Monday, June 2, 2014

Historic Coverlet Given to Plum Grove

This historically designed coverlet originally belonging to Marie Buck, was given to Plum Grove for display.   Plum Grove was the home of Iowa's first territorial governor, Robert Lucas and his wife, Friendly. It is a seven room Greek Revival house constructed of local red brick and furnished with authentic period pieces from 1844-1853. The State Historical Society of Iowa owns and preserves the Plum Grove Site which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bed covering is unique in that it is handwoven in 17th and 18th century patterns through a "block exchange" with 16 weavers from the Craft Guild of Iowa City. Each weaver choose a pattern/structure, wove 20 of the blocks in colors designated by the final owners. At the exchange, the each weaver received their blocks in their color and added a few additional ones to balance the coverlet. Marie's coverlet was unfinished at the time of her death and a close friend, Lue Puhrman put the blocks together. She said, "it was like a community coverlet."

Nancy Granner, Vicki Tardy,
Lue Puhrman, Jeanne Cadoret
It is very fitting that this coverlet is to be open to the community, to see, to enjoy, to experience. Marie Buck was just that kind of weaver, one who gave of herself and of her craft. As a very novice weaver, she coddled me, nurtured me, encouraged me to persevere with difficult and complex projects. She once said "those are the ones you'll remember most."  Marie's coverlet, as you can see, is an exquisite red and cream blend of different patterns and textures.  It is one that will be remember.

Study Group Does Bateman

Experimenting with bamboo sticks in Extended Divided Twill Weave 
As a program for the weaving group, the study group shared their experience over the  past two years. They focused on a weaving system defined by Dr. William Bateman.  This gentleman was a retired chemist who decided to explore the loom much like one would perform a scientific experience. He progressed through the known variations, i.e. overshot, summer and winter, crackle, twill, and other variations until he must have asked the question WHAT IF? That what if became a whole new weave system. He was very meticulous in his work; he wove samples for each of his drafts and documented in detail how he achieved that sample, including fibers used, sett and treadlings. His daughter realizes just how much information he had gleaned and sought an expert weaver to bring his work to publication. His six monographs, Multiple Tabby Weaves, Bateman Blend Weaves, Park Weaves,  Extended Divided Twill Weaves, Extended Manifold Twill weaves, and Boulevard, Chevron and Combination weaves are reasonably short, only 90-100 pages, but they speak volumes and are incredibly rich with design, color, and texture potential.

Extended Divided Twill Gamp

Note the color blending across the warp on this gamp.
Towels, runners and shawls using various Bateman weaves
Towels using Various Bateman Weaves

The most remarkable skill/insight I personally developed/discovered as we worked our way through the monographs was sample, sample, sample, and NEVER be afraid to experiment. What a gift Dr. Bateman and his daughter did for weaving generations today and in the future.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Cat's Away...the Quilters Did Play

Fascinating photo quilt
It has been quite a busy few months and I have been a little lax. My sister and I celebrate we're alive by going quilting to some exotic shore. This time it was on a ship through the Panama Canal.  Amazing where you can set up a machine, forget the world and sew away.
My sister and friends sewing as we sail
However, while the cat was away, the quilters did play.  The Quilters continue on their journey with the ?mystery quilt?. They have blocks 1,2,3, and 4 completed and will be putting it together soon.
There were two wonderful programs on scrap quilting.  Katherine really excited us all with her "organizing your scraps" program. Made me want to organize my sewing world...right now it is overwhelming, but she made it feel possible.   In essence, fabric organizing has 3 steps. 1. Sort your quilt scraps by size; 2. Keep scraps orderly with boxes, bins, baskets, or tins; 3. Iron every scrap you save. This saves time and energy, makes it feel like you have a precut kit. One of the most common resources is Gayle Bong's book S is for Scraps.

A few scrap quilts from that meeting.
Nancy's scrappy stars
Gretchen's "under the table fabrics" quilt

Nancy continued this theme in May with "Now, what do you do with those scraps".  She lead the group through how to deconstruct a 16 patch into 2 new blocks. Truly was amazing to see the unlikely combinations just pop. 

May Meeting: "How to deconstruct"
The group as we sew the "deconstructed 16 patch"

Nancy showing Linda the cutting
Nancy had her own mimi quilt show of quilts strictly from scraps. Linda brought several of her mother's and grandmother's quilt to show. One double wedding ring had been partially hand pieced.  Each of the quilts were pieces of art...albeit functional pieces of art. Okay, folks, let's get scrapping.