Monday, January 13, 2014

My Guatemalan Quilt

  Hundreds of Guatemalan Cortes come through my hands.  I have made curtains, handbags, and the usual like for years. Now it is time to show my clients what they can really do with these 4+ yard amazing compound ikats. How about the amazing world of quilting. Patchwork, whole cloth, all kinds of techniques I am just finding out about.  The weird thing, as  I began this project, everyone I talked to either quilted or has some friend, family member who makes quilts. So here it is..

            My finished quilt.            


The project was not hard at all, a beginners quilt.  I cut 66 - 4 1/2" strips of corte material and 20 2 1/2" strips.  From the wide strips you sew three strips together  and cut those strips into 4 1/2" strips.  Miracle. You now have three squares sewn together. Combine three of those and you have a nine patch block.  The small 2 1/2" strips you sew in fours and make 16 square blocks.  The cutting and sewing went fast, I had so much fun.

Cutting the back pieces

The next step was to cut the large pieces for the back.  I learned from my cousin, the master, that it is always better to have big pieces on your backing.  Too many seams, and you know there is going to be many seams on the front piece, can give the quilting machine some hard times.   Here's a photo of both pieces, front and back.  

The next step is to take all of your pieces to a quilter.  One can quilt by hand, lay everything out and baste by hand all of the components and then quilt using hand stitches. Alternatively, you can join all three pieces and quilt with a home sewing machine, free style.  I want to try this soon.  The most common way to quilt is a quilting machine, the mother of all sewing machines. I am so glad I did this, the quilt being so large.  I loved this lady I met, she did a fantastic job, amazing.  If you have never seen one, it is mind blowing.                                                                                         

She puts the three pieces, top, batting, and bottom on separate rollers.  Then, following a pattern line or freestyle, she stitches away.  About 6-8 hours of stitching for a double size quilt. This takes some muscles.

Takes up an entire room. My quilt came out so tight and very warm.  Love it!

I am not finished with this yet!  Here is my next project, a 20x20 pillow. 

I sewed leftover pieces together sort of haphazard. Things are not straight, yet I am liking it. Going to try that machine quilting thing. 
All of this left me with the feeling to do more. After the next Warrenton, I am digging back into the sewing room.  Maybe quilting kits for all of my clients.  What do you think? 


Friday, January 10, 2014

Just checking in

It has been a long time since I have posted. Sorry about that folks. I believe the dog, Miss Ziva, el monstro for short, has taken all of my time. Alas, I have been working. I did make a trip to San Cristobal for the first time since 1988! Wow, has that place taken a big change. Since then, tourist have found the place in a big way. I was told in 1992, during the civil war, tourist started coming to support the local indigenous groups. Now, there are two walking streets with stores and restaurants galore.  San Cristobal is a very cold place, all year around you are wearing coats and building fires at night. The surrounding mountains are breathtaking. There are so many hotels it is crazy, there used to be two. I stayed at the best hostel, cheap rooms, breakfast included, and kitchen you can use if that is your style. Sorry, can't find the photos. 
Here are some photos of a Guadalupe procession.  Dancers and religious folk.

Isn't  he  cute. Jaguar dancer in the procession.

These guys marched down the street with fireworks being set off in front of them.  Just like in Guatemala. San Cris is a big mixture of Guatemala and Mexico. I would move there tomorrow fs it were not for the cold and wet weather.  Wee bit miserable, I remember passing there every 3 months back in the old days. Always wanting to do nothing but sit by the fireplace.
I was so much better this trip. There was so much to do and to buy!  Thanks to my friend Rosina who has been there for years. She started all of those cotton blouses with the embroidery. There is a reason they look so much like Afghanistan  peasant wear, she started the first ones 20+ years ago. Notice the sleeve construction, not Mexican at all, but very European. Then, as time passed a few slight changes, few more gringas gave some ideas for business. Yes folks, those Mexican blouses are not traditional Mexican wear. The huipil construction is. I got some of those, too.

Caught these pilgrims in this beautiful church on the main square.  Very peaceful place.

I spent most of my hours in the market. Here is another church which resides there.  It has a double headed Eagle on the church front,  just like in so many Guatemalan weaving.  Back in 1988, I remember almost no crafts to buy.  A few women walked around with one style of textile. Hammocks and woven market bags were just about it. Now, quite a different story, look at all those puestos!  Not as big as Chichi, still a maze to get through. I bought tons of beautiful blouses, both the European and huipil style with embroidery. Found leather handbags, nice thick leather like the ones I used want to own in the 70's.  From my research, these always came from this region.  I never had seen them in all of my trips to San Cris back then. Maybe they were from the lower lands.
Off to Taxco in two weeks. Silver! oh, how I love to buy silver.