Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Park Your Needle Safely


If you sew by hand, you know how vexing it can be to lose your needle. Maybe you were interrupted from your hand quilting, and upon return, you cannot find where you left your needle.

What if the needle is on the floor? That is a real hazard! It happens, but it can be easily prevented with this little trick of mine, whether you piece, applique, or quilt by hand, even embroidery, cross stitch, etc.:

Stop when the thread is not pulled through, and leave the needle hanging with the thread tail still "caught" in the work. 

Upon your return, pick up your quilt (or sewing project) and shake it - the needle can be easily found. The needle will not fall out, or be lost inside a quilt, and is less likely to stick you (or others) accidentally as you search for it. Then you will pull those stitches through and hear "that lovely sound of thread being drawn through fabric" (as my friend, Gina Prosch enjoys in This Day's Joy).


Whenever I teach hand quilting, hand piecing, or hand applique, I always leave my students with this motto: “Park Your Needle Safely!”


Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com
(c)2019 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Preserving Our Quilt Legacy

Do you make quilts, or collect antique quilts? What do you do with them? How do you care for them? What should you be doing to preserve these treasures?

My friend Laura G. inherited her mother’s unquilted top; hand pieced baskets every color in the rainbow with embroidered flowers and signatures of family and friends – truly a keepsake. But hmmm, there is a slight odor. Should she launder it? Take it to a dry cleaner? Maybe she will quilt it, but will that lessen the value?

Laura will find good advice in Ann Wasserman’s book, “Preserving Our Quilt Legacy, Giving Antique Quilts the Special Care They Deserve” (available at www.annquilts.com). Ann has been studying and repairing quilts for over 30 years, and has received recognition for her repair work from museum and conservation professionals, collectors, and high-end antique dealers.


Another dear friend, Polly M. is an avid collector of antique quilts – at least one she reportedly “rescued” from under a sleeping dog! But most of her collection is quite valuable, like this Mariner's Compass. How should she store them to prevent damage? Flat, rolled, folded? What about environmental conditions in the home? Is it necessary to store quilts in acid free boxes?  Ann’s book offers advice on storing your collection.



Carla T. just finished binding her Baltimore Garden Quilt (hand appliqued and beautifully hand quilted). She wants to display the quilt in her home. What is the best way to display it? On the wall, over a quilt rack, or in an antique cabinet? Maybe not as tea party tablecloth! How do you hang a quilt, or should you really? Several display methods, with pros and cons, are described in Ann’s book, including how to make and attach a sleeve.





Sue C. recently lost her father-in-law, and called me to describe a beautiful quilt made of silks lovingly embroidered with fanciful animals and flowers. Found in an old trunk, it was obviously a keepsake from long ago never used on a bed. Sue believes it must be very valuable! Should this treasure be donated to a museum? Oh, but wait … a few fabrics are torn. Can she repair them, replace them, or cover them with some kind of netting, as shown here from Ann's book?

Preserving Our Quilt Legacy offers a collection of guidelines to help us decide what approach to take to preserve our quilts and textile items. Ann explains the difference between Restoration (often referred to as “repair) and Conservation to stabilize and maintain the current condition into the centuries ahead. Excellent graphics and step-by-steps show how to fix missing stitches or even repair a mouse hole (shown at left), and conservation techniques to minimize further wear, with pros and cons of crepeline, nylon net (bridal veil), and other products.

I will highly recommend Ann’s book to everyone with a quilt! Give our quilts the special care they deserve, and help preserve them for the years (and generations) to come.

Keep Quilting!
Barbara M. Burnham

(c)2019 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Encyclopedia of Designs for Quilting

Choosing an appropriate quilting design really depends on the design of the top, of course, and the possibilities are nearly endless. 

Once again by popular demand, I will teach another session of Hand Quilting 101 at Patches Quilting in Mt. Airy, Maryland this month. Students sometimes bring a quilt top, wondering what patterns to quilt. 

I might suggest a feather vine, or a pumpkin seed design on the sashing.

Wait! What is a Pumpkin Seed? How do I make a feather vine fit my border? What is meant by ‘in the ditch,’ or ‘by the piece’? How do I mark an overall grid? 

That’s when I suggest one of my favorite books on this topic – Encyclopedia of Designs for Quilting, by Phyllis D Miller, published by AQS in 1996 – still available Used and inexpensive on amazon.com; check out the "Look Inside" for a preview.

Diagrams and thorough descriptions explain how to create your own unique quilting designs. From straight lines, squares, diagonals and diamonds, to curved cables, ropes, and feathers, this book shows how to draw them AND fit them on your quilt using simple tools. Then you can create variations of common designs such as the aptly named Pumpkin Seed. Several color photos of quilts also feature examples of such designs.


To inspire designs of your own, one chapter offers simple representational motifs, such as birds and hearts, and ideas to give your quilt a personal touch. 

Why not quilt a small pair of hands drawn by a child who might be the recipient of your quilt?
Keep Quilting!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com
(c)2019 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More from My Visit to National Quilt Museum

On our way from Maryland to visit the Grand Canyon in September, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY HAD to be a stopover! 

We saw fabulous quilts from the permanent collection and several special exhibits. (Edie McGinnis’s collection of Kansas City Star Quilts is featured in a previous post.) 

What a treat to see so many amazing works of art/craft, view the details up close, and capture photos. I will share just a few photos of my favorites, with a focus on fabulous hand quilting. (Click on photos for closer detail.) 

I have long admired the work of Jane Holihan. This is her amazing miniature quilt, “Rose Splendor,” at 17x17 inches!















