Friday, June 25, 2010

What If They Were Quilters…

What If They Were Quilters…

Henri Matisse's Desert Harmony In Red is one of my favorite works of art! Whenever I am designing a new quilt I often ponder about artists and what they would say if they were quilters.

"A quilt must possess a real power to generate love and for a long time now I've been conscious of expressing myself through love or rather in fabric." ~ Henri Matisse ~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

7 Rules for Quilting Success!

Liz and I are self-taught quilters. But over the years we have learned some simple rules for quilting success. Quilting has been an evolving art form, which has surpassed its critics expectations. For the past several decades quilters have developed the art into a science of success. There are seven golden rules of quilting that guide you to quilting nirvana. Some quilters can have a keen ability to learn from others, while some are like me, learning the hard way through experience. Liz and I hope that you can learn from our experiences, but if not please share your triumphs with us!

1) Sticking to the Numbers! Traditional patchwork relies on empiricism. If you stick to the numbers you will always find satisfaction. If you are making a 12" block you must make sure that your blocks are meeting your expectations. If your 12" block measures 11 3/4" your blocks will not add up to success.

2) Test Preparation! When following directions for a pattern you should test a block first to confirm that the pattern is accurate. When your test block confirms that the measurements are correct you are guaranteed success. Typically every quilt pattern is tested and the numbers are good, but every once in a while human errors are made and it can lead to frustration and despair.

3) Measure Twice, Cut Once! Some rotary rulers are hard to read and it it important to note which ruler you are using. Every once in a while I borrow Liz's ruler, which adds a 1/2" seam automatically and I cut my material too large. This is not so bad, until I go back to my ruler which doesn't and I cut my fabric too short. Now I always look twice to avoid frustration.

4) Slow Motion For Me! Have you ever rushed through a project and mixed up the placement of the fabric patches or block rotation? I have spent several hours seam ripping because I was hasty. Over the years I have befriended patience and recognized its virtue.

5 Got to Stack it Up! When foundation piecing I always stack my fabric pieces in the order they will be pieced. After every piece I am guaranteed to keep my patches in order and I can stitch along a little faster.

6) Stick to the Plan! When you start a new project it is helpful to make a plan and stick to it so make steady progress and achieve your goals. Proactive quilters are better producers and gain experience faster. Learning how to capitalize on your limited quilting time allows you to be the successful quilter you want to be.

7) Quality, Not Quantity! You can be an expert quilter, but the materials you choose will determine your true success. If you use lower quality materials for an heirloom quilt it should be no surprise if it doesn't last the test of time. Some quilters are impressed by the volume of progress and fail to see how quality quilts have more value and longevity.

Quilting is an art of love! We invest into the future with our masterpieces. Over time our quilts become cherished in ways that we never anticipated and we rejoice in the pleasure which grows from our seeds. Quilting success is ultimately determined by time, but we can take some small steps to ensure our immortality.

Share your ideas!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just For Fun, Folks!

Liz and I are die-hard feminists! When I took my first Women's Studies class at Virginia Tech the professor started the first class off by playing Peggy Seeger's "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer," which she said was the battle cry song for the women's movement in the 1970s. I absolutely love folk and bluegrass music! Do you? Check these out:

Peggy Seeger singing "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer"

Pete Seeger & Arlo Guthrie singing Peggy Seeger's "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer"

Saccharine, that is what Liz calls me! I love romantic songs and one of my favorites was written by Ewan MacColl for his to be wife Peggy Seeger, which is "The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)." Liz loves to cuddle, but when it comes to mushy love songs she cringes! My Fair Lady little Eliza, wants me to show her, since she is so sick of words ; )

Roberta Flack singing Ewan MacColl - The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)

This morning Liz and I have been finalizing the new designs for our new book and I wanted to play some reflective folk music and I decided to look up Peggy Seeger on the internet and I was delightfully surprised to find her website, which allows you to listen to her work while you work. I have most of her earlier albums, but the were a few on my birthday list now.

Listen to Peggy Seeger's "Crazy Quilt" album.

