This site is designed to help traveling quilters locate shows, shops, guilds and quilt-related events in the locale they are visiting. I also include some textile and quilt-related facts that may be of interest.
While visiting our cottage on Lake Huron in Tawas, Michigan I discovered the Oscoda County Timberland Quilt Trail that showcases Barn Quilts, a growing phenomenon throughout the country. There are more than 3,000 quilt blocks adorning trails nationwide making the quilt trail movement the nation’s largest public arts project. Oscoda County has 12 quilt blocks displayed on barns, local businesses and private residences. Following the trail allows visitors to experience the culture and history of the area and makes for a lovely afternoon drive through stunning countryside.
We began in Mio, Michigan at the Stitches for You Quilt Shop where the owner Judy Utley, graciously provided a trail brochure and oriented us to the trail map. Her lovely shop offers Quilt Trail block patterns as well as fabric, machine quilting services and patterns. They designed the Variable Star block displayed on their building to celebrate the four seasons.
A short way down the road is the 100-year old Chamber of Commerce building whose quilt block is the logo used by the Oscoda County Art Council who are responsible for the creation of the Timberland Quilt Trail.
Nearby is Lydia’s Gate, a shelter for those in need. Their quilt block is located on an outbuilding of the neat white house that can accommodate 16 people.
Back on the main street of Mio we came to the Au Sable River Restaurant that displays the Fish Fry quilt block designed specifically for them to represent their Friday fish fry dinners.
The Au Sable Valley Market erected their Ohio Snowflake block, a traditional Amish pattern, on an outdoor fence. They sell locally made products, pampered beef & organic produce.
We had a great afternoon travelling one and two-lane roadways, some unpaved, through rolling country. I’ll continue with the last two quilt blocks we visited next time. They were both so unusual and in fascinating locations.
Continuing with African textiles and quilts …
Quilt Week 2014 sponsored by the American Quilters Society in Lancaster, PA March 12-15, 2014 will be offering $44,000 in cash prizes and will again be presenting The Tentmakers of Cairo who demonstrate their unique method of applique. AQS purchases quilts directly from the men in Cairo to bring back to the US for AQS QuiltWeek. Each purchase by AQS ensures the men can continue their centuries-old applique artwork, while bringing a fresh supply of these masterpieces to the US.
These are a few of the most popular Tentmaker pieces from the 2013 AQS show.
The deadline for entering your quilt in this exciting show is November 18, 2013.
Amafu fabrics are South African fabrics available as hand-dyed screen prints in vibrant colors or subtle discharge prints in copper and silver. These and many other gorgeous fabrics can be seen at the International Quilt Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa on September 6-8, 2013 sponsored by the South African Quilters Guild. Ricky Tims, one of America’s premier quilters and fabric designers, the musical cowboy quilter from Colorado will be giving classes.
The National Quilt Festival in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa is also fast approaching – July 1 to 7, 2013 sponsored by the Oranje Quilters’ Guild.I found a fabulous blog that explains African fabrics, their history, their function and their manufacture. If you’re interested, follow this link to “See how we Sew” – it’s terrific. Check out the photos:
To further my mission — providing information about local quilt shops, guilds & shows to quilters on the move (click on”Travelers” tab above); I spend a lot of time surfing the web looking for interesting locales, regional quilt and textile information & daydreaming about where I want to travel to experience new textiles & folk art. My last two blogs gave you some insight into Central and South American fabrics & textile art , so I decided to jump to a different continent – Africa! I began looking for African fabrics & almost lost my mind! I had no idea of the breadth & depth of the beauty and incredible talent producing these breathtaking works of art. We’re going to need several blogs to introduce you to some of my fabulous finds. If you’re lucky enough to have visited, I’m sure you will agree that the colors & textures are absolutely amazing!
Many of my friends have traveled to Africa for safari, to ports of call on cruises or to visit family; one went to visit an adopted giraffe. Maybe you can be the first of your friends to discover fabulous folk art and colorful, unique fabrics from the 55 African states with alluring names such as: Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Zimbabewe or Swaziland. There is going to be a quilt exhibit in Ghana in October, “SewJourn to Ghana” Fiber Art Exhibit with hands-on workshops in wax batik, Kente weaving, Adinkra stamping and beadmaking along with visits to studios of local artists, sightseeing & shopping.
If you can’t travel to Ghana this fall, can you make it to England or Scotland? World Textile Day in Scotland, “The People Behind the Cloth” featuring six world textile and clothing traders in Stirlingshire, Scotland will be held on June 22, 2013. The African Fabric Shop will display hand-made batiks, wax and sun prints, recycled glass, brass, plastic & paper beads, jewelery, fair trade baskets, kits & patterns. Similarly, World Textile Day in Norfolk, England will be held on September 7, 2013.
My next blog will introduce you to Amafu, bark cloth, coral tree cloth, discharge prints, kola & Indigo panels, Langa Lapu, Musa, Shwe Shwe & wax prints. Save your appetite because this is real eye candy!
Since not all of us live near a quilt shop or belong to a quilt guild that offers quilting classes, why don’t you think about taking an on-line quilting class? All you need is a computer (you’re reading this, right?), fabric and some quiet time. The nice thing is you can take the class at your convenience – in the middle of the night in your pj’s or when the kids are down napping, while you’re eating chocolate chip cookies or having a glass of wine and no makeup is required! You can pause, reverse, fast forward … learn at your own speed. Two of my favorites are Quilt University that offers a plethora of classes to suit anyone’s interests and Craftsy that offers all types of textile and sewing classes as well as quilting lessons. Have fun!
If you lament your access to quilting classes, consider some quilters, textile and folk artists who live in even more remote areas than you do. They don’t have access to fabric stores or on-line classes so they develop their own style of textile art. In Costa Rica I was introduced to the beautiful art of mola, whose origin comes from the body painting of the Kuna indians, indigenous to Panama and Columbia. Molas are made using a reverse applique technique. Two to seven layers of different colored cloth is sewn together & the design is formed by cutting away parts of each layer. The stitches are almost invisible.
In Peru, the arpillera art quilt tradition began in the 1970’s when entire Andean communities migrated to the outskirts of Lima for safety. The needle artists transform left-over scraps from the garment industry into vibrant, 3D landscapes. Arpilleras use about 70 percent recycled fabrics. Beginning by designing & stitching a unique landscape, the artist then cuts colorful fabric scraps into animals, trees, flowers, houses, birds & people & hand stiches them to the background, finishing the piece with embroidery.
Also in Peru, the Quechean tradition of puchka (drop spindle) endures. Unwashed cotton, and the washed & carded fleeces of sheep, alpaca & llama are spun into yarn & thread. The yarns are dyed with leaves, flowers, roots & minerals to be made into shawls, blankets, rugs & tapestries for which Peru is famous.So if you find an on-line quilting lesson too tame and want to experience life on the wild side, there are folk art travel tours to Central and South America that take you into the jungle to take hands-on workshops in arpillera, mola and puchka. There’s also a fabulous quilt retreat in Costa Rica I would love to try. Maybe next time.