A QUILT FOR MY FRIEND, by Karla Tedtsen

Last week at our writer’s group, Karla Tedtsen read us this poem about quilt making.  It is such a well-thought-out poem detailing the quilt-making process that I thought I would put it in here for the enjoyment of all you quilters, and the rest of us as well.

Making a quilt is what I love to do.  It’s a piece of my heart given freely to you.

The process begins with the choosing of fabric,  Then I decide, is it traditional or maverick?

Piecing the top is an art form of its own,  With seams sewn together, ripped out, then re-sewn.

Creating the border is another decision,  Having it lay flat requires painstaking precision.

Once the quilt sandwich has batting in middle,  Squaring it up becomes a frustrating riddle.

Quilting comes next, must plan on design,  Simple or dense, have I an idea in mind?

Choosing thread to complement the whole,  Embroidery or not, just what is my goal?

Fancy it up or just keep it plain? Decisions to be made can drive me insane.

But because it’s for you, the one I hold dear,  I’ll eventually choose, I will persevere.

And finally, when the last stitch is in place,  A big smile emerges, covering my face.

Will you like this small treasure?  That’s not really a care,

It’s simply a gift from my heart  With you I can share.

ELLIE SHARMAN: Musician, Educator, Adventurer, Quilter Extraordinaire

ellie-fiddleWhen Ellie Sharman looked at the list of descriptors included in the title to her story — Musician, educator, quilter extraordinaire — she said, “Add adventurer!  I’m an adventurer!  I thought to myself, “that is the perfect descriptive word for this woman.”  Now you can read the article yourself and discover why Ellie defines herself in such a way.  She is a woman who has followed dreams.

Ellie was born in 1960 in Pasadena, CA.  In 1972, the family moved to Palo Alto, CA.  Ellie graduated from high school in 1978, then went to college at the University of California in Davis.

The roots of Ellie’s life passions and her adventurous spirit began with her childhood experiences.  She started playing violin in 1967 at age seven.  She learned using the Suzuki Violin Method, a teaching method developed by Dr. Suzuki in Japan.  This teaching method was new in the United States at the time.  The first-violinstudents learned totokyo-concert play by  ear.  They listened, then played what they heard.

When she was 11 years old, Ellie went to Japan and took a lesson from Dr. Suzuki.  She toured Japan with other American students playing violin.  They all participated in a big concert in Tokyo.  As Dr. Suzuki’s students all learned from the same books, they knew the same songs and could play together.

Ellie’s love of travel also got a start in her youth.  Before and after the trip to Japan, she went to Mexico as an exchange student.  One trip was for a couple of weeks, and when she returned from Japan, her second trip to Mexico was for a month.  After her return, a Mexican student would arrive to stay with her family in California.

Ellie’s parents met through folk dancing, so Ellie and her brother and sister went to all the dances while growing up.  When she was older, she discovered contra dancing.  Nowadays, if Ellie is at a contra dance, when she is not playing in the band she is dancing.

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Ellie has been quilting for about 20 years.  She has made bed quilts, but prefers small art quilts.  These can be colorful and creative representations of the artist’s talent.  The charming art quilt pictured here was inspired by a photo of big-leaf maples that Ellie took when hiking in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

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At the University of California, Davis, Ellie earned a degree in design.  It was a broad major, covering interior design, fabric design, ethnic clothing and furniture design.  Students made furniture and wearable art items.  In fabric design they learned about the qualities of fabric, why a particular fabric could be used for the job, and world clothing design.  Ellie wove these strands into her own designs.  (An example:  including swatches of Guatemalan fabric in contemporary fashions.)  Students designed solar houses.  A large community of solar houses in Davis gave them design ideas and inspiration.  They made chairs, beds, and interior designs for houses.  (Much later, after her son, Rowan, was born, Ellie drew house plans for their own home while staying home to care for the baby.)  As Ellie had been sewing since she was quite young, she already had valuable sewing skills that were helpful in her chosen major.

While attending U of CA, Davis, Ellie took three winters off and went to school in the summer.  During the winter, she worked at a ski area in Tahoe. Continue reading

QUILTING FABRIC THROUGH THE AGES

Photographs for the book "Teach Yourself Visually: Quilting" by Sonja Hakala. (Photo by Geoff Hansen)

People have been creating cloth fabric since prehistoric times, and evidence suggests that even prehistoric people living tens of thousands of years ago may have been dying their fabric using coarse techniques. Over the years, advancements in the textile trade have resulted in the creation of beautiful natural and synthetic materials for use in, and these fabrics may be used for many different purposes. From quilting fabric, upholstering furnishings to making clothes, the right fabric can add considerable style as well as texture to an item.

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