Crazy Stained Glass Quilt Pattern
Rating: Easy to Moderate
Finished Size: 30" × 39"
Designer(s): Liz Schwartz & Stephen Seifert
Technique(s): Foundation Paper Piecing

Crazy quilts are a wonderful and fun way to use oddly shaped pieces of fabric that you just can't bear to throw out. The crazy quilt pattern shown uses remnants of quilt fabric that were lying around the studio, making this is a good way to do your spring cleaning while making a beautiful crazy quilt.


I'm Gonna Be An Engineer
by Peggy Seeger (1970)

When I was a little girl I wished I was a boy
I tagged along behind the gang and wore my corduroys.
Everybody said I only did it to annoy
But I was gonna be an engineer

Mamma said, "Why can't you be a lady?
Your duty is to make me the mother of a pearl
Wait until you're older, dear
And maybe you'll be glad that you're a girl.

Dainty as a Dresden statue, gentle as a Jersey cow,
Smooth as silk, gives cream and milk
Learn to coo, learn to moo
That's what you do to be a lady, now.

When I went to school I learned to write and how to read
History, geography and home economy
And typing is a skill that every girl is sure to need
To while away the extra time until the time to breed
And then they had the nerve to ask, what would I like to be?
I says, "I'm gonna be an engineer!"

"No, you only need to learn to be a lady
The duty isn't yours, for to try to run the world
An engineer could never have a baby
Remember, dear, that you're a girl"

She's smart --- for a woman.
I wonder how she got that way?
You get no choice, you get no voice
Just stay mum, pretend you're dumb.
That's how you come to be a lady, today.

Well, I started as a typist but I studied on the sly
Working out the day and night so I could qualify
And every time the boss came in, he pinched me on the thigh
Said, "I've never had an engineer!"
"You owe it to the job to be a lady
The duty of the staff is to give the boss a whirl
The wages that you get are crummy, maybe
But it's all you get, 'cause you're a girl"

Then Jimmy came along and we set up a conjugation
We were busy every night with loving recreation
I spent my days at work so he could get an education
And now he's an engineer!

He said: "I know you'll always be a lady
The duty of my darling is to love me all her life
Could an engineer look after or obey me?
Remember, dear, that you're my wife!"

As soon a Jimmy got a job, I studied hard again
Then busy at me turret-lathe a year or two, and then
The morning that the twins were born, Jimmy says to them
"Your mother was an engineer!"
"You owe it to the kids to be a lady
Dainty as a dish-rag, faithful as a chow
Stay at home, you got to mind the baby
Remember you're a mother now!"

Every time I turn around there's something else to do
Cook a meal or mend a sock or sweep a floor or two
Listening to Jimmy Young - it makes me want to spew
I was gonna be an engineer.

I only wish that I could be a lady
I'd do the lovely things that a lady's s'posed to do
I wouldn't even mind if only they would pay me
Then I could be a person too.

What price for a woman?
You can buy her for a ring of gold,
To love and obey, without any pay,
You get a cook and a nurse for better or worse
You don't need a purse when a lady is sold.

Oh, but now the times are harder and me Jimmy's got the sack;
I went down to Vicker's, they were glad o have me back.
But I'm a third-class citizen, my wages tell me that
But I'm a first-class engineer!

The boss he says "We pay you as a lady,
You only got the job because I can't afford a man,
With you I keep the profits high as may be,
You're just a cheaper pair of hands."

You got one fault, you're a woman;
You're not worth the equal pay.
A bitch or a tart, you're nothing but heart,
Shallow and vain, you've got no brain,

Well, I listened to my mother and I joined a typing pool
Listened to my lover and I put him through his school
If I listen to the boss, I'm just a bloody fool
And an underpaid engineer
I been a sucker ever since I was a baby
As a daughter, as a mother, as a lover, as a dear
But I'll fight them as a woman, not a lady
I'll fight them as an engineer!

The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)
by Ewan MacColl (1957)

The first time ever I saw your face,
I thought the sun rose in your eyes,
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies, my love,
To the night and the empty skies.

The first time ever I kissed your mouth,
I felt the earth turn in my hand,
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love,
That was there at my command.

The first time ever I lay with you,
And felt your heart beat close to mine,
I thought our joy would fill the earth
And would last till the end of time, my love,
And would last till the end of time.

The first time ever I saw your face,
I thought the sun rose in your eyes,
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the night and the empty skies, my love,
To the night and the empty skies.