Saturday, July 26, 2014

Personal Quilt HIstory

Personal Quilt History of Patricia L. Cummings


Yankee Magazine is one of my favorite magazines for a number of reasons. I love their column "Mary's Farm," I have gleaned some pretty terrific recipes from that source over the years, such as Topinambour Soup made with Jerusalem Artichokes of which we grow many, as well as Tres Leches cake, a super delicious cake! I have enjoyed their landmark stories such as an account of a murder at the Isles of Shoals, and the fact that the magazine is PURE New England from maple syrup to maple leaves and a few cows in between.

With that unpaid advertisement for the magazine, I shall throw in one more: in the advertisement section, I recently discovered "The Other Guy Recording & Sound" business, . The ad was brief and I responded right away. I have a VHS tape recording of the very first video my oral presentation "History of Quilts." The talk was given to the Embroiderers' Guild of America, our local Northern New England Chapter on 8-14-1991, yes, almost 23 years ago now! Business owner, Alex Kiddie, gave my request to duplicate the tape his undivided attention, converting it to a DVD disc. I received a copy in the return mail. What fun! He can be reached at (603) 905-9123 and stands ready to help with any of your duplicating needs.

It was quite fun to revisit the day. I gave the talk undaunted by painters rattling their ladders and walking through a hall at the left side of the room and airplanes overhead. It is somewhat unsettling but pleasing at the same time that the camera caught folks I have not seen in a long time because they have either died or are in nursing homes. In fact, that is the case of most of the people who attended that meeting, sobering, indeed.

Sometimes I am not sure which I love more: quilting or folk music!

What comes through loud and clear is that my skills as a professional speaker have increased exponentially, yet, the presentation was heartfelt and representational of all of the information I knew at that time. I am out of grade school now, in regard to quilt history information, and know so much more! This was a fun look back to a special day. In the meantime, I have presented many more talks about this beloved subject, the last major effort for me being to give a one-time presentation of Civil War quilts that involved a major research project for me from 2010-2011, that talk also being given in August (2011).

I have made hundreds of quilts of every size and shape imaginable. My favorite methods are hand appliqué, hand quilting, Crazy Quilts (Victorian style), and miniature quilts. In the video, quilts are shown that I no longer own. The beginnings of a Country Bride quilt, now given to a cousin, can be seen, as well as a "Kissing Geese" tree skirt I gave to my (late) brother. There are garments that no longer "fit" me, one of which I gave away. The fact that certain items have been passed along is not unlike the practice of others, I believe.

"Country Bride Quilt" made in 1991 by Patricia Cummings, designed by
Rachel Pellman who wrote a book of instructions for this quilt

To the talk, I had brought the cover of the Yankee Magazine which said, "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without." I am still a subscriber to both the magazine and the practice of that saying.

I want to encourage others who would like to create a quilting business of some kind. "Rome wasn't built in a day." Take small steps, always with an eye to expanding your knowledge. Share that knowledge wherever and whenever you can. Let others know that you thoroughly enjoy being a quilter and how much quilting means to you. Even non-quilters will "catch" your enthusiasm. Personally, I am grateful to those businesses that support what I do. So saying, I am thinking of the DVD now in my possession. As an added service, Kiddie keeps copies of tapes he re-creates. I am well-pleased.

The video catches a glimpse of a much younger me with straight brown hair (now it is long and gray). Yes, I have earned the gray color. Meantime, I've written a song about quilting, poems about quilting, and attended as many quilt shows, shops, guilds, and museum exhibitions as is reasonable in one's lifetime. My writings have been published in Japan, Canada, and Australia (etc.), and my last book, Sweetheart & Mother Pillows has been distributed all over the world. Yet, I still LOVE it all! Just thought I'd share my happiness with you!

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