobbie Sullivan told about a wall hanging based upon a fistful of letters found in her neighbor's house. (See top photo.) Bobbie described the inspiration for the quilt as:
"37 letters found in a 19th century Scituate home, were written between 1917 and 1918. The author was a young soldier from Braintree, Massachusetts named Joe. The recipient was his fiancée, Kitty, who lived in the adjacent town of Quincy, in a section called Atlantic. Joe was killed in the summer of 1918 six months before the end of World War I. Kitty never married and died in Scituate in 1979."

I tracked down Bobbie's website and found the quilt she had written about. A strong statement, I think. After seeing Bobbie's quilt, those little stars and stripes fabrics and red white and blue hearts and stars that seem to pass for a patriotic statement seem silly.

Faith Ringgold's site is an inspiration in itself. And if you want patriotism, it abounds here. Again, strong statements of not just words but deeds and images and history that speaks so loudly of those heroes who fought for freedom. (See her Flag Story Quilt to the right.)

I'm still fond of Eileen Doughty's patriotic activist quilts. One she made may be the only quilt I have ever seen that is embellished with barbed wire. Never let your voice die, Eileen, tell us the way it is, not that politically correct rhetoric. Sorry I don't have a link to her activist quilts, but visit Eileen's website, here.

And if you have a patriotic quilt to share -- check out this patriotic quilt contest titled "God Bless America Quilt Contest. Time is running out for entries. They should be 22 inches and will tour for three years to benefit wounded soldiers. Entries are open through Dec. 31, 2008. Click on the quilt contest link for more info.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Christmas round the bend

Do you feel time whizzing by? I certainly do! I bought my first Christmas gift today and have a few already made and ready to mail. It is the time when I wish I had more time and energy and ideas. So I start checking out what others are making and decorating with this season. Among my first stops is McCalls Quilting. I posted separately another Christmasy log cabin wall hanging. Then I found these stockings and couldn't resist putting together another blog with examples of Christmas projects.

Chlotilde offers a quick and fun Christmas wreath, or it could be adapted to fit any occasion depending on the flowers you choose. The description reads: "Just select an attractive floral or seasonal print for the wreath and use easy Bargello quilt-as-you-go and fusible raw-edge appliqué techniques to make your wall quilt quickly and easily."

Tree skirt patterns seem to multiply like rabbits, but I particularly liked the simple spiral block designed skirt found on Delores Fegan's blog, under the blog heading Christmas Tree Skirt. What drew me to it wasn't exactly the design, although that's charming. It was her second use of the skirt -- for a child to wear....

Then I stumbled across Jennifer's Art Quilts and laughed out loud at her Christmas Cactus Quilt. I loved her description and explanation of the project -- like many of mine it took awhile to complete.
"This quilt was the result of a collaborative effort between my husband, Aaron, and me. The quilt was completed about 2 or 3 years ago and never finished. While photographing quilts for this website, I found the quilt folded among other things. I mentioned to Aaron that I might put Christmas light beads on the cactus to finish it, and he suggested that I actually light it up with LED lights. The idea took hold and he purchased the lights which I inserted onto the quilt. He then very graciously spent time soldering all of the lights and fuses together so that I could finish quilting the piece! It was completed just in time for Christmas season! "
I think what I find delightful, of course are the LED lights. Another option for quilters -- fiber optics! Light up your work from the inside!

Another wallhanging that depicts the greedier side of Christmas, perhaps is Quilter's World Gift Tree (free pattern).

Mary Emma Allen offers 7 quilted gift projects that kids can make. Patterns and instructions are NOT available at her blogsite. But these are straight forward projects -- pot holders, aprons, mini quilt.... And this site has a few more recommendations for quick and easy quilted gifts. Let me add another suggestion for those imaginative types -- Audio ear warmers! Everyone seems to be plugged in, well those plastic earphones can get mighty cold in the winter -- why not create a quilted muff to fit over them? I bet someone can figure out a pattern or already has!

As I was surfing, I came across several exhibits and wondered why we couldn't give ourselves a Christmas gift of a trip to an exhibit. Here's just one you might want to check out: "Quilts = Art= Quilts" at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY -- that is definitely Christmas country!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Threads in the Fabric of Society: Patriotic and Political Quilts

During this presidential election year, political quilts gained popularity and can be seen across the U.S. in exhibits, most continuing through to the end of the year. A special exhibit at the International Quilt Market in Houston featured several exciting examples, including the one pictured here by Marjorie E. Johnson and titled "Get Out the Vote and Save America."

