Archive for April 2011

Piecing with Flannel

April 10, 2011

As the weather gets warmer and spring finally arrives, I am in the sewing room working with flannel.  I have found that large, fairly simple patterns work well with flannel.  I have been writing the directions for a local quilt shop, Quilter’s Haven, for this pattern.  It is fast and easy to put together and flannel would make it really comfortable.

I pulled some fabrics from my stash and thought they color coordianted well.  As the blocks came together, and I stepped back from the design wall, I discovered that the green corner sqaures of the inner frame do not quite fit with the other brighter colors.

Flannel is easy to work with.  The local quilt shops have a wide selection of beautiful colors and well woven flannels.  It is worth the extra cost to purchase the heavier, better made flannels from the quilt shops.  Thin flannels will wear much more quickly over time and they also pill more easily. 

I do prewash my flannels and have not had a problem working with them.  Flannel will stretch a bit more than 100% cotton fabrics, making it easier to match points but is also something to be aware of.  I also really like using flannel for backings on all of my quilts.  It is softer than 100% cotton and it makes sense to me to have a soft fiber on the side next to your skin.  Flannel machine quilts easily either with a walking foot or a darning foot for free motion quilting.


Marseille White Corded Quilting IQSC Symposium

April 6, 2011

  The International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) in Lincoln, NE hosted a symposium on April 1-2, 2011 on Marseille white corded quilting.  The quilting was exquisite.  Kathryn Berenson has collected and donated many of her pieces to the IQSC which became the focus of an exhibit and the symposium. 

A highpoint of the symposium was having Kathryn conduct the tour of the exhibit.  The work is just amazing and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!  The exhibit will be in place through May 22, 2011. 

Basically corded quilting is the marking of a pattern, sewing channels along the pattern lines using the back and running stitches, and inserting fine cording into the channels to create the design in relief.  Professional ateliers in Marseilles created many pieces for international trade beginning during the Middle Ages.

I went to the symposium hoping to meet fellow classmates, my program advisor and learn about quilt history.  I was very successful and also met many fellow quilters, five of which shared many laughs over wonderful dinners.  Quilters from CA commented on how friendly everyone was.  They were also very friendly bringing to mind the thought that a mean spirited quilter must not exist.  At least I have yet to meet one in my twenty years of quilting, visiting shows and being a guild member.  Being a quilter says a lot about a person.


The International Quilt Study Center is a beautiful building in itself.  We received behind the scenes tours of the storage areas and were able to admire a 16th century quilt up close.  All of the quilts were amazing.  I was able to see one of Nancy Crow’s pieces from her Guadalupe series.  I had written a research paper on her work and it was great to see the actual quilt.

On the drive to NE, I had to stop by the Mississippi River to see the view.  The Iowa welcome center has a sign that reads, “Northeast Iowa is a patchwork quilt of stories … the personality of the landscape, the richness of the soil, the history of farming, the dreams of the folks who live here.    Silos and Smokestacks is the connecting thread in this colorful fabric of agricultural experiences.”

  What a wonderful to greet visitors into the state! 

  The scenery was mostly tan hills with just the slightest tint of green.  Spring is on its way.