After you walk through all the aisles of amazing quilts hanging at QuiltCon, one of the best ways to truly take it in is to walk back through the show and do a bit of detective work to see what treasures are hiding on the back sides of all those quilts. The number one rule of the quilt show is to NEVER TOUCH THE ART. It’s distressing to see people who ignore the rule and surreptitiously reach out to touch the fabric. However, because of the tangible nature of quilts, it’s impossible to not be curious about what lies behind. Enter the official white gloved volunteers!, who walk the aisles, turning back the corners of quilts on request so that attendees can get a peek of the back of quilts. It’s a service that most professional quilt shows and some museums provide.
When volunteers are not provided, some shows/museums usually provide plastic gloves for viewers to wear and look at quilt backs themselves. Please never touch a quilt hanging in a show or a museum without checking the venue’s policy on viewing the backs of quilts. When allowed, make sure you follow the guidelines and never use an ungloved hand. Your hands, even if clean, can leave oils that will stain the quilt, and the cumulative result of many hands would leave marks.
One helpful tip is to ask the quilt volunteers if they have already turned some interesting quilt backs. Oftentimes they will be able to take you directly to all the quilt-back ‘parties.’
Here’s the fruits of our ‘Party in the Back’ sleuthing:
This is the Back by Kyona Nason @kyonanason
Nason decided to feature the back of her quilt as the quilt front to display in the show. The ‘real’ front was made from Tara Faughnan’s Galactic Quilt pattern.
Jessica Big Skirt by Patti Coppock @patticoppock
The inspiration for this quilt came from a drawing Coppock’s five year old granddaughter made. The scrappy highlighting around the letters really adds dimension to this quilt back party.
Caption: Front view of hexagon hand quilting
The Hexagon One by Laura Loewen @quiltfortco
For the Hexagon Challenge Loewen hand quilted hexagons onto the front of her quilt. She used a layer of tulle fabric made of tiny woven hexagon shapes on top of her backing fabric. You can then see the stitching created as a result of the hexagons she was creating on the front of the quilt. Her five little hexagons stitched together to create her label are so cute.
Radical Acceptance Quilt for 2020 by Laura Hartrich @laurahartrich
If you ever get the chance to see a Hartrich quilt in person, make sure to take a peek at the back. Hartrich is the golden standard for how to label your quilts. On this particular quilt she had fabric made with her handwriting on it detailing her ‘radical acceptances’ for the year 2020.
Ever Loving Memories by Jennifer Broemel @jen.bromel
Bromel is another quilter whose quilt backs are usually incredibly interesting and surprising. Her technique for quilting her blocks and then how she sews them together is part of what creates her ‘Party in the Back.’
By Brittany Bowen Burton