Thursday, July 28, 2011

American Folk Art Museum, Part Two

Sorry for the radio silence over the past week...I've been taking advantage of a spate of cooler weather to quilt a gigantic quilt! So without much further ado, here is the second part of my writeup about my visit to the American Folk Art Museum (part one is here).

The best part of the exhibit by far was the selection of Log Cabin quilts. They didn't have many Log Cabins in the show, but the ones they did were just beautiful. All except for one were light-and-dark variations, and the remaining quilt was a lovely Courthouse Steps variation. I learned from their placard that traditional Log Cabin quilts were foundation-pieced, not batted, and not quilted (though they were sometimes tied). I was very surprised to learn that! I will definitely use that method for the next Log Cabin I make.

I started working on a Log Cabin about two months before I went to the show, and I thought I wanted to lay mine out in the variation above. The fabric contrasts in the quilt above and the one following were so stark that the quilts almost glowed.

In the quilt above, the blocks were smaller than usual--probably only 6" or 7". I had never seen such an unusual Log Cabin block arrangement before. You wouldn't just stumble upon this arrangement; it was clearly carefully planned out. The corner blocks have a pink center square, but are completely black, whereas the rest of the blocks have a black center square and contrasting black and pink "logs." There are also tiny squares of yellow integrated into the pink side of eight blocks. Finally, the pink sides of the blocks feature a maroon strip that lends a lattice-like appearance to the finished quilt.

This Courthouse Steps quilt was one of the best I've ever seen (and my favorite quilt in the show). Its maker was a retired tailor who gathered up his satin, silk, and velvet lining scraps for several years and finally made this quilt. I took at least ten pictures of it, but the lighting was very harsh and they didn't all come out. This one made me want to make a Courthouse Steps quilt ASAP. My last quilt generated enough scraps that I think I may be able to do a small one.

The museum also displayed a beautiful quilt in the Barn Raising variation (some people today call this variation a "Center Diamond" instead).

I loved the border that the maker added. It gives the quilt more movement and dimensionality, I think.

So there you have it! Although they only displayed four or five quilts, I loved them all and thought they were the best in the show. I had been working on my own Log Cabin quilt for about two months when I went to the show, which I think is why it struck a chord with me. I'll show photos of the layout process for my Log Cabin tomorrow. But now, I'm back to quilting. Enjoy the weather, everyone!

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