Gifts from Rocky Mount.

On this day in 1964, American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Monk’s unorthodox approach to piano and unique improvisational style made him the second-most recorded jazz musician after Duke Ellington. Monk was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1917, but moved with his family to New York City at the age of 5.

This quilt was also born in Rocky Mount, NC. Annie Bryant made this scrappy Log Cabin in 1925. She hand pieced and hand quilted it with cotton, wool and linen and wrote the recipient, her granddaughter’s initials in ink. The quilt was documented by Bryant’s granddaughter in 1986 during the North Carolina Quilt Project, who said, “She just wanted to give us something.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/thelonious-monk-makes-the-cover-of-time-magazine


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

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Arpillera.

On this day in 2010, an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale hit off the coast of central Chile killing over 500 people and injuring thousands. The quake spawned a tsunami that damaged coastal towns in Chile as well as minor damage in California and major damage to a fishing village in Japan. It was the sixth largest earthquake ever to be recorded by a seismograph.

This 18” x 14” machine pieced, appliqued and embroidered wall hanging titled “Arpillera” was made in Chile around 1980. The word arpillera means burlap fabric in Spanish, and is used to describe the complex tapestries (and in this case a pieced and embroidered textile) created by women in protest to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. The narrative textiles describe the harsh effects this regime had on Chile and its people.

The quilt was documented by John Beck, staff member of the Michigan State University Museum who purchased it from Madame Letellier, who was teaching at the University of Michigan at the time. Letellier is the widow of Orlando Letellier who was assassinated by the Pinochet regime in Washington D.C. in 1976. The piece tells the story of a strike by the professionals’ union (professors, engineers, etc.) in Chile.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letelier_case
http://www.coha.org/chilean-women%E2%80%99s-resistance-in-the-arpillera-movement/


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Creole Creativity.

On this day in 1928, the R&B and rock and roll pianist Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino Jr. was born in New Orleans. The youngest of eight children in a Creole family, Fats was inspired to become a musician by his father, a well-known violinist and his uncle, a jazz guitarist. Fats, who started playing professionally in honky-tonks at the age of 10, went on to sell an estimated 65 million records worldwide.

Irma Nicholas St. Pe’ of Creole and Czech heritage, made this Patchwork Strip quilt in 1952 in Louisiana. It was documented by her grandchild during the Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project. “My grandmother was very proud of her work. She was always sewing or cooking. She was really excited about the backing material on this quilt. She made good lemon pies and cakes. My grandmother always liked to primp-up! She always wore lip-stick and earrings when going somewhere.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fats-domino-is-born-in-new-orleans
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fats_Domino


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Miami drive-ins and string quilts.

On this day in 1938, Miami, Florida received its first drive-in theater. Admission was 35 cents per person, 10 cents pricier than the very first drive-in in Camden, New Jersey, which opened June 6, 1933.

Mittie Young Shaw made this String Quilt in Miami, Florida. The Wyoming Quilt Project documentation entered for this quilt estimates the date to be around 1954 “because of the fabrics, which are 1950s home decorating fabrics, the date on the newspaper ad on the foundation, and the car styles and hair styles shown in the newspaper pictures.” The owner of the quilt is Shaw’s great grandson and he wrote of her, “[she] lived through the depression years and raised her three grandchildren after her daughter died–never wasted anything–thus this scrap quilt.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/miami-drive-in-debuts


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

For the first time, I’ve started keeping a daily journal–nothing detailed, just a sentence or two for each day. Most of what I write down is the small, mundane things that make up my week, like going to the grocery store or talking a long walk. Individually, the entries aren’t much, but together they’re a fun snapshot of my year so far.Today’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight is shining on Barbara Schneider’s “Ring of Days”, a quilt that’s also a daily journal, sewn together in a unique format that offers a view of a year in a glance.

Barbara shared the story of this incredible quilt, and the ways it helped her in difficult days, with interviewer Karen Musgrave in 2008:

“A Ring of Days” is a piece that I did when I first started to get into quilting. I had taken the traditional quilting classes and had done some sample pieces. At the time I was working as an executive for a publisher and I had a really busy life and my husband was ill. He was diagnosed with cancer and I felt like I didn’t have time to do quilting in the real sense of sitting down and doing projects. I had seen an article by Nancy Halpren in Threads in which she wrote about doing a visual journal. That really struck a cord with me – that I could come home at the end of the day and just do one simple thing. So I set a goal for myself to do that with a template for the shapes and the things that I wanted to accomplish by doing it. I wanted to really be more observant each day of what was happening in my environment and to do something creative each day even if it was just go down and make my sketch. It would be an opportunity to learn new techniques on a very small basis instead of thinking I had to do a much bigger project to accomplish that. I had a notebook that I just carried with me that I could record things about what I might do if I couldn’t get to it that day. It started March 1, 1997 and ended February 28, 1998. I pretty much finished in that time. I had no actual idea about what it was going to become, a “Ring of Days”. I just kept making those pieces day after day after day. After a while I developed a few templates. I did a lot of travel for my work so I made a travel template…