Politics and quilts have a long history. So many of the traditional quilt patterns were named for political races Tippecanoe, 54-40 or Fight, Whig Rose.... This site offers discussions and connects to links associated with political or patriotic quilts. It shows how quilts are "an important thread in the fabric of our society."

Two current exhibits:
  • The Heritage Center Museum in Lancaster, PA "Patchwork Politics: From George to George W." features a large private collection of politically themed quilts, textiles and memorabilia.It will continue through Dec. 31, 2008. The Philadelphia Inquirer offers an informative article about the exhibit.
If you're interested in finding more political quilts or historic quilts or wish to pursue your own quilt research, the online Quilt Index offers thousands of quilts, documentation, information and ways to search according to your needs. "The Quilt Index represents years of research and development to bring together quilt information in a centralized online tool for education, research, and public access. The Quilt Index was conceived and developed by The Alliance for American Quilts and implemented in collaboration with Michigan State University's MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online and the Michigan State University Museum."

Lori Creel has written an article about some of the quilts available through the Quilt Index including one that belonged to Abigail Adams, one used to raise funds for the Ku Klux Klan and a long list of amazing quilts linked to historical events.

Fundraising quilts also made political and patriotic statements and were used for all kinds of causes as mentioned above to raise funds for KKK. Whatever the need, community, Red Cross, disaster relief, you name it. This site maintained by the Nebraska State Historical Society offers photos of the fundraiser quilts and a brief description -- interesting. Very interesting.

And a list of political quilts and activist quilters could continue for many pages, but it wouldn't be complete without mention of the Boise Peace Quilt Project which has been going strong since 1981.

And if you haven't voted -- why not!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quilt Pilgrims head home from Houston

Daily chores, schedules, needs continue, but part of me is attuned to the West, to Houston, Texas, and the International Quilt Market. Everybody who is anybody in quilting were there this week.

The quilt displays were remarkable, awesome, unique, creative, imaginative, and intimidating -- you can count on that without even seeing them. Was Hollis there with her tradition-shattering thread painted quilts, Diana McClun and Laura Nownes -- the writers of the original quilters Bible "Quilt! Quilt!! Quilt!!!" did they teach another generation of beginners and not so new quilters their secrets. My editor at Quilters World is probably exhausted and her brain and camera are probably overwhelmed. And here I sit wishing, wishing, wishing, I could have experienced the excitement of being in the eye of the quilting hurricane that Houston experiences at the end of every October.
(Although, note that next year the date is earlier in the month -- Oct. 15-18, 2009.)

I've missed all of the Bernina fashion shows -- this, Rendezvous, is the last year for them and went out in a blaze of lights with full runway frills and excitement. I live vicariously through the women and men who display their unique creations and am constantly amazed at what can be made with needle and thread and a bit of fabric.

The merchant mall -- I can only dream.

The classes -- what a line up of quilting's heavy hitters!

The displays and exhibits, contests and well, I just hope someday to get there to see it first hand. But until I do, I devour the online photos taken from this year's and other International Quilt Market events. The photos included here of Moonstitches and other photos are at Flicker -- they are from the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2008. If ever you were bereft of inspiration, just take a quick peek at what is being displayed in 2008 and you'll be itching to grab some fabric and start following your own muse. Anyone have some Houston or Tokyo experiences to share? Photos? Please, do.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tis the season for sharing

Well, any season is the right season for caring and sharing, but with Christmas fast approaching and Thanksgiving on our doorstep, it always seems most heavy on our minds to give back a little for all of the goodness we have received. Those of us who enjoy crafts and fabric art can use these talents to help others. The list is long for ways to get involved whether you knit, crochet, quilt, sew, or simply collect fabric which is what my husband thinks I do whenever he walks into my 'craft' room.

When looking for a charity to support, do your homework. Ask the staff at your local quilt, yarn, or craft shop, or a teacher with whom you're taking a class. They will probably have charity project information or names of groups who are already making charity projects. Check out reputable websites such as Kaye Wood's, who has a nice list of reputable charities.

Here is just a short list of a few ways to provide comfort, help out those with needs, or to help raise money for research or assistance.

