Sunday, September 28, 2008

From the retreat: the gift exchange

Some people call this kind of exchange a Chinese auction, but it also has other names. Each person draws a number out of a hat, and beginning with #1, they choose a gift from the pile and open it. The next person can either steal that gift or choose to open another one from the pile. (Sadly, the dog was not part of the gift pile.)

Debbie and Gerry K.

Cathy is thrilled to open the package containing one of Gerry K's tall Victorian pin cushions.

Lauri made this adorable bear, which Gerry H was able to keep.

Leslie tries to choose Gerry K's chatelaine, but had to give it back.

Gerry K after stealing the goody package (that Cathy made) from Debbie. Then Debbie took the gift that Lauri had chosen, so......

....Lauri turned her eyes to Cathy's pin cushion.....

.... and Cathy reluctantly but graciously gave it up.

And that concludes my pictures of the retreat. Talks are ongoing for where and how to have next year's retreat!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More retreat fun

After our visit to the museum, we had lunch at Macaroni Grill, an Italian restaurant where they put white paper on the table and give you crayons! With visions of antique CQs still running through their brains, Cathy and Gerry K. decorated their end of the table with motifs and seam treatments the likes of which have never been seen before in the Macaroni Grill or any other restaurant!!!

Connie and Leslie.

This is the not-quite-finished product.

After lunch, we went SHOPPING (that's power shopping)! Our first stop was a small but stuffed bridal and fancy dress fabric store in Denver called Allyn's. Talk about a CQer's paradise. They had ribbons, laces, buttons, beads, trims, and the fanciest (and priciest) of fancy fabrics. So much merchandise that there's barely room to walk through the aisles! We kept 3 sales clerks busy for at least an hour.

Cathy is dreaming she's gone to heaven. Oh, wait, we're already there! CQ heaven, that is!

Those bags are all laces, mostly Venise.

Saturday morning we visited the Rocky Mountain Crazy Quilt group for their meeting and heard a presentation from Paulette Reading on conservation and preservation of quilts, which was most enlightening. This is the recently completed banner for the group.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Downtown in Denver

This is the Denver Public Library, which is across the courtyard from the museum.

Tall building (duh).

A rainy day at the museum (right).

Outdoor sculpture on museum grounds.

Another outdoor sculpture at the museum.

The vortex quilt.... not a title for this quilt, just a description of the block designs. The center of each block is a monogram on a light patch, and the successive patches then appear to swirl around the center. There is a date embroidered also, of December 25, and it is dated to 1900.

It has some really lovely and varied stitches. Considering it was a group project, the stitching is all of a similar expertise.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Loveland quilt

This next quilt was the "newest" of the antiques we viewed. It dates from late
1940's to early 1950's, originated in the Loveland, Colorado area, and was made by Eva Swanson. The backing is a machine quilted red satin, the top has so many print fabrics that it is almost too much to look at. It also had some of the most intricate seam embroidery, so you just feel compelled to look at it!

Here are our conservators unrolling it for us.

This is a view of the conservators' room in the museum: the door we came through, and some of the shelves.

More of the shelves.

See how busy it is overall?

But each individual block is a world unto itself, with tiny surprises tucked here and there....

like the heart....

....and the ducks in a row.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This quilt was my favorite for its theme. It also had the most provenance, which made it that much more interesting. It is wool, and was made by a group of church women in Kansas for their pastor and his wife, who were leaving to go to Denver. They each made two blocks; one with their name or initials, and one with a virtue. So on this first block we have Prudence (which could be a name or a virtue) and the date 1920, Grace (again, name or virtue), and Mrs. Butler. Click on each picture for a larger version, on which you may or may not be able to read the words.

Then we have Submission, a very interesting choice of virtue.

Delight! I would love to have overheard some of the conversations going on as these ladies were stitching their virtue blocks. Would Submission have been sitting near Delight? Or perhaps Desire? Yes, there was a block for Desire, and also one for Mrs. Clapp.......

Industry, Conscience, Hopeful, Miss Lucy.

The backing was a lovely old cotton print. In order to see backings, since we were not allowed to touch the quilts, we had to ask one of the gloved conservators to turn a corner back.

The whole quilt, tied on the front in red thread or yarn. This is why I always tie mine to the back, as I think the ties are distracting.

Mary Francis, Cathy, Gerry H., Lauri, Leslie, and Debbie ogling an antique quilt.

More at the museum...

Here is the tea cozy. Can't you just imagine yourself sitting down for tea in your rustley bustley Victorian gown and having the hostess bring out this beauty. I'd bust my corset for sure. It is thought to be of Scottish origin, dating 1887 to

This next quilt is American in origin, dates from 1876, and is silk. It had some really long-napped fabrics in it that almost looked like fake fur. Many of the embroidered motifs were oriental designs, but there was this Kate Greenaway looking figure.

Cathy getting up close, with Mary Francis beside her.

This quilt was my favorite as far as execution, but the next one I show will be my favorite theme. Check back tomorrow for the "virtues" quilt!

The Denver Art Museum.....

...whose motto is, I believe, "DAM, that's good art!" We were allowed the supreme and rare pleasure of viewing up close and personal, 5 of the antique crazy quilts in their collection, and one tea cozy. We were ushered into the inner sanctum of the conservators' room, where the conservators would unroll a quilt for us. We were allowed to take photographs without flash, and to look as closely as we wanted as long as we didn't touch.
The first picture is of Gerry K. of Washington, and Debbie Q. of Maine. They traveled the farthest to be with us....and don't tell anybody, but the general concensus was that Debbie talks funny. Even a lady she met in a restaurant bathroom agreed, and she was from Mexico. Later this same day we saw a sign for a business called "Twice as Haute" and decided that was a great description for this pair of ladies!

The first quilt we saw was less than "crazy" as far as the pattern, but it did have embellishment embroidery on each seam line. It is made of wools and cottons, is Amish, and dates from about 1880.

I really liked the border on this one.

Blogger is being persnickety today, so I'm going to publish this post and try another one!