December 22, 2010

Quilting...more than stitches

We are rapidly approaching the Stitches in Bloom Quilt Show and the first lecture in the 2011 Garden University series. Terry Grant will be speaking about her fusion techniques...

As we delve into the quilting world, it becomes obvious that quilting history is a fascinating subject. There are many myths regarding the history of quilting in America...Judy Anne Breneman of states "Myths about quilt history are a part of our culture and many have romantic appeal. We can enjoy the myths but need to remember they are tales sometimes passed through generations." Her site gives a wonderfully full history of quilting in America. She talks about the various myths, including quilting being a common task in a woman's life in Colonial America (find the answer HERE).

Fusing is often thought to be a new method of quilting, but it seems that paste was used previously..."It appears that paste was sometimes used to adhere the motif fabric to the background before appliqueing. Quilt historian, Kimberly Wulfert shares the following information on pasting. "In more than one source I have read paste was used in the early 1800s by women making cut-out-chintz quilts. A later reference is in 'Chintz Quilts, Unfaded Glory.' Bullard and Shiell quote from the 1882 Dictionary of Needlework to describe how to make broderie perse quilts and paste is mentioned. The fabric is stretched on a frame before the fabrics are pasted down and allowed to dry. Then remove it from the frame to stitch the edges down. There's no mention of what the paste is made of." Read the full article HERE.

Did you know that fabric scraps were not necessarily a measure of frugality? "Although some quilters used scraps from clothing in their quilts others bought fabric specifically for the quilts they made. Other times quilts were made with a combination of both. The frugality theory also implies that quilt making was a necessary drudgery. Instead we find that most women enjoyed the creativity involved in making a quilt whether with new fabric or scraps. Although quick and simple quilts were made for everyday use many quilts were far too intricate in the piecing and quilting to have been made just for necessity."

We oohh and ahh over hand-stitched quilts now, admiring the detail of the stitches and the effort of the quilter, but piecing and quilting by hand has not always been prized over using a sewing machine.

"When the sewing machine became available the possession of one was quite a status symbol. Piecing was often done by sewing machine and a few women even machine stitched their quilting or appliqué. Considering how much harder it must have been to do this compared to using modern sewing machines it certainly wasn't out of laziness but because of a desire to use the sewing machine. These visible stitches advertised that the quilter was a proud owner of a sewing machine. Sewing the binding by machine was another way to show off machine stitching.

During the Colonial Revival around the turn of the last century hand quilting was valued more but this was a part of a movement toward going back to fine handcrafts. During the earlier years when the sewing machine was first available we do not find that most people considered hand piecing and quilting to be the superior method."

Find more information about these myths and more at

Don't forget to join us for the Stitches in Bloom Quilt Show and Terry Grant's lecture (January 29th, 11 a.m. Education Center). For more information call 503-874-8100.

November 22, 2010

2011 Garden University Series

Welcome to the Garden University blog! We will be posting information about upcoming Garden University events, bios on GU speakers, and helpful hints from our experts. Garden University is a program of The Oregon Garden. Events are open to the public. Garden members receive free admission to lectures as a benefit of their membership (workshops may have additional fees).

We have a great series lined up for 2011 - see our listing below. Additional information will be coming about each individual event - complete description, author bio and other pertinent info, so check back often. Admission to each lecture is $15 for non-member (includes Garden admission); free for Garden members unless otherwise noted.

2011 Garden University

January 29th - "Quilt Fusion: Unique Techniques" with Terry Grant
11 a.m., Education Center
February 26th - "Madagascar:The Real Treasure Island" with Paul Freed
1 p.m., Education Center
Book signing to follow: Of Golden Toads and Serpent's Roads

March 26th - "Annuals for an Indoor/Outdoor Show" with Ellen Zachos
Workshop 10 a.m., J. Frank Schmidt Jr. Pavilion
*$35 non-member; $30 Garden member
Must pre-register, limited number of spots

March 26th - "Professional Tips for Impressive Containers" with Ellen Zachos
Lecture 1 p.m., OSU Room, Pavilion
Book signing to follow: Down & Dirty: 43 Fun & Funky First Time Projects &
Activities to Get You Gardening

April 9th - "Twigs & Berris: A Pruning Demonstration" with Dawn Hummel
1 p.m., OSU Room, Pavilion
Tour of Silverton Market Garden to follow

May 21st - "Spicing Up Your Garden With Environmentally Friendly Design Ideas"
with Ciscoe Morris
2 p.m., Education Center
Book signing to follow: Ask Ciscoe: Oh La La! Your Gardening Questions

June 11th - "Small Trees for Small Spaces" with David Leckey and Anne Marsh
1 p.m. Education Center
Tour of the Conifer Garden to follow

June 25th - "Sharing Your Garden With Your Best Animal Friend" with Anne Taylor and
Melinda Frey
1 p.m., OSU Room, Pavilion
Tour of the Pet Friendly Garden to follow

August 20th - "Charms and Challenges of Bible Plant Research"
with Lytton John Musselman
1 p.m., Education Center
Book signing to follow: Figs, Dates, Laurel and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible
and the Quran
Also to follow: Plants of the Bible tour of the Garden

September 10th - "Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen" with
Chef Eric Nelson of Wellspring's Vitality
1 p.m., Founder's Square
Attendees will get to sample the dishes created by Chef Eric

November 1st - "Dramatic Vignettes for Your Garden in Winter" with Carol Lindsay
6 p.m., Education Center