Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rambling Rant on Quilt Show Manners

It was at least 15 years ago when I first went to a quilt show.  Now, I had a working knowledge of quilting prior to then, and had made several machine-pieced, hand quilted quilts by then.  But it was kind of news to me that there were people that made these things to display in shows, and not just for beds.  So the year I moved back to Maine, my mom and I drove to Augusta for the Maine Quilt show.

I think I am a piecer at heart, and may always be.  I love to see the intricate designs that are created with piecing.  Applique too, but that love developed many years later.  It was at that show that I first discovered that people actually quilt with a machine.  I was in complete shock, thinking how incredibly and horrendously ugly they were.  Hand quilting was, in a word, classic. And 15 years ago, the talent in machine quilters was nothing that it is today.  All I could liken the quilting designs to was a mattress pad.  And I was not shy in those years about vocalizing if I thought a quilt was ugly.   Little thought would have been made to whether the actual quilter may be nearby.  I was firm in my opinions and strong dislike for machine quilting, and I let it be known.  Tact is definitely an acquired skill.

I met a fellow machine quilter this past weekend at the Maine Quilt Show.  I have known of Teri for a few years from my going to MQX, but we managed not to cross paths until this weekend.  She is originally from Maine, but clearly has a preference for NY now.  Not sure I completely blame her when winter comes roaring in here.  I'm a bit of a Southern Girl, if the truth be told.  But in talking to Teri, I learned that there were people at the show making snide comments about her blue ribbon-winning quilt because she's not from Maine.  Being the master of quick replies (probably comes from needing to quickly discipline 3 kids), I thought "SO WHAT?"  Is there anything in the show guidelines that states that the quilter has to be from here?  Do we as a show, really want to alienate the out-of-staters that  (1) do actually send quilts here or (2) actually drive more than 3 hours to come to the show?  When the future of this particular show appears to be in question (given the state's guild newsletters), I think that the answers to these two questions should be a no brainer.  Isn't quilting multi-cultural, multi-age, multi-gender, multi-state?

I can accept when quilt show goers choose to comment that they may not like dense quilting.  Or that they don't like to see crystals on quilts.  Or that they prefer hand quilting.  As a former hand quilter, I completely respect and love a good hand quilted work.  One name: Linda Roy.  She's synonymous with fantastic in my book, and ranks up there with any of the great machine quilters.   I have spent enough time standing within earshot of my quilts the past 2 years to know that comments are made unknowingly, and that opinions are always present.  Usually they are well-edited, and generally kind.  But remarks like "that shouldn't have gotten a red ribbon" or "she shouldn't get that because she's not from Maine" are ridiculous.  You are not a judge.   I seriously doubt the Maine Quilt Show was named that because they intended to keep it exclusively Maine-made.

I wasted a little time this morning perusing through old show books.  I'm kind of a packrat when it comes to quilting this-n-thats, and have every show book from every quilt show I have attended.
The Maine Quilt show...

This year's show had only 18 out of state quilts, mostly in the judged category.  This is not a lot, but is between 18-20% of the judged ones.   Hardly any of the display quilts were not Maine-made.   I know for a fact of several people, including my family members, have driven from another state just to go to this show.  It's not just for Maine to enjoy.

2009 Maine Quilts had 25 non-Maine made quilts, mostly in the judged division.  This represents nearly 25% of the judged quilts.  That is not an insignificant number.  The winner that year was of all people, Ronda Beyer.  I was in awe of her quilt then (ok, and still - Darwin's Diamonds is impressive), but admittedly would feel a little jipped if someone of her talent swooped in and won it again.  Though there are many quilters way better than me, there is definitely a proud feeling of being from Maine, and winning here at home.  Maybe to alleviate this feeling we should have a "Best of Judged" and "Beat Maine Quilt".   Just a meager thought.

That is precisely what the Vermont Quilt Festival does.  I went to this show this year, and it's great.  Vermont attracts good talent, and shows many styles.  It's (IMHO) further in the sticks than the Maine show is though, being barely an hour from the Canada border, yet it only hosts 27% VT made quilts (this year).  New England and other states are very well represented.  They have a Best of Show, Best VT Show (aka Governor's Award) as well as a dozen or more specialty awards.

