Sunday, August 16, 2009

The International Quilt Study Center

What an absolute treat it was to visit the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, which hosted our board meeting for the Alliance for American Quilts. We saw some wonderful exhibits there (including the crazy quilts, of course), and were given an insightful tour and talk by the curator of the "American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870-1940" exhibit, Marin Hanson.

There is much to do on their site, too. Browsing the quilts in their collection is possible by logging into their Quilt Explorer pages here.

Marin was gracious enough to provide me with some digital images of the Crazy Quilt exhibit; permission was granted by the Center's fine director, Professor Patricia Crews, to post them here on the blog for you feast your eyes, on overall shots of the quilts and their details...

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There is a bit of silk ribbon embroidery...not too much in evidence, but some!

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And the maker appliqued some millinery leaves and flowers, too.
That made me so happy...some things have NOT changed between then and now.

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There were many botanical ideas to inspire me....

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Like on this quilt.

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Aren't these dear?

And there was a casket cover!

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This looked richer than an oriental rug.

There was much velvet applique that was then outlined in couched perle cotton...

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We could all do this, couldn't we?...the technique doesn't look too difficult.
Nice seam treatment below the beige border, too, isn't it?

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These petals were all needleturn appliqued before the couching was added. Such a subtle richness that couching gives...

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Nice carnations...I wonder if the leaf thread was originally green? The calyxes still maybe the blue here was "artistic license"...

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This quilt has a heavily embroidered border...with the flowers being carried into the center of the quilt in large motifs. This was so cool "in person".
You need to go see it!

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The maker found a LOT of variegated thread to work with. This seems rare to me, in the old crazies.

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She tucked a butterfly in there, too...
This is some kind of raised stitch. Anybody know what it is?

*edit* Pat Winter says it looks like a palestrina stitch, or "Basque knot", as Sharon Boggon calls it in her free online stitch dictionary.

There were some quilts and a sham that used this "cheater cloth"...

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I would love to see this fabric reproduced. It is terrific.

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One quilt had the fabric pieced in with some regular quilting fabric, which was so interesting.

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And one maker wanted to keep piecing crazily, even with humble cotton plaids and no embellishment.
This looks so contemporary to me.

Finally.....just check out the setting of this quilt:

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This is just brilliant, in my opinion.
I surely would never thought of doing this in a million years, yet it is so simple...

...which leads me to the point of why it is so valuable to look at these old quilts, whether at museums or online, at such fine sites as the International Quilt Study Center, or of course, at the Quilt Index on the Alliance's site---over 30,000 quilts are there, with many more to be added this fall. We get ideas that we can make our very own in fresh and original ways from these treasure troves.

Another reason to support these organizations is the opportunity they provide for scholarly research. Academics in such fields as womens' history, the decorative arts, and sociology are able to use these resources--including the Save Our Stories oral histories on the Alliance website--for original research. (We have three board members who are scholars in these fields.)

So take some time and cruise around the Alliance will be well rewarded!

And thank you again, to Professor Crews and her staff, for a most wonderful couple of days in Lincoln.


Judy S. said...

Thanks for the photo update, Allie. It sounds like you had a great time. While you were gone, I finished embellishing the puzzle piece made from "your" fabric and now am working on the purse. Loved that fabric pack!

Nicole Davet said...

Maevellous Allison..Thank you for that post.
Friendly. Nicole

Carin said...

Allie those quilts are amazing, thank you so much for the photos! I can't wait to go to the site and check out the index

Dena said...

Their work is so beautiful. I can only imagine how much time was spent in creating these masterpieces. Thank you for sharing it on your blog.

Shogun said...

Stunning and informative. Thank you.

Kay said...

Thank you, Allie. They're all wonderful, but I particularly like the embroidered floral border. Sort of a mille fleurs effect, which I've always loved.

Thelma said...

It must have been an awesome experience seeing these beauties up close and personal. Thanks so much for sharing these with us.

Debra Dixon said...

All those embroidered borders on CQs just knock my socks off--must do that on my next major CQ.

Thanks so much for sharing these with us. You are some smooth talker to get these digitals to share!

allie aller said...

Oh no, Debra!
They were just incredibly gracious people... ;-)

Pat Winter Gatherings said...

Beautiful! The stitch on the butterfly looks similar to the Palestrina stitch.What amazing work!

JoWynn Johns said...

Thanks so much, Allie. Wonderful treat for all of us. And Pat, thanks for suggesting the Palestrina stitch. I've been staring at that stitch, trying to figure out or remember what it is. Lots of goodies, lots of ideas. Great post!

Barbara C said...

What a treat to see so many exquisite details of these old quilts. The plaid one really impressed me, and the embroidery is just gorgeous.

Thanks for posting these pictures.

Amy Munson said...

I just love Lincoln. My sister went to UNL and I visited a few times. I will always remember seeking out the small quilt exhibit on botanical quilts. It was a few years before the study center was built and they had a small room in the Natural History building.
I bet you are full of inspiration.

Conni said...

Allie, thanks so much for posting these beautiful and inspiring photos!

Glad you had a successful journey.

Betty said...

Allie, thanks for posting pics of the exhibit!!! Wish I could get there to see it in real life. BTW, that cheater fabric WAS reproduced several years ago. I even made a pair of shorts out of the material.

Unknown said...

Allie, thank you!

Christine said...

Wow these are some really neat quilts. For some other great ideas you should check out and type in quilt in the search function. There are some really great patterns and tons of other projects.

Susan Elliott said...

It's a shame that quilt center is so far away but luckily you brought it closer to home...

I too, love that last quilt with the offset squares and smaller squares around the edges...I think I could do that one...

And the embroidered border on that other quilt is amazing...makes it look mille fleur-ish to me.

I'm glad your trip to the meeting was so amazing and's nice to hear that there are organizations and people preserving our quilting heritage. I'm sure they are delighted to have you on board!

Granny Fran said...

Thanks for sharing these quilt photos with us. Now I have another reason, besides Joe's family history, to visit Nebraska.
I enjoyed the site and am interested in the Boxes Under the Bed project because of my Granny's quilting stuff that I have saved (under my sewing machine table next to the bed).

tejeh dony said...

Que hermoso .