I had some fascinating responses to last week’s post about quilts in other countries. There was one in particular I want to share – with pictures, but before I do, I have a few items to share related to the post I did about quilting and Star Wars a few weeks ago (click here to read that post).
In that post I shared pictures of my grandson Willy with the “Flillow” I made him from Star Wars fleece. I made his sister a “flillow” too and, since I didn’t want her to feel left out, I asked Hanna to take a selfie with hers. She wears glasses and so do all the animals on the fleece in her flillow.
Hanna’s favorite craft is to make purses, etc. from decorative duct tape. Here’s the wallet she made for me. I use it to keep my coupons organized in my purse. It even has a Velcro™ closure. The theme of the tape seemed appropriate to include here 🙂 .
and then I had the opportunity to take a picture of a Star Wars top Karen had just finished for her grandson in my Open Lab this week.
All of the large blocks are Star Wars fabrics, and she chose a setting pattern with colorful pinwheels – what fun! Great job Karen!
Now for the “quilting in other countries” response:
Iris is a very talented quilter whom I’ve met a number of times. I knew she wasn’t a native Wisconsinite by her accent, but was pleasantly surprised when she sent me this message (it’s a bit long, but worth the read):
“I was born in Estonia and moved here after I met my wonderful husband many, many moons ago.
Here is the answer about quilts and Estonia: Estonia is rich in fabric and fiber arts (as I am sure you experienced on your trip) and every woman knows how to knit a sock or stitch a flower. We grew up with – I assume you would describe as – frontier spirit meaning you didn’t go to store to buy stuff but made them yourself. My grandma use to sew all her own dresses, blankets and knit for the whole village. However, there is not an exact tradition of quilting in Estonia (as known in America … as in get fabric – cut apart – sew back together), BUT it is coming and I have even seen some quilt (as we understand in America) shows (online pictures) and know people who practice it.
The reason for not having quilting (as known here in American) tradition is simple. Fabric was expensive and it was used only for things that you really needed like clothing etc. and quilts (except whole cloth or wool quilt) with all the cutting was considered wasteful especially when you needed to dress your whole family on a small salary and required sewing machine that many could not afford. You can however find wool quilts with stitches that didn’t require sewing machine necessarily and used wool, which was way cheaper or even free due to everyone (at least who lived outside city) raising sheep. Hence you have amazing stitched blankets with most beautiful motifs and flowers. They do look like quilts (some are even assembled from blocks) but are not traditional quilts (as we think of quilts here). they are stitched and in some ways they are way more beautiful than quilts here can ever be as with thread/yarn you can paint way more deeper colors for the perfect flowers you are stitching (does that make sense?) vs fabric appliqué where you are stuck with whatever fabric you.
In Estonia we didn’t learn to knit or sew as in America where you have weird short version of text telling you what to do and only if you speak the “knitting/crochet/etc language” can you translate what it means. In Estonia we learned by charts for everything with universal understanding of what it means (see pic called knitting).
Your answer was wonderful as there is no such thing as traditional quilt blocks (like log cabin) in Estonian quilting (though they are coming, learnt and taught now) and I am not surprised that your friend didn’t find any shops as most shops are dedicated to fiber arts rather than quilting. Hence the only way to really do “Estonian way quilts” would be to copy/interpret flower patterns to fabric appliqué or knitting patterns into pieced quilts (as you suggested). I included a link to a book that is full of such patterns called MUHU TIKAND and can be ordered online (see below) or if you have access to such older magazines like EESTI NAINE (Estonian woman) which always carried such patterns.
A really good resource is also Debroah Kendall (hope I spelled her name right) who has lot of tapestry quilts where one can get ideas for how to quilt flowers. See below link to one of her books.
anyway, hope it helps or gives ideas.”
I have seen some of Iris’ original designs so, when I wrote to thank her for her response and ask permission to share her email, I also asked if I could share pictures of her quilts. She was very gracious – and I know you’ll be impressed. The first one is based on Estonian embroidered designs.
This one has a similar feel and coloration.
I love the way she mixes piecing and appliqué.
And her delightful sense of humor is evident in these last two entitled the Cowboy
and Will You Marry Me:
Thank you Iris, for adding great insight into my post and for sharing your wonderful work!