“I saw your struggles”

mqs-quilts

This is a story about friendship, hanging in there and blazing your own trail.

In 2002 we met Luella Doss. Luella had a line of fabric with Freespirit Fabrics as we did in the early days of that company. Luella saw us trying to convince shop owners that there could be room in the quilting world for a modern voice. She also saw a lot of people who weren’t open to the possibilities for a Modern Quilt Movement in the quilt world. We had just adopted our daughter Sophie, who still a baby and Luella graciously gave us one of her charming fabric chickens as a gift for her.

We continued to run into Luella at industry events over the years. A few years later Luella told us she was trying to raise money for a quilt museum in Wisconsin.

barn-before

She told us that she had found a farmstead that she hoped to renovate to become a quilt museum. It seemed a massive undertaking and one that would take forever but we made a small donation hoping that her dream would reach fruition at some point.

barn-museum-after

Several years ago we heard that Luella and her colleagues had indeed raised over $1,000, 000 and that the plans would become reality.

sign

In 2012 I ran into Luella in Houston and she approached us about showing our work in a modern show at the museum which is officially The Wisconsin Museum for Quilts and Fiber.We interpreted that to mean that they wanted one of our quilts. Toward the end of 2013 we began to solidify plans and Luella and her co-curator Norma Klimpke asked for 30 quilts! We washed, steamed and rolled the quilts up at the beginning of January and Bill drove them to the museum.

entry-display

Weeks-speaking

On Sunday we attended the Artist Reception where these photos were taken. It was wonderful to have time with Luella. A lot has changed in our lives since we first met 12 years ago. Sophie is now 12 and growing like a weed. Sadly, Luella recently lost her husband but she has continued to work with a wonderful group of people to create an amazing organization dedicated to our craft. The day before our event she had a reception for Nancy Zieman, who recently wrote an autobiography.

Bill, Norma, Luella and me

Bill, Norma, Luella and me

I thanked Luella for including our work in this show and she said, “I saw your struggles.” I knew just what she meant because I saw hers too. It seemed so ambitious all of those years ago to try to build this museum. We both know a few things about fortitude. The exhibit runs through April.

Museum Ready

 

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The steamer has been working overtime today as we ready dozens of quilts for an exhibit that begins next week at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum on Modern Quilts. The exhibit runs through the beginning of April and we’ll be there for the Artists’ Reception in February. The quilts we’ve chosen for the show represent a fraction of the quilts we’ve made over the past 15 years as most of our quilts are in people’s homes and not available for a four-month loan. There will also be some never-before-seen quilts in the show including Fishbone, which is being quilted as I write. Seeing quilts that span the last 15 years has helped us to see how far our work has progressed and we think it will be interesting for viewers to compare the work we did in 1999 to our recent work.

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It would have been unimaginable to use in 1999 that our work would be included at such a large scale in a museum because those were the days of people still on the fence about whether or not it was acceptable to machine quilt. Happily many voices and approaches have come to define Modern Quilting and you’ll see many of them at this show. Let us know what you think at the Artists’ Reception in February.

Honoring Kathreen

Kathreen

It wasn’t hard to raise money for the Ricketson-Shugg Education Fund. Those who knew Kathreen, either through her blog Whipup or through her books were happy to give. Even those who didn’t know her or her work, we found, were happy to give to her children as soon as they heard of the children’s devastating loss. We began collecting money for the fund in mid-November at a studio sale. We’re pleased to share that with donations from our customers added to Modern Quilt Studio’s donation, today we’ll be transferring $800 to the fund for Orlando and Otilija’s care and education. Thanks to those of you who made generous donations to honor this inspiring family.

Calling all Quilters! The Hint! Hint! Page is here!

Modern Quilt Studio gift letter

Attention all Secret Santas, Spouses who scratch their heads when it comes to gift giving, generous friends: It’s time for our annual Hint! Hint! page in which you fill out what you REALLY want to the holidays and hand it to your (sister, daughter-in-law, favorite cousin or Secret Santa) just after you’ve finished that nice piece of pie at Thanksgiving.

Studio Sale this Saturday

 

studio-sale

If you’re in the Chicago area this weekend, drop by for our first studio sale in two years. We especially wanted to schedule one to collect contributions for Kathreen Ricketson’s children. The sister and brother lost both parents tragically last May and we’d like to raise a little money to help them pay for education down the road. In addition to collecting donations, we’ll have fabric, bargain scrap bags, magazines, books and fun odds and ends that might make a nice holiday gift for your quilting friends. Hope to see you Saturday afternoon!

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