Saturday, April 26, 2014

Embroidery's rich cultural heritage carries on

Sherry shows embroidery samples from her textile collection.
Whether or not we learned to sew, embroider or quilt at a young age, many of us grew up surrounded by needlework of some kind—embroidered dish towels, cross stitched pillowcases, crewelwork pillows, dresser scarves, armchair doilies, or pieced and appliqued patchwork made from clothing, feed sacks or even men's old silk ties. Needlework pieces such as these can evoke memories of our family, our youth or our culture.

The program at the April Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting entitled "Embroidery on Quilts" featured time-honored embroidery techniques used throughout history and offered ideas and examples of how hand stitching can add detail and dimension to projects we're creating today.

A seminole pieced and crazy patch vest
that escaped donation to a charity.
Sherry Baldwin, the evening's presenter, grew up surrounded by needlework. Her presentation was peppered with beautiful and heartwarming examples from her extensive textile collection. Pieces included those made by and handed down from family members, pieces she created during various times of her stitch-filled life, or samples she collected during her travels. The evening's presentation was interwoven with guild members' Show and Tell—treasured embroidered examples that emerged from cedar chests, dresser drawers and closets—that added to the visual feast of hand stitched embellishment.

Sherry took the audience back into embroidery history, explaining how different cultures used the same core selection of embroidery stitches—chain, buttonhole, running, satin and cross stitches—and transformed them into beautiful and unique needle art reflective of that culture. She discussed the differences in yarns, threads and base fabrics that were used for different techniques. "Geography often played a part in the choice of materials people used [for embroidery]," she said. People used threads, yarn and fabrics made from the plants and animals that were indigenous and readily available in their part of the world.
References for various needlework techniques from different cultures.
Scandinavian and Hmong embroidery books.
Examples representing embroidery from various eras and cultures included:
Sashiko cloth and small bag.
Crazy patch made with silk ties.
Appliqued crazy patch.
Blue birds embroidered on a summer spread.
Can you find the "mis-pieced" blocks?
Bluework and Redwork.
Embroidery and hand coloring on a pillowcase.
Hand stitching on a painted quilt.
Stitch samplers come in a variety of styles and forms.
Stitch sampler detail.
Cross stitched flowers on a pillowcase.
Cross stitched feather wreath quilt. Hand quilted.
Cross stitched quilt top. 
Embroidery embellishes a Dresden Plate appliqu├ęd quilt.
Hand embroidery adds texture and detail to a contemporary quilt.
Folk art style of embroidery combined with patchwork.
Hand coloring done with crayons.
Small hand stitched piece by Susan Shie.
Quilt embroidered with the long stitch.
Candlewicking on a tree skirt.
Crewel embroidery.
Wool applique embellished with embroidery stitches.
Attendees were treated to a machine stitched piece by Carol Bryer Fallert.
Left: front of work. Right: back, showing the label.
For centuries—dating as far back as 475 BC—people have embroidered cloth for religious and cultural reasons, as a symbol of status or wealth, as art, and as expressions of beauty for their households. Our female ancestors embellished linens, quilts and garments with hand stitching using laborious and time consuming techniques. They enhanced the functional beauty of the objects that clothed and protected their families and adorned their homes. The beauty of the embroidered stitch continues to inspire us today.

Show and Tell
Progress continues to be made on the 2013 Brown Bag Challenge quilts.
Betty made a companion quilt for her other grandson.
Cristy worked with her father-in-law to complete this scrappy string quilt.

Guild members finished quilt tops using the 4-patch kaleidoscope technique.
Dawn's fabric had a beach theme.
Pam's kaliedoscope quilt features a swatch from the original fabric.
Joanna's quilt uses the same fabric as Pam's (previous picture above).
Twin quilts by different mothers?
A hexagon embellished shirt was inspired by the guild's program on Hexagons.
Becky made this patchwork stole (left) and embellished a denim shirt
with hexagons.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

AQS entry reminder

The deadline to enter a quilt in AQS QuiltWeek—Chattanooga is April 23Click HERE to enter online. 

Chattanooga wants to show off our stuff!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blending Embroidery and Quilting

Power be to the hands that create the stitches.

Hand embroidered quilt block.
Before there were fancy, computerized, multi-needle embroidery machines or the hundreds of decorative stitches that are status quo on most any sewing machine these days, we had built-in tools for creating stitches on fabric—they're called our hands.

At the April 21 Choo Choo Quilters guild meeting, the program will be on "Embroidery on Quilts" and will highlight several hand embroidery and needlework techniques to accentuate, adorn and add dimension to quilts. Many examples and quilts will be shown, and guild members can bring other examples for Show and Tell.

A hands-on demonstration will be included in the program. If you would like to participate, bring the following supplies to the meeting:
  • sewing scissors, such as small embroidery scissors
  • Milliners needle (Size #1) or a long, large-eyed hand stitching needle
Other supplies will be provided.
Hand stitched Redwork rabbit on a quilt.

Reminder: We'll also be taking photos for our member directory. New members (and anyone who missed the last photo shoot) should bring a quilt for their photo.

Have you been Hexed?
After last month's program on Hexies, has the hexie bug bitten you? If so, there are quilt shops around town that have options to expedite the cutting process:

An Accuquilt die-cutter that cuts hexagon shapes from up to 10 layers of fabric is available in-store at Spool. Quilters are welcome to bring their own or buy fabric and use the machine for free. Hyderhangout Quilt Fabric & More has the Accuquilt Studio and Go! Fabric Cutters, cutter supplies and a selection of dies for cutting multiple hexagons and other fabric shapes. Ready Set Sew offers the Cameo Silhouette machine and software that allows quilters and sewists to cut fabric, paper or card stock using files from their computers. Cameo users can purchase downloadable designs or create their own. And, Pins and Needles Quilt Shop has the Hex N More acrylic rotary cutting rulers in two sizes and a variety of English Paper Piecing paper templates.

Thanks to all our local quilt shops—they have it covered! Remember to "shop local" at YLS (your local [quilt] shop) for all your quilting fabric and supplies and support our local businesses.