Udder nonsense milks cow quilt exhibit dry
I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
— Written by Frank Gelett Burgess in 1895
This is the verse that started all the nonsense and the hilarity of a recent bovine stampede at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
The exhibit of fabric cows, titled “MOO-ston,” was inspired by a Purple Cow quilt made by Mary Lou Weidman and published in a book she co-authored with Melanie Bautista McFarland — “Out of the Box with Easy Blocks: Fun With Free-Form Piecing” (Martingale 2011).
That pattern’s popularity prompted quilters from coast to coast and beyond to customize the whimsical block with four legs and an udder into more comic themes than you can imagine: “Cowmen Miranda,” “Cow Town,” “MOOrage,” “PsyCOWdelic,” “Three Cowballeros,” “Holy Cow.” Get the idea?
It takes about 2½ hours to sew one of their cow quilts, according to Weidman of Spokane, Wash., and the embellishments further each one’s laugher quotient. In “Frosty AMOOsement,” the cow munches on a snowman’s carrot nose. Pumpkins decorate the udder of “Boo Moo” for Halloween, and wine corks dangle from “Vino Cow’s” udder.
McFarland of Manhattan Beach, Calif., calls these “off-the-bed” quilts. She and her fellow curator Weidman plan to send their herd out to pastures far and wide over the next two years. The critters will even graze at quilt shows in Switzerland and Holland next spring.
Today, I’m sharing a few of my Cow Parade favorites with you:
■ “MOOla a Cash Cow” by Charlotte Lorenzo of Pembroke Pines, Fla. Says Lorenzo in her artist statement: “When I saw the dollar bill fabric, I knew I had to make a cow” from the book. “With the dollar bills as a starting place, she had to be a Cash Cow and her name needed to be Moolah.
“Then it was a matter of how far out of the box to go. I got the biggest jewels I could find and one idea just led to another. After I finished, I realized I could go further and so added more jewels and coins.”
Coins hanging from a purse formed this cow’s udder, one of the cleverest embellishments of this entire cattle drive.
■ “MOO-oy COWliente” by Tina Neppl of Yorba Linda, Calif.
“I had so many chili fabrics that she was the perfect cow for me to sew up. Her name is Cowsuela, my alter ego,” Neppl says.
■ “Cow Pie” by Linda Cook, quilted by Linda Johnson, of Waukon, Iowa. Cook’s local guild challenged members to make a quilt with black and white fabrics, adding one other color.
“When I came across a remnant of the cherries fabric, I knew just what to do. Being a farm girl, it was only natural that I make a cow pie,” she says.
■ “Moody Blues” by Laurie Latta, quilted by Karen Brown, of Lopez Island, Wash. Latta chose her cow theme based on an overabundance of blue fabric.
“It has been so much fun to have my cow in the herd that has been traveling around the country,” she says.
■ ”… the Cow Jumped Over the Moon” by Sandi Henschel, quilted by Lauren Tolhurst, of New Westminster, B.C.
When Henschel first got the book, “Out of the Box With Easy Blocks,” she says, her personal theme was obvious. Why?
My initials are S.H.H. I see them as shh… time to go to sleep, the moon and stars are out. I also believe that if you aim at the moon, you may make it to the stars.”
It’s obvious how much this herd of cud-chewers amused their individual quilt makers, and I hope they’ve made you chuckle as well. I have to say I was really MOO-ved by them.