The Cottage Journal 04.13.2020

Yesterday was Easter. Covid-19 had us attending a “virtual” Easter Mass in the morning, and provided us with tons of leftovers from our traditional ham and sweet potatoes family dinner in the afternoon, since no other family were gathered around our table. The Easter bunny (aka our lovely neighbors Kaylee and Chad) DID leave some chocolate eggs for us – outside our front door on the porch. In between Mass and dinner, I sewed. And finished the 3rd quilt in my Easter series.

It’s called Spirit-Filled, and represents the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descends in wind and flame to fill Christ’s believers with the seven gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

I knew I wanted to use the quilt block called Dove in the Window, to portray the Holy Spirit, even though this block actually refers to the dove that appeared to Noah in the ark, after the flood. This antique quilt has used borders and sashing in between each of the dove blocks.

But as I was laying out the blocks for my version, I didn’t have any additional red fabric and I wasn’t real keen on using so much white – so I tried a layout without the sashing in between the blocks. All of a sudden, I saw doves all over the place! (ok, ok, they are red and shaped like the quilt block called flying geese, but somehow these shapes seemed more like the Holy Spirit than the traditional white doves of peace) Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Spirit-Filled Quilt by Katie Longsmith / Size: 70″ x 70″ / 100% cotton fabrics / Dove in the Window quilt block / Flames quilting design

The Cottage Journal 04.07.2020

I’ve finished the second quilt in my Easter series! (Click here to see the first one.) This second one, called Resurrection, uses the Hovering Hawks quilt block – which dates back to the Civil War era. Its strong diagonal lines reminds me of birds in flight, soaring to the heavens. Made from fabric scraps leftover from other quilts, my modern version depicts Christ’s resurrection – from the darkness to the light – on the third day, He rose again.

The Resurrection Quilt by Katie Longsmith / size: 70″ x 84″ / Hovering Hawks quilt block / Flames quilting design

The Cottage Journal 04.02.2020

I haven’t done a great deal of sewing lately – the cottage gardens have demanded my attention and so I’ve been weeding and mulching and moving my muscles in ways that they had forgotten about over the winter – oh, my aching back…and knees…and everything else! Needless to say (but I’m saying it), all I’ve been good for by the end of each day is to sprawl out on the couch and watch TV. In my search for something good to watch, I rediscovered the Craft in America series, put out by NPT. Last year, they came out with a wonderful Quilting episode, but there are also many other episodes made in years past. So interesting and inspiring! If you, too, find yourself with some time on your hands (are you housebound due to Covid-19?), you can find all of the Craft in America episodes at www.CraftinAmerica.org or on YouTube. Highly Recommended by Longsmith Cottage!

The Cottage Journal 03.27.2020

I’m working on the second quilt in my series of three, for Easter. I’ve finished 30 blocks, and have them laid out on my design wall, to check for placement and transition in the colors and values. Still have some tweaks to make, but I’m getting excited… here’s a sneak peek!

The Cottage Journal 03.25.2020

Inspiration. How does it work? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know, is that I find inspiration (or it finds me) in all sorts of ways. What inspired my Crossed Canoes quilt, here in the Longsmith Cottage Quilt Shop? Four things:

  • This beautiful view from a greenway that my husband and I regularly walk. We always stop on the bridge spanning this creek to look for herons and turtles. Different seasons, different colors…
  • A stash of batik fabrics that I had hung onto for a few years, and whose colors reminded me of the photo of the creek. (Batiks are an Indonesian technique of wax-resist dyeing on fabric. Dots and lines are drawn on the fabric in wax, then the fabric is dyed, and the wax is removed with boiling water. The process can be repeated multiple times for more intricate designs and rich color tones.)
  • An antique Crossed Canoes quilt, circa 1860. Note how it has been hand-tied, rather than quilted.
  • And finally, a very fond memory I have of meandering down the Harpeth River in a canoe with my husband and teenaged (at that time) daughter.

Crossed Canoes Quilt made by Katie Longsmith / Size: 58″ x 83″ / 100% cotton and batik fabrics / Crossed Canoes quilt block / Sound waves quilting design

The Cottage Journal 03.20.2020

In her book Quilting with Style/Principles for Great Pattern Design, Gwen Marston (renowned quilter and quilt historian who passed in 2019) explained that, in the study of quilts, the best way to understand a quilt is to make it. And that is the story behind the Nine Patch quilt found here in the Longsmith Cottage Quilt Shop.

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a quilt in its collection entitled Nine-Patch, made by Mrs. Eshleman, probably in Lancaster County, PA, c. 1860. I’m not sure why I was so drawn to this quilt. I decided to recreate it, using fabrics I had on hand as much as possible. After all, that’s probably what Mrs. Eshleman did. I learned so much in how the quilt maker used color and value in creating the nine-patch blocks set on point. The golden yellow sashing and pink border are not colors I would normally gravitate to, but they work! The result is a striking contemporary version of a beautiful antique quilt.

Nine Patch Quilt made by Katie Longsmith / Size: 64″ x 88″ / 100% cotton fabrics / 9-patch quilt block / tulips quilting design

The Cottage Journal 03.18.2020

I’ve just finished the first quilt in what will be a series of three, for the Easter season. For Lent, I decided to give up buying any new fabric, and so these quilts will be made with fabric from my scraps and stash. This first one is called Good Friday.

My inspiration came from the Crown of Thorns quilt block used in this quilt dated 1936, made by Anna Miller Yoder of Garden City, MO. The block represents the crown made of thorns that Jesus wore before and during his crucifixion.

My modern version is purposefully more graphic and chaotic, with “thorns” covering the entire quilt. I find respite only when I rest my eyes on the “crowns” themselves – of my Lord and my God.

The Good Friday Quilt by Katie Longsmith / Size: 80″ x 96″ / Crown of Thorns quilt block / Flames quilting design