12 April 2012

XL Ikat: A "Modern" Red and White Quilt

Just over a year ago, I was lucky enough to visit Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts, an exhibition put together by the American Folk Art Museum. (Follow the link to check it out!)

Basically, this one lady's 3 zillion red and white quilts were on display in a huge, hangar-like armory.  I was just... overcome.  Not just by all the amaaazzzzing quilts, but also because of the sheer quantity of human creativity hours put into making them all.

At one point, I almost started crying when I saw this quilting:
(sorry for the cell phone picture)
It's totally not perfect.  Not at all.  Not even close. Which is what makes it so perfect.
I was empowered:  orange peels and curves (and hand-quilting) are hard.  Whoever this lady was, she just went for it.

I was also struck with how very "modern" these pieces were, despite being quite old, in many cases.

To me, these quilts were also standing in for all the women behind their creation.  Maybe they were sewing for fun, maybe by necessity, but each quilt shows serious craftsmanship and love.  And, through this effort, we're connected, those ladies and me.

Later that year, a friend of mine requested a custom quilt, inspired by her own visit to the exhibit. Win-win!  She drafted up a cool idea, with a sort-of Native-American, XL ikat spot center, and I translated that into a quilt.

I used just two fabrics: Kona Snow and Kona Tomato solids.  It's a generous lap quilt, measuring about 60x70 inches.  I quilted it in randomly spaced horizontal and vertical lines to make an irregular grid.

I realized that I had made twice as many flying geese as I needed (using the second method here makes a lot, pretty easily), so I put 'em in the back.

As a very tangible connection to all those red and white quilts of the past, I was so excited to make this one!

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  1. i love the back as much as the front! it is gorgeous!!!

  2. I imagine your homage to all those women is rightfully accepted wherever they are now.

    Wonderful quilt, design and quilting.

  3. I would have loved to see all those quilts!! Just beautiful! and there is nothing better than a red and white quilt :o) did you happen to pre-wash your red before making it? I have always been afraid of bleeding. Yours is just gorgeous!

    1. Thanks, and good question!! I didn't pre-wash the red, and I was a little nervous for the first quilt wash... so I threw in about 4 shout color-catcher sheets and used cold water. Either they worked, or the Kona doesn't bleed ;)

  4. That is amazing and such a lovely modern take on a classic. I love getting inspiration from people who did it all before us. Lovely work!

  5. Kinda jealous you got to see that show. I looked at pictures of it. Beautiful job on this quilt.

  6. Saw this on pinterest and I love it. I would love to purchase a pattern if it's available.


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