Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cuban Patchwork

Dachshund in a window in Havana

My sister Jane went to Cuba late last year. She's a dog doctor---not a Vet. She's like an anthropologist who studies dogs---a caninologist.

She's written some posts about the dogs she saw there on her blog Dr. Barkman Speaks.
This one has a tag that says her name is Canela.
See more of her posts on the dogs of Havana here:
Jane also paints watercolors and was on a watercolor tour of Havana. In a yard where they were painting she got to chatting with a Cuban woman who told her she was an artist too and did patchwork. Pretty soon my sister had purchased a patchwork top for me ($10---the woman asked $5.) I was pretty excited about this as I imagined patchwork with a Cuban sense of color (at least what I imagined a Cuban sense of color to be.)

So here's the patchwork----No color at all.

It's a top, not quilted, but it's finished and hemmed along the edges. 
I photographed it in my yard.

It's pieced of two fabrics, both apparently a poly/cotton blend: one a black and white stripe and one plain white.

The pieces look to be clothing factory cutaways. Some are rectangles and many are long triangles with the tops cut off, very typical of leftovers from clothing construction.

It's all machine stitched. Although it's not quilted it's finished on the edges and each patch was finished with a hem before being seamed to the next patch.

This completely suprised me. I don't understand the aesthetic at all. I could say it's all practicality---reusing scraps to make a sheet-like cover for a warm climate. But there is obviously an aesthetic to the whole thing. It has the white inner border on three sides---a very austere color scheme. It's fun to be so totally surprised by something.

Another question: Dottie wants to know why there are so many Dachshunds in Havana.


  1. Thanks for posting a link to your sister's blog. I'm a dog lover as well as a quilter, and her blog is fun to read.

  2. Fascinating post! Thank you too for the link to your sister's blog. The pursuit of knowledge seems to be a genetic trait!

  3. I didn't know your sister painted to, beautiful work.
    I love the simplicity of quilts made from scraps.


  4. Am a quilt lover but not a dog lover, but am so glad I tracked down your blog, as I am getting into quilt history through my work with quilt-blocks, and so am your latest follower! X Cathy.

  5. There are so many because they look so dang cute in those hats! I'm curious...is it just Americans that have used the cigar box silks to make quilts?

    Love your blog...I always know I will be inspired and learn something wonderful!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)