Knit One Save One: Part of the Save the Children organization, this project will distribute knit and crocheted caps to pregnant women and new moms and their babies in many countries, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Afghanistan. In early 2009, Save the Children will take the notes to the next President and discuss needed actions.

Caps for Kids: There are so many children and adults in need of a bright colored cap to wear when they lose their hair to chemotherapy. At a time when their lives are in enough turmoil, perhaps having a cap someone has made just for them, will bring some renewed hope into their life. Please help today.

Project Linus is comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. It is the mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” Second, to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children. Together they have distributed more than two million blankets to children in need since 1995. The above photo is a donation mentioned on Adrienne's Blog.

The Painted Turtle, part of the Hole in the Wall Camp: Paul Newman's program. Each camper's bed is covered with a quilt and lap quilts are provided for each camper. This particular camp sends home a turtle pillow with each camper.

Quilts for Kids: To transform unwanted and discontinued fabric into quilts that comfort children in need.

And as an animal lover, I'm partial to The Snuggle Project which is under the auspices of Hugs for Homeless Animals. With three cats of my own who love their travel blankets that I knit for them when we made our cross country trip to our new home, I can vouch for the comfort these little blankets bring. The Snuggle Project provides 'security blankets' for animals housed in shelters.

Of course the quilters who have been doing the most for the longest are associated with Mennonite Central Committee which provides quilts and relief everywhere. Their quilts and comfort cover the world. When we live
d in the Toledo, Ohio area, I remember attending the Sunshine Children's Home auction where Mennonite women had made and donated hundreds of quilts to be auctioned off for support of this home that caters to children with horrendous birth defects. The auction continues each June, now under the name Black Swamp Benefit Bazaar. What a great place to purchase quilts made by the most talented and devoted women I've ever met, and the money certainly supports a worthy cause.

Quiltville has a list of other charities you might want to support. Or perhaps you kn
ow a family in your community, a military family, a homeless shelter, a family member who could use a little extra love and warmth and help this year. It is true, the more you give, the more you get. Simply knowing we can do something to ease anther's pain or isolation puts new spring in our steps and lifts our own spirits.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Following the thread

A crochet newsletter "Talking Crochet with Carol Alexander" arrived in my box and I followed some of the links. Indirectly it led to Carol Wiebe at Silversprings studio site by way of Joana Vasconcelas' work. I am in awe of both artists and their creations. But I returned to Carol's site when I saw the word: quilt.

Carol considers art a bridge and I happily cross the bridge into her country.

She somehow combines paper, crochet and quilts into her gorgeous and ingenious and thought-provoking projects. The one pictured here is titled Messengers and is 36x44-inches. She has worked on it for three years before adding it to her exhibit at Greenwood Quiltery in Ontario. Carol's art will hang in the gallery throughout October.

Carol writes about this piece: "The edges have a crocheted binding. The fabric is my own hand painted fabric. After quilting, I keep painting. The first time I painted onto a quilt that I had spent a lot of time stitching, I was really nervous. Now, I’m excited by it. You never know how the quilted surface and the paints and other products you put on it will interact. It’s a kind of “dangerous” serendipity that I’ve never regretted yet."

The saying in the quilt is one by Brenda Ueland who has a Wikipedia entry and is perhaps best known for her book "If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit"

"Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God and his messengers." -- Brenda Ueland
And this is what Carol writes about the message of her Messenger quilt: "The messengers are gathering in prime formation: 2 butterflies, 3 dragonflies, 5 angels, 7 crows, 11 stars. To truly hear their message, you must kill the ego. Egos are wont to kill the messenger when they dislike the message they are receiving, but that is a useless tactic. The message will simply find you another way, through another messenger."

Finding this quilt and Carol's art has been serendipitous, precipitated by a need to knit which led to a search for easy patterns. I admit that my own creations certainly pale in comparison. This need manifests periodically, especially when I need a reprieve from the world. In this case the need coincided with my purchase of an audio book that I am thoroughly enjoying, but can't sit around empty handed while I listen. So I knit.

My first effort during this knitting marathon was made to use up yarn that I've had sitting around forever -- a huge ball raveled from unfinished projects time and again. This piece of knitting seems to serve as an unusual table runner. Then I discovered some cotton yarn that had been tucked away for at least a year. Of course that turned into a dishcloth. Those little suckers are addicting!