Whenever I had travel I used this template that was pointing north, south, east, west. I ended up doing it so I could gain a little bit of time. There were some other format kinds of things – I always did the full moon each month. I would do it a piece based on myths like the strawberry moon or the harvest moon. Some pieces are about events. Actually it was like the only year I can remember in my life in any detail because I can say [pointing to one block.] ‘Oh, that is when my daughter Ellen [Schneider.] graduated from college. So it tends to be events, observations, trying new techniques. I had the book “Jacket Jazz” [author Judy Murrah.] and I tried a lot of the fabric manipulation in it. Many pieces were about nature which is one of the things I learned toward the end of the year. Probably half of them had flowers or leaves or water or things like that. Working on the pieces really helped me to feel like I was making some amount of progress in my quilting life, in my artist’s life. One of the great findings at the end of this was that there was next to nothing about the career [audience laughs.] that I had been pursuing for twenty-five years. That fact came together with a number of other things going on in my life and I decided that it was time to move on. At the end of ’97, I retired from publishing and moved into a different role as a consultant. So that was really an observation that came out of this as well. 

The final format of “A Ring of Days” developed over time. Once I had all the blocks I had to figure out a way to put them all together. I tried out a number of things and ended up finally creating strips – one per month. Then the next step was how to join all the strips. I tried a number of things – continuous loops that you could hang on a rod or could be sewn together. And one of the ideas I had was to create a giant windsock or a Japanese Boys Day banner and it all just started to come together at that point. 

I had to figure out the structure and how long was it really going to be [sixteen feet.] and whether that would be manageable. Actually a little side note is that when you are using a little plastic template to cut your pieces – after three hundred and sixty-five times it tends to get a little smaller [laughs.] and then you see that the earlier 31 day strips are longer than the later 31 day strips. 

A story that goes along with “A Ring of Days”, and the reason I decided to bring this piece for the interview, is not only about the fact that it had such an influence on my life at that point but also that it was the first piece that I ever entered into an exhibit. I was attending IQI [Illinois Quilters, Inc.] at that time and the first time I ever heard about Fine Art of Fiber [a joint show with IQI, North Shore Weavers and the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild that is held at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.] I submitted this piece to display at Fine Art of Fiber in 1998. I had never sent anything to an exhibit before that. I packed up the piece and I sent it to Robbi Eklow [then President of IQI.] who gets the box and says, ‘Why did you send me this?’ ‘It is for the show.’ And she said, ‘Oh, you just submit the forms.’ I didn’t even know at the time that you only submit the forms [audience laughs.] I just sent her the whole thing. 

I do remember it hanging in the middle of the gallery space at the Fine Art of Fiber. I see some heads going up and down out there in the audience. It was quite an experience to actually have something out in public and since then I have done a lot of other exhibits. Doing this piece got me to start creating my own work and it became much less traditional, much more contemporary. I realized that that whole nature base is really important to me.”

You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website.

EmmaParker

Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories
qsos@quiltalliance.org

A Lifelong Love of Quilts and Car Racing.

On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) was officially incorporated under the leadership of mechanic and auto-repair shop owner William Frances Jr.

Jeanetta Holder of Indianapolis, Indiana, made this Indianapolis 500 Quilt as a gift for driver Bobby Uncer, who’s 1981 Indie 500 win was stripped a day after the race in favor of Mario Andretti. Holder had made a quilt for the winner of the race and after presenting the quilt to Andretti, she decided that she would make another one for Uncer (who was later reinstated as the winner after an lengthy appeal). The quilt is in the permanent collection of the Michigan State University Museum. The record includes the following story about Jeanetta:

As a little girl growing up on a Kentucky farm, Jeanetta made her own small racecars out of tobacco sticks and lard cans which she “raced everywhere [she] went.” Jeanetta’s childhood creative streak soon extended to sewing. By the time she was 12, Jeanetta began sewing quilts, filling them with cotton batting from cotton she grew herself.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nascar-founded
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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org

Postage Stamps Do Grow on Trees!

On this day in 1792, President George Washington signed legislation that would renew the 1775 act that made the United States Post Office a cabinet department led by the postmaster general (the first PG was Benjamin Franklin). This act ensured inexpensive delivery of all newspapers and stipulated the right to privacy, and it gave Congress the ability to expand postal services to new areas of the country.

Dorcas Carlough of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, hand pieced and hand quilted this Pine Tree with Postage Stamp-Sized Triangles around 1880. The historical society that now owns the quilt documented it in 1990 as part of The Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey. The documenter’s notes about the quilt include: “Stencil designs. Also overlapping circles. Pencil lines still visible. The pine trees have been quilted in a geometric pattern while the background has been quilted in overlapping circles and four-petal “flowers”.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.

Source:
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/postal-service-act-regulates-united-states-post-office-department
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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance
amy.milne@quiltalliance.org