Friday, May 7, 2021

Mother Earth and Her Children--Quilting in Children's Literature

 Sometimes a quilt sparks a story, and sometimes a story sparks a quilt. The latter is the case with the book I feature today.




Von Olfers, Sibylle. Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale. Illustrated by Sieglinde  Schoen Smith. Translated from the original German [Etwas von den Wurzelkindern, 1906] by Jack  Zipes. Breckling, 2007.    ISBN: 978-1-933308-18-0


Cover of the German edition


The illustrator of this book was born in Germany during the Second World War. Her older sister owned the book  Etwas von der Wurzelkindern (Something About the Root Children), and Smith loved the story of the children exploring the wonders of nature and the seasons. Later in her life, now an American and a quilter, she rediscovered the book and wondered if its illustrations could be rendered in fabric and thread. Using applique and embroidery, she gave it a try.

 

Illustration from German edition


Illustration from Smith's edition

As you can see, she succeeded!

 

The book includes an Author's Note with the complete story behind the quilt. Also included is an essay about the author of the tale, Sibylle von Offers, and her writing by the translator, Jack Zipes. You can find the text and illustrations of the German edition HERE.


Quilt with Best of Show Award

The quilt won Best of Show at the Houston Quilt Festival in 2006. Other books followed: Mother Earth's ABC: A Quilted Alphabet and Story Book and two books of applique inspired by Mother Earth and her Children. I have also seen jigsaw puzzles, posters, and coloring books related to the quilt.

 

If you would like to see the book and hear it being read aloud, click HERE.


Happy quilting! 😺

 

A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them




Saturday, May 1, 2021

Faith Ringgold--Quilting in Children's Literature

 The books I'm highlighting today use quilts as illustration for stories and inspiration for page layouts.

 

Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach. Dragonfly, 1991.

Ringgold, Faith. Cassie's Word Quilt. Dragonfly, 2002.

 

 

Tar Beach and Cassie's Word Quilt are but two of Faith Ringgold's contributions to children's literature. She won the Caldecott Honor Award and the Coretta Scott King award for her story quilt illustrations in Tar Beach. Her narrative quilts are painted, pieced, and quilted.

 

Ringgold, Faith. Tar Beach 2. 1990. Quilt.

 

Tar Beach tells the story of Cassie and her flight of imagination and wonder as she looks up into the night sky from the roof of an apartment house. The painted illustrations in the book are based upon the story quilt and the page borders are reproductions of the actual quilt borders.



Ringgold, Faith. Cassie's Word Quilt. Title Page.


In Cassie's Word Quilt, we take what the publisher calls a "patchwork tour" of Cassie's home and neighborhood. Some of the pages are bordered with photographs of fabric borders much like those in Tar Beach. The layout of the book features both full-page paintings, and small word and painting squares, and the spreads are reminiscent of a quilt layout.


Ringgold, Faith. Cassie's Word Quilt.

Ringgold, Faith. Cassie's Word Quilt.

Ringgold has published several children's books. You can learn more about her and her art HERE.

If you would like to hear Ringgold read Tar Beach, a video can be found HERE.

 

Happy Quilting! 😺

 

A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them

 









Friday, April 23, 2021

Leaders and Enders for Donation Quilts

 I'm chain piecing miles and miles of  Leader and Ender (L & E) blocks for donation quilts.



For the past few years, I've been using 3.5" squares for L & E. Each year, I piece them together to make simple patchwork quilts for donation.




Because these are amenable to straight-line quilting, I am able to use the white-on-white (or natural) fabrics that have the thicker paint on them. These tend to shred my thread with FMQ, but quilting with my walking foot works well. Each year, I gather the blocks and assemble the quilts--it's fun to see the different fabrics that I have worked with during the past year.


I have found that working with consistent squares as L & Es is less confusing for me than trying to use parts for a more complicated quilt. The first couple of years that I did this, I used two-rail fence blocks (even or uneven rails), but the stairstep quilting I usually did with those was quite tedious (stitch, turn 90 degrees, stitch, turn 90 degrees, etc.).





I love using L & E--in fact, I feel guilty now when I use my machine's thread cutter because I feel like I should have another block to go under the needle! I also like the idea that I am creating donations for those in need every time I sit down to sew.


Happy Quilting! 😸




Monday, April 19, 2021

A Trip to the Islands--Quilting in Children's Literature

The two children's books I'd like to highlight today are both set in the Hawai'ian Islands: Luka's Quilt by Georgia Guback and The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story by Anthony D. Fredericks


Luka's Quilt is a story about a girl and her grandmother making a flower garden quilt together. Tutu (grandmother) makes a traditional Hawai'ian quilt with only two colors, and Luka is disappointed that the quilt doesn't have the many colors of her own flower garden. In the end, Luka and Tutu find a way to bring together tradition and innovation in a lovely compromise.

