This week's collectible favorite is full of graceful elegance and Asian sophistication, in Kona Bay's much-anticipated "Nobu Fujiyama Serene" collection.
Four years ago, we lost one of the beloved founding mothers of the quilting industry - Bonnie Leman was the founder of Quilters Newsletter Magazine in 1969. I have a special connection to Bonnie, and I have a story to share.
In 1990 I left New York (where I had worked in the garment industry) and moved back home to Boulder Colorado. I was looking for a place to park my passion for fabric, color and design.
One day I stumbled across a group of quilting magazines at a local grocery store, and my eye immediately went to Quilters Newsletter. As I paged through the magazine, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I knew this was what I'd been looking for...and that was how I first got involved with quilting.
In 1999 Paul and I started eQuilter in the basement of our home, and years later I would become close friends with Bonnie's daughter Mary Austin, who had taken over running Quilters Newsletter.
Fast forward to this weekend - I went to Bonnie's Estate Sale. I wanted to find something special that would be a little piece of this family's history.
As I walked in, I saw a lot of people rummaging through domestic odds and ends, and my heart sank. Perhaps I was too late to find the special memento I sought. As I walked further into the house something glinted in the corner of my eye, and I gasped! Draped over the railing was a beautiful formal kimono in shades of deep tangerine, with tons of heavy gold metallic and soaring white cranes. This was it!
I took it to the front desk, and asked if there were any old sewing machines. "In the garage" I was told, and there in the corner I found a 1912 Wilson treadle machine draped in cobwebs. "I'll take them both!"
I texted Mary to let her know I'd found these 2 items, and drove away with my treasures secured in my car. Not surprisingly, she texted back to confirm that these were indeed 2 special pieces from the family's story. Not history, but HERstory.
The kimono was a gift from the publisher of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin around 1990. His name was Tadanobu Seto. Some of you will know him for his work with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's International Quilt Study Center. Seto was an admirer of Bonnie's accomplishments, and he brought it to her on a trip to Colorado.
The 1912 Wilson Treadle was a display and practice fixture, and frequent photo prop in the Quilts & Other Comforts shop, located in Wheatridge in the early 70's. Bonnie's husband George acquired it while traveling the neighboring states in their Quiltmobile in 1974-77.
I have always felt a deep connection to this family, and it is just one of the many stories of multi-generational family businesses in the quilting industry.
We are in the process of reconfiguring front offices at eQuilter, and I am going to display these up front so if you come to pick up a package here, or come with your quilt guild for a tour, you'll be able to see these 2 pieces of quilting history that we've saved for the next generation!