And now while digging around in my stash, I've rediscovered some exquisite cashmere and I don't know what else blend of yarn that feels so good to handle. At present it appears to be turning into a neck scarf. I will never make art. Certainly nothing to rival the beauty that Carol creates, but I think we both get similar feelings of joy from our creativity. And being a meat and potatoes kind of woman, I like the utilitarian aspects of what I've made.

Oh, and the audio book, purchased at Recorded Books online, with which I'm obsessed? "Voyager" by Diana Gabaldon of course.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ricky Tims inspired weekend

The weekend loomed before me without major projects, scheduled work, or anything I really needed to get done. Yes, I could do laundry, cook, clean, the usual chores, but nothing pressed. That elusive thing called 'free time' stood invitingly before me.

With my favorite Outlander audio book playing, I settled into a comfy chair with a few quilt books, seeking inspiration. Something not too hard. Some new technique, but not overwhelming. Something I wouldn't need my left-brain to figure out. Math and me -- not a great combination.

The word 'convergence' jumped out at me. What was it doing on the front of a quilt book? What a great word. Especially when followed by the terms: mysterious, magical, EASY, and fun. My kind of quilt project for this lazy weekend. Thus I opened Ricky Tim's book: Convergence Quilts.

In truth I've been looking for something to hang on the bare walls, something not too wild, but a little modern, a little artsy, a little different. Since we're living within a no-frills budget at this time, something I could make with what I already own, seemed the way to go. Ricky seemed to think I could do a convergence quilt. He nudged, "In my experience," he wrote in the book, "the most successful way to learn is to move past idle curiosity to actual exploration and experimentation."

He further nudged by suggesting that these quilts go together quickly and take up little time. Somewhere along the way I sensed that ugly fabrics, those I don't know what to do with or are not favorites would be perfect for a convergence quilt project. So I dug through my stash, came up with some leftovers from other projects and one with a rather modern larger design, and one that made me wonder why I had ever purchased it. Ricky's examples were mostly made using hand dyed fabrics and his finished products had a delightful artsy feel to them. Modern, perfect for my house. I used none such fabrics.

I read, followed directions, probably messed up one step at least, and proceeded happily zipping my little rotary cutter along fabric after fabric, stitching, reading, ironing, and then imagining. What I had created looked like a background. I added borders. I knew I had some fusible interfacing so I cut out some silhouettes from black fabric and ironed them on. And suddenly I have something that makes me smile. Will it win awards?


Ricky addresses worries about making MY quilt verses one that looks like those made by award winners. He seems to stress just having fun with the project. Enjoying the process as well as the end product. I like this guy. I like the idea of making a quilt while wearing a cowboy hat. And I like the way he combines beautiful words, music, (harmonic convergence) and quilts.

It was a fun weekend and I will soon have something to hang on my wall. Although now I need to paint the wall to 'harmonize' with my new wall hanging. Modern? Artsy? Well, not exactly. But, well, it turned out better than I expected, so whatever style you want to call it, it will hang on the wall until I make something better. And each time I look at it I will remember this weekend spent with fabric and cats and my husband whooping in the background because America won the Ryder Cup.

Photos: (top) Quilt top with inspiring book and cat patterns. Center photo: Ricky Tims. Last photo: Quilt top with cat silhouettes pressed in place.

Monday, September 15, 2008

MY VIEW: Review of C&T Print Books

In honor of complete disclosure, let me confess that I am an armchair quilter. Like an armchair quarterback I can sit on the sidelines and observe others successes, failures, near misses, and award winners. I'm much handier at looking through the books, watching videos and television programs, and mentally listing all of the quilts I'd like to make. It may be the perfectionist in me, knowing that once I cut the fabric, the quilt will never measure up to the one I envisioned. Most of the time I admire quilts with wonder, usually an "I wonder how they did that?"

Jan Krantz's video (previously reviewed) gave me insight and confidence that I can actually create what she demonstrated. Three books, released in August, 2008, by C&T Publishing, caught my interest and gave me confidence.

Nothing would please me more than to combine my love of minutia, memoir, and computer with quilting. Krista Camacho Halligan's book Photo-Fabric Play ($16.95) gives me directions for a variety of projects from blocks and shadowboxes to the usual assortment of wall hangings and quilts. She takes time to explain required equipment and then how to use it to accomplish the required tasks. Her projects feature children or are for their use or their decor, but with imagination and creativity could easily be adapted to other members of the family or to display antique possessions or copies of them.

