This quilt is about harmonies, collaborations, and the incredible things that can happen when talented women work together and learn from one another.
I love folk, I love bluegrass, I love Americana. Any way you describe it, I love it. Back when I played my viola seriously, I always wished I was a fiddle player and took fiddle lessons at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. Classical music was my focus, but I secretly practiced and dreamed of fiddle tunes. I first heard Nickel Creek in high school and that band introduced me to dozens of other Americana musicians whom I adore. So when Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek), Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O'Donovan formed I'm With Her, an Americana/bluegrass supergroup, I was ecstatic. Not familiar with these musicians? Take a little break and listen to a song by each talented woman.
Put these three together, and here's what you get, I'm With Her:
Sorry if your face melted off from how great these songs are, but aren't you glad you listened? Is there anything better than listening to three part harmonies? When Sara Watkins, Sara Jarosz, and Aofie O'Donovan collaborate, the collaboration is magical. I'm With Her is a very new band and so far you can only buy MP3s of the three songs above. Hopefully they'll make an album soon! Luckily for me, I'll be seeing I'm With Her along with Punch Brothers and Julian Lage next week at their stop in Illinois, so I'll get to hear more of their songs!
I've been thinking a lot lately about how every quilt is a collaboration. This isn't a new thought by any means, but I'm currently installing a quilt exhibit at the museum where I work and I've learned so much from seeing and handling (curator benefit!) quilts made by some of my heroes. Quiltmaking is a feminist action for me and I love working in a tradition that was invented by women* who worked before me. Thinking about the creativity and ingenuity of women who came before me, who paved the way for me to do what I'm doing, is one of the things that I love about quiltmaking and fiber arts.
The quilt I'm writing about today was designed, pieced, and quilted by me. But I did not create this alone. These incredible fabrics are designed by Alison Glass from her new Handcrafted Chroma line, and the walking foot quilting is inspired by a class I took with Jacquie Gering. (Special thanks as well to my partner Mitch for helping me make this pattern!) This quilt wouldn't be what it is without the creativity that Alison and Jacquie shared with the world. I learned from and was inspired by their work, and I made it my own.
When I set out to make a quilt about this amazing new band of women who inspire me, I thought about why I love them singing together. Their harmonies make me stop and pay attention. I have trouble listening to I'm With Her songs while I'm working because I focus all my attention on their voices. I thought about what a three part harmony looks like in my mind, and here's what I see when I listen to I'm With Her songs! The three blocks are separate parts of the quilt, like three people singing a harmony, but when taken as a whole they create a colorful visual and work together beautifully.
This quilt was made with Handcrafted Chroma by Alison Glass, Insignia by Alison Glass (binding and backing), Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in black, and Aurifil thread. Quilting was done on my BERNINA 570 QE using the BERNINA walking foot #50. Quilting inspired by the book WALK by Jacquie Gering. Stay tuned for a future post walking you through how I blocked this quilt!
*Quiltmakers can be women, men, trans, gender nonconforming, or identify in any way that is right for them. This quilt, because of the band that inspired it, makes me marvel at and think about the unnamed and named female identifying quilters I've studied in books and museums.