Quilts & the Museum of Appalachia

There are places I never knew existed, places in America that I didn’t have the slightest understanding about. One of those is the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. We visited the museum and spent hours wandering the grounds, exploring the varied log cabins that are open to the public and admiring all the beautiful, handmade, and well-loved quilts.

Tied four-patch with sashing at Museum of Appalachia
Crazy quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Rolling stone quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Yo-yo pillow at Museum of Appalachia
Printed quilt (not pieced) at Museum of Appalachia
Close-up of printed quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Quilt, embroidered cloth and weaving loom at Museum of Appalachia
Four-patch tied quilt at Museum of Appalachia
48-state quilt with embroidered names at Museum of Appalachia
Close-up of embroidery on 48-state quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Rocky Road to Kansas quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Crazy Quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Close-up of Crazy Quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Double Wedding Ring Quilt at Museum of Appalachia
Patchwork quilt with ticking back at Museum of Appalachia
New York Beauty variation quilt at at Museum of Appalachia

Because I could only learn so much during my wandering, I bought “A People and their Quilts” by John Rice Irwin, the founder of the museum. It’s a wonderful, in-depth look at many of the quilts seen in the museum as well as dozens more. I’ve got more to read (it’s dense!) and so much to learn.

I’ll share more as I discover because there’s something to this exploration that has exposed an itch that I didn’t know about, yet seems only to be enhanced by my work on my great-grandma’s quilt. Stick around, there’s a lot to uncover here.

Happy sewing!

Self Binding the Glam Clam Quilt

Several years ago, I got a stack of fat quarters from the then-newly-released Grafic collection by Latifah Saafir. Immediately I decided I was going to finally put that Clammy ruler to use and make myself a clamshell quilt. First I made a few patchwork squares, then cut those and the rest of the 10” square pack into clamshells.Then I stacked them neatly and put them on a shelf…where they would live for the next five years.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who planned to do a Glam Clam quilt and never actually finished it because in 2021, Latifah started a Glam Clam Finish Along. Brilliant! Lots of folks signed up to cheer each other on and it was just the push I needed to start putting it together.

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Old Dog, New Tricks

For years, I’ve played at the edge of hand-stitching without ever fully indulging in it. As a teenager I loved cross-stitch and made plenty of Christmas gifts for years using a variety of patterns. The first quilt I made was from a pattern using cross-stitch to make the focal clowns.

But then I sort of let the hobby go. I made a few store samples when Alison Glass’ Appliqué: The Essential Guide to Modern Appliqué (Lucky Spool, 2014) came out. I fawned over the Alabama Chanin patterns and books online. I bought, and actually stitched, a couple of kits from the Brooklyn Craft Company. I’ve been hand quilting my great-grandmother’s quilt for nearly a decade. I brought along embroidery hoops and the few floss colors I had with me in the RV. I signed up for Badass Cross Stitch’s Year Of Stitch on Patreon, then never visited the site again.

I’ve dabbled in hand stitching and needlework for decades.

My great-grandmother Emmie Mae Massingill pieced this quilt top by hand; I’m (ever-so-slowly) quilting it by hand.
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Sew Together Tuesday: Apparel Sewing with Cuddle®

I earned a lot of my sewing chops by sewing garments, so when we got a request to do a Sew Together Tuesday about using Cuddle® for clothing, I was down for it, but I knew I’d want some help. I reached out to Bianca at Thanks, I Made Them and Ajaire from Call Ajaire to see if they’d join me to talk all about the patterns, fabrics and sewing techniques they’ve used. They both agreed and yesterday we had the joy of sitting down for an hour-long chit chat for Sew Together Tuesday.

It was great to talk about all the garments that can be made with the fabric thanks to the wide variety of looks, textures, and stretch. We showed a bunch more projects in the video, but here are a few of my favorites:

Lined Open Front Coat (Butterick 6382) made by me and modeled by my daughter
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Making a Coat Out of a Quilt

Back in November, before the recent hubbub about quilt clothes needing to die, I cut up my quilt to make a coat. And I kinda really love it. I’d had the quilt for a while, tucked in the closet with no real purpose (it’s not like I had a guest bedroom or cute display cabinet), so when we were starting to pack up the house to move out, I decided I would finally get to making a jacket out of it. That way I could take it with me as something I’d actually use on-the-road versus something I’d just store for later storage.

To me, that’s the crux of any of the argument about saving quilts from being re-purposed as clothing. If you’re going to use it and love it, heck even if you just like it, re-purposing sounds like a great idea. There are so very many quilts out there; we don’t need to save them all. Anyway…

The quilt was a throw size and almost worked perfectly. If I were to do it again, I would probably trace the pieces on first to make sure I had enough room (I had to piece a sleeve), but for taking about two minutes to make the decision and start cutting it turned out okay.

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Sew Together Tuesday: Rustic Horseshoe Sewing Patterns

During our stop in Mesa, we’d gotten word that the STT RV was fixed and ready to go, so the morning after the show we headed back, yet again, to Las Vegas to pick it up. We did the rodeo between rental RV and the STT RV, took care of some business (like all the Zoom meetings I could fit in one day) and headed south again for our show with Rena Dearden of Rustic Horseshoe in Cornville, Arizona. (An aside: that area of Arizona is one of my most very favorite places in the whole U.S. You can read about some of our adventures over on our Makers at Large blog.)

I made the Rustic Horseshoe Nutty Nag stuffed animal in 2020 for a Sew Together Tuesday and thought it would be super fun to come out, see her and talk about the process of making patterns for stuffed animals (seriously, what an interesting career!).

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Sew Together Tuesday: Pete the Pup

Several years ago I visited Cozy Creative Center, so when I pulled up and this was the storefront I was confused. This isn’t how I’d remembered it at all and I’m usually really good at remembering that sort of thing. Turns out, they moved down the street, so it was the same street name, different storefront. LOL! Not only is a different building, it’s bigger and better than before.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown San Diego, Cozy Creative Center is packed with just about everything you could need including hundreds of Cozy Quilt Designs patterns!

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Let’s Hit the Road [and all the fabric/quilt shops]!

In just a few days, we are picking up the Shannon Fabrics RV and hitting the road for our second Sew Together Tuesday: On the Road tour! I can’t believe the time is already here, but here it is.

Earlier this year, we did a more, shall we say erratic, tour and it went so well we got the okay to do it again. But cautioned to chill a little on the race aspect of it (we travelled 9k+ miles in 11 weeks!). This time, we’ll be taking the same 11 weeks to travel about 3k miles as we make our way from the west coast over to nearly-the-east coast with stops in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama along the way.

At each stop, we’ll be doing a Sew Together Tuesday show, live with a studio audience, and then an afternoon workshop. Some shops will be hosting workshops on Wednesday as well. it should be a ton of fun and i’m really excited to share all these shops with everyone.

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Adding Cuddle to ByAnnie Projects

Today I’m joining Annie on her Facebook Live (it’s at 2pm Mountain!) and I’m excited to share a bunch of tips for working with Cuddle® fabrics and ByAnnie patterns. I’ve used a number of her bag patterns over the years (A Place for Everything, Pack It In, Tools of the Trade, and Travel Essentials, to name a few), but for this we decided to use Cuddle® for a few other patterns and started with the Bosom Buddy as part of the #SewPink initiative.

The Bosom Buddy pattern is a free download from ByAnnie and was designed to help create a comfortable way for the seatbelt to rest. This is a great project to add a little Cuddle® to since it will just make it even softer and more comfortable!

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