Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On grandma's garden quilts

I don't make quilts. In fact, I have this idea (that I really, really don't like) that quilting is for old ladies with cats (I garden, cook, watch documentaries on the telly and I love cats, who am I kidding, I'm not old but I am an old lady, only very unvoluntarily without a cat, due to lack of space).

Since I bought patterns from Vogue recently (that I have planned to show you all when I find the time!), I occasionally get newsletters from McCalls. Today I got one about quilt-patterns (initial reaction: boooring).

But oh, gosh, I'm in love....

It's called Grandmother's Flower Garden (no QS1551 if anyone's interested), which seems to be a classic theme for quilts, though most are not as lovely and arty as this one.

I'd love one in a summerhouse with light white linen curtains that flow in the breeze from the open windows... (how romantic would that be?).

As I googled grandma's flower garden-quilts I stumbled across this page, with artistic quilts.

They have a very modern approach to quilting, many use photographs that they manipulate heavily in Photoshop before transferring them to the material before quilting. And it seems like they use a lot of "freestyle" techniques. Quite interesting and very inspiring.

Just look at this dandelion-quilt! Image from here.

Or this one... summer! Childhood memories!

I can almost feel a warm summer breeze on my skin when I look at it.

Read more here.

Makes me totally want to take up making quilts...

These tea-cups are quite lovely too. I'd love something like this on my wall at home, it's so beautiful with all the different shades of blue.

Blogged here.

Or these lanterns. I love, love, love lanterns.. I used to have a red one just like these, that I bought in Japan. I wonder where it is now...

This quilt is blogged about here.

This lily is from an exhibition called Exteme Quilts. Blogged about here. Very elegant, I'd love to know how it's made. There is some info in the link above, but for a quilt novice like myself it's a bit like Greek...

 This quilt by Noriko Endo was Best in Show at something called Quilt National in 2007. It reminds me of the azalea-branch that has found its way into our magnolia at home...

I know I got stuck looking at pictures of Japanese quilts in someones open picasa-album from quilting exhibitions in Tokyo for hours a while ago, they were fascinatingly beautiful... (Noriko Endo is Japanese).

To return to the beginning, here's another quilt by Noriko Endo, a traditional grandother's garden-quilt. It won a honorable mention at an international quilt festival in houston, read more about it here.

For some really awsome, inspiring quilts, both taditional in traditional style, traditional in modern style and some very un-traditional, google Tokyo International Quilt Show. Or just click here, I searched Flicker for you. Loads and loads of images... (once again: I love the internet!).

I should be retired! I'd be very busy making things if I was...!

Looking at quilts, admiring their beauty and the skill and labour needed to make them makes me wonder why they aren't more appreciated than they are. It's kind of typical that traditional "female" art is not regarded as "real" art. Really annoying if you ask me, it's a whole lot more difficult to paint with fabric than paint. I'm sure if men made quilts they would be considered an especially high form of art.

Some day the world might wake up and see some things a bit differently, with less prejudice... I hope!


  1. Quilt is amazing. I have really discovered the fantastic world of quilt and embroidery after becoming a student at my school (bachelor in textile handicraft and education in copenhagen). I also chhose that over textile printing, when we had to finish one this spring. It can all seem so old fashioned, but the truth is, that's it's not, There are so many differents ways to use the older techniques and so many other techniques, that people tend to forget.

  2. I love the ones with the lanterns and the dandelions. Gorgeous. I have never really thought about making quilts before either, but am feeling very inspired now! Thank you for sharing these

  3. That McCall's quilt is actually my favorite of all. The colors, the pattern, it's just great. And from McCall's?! Who knew?

    Check out Denyse Schmidt's quilts - I think you'd like them as well!

  4. Man, quilts! I've made about five or six quilts in the past (I don't think of myself as an old lady, either!) and never again. I'm over them now.
    But those pictures are really lovely and very artistic. LOVE the Noriko Endo one, and the two dandelion quilts.
    Good luck with your building saga (in the post below). I hope you get to keep your balcony railings :)

  5. Thank you for sharing these. The lanterns are absolutely beautiful. What a talent to be able to create something like that.

    I think quilting looks like it's really time consuming but if I had all the time in the world I'd have a go at the McCall's pattern.

  6. I love your comment about 'if men made quilts..' as I remember visiting a quilt show with my family. My eldest son commented 'why are these quilts worth so much money?' and my BIL stated (with a country drawl) 'if you were really cold, you would pay that large amount of money for a quilt'... still cracks me up!

  7. I love that QS1551, it has six-fold AND four-fold symmetry. It must have been an old lady mathematician that made that one.

  8. Watch out - you'll be hooked on quilting before you realize it! I was surprised a few years ago to discover that not all quilting aesthetics are the same as those traditional styles in the McCall's pattern catalog. Now I've made quite a few and just can't stop.

  9. Kaffe Fasset makes spectacular quilts and designs textiles. I suppose you could call him the exception. My husband will quilt if I make the top, baste, mark, set up the machine, do half of it, and catch him in the right mood. The first time he quit after one line with the comment "Quilting is HARD." hehe.

  10. Definately NOT your grandma's quilts! These are so very artistic, unique, inspiring...not to mention lovely!!!!

  11. Hi Karin!
    I'm awarding you with a Beautiful blogger award. If you would like to accept it then please visit me on
    to pick it up.

  12. The thing that makes quilts such fun is the fabrics! There are so many patterns and color combinations from which to choose, and so many opportunities for artistic expression. I can see why the older ladies love it.

  13. They really are amazing works of art, if they were on my bed they'd only get wrecked by cat fur (I'm a cat fan too, mother of an 18-year-old tabby!) ... they remind me of Annemieke Mein's work, look up her images in google if you're interested!

  14. Hi, my name is Esperanza from Bogota, Colombia. I need to buy your Magic cubes's pattern . How am I buy it?


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