Since I'm not a scrapbooker with a cache of rubber stamps and embellishments, I need to purchase the materials for each project. Scrapbookers might be better prepared. The wall hanging and quilt designs featured basic easy-to-accomplish layouts and patterns with the focus on how to use the photos and embellishments rather than design art quilts. Once one incorporates her directions into a quilt, the design can easily be altered to the makers' taste.

Mary Mashuta's Foolproof Machine Quilting ($20.95) surprised me. I've been a fan of free motion machine quilters. In awe, I worshipped the trapunto and intricate designs often featured on award winning quilts. My own experience were little experiments with pillows and I treated the quilting as regular sewing with the feed dogs up. It worked, but I hadn't seen anyone advocating this type of machine quilting for competitive projects and set it aside. Mashuta's book encourages such quilting and shows how truly lovely it can be. She carefully encourages and explains the use of walking foot attachment and adds the use of paper cut patterns to eliminate the need for markings. I particularly appreciated the terms 'foolproof' and 'No Math!" declarations.

No, this is not the equivalent of free motion quilting, but for a fraidy cat like me and one who appreciates a short-learning curve, this gives me hope that I can indulge in machine quilting and have instant success.

The third book, Applique Jubilee, ($26.95) from the editors and contributors of McCall's Quilting provides 16 projects with hand, machine and fusible applique. I can see my purist ancestors pursing their lips and shaking their heads in horror that I would not only give up hand quilting for machine, but would now resort to raw edge and fusible applique. Getting past these purist attitudes, I admit, give me pause, but I so want to put my visions into cloth and I'm not getting younger, so quicker, more accurate, less tedious methods certainly attract me. I will admit that this book didn't offer anything I hadn't seen before. But it is a nice group of simple patterns for all seasons. For someone just venturing into applique, this might be just the book. A good gift for a new quilter perhaps.

As always with C&T Publishing's books, they are beautifully made -- lovely strong colorful covers, clear directions, lots of photos balanced with white space and helpful hints. The authors offer authority and insight and most of all encouragement that makes me feel that I can create what they include in their books.

Now, time to get out of the armchair and into the game. Stay tuned -- will my first project be applique? A pieced star? Or some machine quilting? Hmmmm. So many possibilities.

Monday, September 8, 2008

MY VIEW: Review of C&T Publishing's latest release: "Jan Krentz Teaches You to Make Lone Star Quilts" on DVD

C&T Publishing offers a series of 14 DVDs which feature master teachers. I reviewed the DVD featuring Jan Krentz teaching to make Lone Star quilts. It was released August, 2008.

Quilter, teacher, designer and artist, Krentz, has earned her title as master quilter. Involved in the craft since a mere slip of a girl, Krentz has written a long list of how-to books and was named 1998 Teacher of the Year by Professional Quilter magazine. Most of her classes and publications deal with diamond block piecing and the star quilts and variations that result such as the Lone Star or Hunter Star.

Krentz paces the DVD at an easy-to-follow rhythm that could lull you to sleep if you aren't captivated by the tips and techniques as well as secrets and helpful hints. The only time my lids closed was toward the end when she sewed basic seams connecting squares and triangles to the diamond shaped legs of her star quilt top. Her smile and willingness to admit mistakes adds to the lessons' appeal. When she accidentally sewed wrong edges together, she turned it into a lesson and showed how to correct the mistake, acknowledging that ripping is definitely part of sewing.

Her lessons include everything from choosing the right tools and fabrics to calculating pattern sizes, allowing for the width of the pencil lead -- that's accuracy! The design mirrors that allow quilters to see a finished star from just one section worked like a magic trick. The DVD was filled to the brim with helpful hints, tool suggestions, and how-tos. Perhaps my favorite aspect, the one that would send me racing to buy a DVD rather than print book, was watching her doing each step of the project. For a novice quilter, this alone got my fingers itching to try it myself.

Additional features introduce viewers to the quilter through her own words and to a gallery of her work. Of course the tour of her studio left me with fabric collection envy and an urge to visit the closest IKEA store. As a bonus, she breaks down the making of a more complex quilt, although it is a bit misleading. She only addresses the central panel. To finish the quilt one would need to study the 'How to Make a New York Beauty" and probably some paper piecing as well.

