Quilt Gallery

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange

Last week I took a little trip down the road from Austin to visit the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, a place I've been wanting to see since it opened in 2011.

It is housed just off the town square in two old brick buildings that have been carefully restored and repurposed as open, light-filled galleries.  One of the buildings was formerly a furniture store, as testified by the tile entryway.

The museum is not currently a collecting entity, relying instead on traveling and specially created exhibits.  At the moment, in addition to a display of eight quilts from the personal collection of Karen and Werner Gundersheimer, you can see the museum's first juried exhibition, "Butterflies and Their Beautiful Kin," and an invitational exhibition, "A Flutter of Butterfly Quilts."  The butterfly theme celebrates completion of the museum's garden, a lovely spot adjacent to the main building.

The Museum garden

The Museum's mural

Museum policy prohibits taking photographs of any exhibits so you will need to look at the museum's website to see some of the quilts on display.  I especially liked Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry's piece, Lepidopteran #3, which focuses on the fascinating detail of a butterfly's wing and is executed with Fallert-Gentry's usual painstaking precision and attention to detail.

I was familiar with Fallert-Gentry's work after seeing an exhibit of her work last fall at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Here is one of my favorites from her Fibonacci Series.

Fibonacci Series #15, by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry

You can see more of her work on her website.

A bonus to visiting the Texas Quilt Museum was finding a lovely new shop, The Quilted Skein, right next door. As the name suggests, they cater to both quilters and knitters.

The shop carries an array of fabrics, including an extensive collection of Kaffe Fasset prints with their trademark deeply saturated colors.

Wander towards the back of the shop and you'll find a large selection of more traditional and reproduction fabrics.

Throughout the store you'll find completed projects to offer inspiration and comfy places to sit and work or peruse one of the many books or patterns they offer for sale.

They carry an equally large range of yarns.  My friend admired a sample scarf made from Blue Heron Yarns Soft Twist Cotton so I bought a skein to make one for her.  I began it with a provisional cast-on and am knitting it in a knit one purl one rib so I'll be able to make it into a mobius scarf with a seamless Kitchener stitch join of the beginning and end.  The rib has the added benefit of making the fabric lie flat, unlike stockinette stitch which I find rolls at the edges even after blocking.

We grabbed an inexpensive but tasty lunch at Reba's, a few blocks east of the museum.

And spent the remainder of the day wandering around La Grange which is at an interesting stage of charismatic decay and rebirth.

On the La Grange town square

Detail of building on the town square

Midway between Houston and Austin and near Round Top which is known for its music and antique festivals, La Grange has become a popular destination and weekend getaway with shops and restaurants popping up to cater to visitors.  For example, Richard Schmidt Jewelry, right on the square, has a carefully curated and displayed collection of wares, from his own beautiful jewelry designs (of course) to home decor and vintage boots.

Inside Richard Schmidt Jewelry

Our drive home was as colorful as our day in La Grange.  Central Texas just can't be beat for wildflowers!

Indian Paintbrush

Bluebonnets and Drummond phlox

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