Michigan Guest Bloggers: Joe Cunningham

I’ve known Joe Cunningham since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. Though he no longer lives nearby, Joe grew up in the Flint, Michigan area. Now living in sunny California with his wife and two sons, Joe is more active than ever before with the world of quilting. I was thrilled when he quickly agreed to be a part of the Michigan Guest Bloggers on Michigan Quilts! Please visit his website and have a look around. He has numerous lectures and workshops, should your guild or organization be interested.


A couple weeks ago my friend Roderick Kiracofe was showing some of his wacky antique quilts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, an afternoon lecture, and he asked me to help hold up the quilts while he spoke. It was a pleasure, of course, but what I did not know was that we were going to be in front of the largest quilt I have seen for a while, a big quilt. It was coordinated by Allison Smith, an artist who is doing a residency at the museum right now and creating lots of cool, community oriented stuff. The quilt was based on an early Quaker quilt, and was made by a group of 35 people. Pretty amazing stuff. You can read about her here: http://www.sfmoma.org/events/series/1325

About a week later I was in South Carolina and doing my one-man quilt musical show, “Joe the Quilter,” when I mentioned that I would rather see some old quilts than see a new quilt shop. So my hostess Vickie Perry arranged to take me out to the country to visit her mother Margaret’s quilting group, The Saluda County Quilters. They were quite excited to have a visitor from California, so they had created a huge pot-luck lunch with several casseroles, several salads, turkey and stuffing, chocolate cake, sweet potato pie, tea and bread and on and on. Oh, it was great. Anyway, after lunch we looked at a bunch of quilts and I showed them how I quilt in a frame like they use. Here are some of my new friends:

I loved this string four patch quilt, a sort of scrap Indian Hatchet quilt. Lots of wonderful quilts in South Carolina.

Happy Quilting,
Joe Cunningham

Keeping up With the Joneses

Do you read very many quilt blogs? I do. I have 146 blogs loaded into my Google Reader account, and every day I read/skim through many of them. It’s a way for me to see what other people are working on, what fabrics people like, and learn new techniques that others generously share. I enjoy the blogging process!

One thing about reading quilt blogs that bothers me: YOU DO TOO MUCH! How do you make so many quilts/purses/table runners/pillows/pincushions/tote bags/and more? I usually have a few things going at one time. I like to have something to hand quilt on when I’m in the mood. I enjoy doing embroidery and applique’ by hand, so there is usually a project or two that falls into this category. I like machine piecing, and there is a project on my table downstairs waiting for me. I MAY finish two or three projects this year. That’s all. If more is accomplished, I will be proud of myself and it will be close to a miracle. This is a busy year, with my youngest son and his fiance’ getting married in July, and parents who need caring for in their twilight years.

So… how do you do it? How do you squeeze in all that sewing in the midst of life? What is your secret? REALLY, readers would like to know. Could you please leave a comment below and tell us how you accomplish what you do?

I have mentioned before that I use iGoogle.com to keep organized. Here is a look at my “to do” list. If you look closely, you will see right in the middle of the list my 2007 BOM Quilt. At the bottom is my Christmas Siggie Quilt. That’s from 2008, and is a DJ siggie exchange quilt. I have the blocks. I just have not touched them since I received them! I would work on them if I had more time. But I have other projects that seem to rise to the top of the list.
That’s how I work through my projects. Please share your process!