The DVD cost, approximately $21, seems a reasonable price to pay for the opportunity to spend a few hours with a master quilter. One-on-one with your favorite teacher, repeat as often as you want. View, rewind, review, and keep learning until you master the lessons. New technology to view the lessons, and modern techniques to construct such a classic quilt -- perfect combination.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stitching their way to freedom!

We quilters love the romance of the quilt, finding messages hidden in plain sight, buying into the underground railroad quilt patterns that pointed slaves toward freedom. And then there is the real deal. Alive and well, and historically proven: the arpilleras.

Arpilleras or cuadros are exquisitely detailed hand-sewn three dimensional textile pictures, that usually depict the life and trials of the Peruvian or Chilean people.
These 3-D quilts are made almost exclusively in Peru and Chili and have a fascinating and disquieting history.

According to the Council of Hemispheric Affairs, "During the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, many Chilean women created complex tapestries depicting the harsh conditions of life and the pain resulting from the disappeared victims of Pinochet’s repression."
Not only were these fabric creations art, they serve as reminders, diaries, documentation of the criminal acts committed against the Chilean people. They became a symbol for the women's protest against Pinochet and his dictatorship.

Through arpilleras workshops women learned to hold leadership roles as president, treasurer, etc. And the arpilleras became a form of income as they found markets for their creations.
Online there are several locations where these art quilts can be purchased and, according to the sites, the proceeds benefit the impoverished women of Peru or Chile. Threads of Hope is one of those sites. And here's another site with arpilleras for sale. And another.

I particularly liked the story of how women who were imprisoned in Chile smuggled messages out past the guards, hidden inside of the three dimensional appliqued figures.
Guards, male of course, saw sewing as 'women's work' and did not see any threat in this passive domestic art.

In Her Hands: Craftswomen Changing the World by Paolo Gianturco is a fascinating book with great photos that includes these art quilts and other products made by women around the world as a means to support themselves and their families and get out of poverty.

I admit that I'm a sucker for subversive stitcher stories and this is one of the best I've heard in a long time. Around the world women are struggling to make a difference, using whatever tools and skills they can lay their hands to. Many of them have picked up a needle and pricked the conscience of the world. In Chile, they toppled a dictator.

The photo depicts city market day with goods of every kind. This 18-inch square is for sale at The Folk Art Gallery for $62 plus taxes, shipping, etc.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fiber Arts Collective for inspiration

Fiber Arts Collective members include my dear friend Eileen Doughty and nearly 50 more artists who strive for originality without sacrificing quality. I particularly like their statement about what binds them together:

There are underlying threads that bind us together as a group:

  • A commitment to excellence in our medium
  • High standards of honesty in our professional life.
  • Ongoing educational programs about fiber and art.
  • Open handed generosity toward others in our field.
Members are available for speaking engagements, gallery shows and group exhibits and some may be available to teach classes.

One member, Ann Harwell, makes her quilts as communication devices -- sharing stories, feelings and ideas. Concerning the construction of her quilts, she says, "I especially want to unite and enhance diverse fabric designs and colors with original template design, intricate precision piecing, and exorbitant quilting." Her quilt "Looking for Heaven on Earth" as shown here certainly tells a story. So much to see. In addition to the story depicted in her quilt, you can see the work of a fine artist. She is just one example of what's being created in this collective. Quilters, weavers, stitchers of all kinds can be found here -- but all, no matter if the medium is called a 'craft' -- they are artists.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ohio Stars in my eyes and in Quilters World

Tropical Storm Fay rained on us nonstop for three days and continues to drizzle, but I sneaked out to the mailbox around midnight when the winds died down and retrieved my latest copy of Quilters World Magazine. My article about Ohio Star quilt design variations is featured and as usual editors Sandra Hatch and Sue Harvey did a 'stellar' job.

It was a fun article to research and write and I'm still fascinated by the way people can look at the same pattern and turn it into something amazingly unique and totally different.

I find it difficult to name my first choice of all of the quilts I viewed, but Maria Elkins' Ohio Dreaming stays with me. She painted the likeness of her daughter on the quilt shaped like Ohio and the use of the Ohio star quilt at the bottom couldn't be more perfect. Its folds remind me of the waves of the Ohio River and the red, white and blue -- Ohio's innate patriotism. What a talent! And what a touching quilt.

