Last week I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting one of my talks, this one on The History of Fabric, to the Apple Valley Needle Threaders Quilt Guild in Berryville, Virginia. It’s the first time I’ve been out on the speaking circuit since my cancer last year and it was a delight to present to this active and engaged group.
I’d also planned a Pop-Up fabric shop* for the event, and it did happen, though a little haphazardly.
Because I went to Sperryville instead of Berryville I was running a bit late. Fortunately that didn’t take me too far out of my way but it did mean I didn’t have the time to set up the Pop-Up in my fun and twee way.
In the end it didn’t matter as fabric addicts can overlook small hiccups if there’s a unique piece on the other end of of it. And there were plenty!
Based on my sales that day it’s clear that historic document pieces, Mid-Century Modern, Chinoiseries, polka dots, and large scale florals are a hit right now with quilters for their quilts or other projects. Folks also liked my handmade bird ornaments and frog stuffed animals!
Makers Gonna Make
I might have been the real lucky one, though because I made it in time for the Show & Tell portion of their program and was so wowed, truly impressed!
Clearly there must have been a “thing” related to a “big ass bag” that many had shown. Perhaps it was a recent group project — I didn’t ever find out. But I want one! These huge handmade fabric bags have two dowels running along the top that slip through looped fabric pieces at the top of the bag.
The bag itself has a flat, rectangular bottom that looked about 14″ wide by about 36″ long. The bag seemed about 24″ high. I don’t know if I’m getting the dimensions right but the scale allowed a good slice of fabric (or pieced fabric) to be shown off — beautiful! Some were lined with a contrasting fabric and one quilter had added outside pockets. The bags were designed to accommodate carrying a quilt or a quilt-in-progress. Seems like it would also be good for hauling demonstration pieces for a talk or sections of a Pop-Up!
Other members showed a few other kinds of quilts. There were two “orphan quilts” — quilts made from abandoned projects and unneeded odds-and-ends leftover from other projects. Kristin Westfall, the maker, put them together beautifully!
Tom, the lone male quilter there that day, showed several of his Christian-inspired quilts, some of which he paired with appliquéd scripture. Also gorgeous (and apparently big sellers on his Etsy shop).
Most of my sewing these days is small projects like family gifts or a quick garment fix. I’m desperately trying to get some curtains made for my dining room but I never seem to sit down to do it. And I set a goal this year to make some of my clothes — we’ll see if that happens.
But what I can say is that out there in America there are so many talented quilters who do it for profit sometimes, for gifts other times, for pure joy all the time. The creativity and hard work, seriously, the massive labor time they put into it, is mind boggling. And impressive.
Shows, Talks, Events
To honor their unique contribution to American crafts I highly recommend that you take some time this year, and every year, to attend at least one quilt show. See what these (mostly) women make by hand, by machine, with a variety of techniques and methods, and with fabrics new and (hopefully) old (since vintage ones are more environmentally-friendly).
If you’re interested in having me as a guest speaker for your fiber- or fabric-oriented club or organization, local museum or event, please visit my contact page to request a spec sheet. Typically I like to do this History Fabric talk coupled with an overview of popular printed textile styles in the Western world from the 18th century to today along with why I choose vintage fabrics over new. I’d love to come if I’m able!
Meantime, keep sewing and discovering new (old) fabric finds!
— Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia Vintage Fabrics
*My next Pop-Up Vintage Fabric Shop is at the Frontier Culture Museum’s Fiber Festival on April 1 (no joke), 2023! See ya there!