Sunday, October 25, 2009


In response to a very good question from a follower--what is an illumination?
Discharge style indigo printing begins with a length of cloth dyed indigo. The pattern is then 'discharged out' by printing on the dyed goods with a discharging agent, usually an oxalic acid paste. The result is a white pattern on a blue background. Indigos printed in the discharge style were seen in England as early as 1805. By mid century, this technique was commonly used in Europe and America.

Note the wonderful picotage detail on this print.

An illuminated print has a bright chrome yellow or orange element usually on a dark background. Think of the yellow as school bus yellow and the orange as a good aged cheddar.

Here everyother pin dot is white--bleached out in the discharge style. A discharge paste containing lead chromate will bleach out the pin dot circle and then drop in the chrome coloration for the illumination. Registration on illumination is always perfect--the chrome coloration being part of the 'bleaching' paste.

The underside of both indigo prints.

You can click on any of these image for a larger picture.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quilts on the Lawn + upcoming lecture in MN

Quilts on the Lawn is Bozeman's annual community quilt show held the fourth Saturday in August every year at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture in Bozeman, MT.
August 21, 2010--save the date!

We hung over 430 quilts this year for this one day event with antiques inside in the ballroom.

This lovely large block red/green applique was one of those hung inside. When the owner brought to my store for an 'interview', I took a moment for an overview--nice blocks, classic colors.

The workmanship and the condition were very good.

I loved the sharp chrome orange at the center of each applique block.

I then turned my attention to the border. The grapevine fabric seemed a little coarser than the other fabrics and a bit taupey in color. I was wondering if it had been home-dyed and the color had changed. I was examining the edges of the vine hoping for a missing stitch or two and a place where I could see underneath the vine. I was thinking that area of the fabric would be a slightly different color. When suddenly the grapes caught my eye. They were the underside of an indigo pin dot print--very cool.

The next cluster turned out to be the underside of an indigo circle print. Nice touch.

Then I saw the cluster near the corner and started to levitate! These grapes were not only the underside of an Indigo pin dot and circle print but also an Illuminated Indigo pin dot! WOW--what artistry.

I will be lecturing in MN on Nov 5th and Nov 7th. The Saturday lecture topic is INDIGOS. I will end the lecture with this story and these pictures. I hope to see you there.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Greek Key

Great printed Greek Key design given to me by a friend. Madder browns and red with a gold highlight from early 19th Century.

A Greek Key is a regular repeat of interlocking right angles and vertical lines usually as a border treatment in art, architecture and textiles. It was a common decorative motif in Greek and Roman art and architecture and was often used in American Neoclassical (beginning in the mid 18th century) design--furniture, architecture and fabrics. American Greek Revival architecture and decorative arts-1800-1855.

One of the quilts in the DAR display last fall at the Houston Quilt Market/Festival displayed just such a fabric in a border. It was wonderful!

My husband Ron, a 36 month pancreatic cancer survivor, just turned 65!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Highline

Last weekend, Ron and I traveled up to the Highline ( 88 miles from Malta to Havre, originally named for the railroad that traveled across northern Montana). It was a beautiful drive. I had been invited to speak at the Triangles Squares Quilt Guild. One hundred and fifty people attended from northern Montana and southern Alberta Guilds. I am the one with the white gloves! The ladies behind me are crowded around one of the antique fabric sample books I brought with me for my lecture "Concept to Cloth, How to Design a Reproduction Fabric Line".

Monday, October 5, 2009

Montana morning

It was too quiet when I awoke this morning at 5 am. A peak outside revealed deciduous shrubs and trees laden with fresh snow! A warm sweatshirt ( the cozy Vermont Quilt Festival one), wool socks and gloves, my hooded rain jacket and a broom. I dashed outside to save the plants.

By noon we had over 9" of the white stuff. Last week there were two days in the low 80s. Such is the weather in the northern Rockies.