I so enjoy researching these quilt articles, interviewing quilters, artists and designers and learning more about them and the quilting arts. There are so many I admire, hopefully I can bring them to the pages of this blog for you to admire, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Laurel Burch: Gone but never forgotten...

Where have I been that I haven't encountered or realized the exquisite art of Laurel Burch? Sadly this icon has died, Sept. 13, 2007 at her home in Novato, Calif. She was 61.

But her art continues to speak of her loves and reflect the woman as she described herself on her website: “I live within the vivid colors of my imagination ... soaring with rainbow feathered birds, racing the desert winds on horseback, wrapped in ancient tribal jewels, dancing with mythical tigers in steamy jungles.”

A self-taught artist, her creations combine whimsy, vibrant colors, quirky personalities, and a deep love of nature and animals into scenes that draw me in. I love her fantastic felines and mythical horses. I want to surround myself with the world she has created. No harm can get through to this world she has created.

From what I've read, she has battled pain and degenerative osteopetrosis her entire life. Perhaps because of the limitations she felt in the 'real world,' she drew within to find or create her own where she felt no pain and was surrounded by the most carefree, outrageous array of animals. Handicaps are only limiting to those who think they are handicaps, I suppose. She certainly didn't let hers stop her as she found a niche for her various lines of jewelry and products between high priced designs like those designed for Tiffany's, and the readily available low priced costume jewelry.

For a visit to her work, stop by her gallery online. Or to see the line of Laurel Burch fabrics, here's a site with a selection. Or check out her Kindred Creatures quilt book with 12 projects to make using her designs.

And, a special tribute to this 'artist hero' demonstrates what her life's work means to others.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beauty in numbers

Caryl Bryer Fallert got miffed the last time I included her quilt in one of my blogs, mostly because I misspelled her name just a bit. I double checked to make sure its right this time.

I try to not always refer to the same artists. But Caryl is one of those gifted subversive stitchers who needles us with color and beauty and makes us see things from a different perspective.

Her series of Fibonacci quilts certainly make me look at math with new eyes. Her Fibonacci 4, shown here definitely departs from any concept I had about Fibonacci and his series of numbers.

I thought of her work and a Zen quilt I featured previously on this blog when trying to figure out what I wanted to hang between the two mirrors in my newly remodeled bathroom. I wanted something to hang from the high ceiling that would cascade down like a waterfall, but more abstract. I might applique some tropical leaves to it, but something that hints of Asian misty rivers and brings calm to the area. In my searching for the right quilt, I stumbled across Fibonacci, Phi and the golden rectangle.

Diana Venters and Elaine Ellison share a love of math and quilting. Together they have created more than 100 quilts since their collaboration began in the 1980s. The idea of basing a quilt of mine on mathematical theories would make anyone who knows me roll on the floor and laugh till they cry. Me and math -- not a good match. But I've always been enthralled with this 'language of numbers' that I could never quite figure out. I've enjoyed reading about the magic of mathematics, too. Golden Phi -- so mystical and a basis for the world's structures. At least that's what Mario Livio puts forth in his delightful book "The Golden Ratio."

If at a loss for a pattern, Electric Quilt, offers the ability to design a pattern based upon mathematical concepts. One of them inspired my bathroom design with slight variations, here it is. Not exactly a waterfall -- but think narrower, longer, and blues. Well, I tend to write about quilts more than I construct them, but I've enjoyed imagining this one. Math quilts amaze me. Those based on the same theories turn out so different. I think Caryl's Fibonacci series shows that compared to my little Zen quilt concept here.

I have high hopes for my little Zen waterfall quilt. But then I have high hopes for every project I start and then stuff into a corner of my crap, I mean, craft room. I'd love to see what others have made using mathematics.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mazloomi means love

A friend knows my love of quilts and all things fabric. She pointed out that Ohio Magazine, one of the first markets I sold writing to and a magazine from my home state, offers an article about quilts in its current issue. Of course I checked out the online copy and there it was: A Stitch in Time by Jennifer Haliburton. But better than any old article about quilting is one that features Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi and her legion of African American quilters.

Subversive stitchers indeed! Subversive, subverted, enslaved, impoverished, all part of the history. But also talented, creative, joyful, and Mazloomi has made it her life's work to collect the stories, document the history, and make sure we all understand the facts of not only being African American -- but also what it means to be a woman.