Another fabulous miniature was hand appliqued and hand quilted by Jessie Harrison. "The Bouquet," is an amazing 9-3/4 x 11-3/4 inches! Jessie credits the value of a glue stick to hold small pieces in place for precise sewing.















Patricia Spadero (Delmar, NY) with her classic “Quilted Counterpane” hopes to inspire others to take the time to learn this art and take pride in it.



“Blue Earth Filled with Water and Flowers” – Keiko Miyauchi (Nagano, Japan) hopes to inspires others to enjoy quilting. Click on the closeup below to enjoy her detailed quilting and layered applique.


















“Paint Can Posy,” made by Mayleen Vinson (Haysville, KS) was included in an exhibit called “Color Outside the Lines.” What an appropriate title!



Mayleen added some Big Stitch quilting on her "Paint Can Posy," that she made for a Kaffe Fassett fabric challenge.


“Spring of Desire,” on loan from quiltmaker Ted Storm of the Netherlands, can be enjoyed from afar, dazzling with gradated black to gray to white fabrics ...






















and even more enjoyable up close – incredible over-the-top hand applique, hand quilting, padding, cording, beading, embroidery, shisha mirrors. 


Just WOW!



Check out the current exhibits at the National Quilt Museum and definitely plan a visit!










Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com

(c)2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kansas City Star Quilts at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY

In September, my husband wanted to see the Grand Canyon – a very long drive from Maryland. So of course, Paducah, Kentucky’s National Quilt Museum HAD to be a stopover!

We saw fabulous quilts from the permanent collection and several special exhibits. Edie McGinnis’s collection of Kansas City Star Quilts was something I was excited to see. (The exhibit is open until December 4, 2018.) 

I plan to post more photos from the museum, but here are a few of my favorites from the Kansas City Star collection. I chose those with hand quilting; I am always interested in the quilting stitch designs and how quilters interpret "Quilt as Desired." (Click on photos for closer detail.)







The Aircraft Quilt (1929) Symbolic of the times in airline history.








English Flower Garden (1930) Spring is the time to make gardens and garden quilts.


Pineapple Cactus (1932) Eveline Foland wrote: “This very elaborate pattern is not for the novice in quilt making, but the experienced quilter will revel in its intricacy.” This quiltmaker even added feather wreaths and a special prairie point edging.


Love in a Tangle (1950) You can’t go wrong with red and white.

















Edie is a former associate editor of “Kansas City Star Quilts,” and the author of many quilt books and articles. Through her career she has researched the Kansas City Star patterns that were printed in the newspapers, and much of their history. She has collected a number of the newspaper’s original 1928–1961 patterns, and quilts made from them, which she shared for this exhibit. (Thanks, Edie!)

Edie’s collection is on exhibit at the National Quilt Museum until December 4, 2018.

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com

(c)2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Molly Culp's Baltimore Garden Quilt

Featuring today: Molly Culp of Waco, TX and her Baltimore Garden Quilt


Molly Culp of Waco, Texas has been  winning big prizes at national shows with her Baltimore Garden Quilt! She has won several top ribbons; a 1st, 3rd and a “Past Show Chairman Award.” Her quilt also won a 3rd place at MQS in Iowa. In 2016, her quilt took 1st and Fat Quarter Awards (that is when the store comes to the show and chooses their favorite). There were 200 entries there at the Dimmitt, Texas Ogallala Quilt Festival. 

Molly has exquisitely quilted beautiful designs on her Baltimore Garden with her Gammill hand guided machine. She has had her machine for 20 years, and has taken lessons from Sharon Schamber on how to set the machine up with rice bags and that was how she learned to control the machine. Her experience and skill certainly shows in this closeup of her beautiful quilting designs. Molly is very proud of her Baltimore Garden Quilt. She has done a wonderful job.


Molly feels that “traditional quilts have a harder time for winning.” I have to agree. However, one judge commented that her crosshatching pattern was very straight. I think the red piping around the bound edge is a nice touch. And I love to see quilters using the Alternate Layout from the Baltimore Garden pattern book. 

Congratulations Molly!

The Baltimore Garden Quilt book with pattern CD or full-size printed patterns are available on my website at discounted prices.

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com

(c)2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Baltimore Garden Quilt Layered Flowers


On the original antique Baltimore Garden Quilt made in 1848, many of the flowers were created by arranging and sewing tiny fabric petals one at a time, building up layers to form the flower. 









While making my reproduction quilt, I devised a method to make these flowers easier to arrange and applique by sewing petals in layered groups which rotate and overlap. With this method, we can assemble these flowers in layers instead of sewing single petals one at a time.


This technique is shown In the book, Baltimore Garden Quilt, for a flower with pointed petals (the book is still available at  www.barbaramburnham.com). In workshops, I taught this technique on a flower with round petals, and with the luxury of more time and more detail, students received a detailed, illustrated, step-by-step handout to follow along. Now I invite you to give it a try! 

For those who could not attend my workshops, or want to begin their own Baltimore Garden quilt, I offer a FREE Layered Applique Flowers Tutorial (PDF).The tutorial includes a pattern and templates you can print onto freezer paper with an inkjet printer. (My method of applique is "freezer paper on top," but you can use other applique methods.) There are also helpful references to the book, Baltimore Garden Quilt, so you will want to keep your book handy as well. My books and patterns are available at my website Store. 

*Adobe Acrobat Reader can be found here: https://get.adobe.com/reader/

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com

(c)2018 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.