It has been one of those weekends that make you forget the long, long winter and the preceding five plus weeks of miserable weather. Summer is well and truly esconced in beautiful Twente. Of course we spent it with family, because that is what you do here.
The Hard Rock Uncle arrived on Friday for an afternoon of golf, dinner, a little Gros Manseng, and a bed for the night. Saturday was the quilt show.
GMOTI (Grandmother of the Imps) is (although she will deny this) one of Europe’s top quilters. It all started back in 1990, when GMOTI and I took the train to Haarlem to see the Frans Hals exhibition. We arrived early and had time to kill, so found ourselves wandering the charming cobbled streets of that burg and wound up ogling the shop window of a purveyor of quilting fabrics.
“What’s a kilt?” GMOTI asked.
“A kilt is one of those plaid skirts manly men wear in Scotland,“ I replied. “A quilt, on the other hand, is a fabulous patchwork blanket. My gran used to make them on frames that are about 200 years old.”
We strolled into the shop, chatted with the owner, made it to the Frans Hals exhibition, and a few weeks later enrolled in a quilting class together. Our teacher was the indomitable Joop Smits, whose name is also a byword in the quilting community. Joop is known for her technique of adding 12 stitches onto a number 9 needle, which is fine needlecraft indeed.
Quite quickly our paths diverged. I’m oldschool. To my mind, quilts are objects to be used and loved to schmattes. I preferred to work by hand and kept strictly to the traditional Amish patterns. GMOTI, it turns out, is a gifted designer and was keen to try out all the latest techniques, such as stack-n-whack, 3-D designs and whatever blew over from the Far East that week. She sees quilts as objets d’art and to be fair, hers are.
GMOTI’s first quilt, an oldschool “Sampler”
Since her retirement from the Dutch Railway in 1994, GMOTI has been an active member of the board of the Dutch Quilter’s Guild, teaching the art of quilting to others as well as designing and sewing her own quilts.
When there was some discussion about how to protect the grand piano in her church from the strain of damp and temperature changes, GMOTI knew what to do.
She organized a bee with a number of ladies from her church and a few of her students and designed a quilted cover for the piano based on the stained glass at either side of the altar. It was two years in the making. GMOTI did confess to the pastor that she sometimes missed the sermon because she was busy eyeballing the windows and developing her design. The pastor, who is an absolute mensch understood that this was God’s work too, and didn’t take offense.
There was no big unveiling of the piano quilt. Instead it and 25 of GMOTI’s other quilts were on display at the parish craft fair, which was where we found ourselves on a beautiful Saturday morning.
The church was dark and cool, and like all good churches, had an overwhelming whiff of beeswax. GMOTI and the committee polish the place to within an inch of its life on a regular basis. The photos of the piano quilt are a bit dark, I do apologize.
More photos from the show:
The beautiful “Baltimore”
GMOTI (in pink floral tunic)
Detail from Provençal quilt–hand sewn and quilted using “trapunto” technique
Uncle Hardrock, Bonnie Anne, Joe College, Charlie Brown and FOTI
One of the brave souls who climbed the tall ladders to hang the quilts…
Saturday night FOTI did his famous barbecue, some of Joe College’s friends stopped by, everybody left our house well-fed and today we just hung out by the pool. It feels like an old-fashioned endless summer.