Oh, la, la!

I find the colors of this quilt quite amazing—so rich and so very Lily Pulitzer. But it actually dates from the 1850s and it’s French. It’s the quilt from the global quilting feature in the April American Patchwork and Quilting.

I’ve said it before, but antique quilts were never the thing that drew me to quilting. But the opportunity to learn about them through the writing I’ve done has made me a convert. I find it so interesting that not only have people been creating quilts all over the world, but that they’ve been making the forever. (Carolyn Ducey, the curator from the International Quilt Study Center told me that quilts go back as far as Roman times, when soldiers wore layers of cloth stitched together as a type of armor.)

This particular quilt is a vanne, which is basically a decorative throw that was used on beds. As you can tell by the minimal piecing on this, these types of quilts (made in the Marseille region) were all about the quilting and not the piecing.

Lucky French babies were sometimes brought into their bed-resting mothers and laid on a vanne. Imagine letting a baby spit up on that gorgeously worked fabric! I’m pretty sure that’s what old cloth diapers were made for. But this does remind me about an off-topic, but fairly fascinating article by Jill Lepore about breastfeeding in the Jan. 19 New Yorker. It provides a great history of breast feeding (news to many, I’m sure, but not so much to me—in my checkered past I was not only a Lamaze instructor but rented electric breast pumps, the kind that were only available hospitals in the early 1980s, to mothers in need) and some provocative thoughts on breast feeding now. I don’t agree with it all by any means, and I’ve always had strong feelings about the guilt mothers are made to feel for not nursing, but it’s worth reading. I’d love to hear what anyone thinks about it (or about French vannes, for that matter).

A change is gonna come…

There’s just one picture I have to post today. It was part of a terrific show of political quilts at Quilt Market in Houston this past October. The photo is of a quilt by Susan Shie (apologies for the railing and post in the image). Here’s a link where you can see a larger image of the quilt and read what Shie has to say about the piece, (scroll down under “2008 gallery complete” posting). She’s also got information on the site about an entire show of Obama quilts by 60 fiber artists—President Obama: A Celebration in Art Quilts opening Feb. 9 at the Cafritz Foundation Arts Center at Montgomery College in Silver Springs, MD.

Whatever your political persuasion, I hope you feel a sense of the promise and power inherent in today’s events. There are no magic bullets for the troubles of our country and world, but we can hope, and we can implore the God or gods with whom we touch base, that the change in Washington will bring a change for the better. Obama was elected because Americans of many races, creeds, backgrounds, and belief systems (including those of us who caucused for someone else) supported and worked hard for someone we believed would bring much-needed change. That we still have the ability to join forces, despite all that divides us, can provide a powerful example for others. Obama’s facing unbelievable obstacles and challenges. We’ve proved we’re willing to put aside differences and work together for something new. I hope we can do the same in the days, months, and years ahead. Today, I feel optimism all around.