Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Quilting Adventure

March 19 is National Quilt Day in the United States, and I was in Lincoln, NE which has the International Quilt Center and visiting my friend who does a great deal of quilting -- so of course I had a quilting adventure.

Our day began first, though, with a pancake breakfast. My friends' grandson is in the Boy Scouts and that morning the Boy Scouts were having a pancake breakfast, so that was the first stop.

My friend had to "work" at the Quilt Center at 11:00 so we went there directly after the pancakes.
Due to my sore arthritic condition she dropped me near the entrance and then went to find a place to park the car. I entered into a foyer gift shop covered by quilts or quilt information.

 There I was given a white piece of paper for something, I didn't understand what the paper was for -- the world of quilting as it is now is very new to me.

The word, quilting, may bring to mind the above image. This is a painting I found in the exhibit area, the painting being the work of Edgar Melville Ward. This painting was completed in 1892 and is called as one might expect, The Quilting Party.

But as one reads through this blog entry there will be evidence that there is more to quilting today than great-grandmother's quilting.

We had time upon arriving to first walk by the conservation room. The International Quilt Center holds thousands of quilts and has about 100 on display at one time.

Stored quilts are taken the conservation room where the box is opened and the quilt is spread out onto a large table. A type of net material is placed over a section of the quilt and the dust is literally vacuumed away. When the quilt has been totally cleaned it is again folded to go back in the box. But if the quilt had been folded vertically during its storage period, it is now folder horizontally. This prevents deterioration from a common fold area.

We then went to a vendor area to redeem our pieces of paper. She had a yellow piece of paper.  That is when I learned these were to be redeemed for a spool of thread. Because I had a white one I got a much bigger spool of thread. My friend asked me get blue as she could use that when she works on the Quilts of Valor. This quilt project has spread all over the United States with the goal of awarding a quilt of every man or woman who has served in the U.S. military.

My friend's volunteer activity was to welcome visitors to the small conference room in which Cuddle Quilts were on display.

Cuddle quilts are about a square meter in size. They are given to fire fighters, police officers, and social workers who may encounter children in dangerous or stressful situations -- the purpose of the quilt literally to be used to cuddle the child who may have just experienced disaster or high stress.

Meanwhile I was having a wonderful time visiting the various galleries with quilt displays.

The first one I visited featured African-American quilts. These quilts were first collected by Dr. Robert Cargo who was the director of the Folk Art Gallery in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 2000, the Quilt Center acquired this 156 piece collection.

Recently I have been learning about the role of horses in the European military -- the army with the best horses had a great advantage. So when I saw the quilts with mules, my idea was that mules were highly important in this culture. Good mules were an essential tool on an Alabama farm in the early 20th century. And so they are represented in quilts.

The above quilt is the work of  Betty Rogers, Greene County, Alabama.

On an opposite wall I found the quilt shown below. It is the work of Mary Maxtion, also from Greene County, Alabama.

I also liked the quilt shown below. It is also shows something important.

I thought these were coffee cups, but the quilt maker, Lureoa Outland, calls it Tea Cups. She also lived in Greene County, Alabama.

Next I visited the gallery that holds several pieces from  the Bryon and Sarah Rhodes Dillow collection of quilts.  In 2008 the Dillows donated about 250 quilts and 175 fabric fragments to the International Quilt Center.

Below is part of a quilt called Princess Feather. It was made in 1865 by Rebecca Wilson and Isabella Irene Wilson Rhodes.

On an opposite wall I found the quilt below.

While most quilts are made by assembling many pieces of fabric, this quilt is one solid piece, and has the name. Whole Cloth. Quilt stitches add texture to this. It is estimated to have been made between 1800 - 1830, but it is unknown whether it was made in the United States or in the United Kingdom.

In the rear gallery area I saw a sign that said Man Made. From the distance I thought it was making reference to the type of fabrics used in the quilts. I certainly was wrong. This gallery, instead, holds quilts made by men.

Here is an example.

The above quilt is the work of Ben Venom. In 2012 he made this quilt from heavy metal t-shirts, other fabrics, and thread.

Another one that caught my eye is titled Some Dumb Old Painting. It is obviously a take-off from the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein. The quilt is the work of Joe Cunningham and was made in 2012.

The caption made me laugh!

Because of my interest in Central Europe, I was quite interested in the quilt shown below. It is also the work of Joe Cunningham, done in 2014.

Cunningham explains he saw a newspaper picture of protestors sleeping in an occupied government building in Kiev. He calls this quilt quite obviously Sleeping Protestors in Kiev.

It is easier to see the jumble of coats and sleeping bags portrayed in the quilt with the peaceful faces of sleeping protestors in the piece of the quilt shown below.

I also found a quilt that intrigued me in an exhibit called Art Quilts.

The Quilt Center has a no-touch policy and I wanted to touch this one so badly to better understand how the quilter had made this. The name of the quilt is Leaf Fall, Variation B Fragments. It is the work of Barbara Schneider.

Before leaving we attended a seminar called Modern Quilting. This is a new movement in the quilt world, based on breaking all the rules of traditional quilting. Alas no photographs of modern quilts.

It truly was a great day at the International Quilt Center. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Adventures Along the Highway

Last Friday I drove from St. Paul to Lincoln, Nebraska. The weather was rather blah, so it was nice to find something once in awhile along the highway. I had slept later than I had planned before starting this trip. My first plan had been to have a breakfast of melon and muffin before leaving. However, I had left the muffin in the car after buying it the previous evening. I sliced up the melon and did munch on it while driving, but knew the muffin required a stop.

My first stop was a park only rest stop in northern Iowa. This means one can park there for a bit, but there are no facilities such as toilets at this rest stop. My view out the window while munching on the muffin looked so desolate.

After driving another 35 miles or so I arrived at a rest stop that did have "facilities." I like the rest stops in Iowa because each one of them is a history lesson. This particular stop was at a place where I've never stopped before in my travels. This one has what is called replicated fixtures from the Soldiers Memorial Hall in nearby Hampton, Iowa. This Memorial Hall particularly is to keep a remembrance of the soldiers from Franklin County Iowa who fought in the battle called Pleasant Hill in Louisiana near the end of the Civil War. 

A visit to Wikipedia and other web sites reveals this Soldiers War Memorial Hall is one of three in the United States. The real building remains in Hampton and has been on the National Historic Register since 1991. (A funny historic memory -- one of the friends I came to visit lived in Hampton as a child and remembers being tripped in this building and breaking a tooth!)

At the rest stop one finds a tile mosaic on the entrance that depicts how the American eagle was depicted in the middle of the 19th century

On each side of the interior walls there are other mosaic tile displays.

The above is for the Union Army. The one below depicts the Confederate Army.

Bordering both of these mosaics are a great number of tiles each with some words etched into the tile.

For my international readers -- Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States.

On the Union side of the hallway I found the above tile.

The exterior walls of the building also have tiles.

The GAR stands for the Grand Army of the Republic which was another way to designate the Union Army.

I will close this blog entry with the tile below.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What an Adventure?

I had an appointment to see my orthopedic physician on Friday, and about 90 minutes before the appointment I received a phone call that the appointment had to be changed because the doctor was going home sick. Now that is a first!

So instead I decided to do some clothing shopping. Then when done with that I went to a nearby Best Buy to see perhaps about getting a new computer. The one I have been using was developing a lot of problems. For example, I had it plugged in from 8 PM in the evening until noon the next day and when I went to use it I had 2% battery power. It was nagging in my mind not to spend money because tomorrow I have to go my tax preparation office and pick up my taxes and learn if I pay or get a refund. I am thinking it is on pay side and after also paying my granddaughter's car insurance bill it has been a month with a lot of unusual expenses.

But when I saw the difference between what I was using and what now is possible I simply couldn't resist. I decided to take some of the trauma out of getting a new computer by having the Geek Squad set up my new computer and then transfer files from my old computer to the new computer.

So I came home on Friday night and went searching in boxes in the closet for the disk with my printer driver and evidence that I really did own Microsoft Office. Not easy to find things after having moved twice since December 2013. But I did find things without too much difficulty.

Woke up at 5 AM and spent some time deleting Word files that I really didn't need and also copied two Powerpoint files that I truly needed to a thumb drive. Then around 10 AM I picked up the old computer and the software materials and headed out to Best Buy. After arriving it took only about 5 minutes to get everything arranged. Then I went to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed breakfast.

Back to the center of the city where I picked up my older daughter and took her for a hair cut. I had intended to take her for pie and coffee afterward but I was simply too tired. Came home and took a long nap. When I woke up I had a message the computer was already except they didn't know how to access my MSN account. I thought that funny because they had just sent me an e-mail message, So took off for the Geek Squad again and found the problem was that Office software couldn't be loaded without the password for that even though I had the access number for the software written down. I tried to enter a password, it didn't work, and reached my phone where I store passwords. Then I discovered I had left my phone at home. Nothing to do but go home to get it.

And then would  you believe, on the way home I got slowed down a bit by a load of hay spilled on the freeway. Also because this was Saturday evening there were plenty of blinking red and blue lights. The highway patrol was indeed busy.

Back to the Geek Squad and we quickly finished doing up everything. I came home with the new computer and got it attached to my wireless system. Now it is the sea of passwords that must be added back to all the sites I use.

Recently a friend wrote about upgrading his computer to Windows 10 and reported it took about two days to have everything working again. Well I think it would it have taken me way more than 2 days to do everything up and running. Two big things to yet accomplish -- adding the printer back to this computer and making Photoshop work. I had to get upgrade my version of Photoshop -- bought it from Amazon, downloaded it last night but can't install it without an Adobe password - which Adobe claims I have. And something that should be simple -- how to copy and paste in Windows 10.