OOP….Out of Print! The Elly Sienkiewicz book I used for almost 15 years to teach my year-long class went out of print! My editor (Thanks, Cyndi Hershey!) suggested I write a basic book, and Baltimore Basics was born! The designs in this quilt are easier to stitch and all the colors are inspired by the scalloped border fabric. The center heart is a special design for students in class. Sadly, Baltimore Basics is OOP, but I have enough books for a few more classes!
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Yesterday on President’s Day, Margot Kopera, the Public Programs manager at MDHS, organized School’s Out/ History is In, Sewing Monday. She did a fabulous job, setting up five sewing stations to teach children to sew. What fun! There were Girl Scouts and their leaders, girls and boys who wanted to sew, moms and dads who beamed as theirs kids took stitches, and some adults who wanted to stitch too! They started with plastic canvas and plastic needles to make stitches, graduated to big blunt needles and fabric, then appliqued with regular thread and needles. I loved the boys who wanted sharper needles! And girls who worked together to help each other! And parents who stepped back and watched their kids succeed. I had to leave early, but as I did, I heard wonderful sounds of joyful children’s voices all throughout the third floor of the museum. Yes! There is a future in the quilting world!
These two hearts are in the last two quilts. They are made from the same pattern, but with different methods. The first one is a technique called reverse appliqué. The white background fabric is on top of the red fabric, little holes are cut in the white to expose the red shapes, and the edges are turned under and appliqued. On the second heart, the red pieces are appliqued onto the background. Sometimes it’s just fun to play with different techniques and experiment with what you like. This also gives students permission to change and use their favorite methods of Appliqué.
I love to encourage my students to make their Baltimore quilts their own. It gives the quilts personality and individuality. After class one day, I went home and started a new quilt. The first block I appliqued was a heart that was inspired by a student’s work….I loved her design! For about 12 years, off and on, I made blocks because my students made them. I collected them in a special place, making sure I didn’t use the extra fabric for something else. One day, I got them out and realized I had three hearts, three baskets, three wreaths. That’s when I got serious and made blocks to balance the other blocks. It probably took 15 years to finish this quilt. There are many memories of my students stitched into it!
Thirty years ago I agreed to teach a year-long Baltimore class using Elly Sienkiewicz’s book at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, Maryland. We set up a Sunday class and a Monday class, but soon we had five classes, 75 students total….what a challenge! Best class I ever taught! I’m still teaching it today! What did I learn? It’s awesome to see students succeed, whether making one applique block or a finished quilt! It’s fun to see students connect with each other and share ideas, encourage each other, and even create The Baltimore Appliqué Society that still gets together! It’s great to see students become teachers! And it all started with a few basic appliqué stitches!
When you enter the Tradition Gallery, the first quilt has a heart in the center! It’s SO appropriate for today! I feel like it’s a magic moment! I’ll tell you more about the whole quilt tomorrow, but today belongs to this heart. This was the second time I stitched this heart. The first was for a raffle quilt for the Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild in 1990. When I made my own Baltimore, I had to applique this heart for the center. The pattern came from a quilt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and was published in Women’s Day magazine in 1996. It was fun to stitch the flowers, and I love the ribbon in the center! Happy Valentine’s Day!
So many of us are inspired by the beautiful designs and patterns in the traditional quilting world. We make our first one, love the process, then make more, often changing elements to make the quilts our own. Today on our virtual tour, we “walk” into the second gallery to view large traditional appliqued quilts. Just like our quilt designing process evolves, you will see historic quilts, but also some newer ones. Most are hand quilted, but get ready for some incredible machine quilting, too!