Calling all quilters!

by Joanna Hahn, Manager of Arts and Culture Programs

In 2008, hundreds of quilters from across Indiana and beyond helped the Indiana State Museum and the Quilter’s Guild of Indianapolis piece quilt blocks. The quilt blocks were used in the creation of quilts donated through Quilts of Valor to veteran’s recovering at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. In conjunction with the exhibit Frugal & Fancy: Indiana Quilts, the Indiana State Museum is teaming up with QGI again for a Quilt-In on May 21 and 22 to benefit charities.

Finished quilts awaiting delivery to charities.

What is a quilt-in? The Quilter’s Guild of Indianapolis hosts monthly quilt-ins where quilters bring their own sewing supplies and, using materials donated by other quilters, piece together quilts to be donated to a local charity. But this is also an opportunity to get together with other quilters!

Are you a quilter and interested in helping out? QGI members will be hosting a Quilt-In at the Indiana State Museum on Saturday May 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and May 22 from 10:30 to 3 p.m. Please bring your own sewing supplies, though some sewing machines will be available. This event is free and registration is not required (attendance does not include admission to the museum). When you arrive to the museum, head to Level 2. The quilters will be located in the School No. 5 classroom.

Attend one day or both days! More quilters means more completed quilts; and more quilts can be given to charity!

QR Code – the softer side

by Sherry McConnell, quilter featured in Frugal & Fancy

In December 2010, my dear friend Mary Jane challenged me to make a QR (quick read) code quilt. I accepted her challenge, picked up the pattern, found that the deadline was about six weeks away, located fabric and then enlisted family and friends to help me research this interesting subject.

My family got very excited about this project and everyone began to look for examples … and find them they did! Friends stopped by to see the progress as word spread about the piece on my design wall! Due to the size requirement, individual squares would finish at ¾-inch square, but I did find that I could do some spaces in rectangles of various lengths. At one point it felt like the piece was leaning, so a call to a good friend who works in miniatures assured me that it was an optical illusion and my piece was indeed straight … whew!

The entire idea of the code is that you can take a smart phone with a QR code reader app, point it at the code, take a picture and then link to a website containing more information. It worked on a hard surface, but would it work in a soft surface format? That was the next question … so the piecing was done and a young quilting friend brought over her new iPhone, took a picture and — lo and behold — IT WORKED! The border was added and then the quilt was sent off to a friend to be quilted. After adding the binding and story label, I took it to the museum and crossed my fingers that the code could still be read with the quilting.

On the day we hung the quilt, the app was downloaded, a picture was taken and — lo and behold — IT WORKED AGAIN! You will see small imperfections in the piecing, but in spite of those imperfections, the code does work and it occurred to me that even with our own imperfections our personal code can still be read and whether human, hard surface or soft surface we still get the job done. So here is to the softer side of the QR Code and the work we do!

Frugal & Fancy: Indiana Quilts is on exhibit at the Indiana State Museum through July 17.

Curators in Stitches

Two Indiana State Museum staffers spent the day at the Indiana State Fair judging in the Antique Quilts and Coverlets Division. Pictured is a great example of a blue and white quilt from 1915, signed and dated on the back.

How are quilts judged? Kathleen McLary, Indiana State Museum Exec. VP for Historic Sites (and quilt expert and author) noted that this particular Double Irish Chain-patterned quilt is in good, clean condition,  lies flat, is pieced well and shows little aging or yellowing. Mary Jane Teeters-Eichacker, Curator of Social History at the museum and textile expert, also commented that the quilt is just a great example of a 2-color quilt of that time.

But will it win a coveted Indiana State Fair ribbon? You’ll have to visit the Home and Family Arts Building at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 7 through 23 to find out! You’ll be able to view hundreds and hundreds of handmade objects, in addition to this one quilt.

It is also worth noting that the Indiana State Museum houses the largest and best documented collection of Indiana Amish quilts in the world, The Pottinger Collection. It includes 443 quilts and hundreds of blocks, patterns, and associated Amish toys, dolls, clothing and household furnishings. There are hundreds of additional quilts in the Indiana State Museum collection, as well. You should come see them!

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