On Mazloomi's website she writes, "Quilts are metaphors for love and family...." I say Mazloomi and love are synonymous. She makes quilts and chooses quilts for her books, exhibits and collection that as she explains, "...are visual stories layered with historical, political and social conditions that call attention to the circumstances of people around the world, especially women. My intention is to invite the viewer into contemplation, raise awareness and feel the spirit of the cloth."

The article in Ohio Magazine came about to herald the exhibit
“Quilting African-American Women’s History: Our Challenges, Creativity and Champions,” that will continue now through Nov. 8 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio.

The work by one of my favorite quilters, regardless of race, gender, religion or politics, Valerie C. White is included in this exhibit and her quilt The Guardian is featured on the exhibit program.

For anyone not familiar with Mazloomi, please note that she answers to a variety of titles including: author, curator, artist and historian. Her work resides in numerous museums and corporate collections, such as the Wadsworth Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, American Museum of Design, Bell Telephone, the Cleveland Clinic, and Exxon. She has made the rounds of major television programs including the morning talk shows and she has been the subject of several documentaries.

Mazloomi's quilt "A Peacekeeper's Gift" is featured with this blog. She certainly knows how to tell a story in cloth.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Remembering through cloth

I remember cuddling on cold winter nights beneath Mom's scrap quilts and spending time picking out the fabrics so familiar since Mom made most of our clothing. Scraps from her summer dresses, my 4-H projects, my school dress, blouse, grandma's dresses, they were all in that quilt. She filled in with scraps she inherited from her mother and she would tell me the stories behind those. It seemed like I never slept alone when I slept beneath all of those memories.

I see that some quilters have turned scrap quilts into memory quilts and have a busy business. They use photos, documents, favorite poems, and most of all fabric from the clothes of the one to be remembered. I can see how that would make a unique and valuable heirloom.

A special group has been formed to make quilts to memorialize our men and women killed in action in Iraq. Of course there are also the 9-11 Memorial quilts, the huge AIDs quilt and the list goes on and on.

Most of these are made using traditional patterns, patchwork, nine patch, or crazy quilt patterns for their basis. A few quilt artists have made memorial quilts that build upon symbolism and special memories which translate into beautiful and bittersweet pieces of art. Here's one example.

Other memory quilts may depict a vacation, a moment in time and are often landscape or based upon photos.

A look at the photo of Texture of Memory posted on Etsy, memory quilts take on many faces.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Creativity adds spice to anything

Karen Schreuder of Bellingham, WA, made this entry for the Association of Northwest Quilters' traveling exhibit: Spice of Life. She titles it: Creativity Spice and comments, "Any aspect of life can be spiced up with a little creativity."

I like the simple, basic, flying birds pieced pattern in shades of browns and golds. As you can see she spiced it up with ink stamp, graphic and just enough embellishment to change the focus and meaning of the quiet little original quilt.

This quilt and 49 other imaginative and diverse quilts representing the 'Spice of Life' can be seen at the site or requested for a slide show at your own group. You might want to check out what is happening in quilts in the Northwest.

If you venture toward Seattle, Washington, maybe you will want to time the trip to coincide with the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest 2008. On the website they state:

Since August of 1994, every two years Seattle is host to the Pacific Northwest Quiltfest, a biennial juried and judged international competition among quiltmakers of Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Northwest Territories, Oregon, Washington and Yukon. The quilt show takes thousands of man hours, hundreds of volunteers and showcases over 300 of the finest quilts in the Pacific Northwest region.

This year the event will take place from August 8-10.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Exhibit displays subversive streak

My kind of exhibit -- Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting -- will showcase approximately 40 works, at the Indiana State Museum, from now through August 24. The museum is located at 650 West Washington Street in Indianapolis.

According to the museum's statement: "Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting explores the phenomenal rise to prominence of knitting, crocheting and lace making in the work of contemporary artists from around the world. Blow torches, fiber optics, digital technology, shredded currency, video, chocolate, and even knitting needles the size of telephone poles are hallmarks in the work of these artists, who have reinvented traditional handicrafts through their introduction of new materials and unorthodox techniques."

For a review of the exhibit, visit the New York Times. The photo is taken by Michael Falco for the New York Times featuring a huge hand-knotted nylon net by Janet Echelman. It evokes the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion.