Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Will Lift My Voice Like A Trumpet News

Yesterday I received notification that the American Quilt Society has accepted my quilt into the Grand Rapids, MI show to be held Aug 14-17. I am glad to show it in my home state, and hope that some of my quilting friends are able to see it. This is a special quilt for me, involving a lot of research, design, and execution. It is part of my American Heroes series.

The series was really an idea that came when I made a small wall hanging with a piece of vintage fabric printed with Mary Pickford's photograph. I set it with vintage handkerchiefs, laces and embellishments, including heirloom pins from my Great-Grandmother.

It was while making this quilt I first conceived of the idea of quilts based on American history and people.

 The next quilt in the series was When Dreams Came True for the anniversary of the lunar landing. I grew up with the Space Race and this event seemed a remarkable achievement, the kind of thing that only happened in dreams. I used copyright free NASA photographs and fusible applique to make the images on the quilt.

When I decided to learn to embroider, I made the Presidents Quilt by Michael J Buckingham. I added a border of traditional, new and original blocks to make the quilt larger, including Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt.

While making that quilt I found I loved embroidery and I decided to design a First Ladies Quilt, and Remember the Ladies was my next project. I read about 20 books on the First Ladies, including biographies, while I was designing the embroidery.

And that brings me to I Will Lift My Voice Like a Trumpet, which highlights women abolitionists and Civil Rights leaders. A professor at Grand Valley State University directed me to the book Freedom's Daughters by Lynne Olson. These women were exactly who I wanted to lift up.

I have my Green Heroes quilt on the frame right now. I want to do a quilt of American authors. But first, I am working on my Charles Dickens quilt. British Writers being another of my loves. I already created a Pride and Prejudice quilt in applique and Redwork! Some day perhaps I will do a quilt of British Writers. And I am sketching ideas for a Wizard of Oz quilt. I just hope I live long enough to finish all the quilts in my head!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pan-American Redwork Quilt

I just acquired a 1901 Redwork quilt made of penny squares sold for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.  About 60 different squares were sold for a penny each. This quilt has a predominance of buildings but includes a central gathering of President and Mrs McKinley and Vice President and Mrs Roosevelt around an eagle block.

These Redwork quilts made for the Pan-American Exposition have fascinated me, and I am thrilled to now own one. First, I grew up near Buffalo, NY. I am interested in Presidential history, as well as American History, and since making a Redwork President's quilt I have been quilt in love with Redwork.

On Sept 6. 1901 President McKinley was in a receiving line at the Temple of Music when he was assassinated by  Polish immigrant Leon Czolgosz who was holding a gun under his handkerchief.

 Illustration by: T. Dart Walker.
Source: The cover of the September 21, 1901 issue of Leslie's Weekly.


An African-American waiter named James Parker wrestled Czolgosz to the ground, preventing him from firing another round.

 " I heard the shots. I did what every citizen of this country should have done. I am told that I broke his nose—I wish it had been his neck. I am sorry I did not see him four seconds before. I don's say that I would have thrown myself before the bullets. But I do say that the life of the head of this country is worth more than that of an ordinary citizen and I should have caught the bullets in my body rather than the President should get them. I can't tell you what I would have done and I don't like to have it understood that I want to talk of the matter. I tried to do my duty. That's all any man can do."
 "I am a Negro, and am glad that the Ethiopian race has what ever credit comes with what I did. If I did anything, the colored people should get the credit."

On Sept 14 the president died of gangrene and Teddy Roosevelt became president. Leon Czolgosz was sent to trial and was sentenced to die on October 29, 1901. The government went after anarchists, much in the way we search out terrorists today, creating the Alien Immigration Act in 1903.

For an overview of the President's visit see

For a booklets detailing the buildings at the fair, which are depicted in the penny squares, see