This book explores the idea of tradition and its evolution. The lovely illustrations are cut-paper collage with many details to enjoy.

If you would like to hear the book read, there is a YouTube video HERE


Guback, Georgia. Luka's Quilt. Greenwillow, 1994.

ISBN:  978-0688121549


 

 


 

The Tsunami Quilt:Grandfather's Story is also set in Hawai'i. It explores the relationship between a boy and his grandfather while addressing a historical event as well. After his beloved grandfather's death, Young Kimo discovers the reason for his grandfather's yearly pilgrimage to place a lei on a stone monument. 

The quilt in this book is one of remembrance of the 01 April 1946 tsunami at Laupāhoehoe Point. The quilt is housed in the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawai'i. The squares around the border of the quilt contain the names of 24 students who lost their lives. Kimo finds a deeper understanding of his grandfather through this quilt.



The illustrations, painted in lovely, soft colors by Tammy Yee, are both of the present-day Kimo's story as well as the time of the devastating tsunami.



This book highlights the purpose of a quilt as a lasting memorial. The book also includes an Author's Note with more information about this historical event.

Fredericks, Anthony D. The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story. Illustrated by Tammy Yee. Thomson,     Gale: 2007.

ISBN: 978-1585363131

 

These books show two very different uses of a quilt in children's literature. In Luka's Quilt, the quilt is central to the telling of the story. In The Tsunami Quilt, the quilt is used as a vehicle for the author to inform the readers about a historical event, and it shows the quilt as a reminder, a memorial, of people affected by that event.


Thanks for reading! 📕

 

 A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.


NOTE: I found my books used from BetterWorldBooks.com. I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them!





 

 

 




Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Quilting in Children's Literature

For many years, I studied and taught Children's Literature. The importance of this literature is many times undervalued--"They are just kid's books." The truth is that the stories we tell our children are some of the most important stories in the world. We try to prepare children for what is ahead--both in the world they will inhabit and in themselves. We share the most important life lessons with them as we help them grow and develop.

Children's Literature ranges from picture books for the youngest readers, to chapter books for middle readers, to full-length novels for more advanced readers. Most definitions give a range of birth to adolescence for Children's Literature, with YA (Young Adult) Literature to follow as the readers mature.

I recently have become interested in the depictions of quilts and quiltmakers in Children's Literature. I have amassed a collection of books that I would like to share. I'm planning to feature them one (or two) at a time on my blog. I will tag them with the Children's Literature label, so they will be easy to find. You can find the list of labels on the right-hand pane of the blog. 

The first books I would like to address are from an older post I wrote. I would like to start with them, since they were my impetus to begin this project. They are also two of my very favorites. I often give copies of them as baby shower gifts (usually with a baby quilt I made). 👶

 Here is the link to the post. 

 

It is never too early to read to children--and it is never too late! 

Happy Quilting.😸

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Grassy Creek [AKA October Picnic] is Complete!

 Every year, I enjoy creating a version of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. This year, her quilt was called Grassy Creek.

Grassy Creek [AKA October Picnic]  (98" x 98")

I used Bonnie's colors of red, orange, gold, and grey; however, I substituted blue for her green. I call this October Picnic because this was my color inspiration photo and the palette I created.


The quilt went together well, thanks to Bonnie's excellent writing of instructions. You can see some of the steps I took by clicking on the "Grassy Creek" label on the right pane of this blog.


I added a few bits of color to the grey string border to echo the colors in the quilt.

Grassy Creek [AKA October Picnic] (border detail)

I sent the top and backing to my friend, Leah, who then worked her quilting magic! I am thankful for her fine work.

I tried to capture the quilting, but it is hard to see. I altered the red backing color a bit as I manipulated shadows and highlights of the photo.


I used a grey striped binding to finish the quilt.

Grassy Creek [AKA October Picnic] (backing and binding detail)

And, of course, I had to throw in a Waldo. 😊

Waldo sighting!

I used many fun fabrics in this one--there is a lot to look at.

Some Dalmatians

 

Frogs and Snowpeople

 This quilt is heavy! A large quilt, small pieces, and string blocks make for a hefty project (another reason I was so happy that Leah quilted this--I dreaded trying to wrestle it through my DSM!). 😉


All in all, I am very happy with the outcome of this mystery quilt. Thanks for the fun, Bonnie, and I look forward to this year's mystery.

Grassy Creek [AKA October Picnic

Happy National Quilting Day! 😸



 

 

















Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Unity is Finished!

 It has been nearly a year since I started this quilt, but it is done!

Unity 75" x 85"

Unity (backing and binding detail)

I stalled when I got to the last round. The quilt was the size I wanted it, but I debated adding Bonnie's last round or a border of my own design. In the end, I decided not to add more. The quilt felt complete with the design in the final round. This idea is something I stress with my writing students: Make your essay feel finished rather than that your writing just stopped. The quilt felt finished.

Happy Quilting! 😸