Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eating My Hat, One Bite at a Time

   Scoffing at T-shirt quilts is how I roll. They seem so humdrum. Why use T-shirts when there are so many other wonderful fabrics? For that matter, why collect T-shirts when there are other much more wonderful things to hoard? For the memories? Really? This collection of T-shirts from 1995 to 2015 does hold some memories for the mom who commissioned it and her son who is the intended recipient, in honor of his 30th birthday.
   This isn't an especially creative quilt. Sports-mom picked the fabrics. She and the quilt shop owner planned the layout.  I tweaked it a little bit, changing the sashing color from maroon to the chosen lime, and the inner border from lime to celery. There I go, pushing neutrals again.

   To commemorate running marathons.  I suppose as a statement to self torture and testimony to endurance a T-shirt does the job. I didn't think there were many hills in Lewiston, ID or Spokane,WA  but the T-shirts tell a different story. I really love the wheelchair images.

   As a travelogue. Well, it is an alternative to watching a slide show.

   Because T-shirts are so comfy and available. My sister was asked to make a memorial T-shirt quilt with a package of white T-shirts. WTF. Well, it was what the dude wore. And who doesn't like to see a guy in a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt?
  Let's face it, you can only wear so many T-shirts, and you can only wear them for so long before they wear out. Or in this case, you outgrow them. The early T-shirts were small, and now the quiltee is a grown man.  And Sports-mom can only store a son's stuff for so long. She said this freed up a drawer.
   One interesting color theory I learned from Pam Rocco in QNM was about how certain border and binding colors pull our eyes out to the edge of the quilt, and others draw our eyes to the center of the blocks. It is not about the print size or wildness of the fabric, it is about the colors. I auditioned dark green, blues, pink, greys, black and white print, and they all wanted to lead my eyes astray. When I tried a medium orange from Riley Blake, it was that moment when flowers open and angels sing.

I added a teensy bit of celery to make a quick, flanged binding. The quilting thread is lime Glide.

So, that is how you eat a hat, just like an elephant, one bite at a time. Sports-mom loves the quilt.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Very Old and Very Rare

Last week Mr. Thimblepie took me to St. Gertrudes Monastery to visit their museum and historic chapel. It was a beautiful site, on the list of Historic Landmarks. The chapel was built almost 100 years ago from blue porphyry stones quarried nearby.

 The museum is small but well stocked with interesting and choice items. Several of the displayed garments were unusual and rare. The bamboo jacket was especially fascinating. It was made from tiny pieces of bamboo, about 4 mm, like bugle beads, sewn into diamond patterns with linen thread. The garment was worn under fancy silk brocade robes. It allowed for air movement and absorbed perspiration.

Wearing layers of clothing seems unimaginable in present times. Styles and mores of the past were so restrictive. Reasons for wearing lots of clothing varied from modesty to status. Protection from the elements, biting insects and hazardous work conditions made sense. On the other hand, some cultures believed that uncovering the skin could be hazardous to ones' health.

Here is a close-up of hand made button holes on a brocaded wedding dress from the late 1800s. The dress was small, made for a woman of about 5 ft. height. It was before the era of Queen Victoria, when she started a fashion trend by wearing a white wedding gown.

I thought of the Beatrix Potter's story, "The Tailor of Gloucester." The Tailor was ill, so the mice finished his work on a wedding jacket for the Mayor of Gloucester. "The stitches of those button-holes were so small--so small--they looked as if they had been made by little mice."