Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Making Of A Museum Quilt

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is having their grand opening this weekend!  The Bristol VA/TN EGA that I belong to designed and stitched a quilt that now hangs in the museum!  I've shown you some of the bits of that quilt and I will recap here the process of creating this piece.

I volunteered to be on the planning committee when they wanted to know if anyone could design an alphabet that was similar to the letters in the Stoney Creek Pattern:  Stitching to the Music (we got permission to use this design in the quilt).
I designed the remainder of the letters needed while Marlene designed the backgrounds for the letters and turned the vertical "Music" design into a horizontal one.  Letters were handed out to EGA member volunteers to stitch . . . I stitched this "R".

 We had cross-stitchers and quilters on our committee and soon discovered that they think and see the "whole picture" differently.  Nita was the driving force of the vision for the quilt and presented a picture of a tree motif she thought would look good as the centerpiece of the quilt.  We picked a number of neutral fabrics to become the pieced background and decided on the placement of the stitched letters. We discussed how we needed roots on the tree to represent the "Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion".  This reunion is an annual music festival held in September, celebrating Bristol's musical heritage and featuring country, gospel, bluegrass, and roots music.

I took the tree idea and drew it half the size we needed on taped together pieces of paper.  We had it enlarged and passed this pattern on to Sue to applique the chosen fabrics on to the neutral background.

We then decided that we needed a "frame" of cross-stitched names of all the participants in the "1927 Bristol Sessions" .  (The Bristol sessions were considered the "Big Bang" of modern country music.  They were held in 1927 in Bristol, TN by Victor Talking Machine Company produced by Ralph Peer.)  I charted all the names of the participants of these sessions and strips of the pinkish linen were handed out to volunteers to backstitch.

The next idea Nita had was to add another boarder with the words and music to "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" (often sung by the Carter Family).  We received permission to use this as well.  I adapted and charted an alphabet design I liked to the music that Marlene charted and we handed out sections of that to volunteers to stitch.  This  was one of the two sections that I stitched.
Now for the quilters to really get involved, we asked for volunteers to piece together squares representing popular quilt patterns from 1927 to the present researched and chosen by Joneen.  Fabrics were chosen to pick up the colors in the letter backgrounds and several "piecing parties" were scheduled.

It seemed the quilt was growing by leaps and bounds and we were getting a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it!

We turned the quilt over to an amazing machine quilter . . . not a long arm machine, but a regular sewing machine!  Ann did a FABULOUS job stippling the background, a "bark" stitch on the tree, mirroring the musical staff, outlining the letters and individualizing each quilt block!  At the EGA "stitch-in" we all gathered-round, hand stitched the binding on and admired our work!

On July 14th the EGA was invited to the museum for the dedication of the quilt and a preview of the museum (very impressive museum).

We had a nice reception!  Nita explained our designing process and we had a photo shoot in the grand stairwell of the museum . . . we were on the local news . . . what a thrill to see our efforts come together so beautifully!
AND . . . my name is in the museum!!!!!!!  There is a plaque at the top of the stairs explaining the process of creating this quilt and my name is included on the plaque . . . WOW am I impressed with myself (he, he)!

It was great fun creating this piece with so many talented women who worked so well together!  I hope you get a chance to visit this museum if you're in the area and learn about our musical heritage.

Have a wonderful stitching day!  ~*

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blackbird SAL

How many of you have stitched or are working on the Blackbird Designs SAL (it was a freebie on Alma's Blog May 4th)?  It started out quickly for me and then those darn eyelet stitches started giving me fits! (I see that Alma did those letters in Smyrna Cross instead . . . why didn't I think of that?)  I wound up ripping two different letters out.  They're not easy to frog!  How did they get so out of whack?  Are my eyes going . . . was I too tired . . . distracted?  Now . . . the border!  Thought that would be a breeze . . . have taken out the left side twice now and I still see a mistake . . . one more time!  If I ever get this completed I plan on making it a pillow.  I chose my colors based on this Blackbird Designs fabric "Harvest Home".  I see now that I should have also picked up the blue . . . too late.  Wish me luck!
In between ripping out stitches on this piece, I've finished stitching one piece for the St. Charles Market and have started another.  I hope to have 3 new designs for the mid-August Market . . . time is passing a little too quickly for me . . . better hurry!

The last (and my first) Market was in February in Nashville.  It's actually held in Franklin just outside of Nashville.  Franklin is a really cute town and we had dinner there one night during Market but, didn't get a chance to go into Nashville.  So, the hubs and I spent an extended July 4th weekend there.

Country music fan that I am, I really enjoyed it!  "Honky Tonk Highway" on Lower Broadway was blocked off for the 4th celebration complete with an outdoor stage . . . music, kids activities and a (late starting) fireworks show.  Seems every bar/restaurant in this several block area had a different live band playing and with the outdoor stage . . . sensory overload!

We stayed right in downtown and were walking distance to most things.  We visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, Country Music Walk of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Parthenon Replica (yes, they have a full scale replica that's an art museum with their interpretation of what the Athena Parthenos statue must have looked like . . . it's 42 feet high!) and the Grand Ole Opry (what a great show!).  There's an outlet mall across the street from the Opry . . . we did our fair share of walking and shopping!
 The skyline of Nashville.
 The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
 The Johnny Cash Museum . . . never a fan of Johnny Cash, but this was very interesting.
 Ate here one night . . . I had a coupon!
 Having seen the actual Parthenon in Greece, this was fun to see.
 This thing is HUGE!
 The show was very good . . . Mel Tillis, Danny Gokey, Connie Smith, 
Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill to name a few who performed.

Back to work . . .  ~*