Thursday, October 14, 2010

Terrific Lincoln trip

I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop and giving a talk on tile quilts for the Lincoln (NE) Quilters Guild this past Sunday and Monday.

Workshop participants made a tile quilt block from their choice of several patterns that I supplied or from a drawing of their own.  Here's a photo of one of the original designs...

All the tile pieces are arranged on the gold background fabric, ready to be basted.

Another original design included a heart and used the table runner from a niece's wedding for background fabric.  It's already stitched and ready to be quilted.

I always love to see stitchers using exciting background fabrics, which in the tile applique process become visually interesting grout lines.  The maker of this block chose jazzy fabrics for both tiles and grout.  I hope she sends me a photo of the completed block--I'll bet it's going to be glorious.  

Monday during the day I visited the International Quilt Study Center, a truly great destination.  A member of the Lincoln Quilters Guild, who volunteers at IQSC, gave me the best tour of the current exhibits.  She really brought the quilts from South Asia to life for me.

And Monday evening at the guild meeting, I saw some wonderful quilts and met interesting people.  I've got my fingers crossed that several folks who thought they might be able to unearth information about a tile quilt with a possible Nebraska connection are able to do so.  That would be so exciting.....

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More about tile quilts

Traditional tile quilts date from approximately the last third of the nineteenth century.  They typically are constructed of cotton pieces appliqued close to one another on a white background so that a narrow line of background fabric shows between appliqued pieces.  That line of white background looks like grout between the appliqued pieces, which look like tiles.  Other names for tile quilts are Stonewall and Boston Pavement, which allude to stones and mortar or the narrow spaces between stones.  

Just where tile quilts fit into the history of quilts is a matter of speculation.  One suggestion is that they are precursors of crazy quilts; another idea is that they represent an offshoot of broderie perse (cut-out chintz images appliqued onto another background).  I would guess there is some truth to both theories.  

For more information on traditional tile quilts, see the first chapter of Tile Quilt Revival: Reinventing a Forgotten Form by Bobbi Finley and me.  It is "A Brief History of Tile Quilts," which pictures and describes tile quilts from several private collections as well as the collections of the Shelburne Museum, International Quilt Study Center, The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, and The New England Quilt Museum.