I send quilts all over the country to shows, and sincerely hope that there are not too many people saying "oh, goodness, she shouldn't win.  She's from ME?  Where's that?..."

'nuf said.  Go to your next quilt show praising the person from out of state for wanting to send his/her quilt there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Geometries Abound - Maine Quilts 2012

Yesterday, I went with my daughter and mom to the Maine Quilt Show.  Though there are always many different types of quilts, it seems that this year had more of the purely "geometric" offerings.  The more traditional quilts were off in the Meet the Quilter area, but unfortunately I failed to take any pictures there.  My mistake because they were gorgeous.

Anyhow, in an effort to keep my 5 year old happy for 3 hours, I gave her the $500 camera and let her take pictures until both batteries were dead.  As a result, most of my show pictures are at a heavily skewed, upward angle.  Some could be clearer, and most do not have the maker's information, which I typically note.  I like to record that as I blog the picture if for no other reason than I hate to see one of my quilts in a blog without the proper name/crediting with it.  My appologies...I have some of the names, just not all.

Here is one of my favorites, by Lisa Longstaff Hayden called Haley's Challenge.  The tetrahedrals in this style quilt are something I have not seen.  Being mathematical, I find this intriguing.  It earned a red ribbon too.
This is Autumn Migration by Patricia Converse.  Notice all the geese heading south?  Very clever.  It also earned a red ribbon.  
Illusions by Nancy Corson is another stack-n-whack style quilt with the 3D elements thrown in the design.  Interesting.  I like it.
 This would be a double D cup if I made it!  I can't imagine how people keep these flat.  It's Maine Twilight - Snow and Ice by Marjorie Wilson.  I still have one of these in multicolors on my someday/bucket list.
 This is super awesome.  Original and well executed.  It's called Worlds Apart by Beatrice Gilbert.  Cool.
 More 3D geometric perspectives.  Checker Champion by Frances Parker.
 And here is where the ambiguity begins...The camera was passed off to my daughter, and documentation goes a muck.  She would have happily taken photos of the cards, but most were well above her head.

It's not that she didn't try to take them...most are hard to get clear!  The one below is for the quilt just above!
This is a segment of Dan Perkins's X Marks the Spot quilt.  He thrives on using a ton of piecing.  Last year's quilt had to have several thousand pieces.  I'm not sure how many are in this one but there must be more than 500 HST's on the front alone.  And the back was pieced with stars as well.  It must weight a ton :-)
Next time...some more of my pics from the show.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lightening Strikes Twice

You always hear that lightening never strikes the same spot twice.  I know that this is only a saying, but it does seem that to get a really good thing to happen a second time is harder than getting it to happen once - if only because the psychology of the human mind gets involved the 2nd time.  Humor me & read on...

I have been athletic all of my life.  As a young girl and teenager, I was a competitive gymnast.  I was pretty good, and I really worked hard to be successful.  I took this nearly to the point of being superstitious.  I'd save all the green m&m's (yea, this tradition was started before the connotation we know of came around for green m&m's) from every package.  There would be a baggie in the freezer of all my m&m's, and I'd take this to gymnastics meets for good luck.  Somehow, I struggled with consistency, and the candy supposedly helped.  As a result, I kind of expected that if I'd done really good at one meet, the next one might be a dog meet.

The competitive nature continued throughout high school with musical endeavors, and into my adult life when I decided to try my hand at competitive adult figure skating.  I always tackled things head-on, and with an intention of succeeding.  Or winning.  I'm not one of those people that loses gracefully.  Or happily.  I am a firm believer that I control my own destiny.  If better people beat me, and I did my best, it's one thing.  But if I goofed something up, and could have controlled that, then I get upset.

So how does this relate to anything??  My quilting career has taken off like a rocket.  I purchased my longarm less than 3 years ago.  I quilted client quilts a month later.  A magazine contacted me for quilt photos after 3 months.   I entered my first quilt show after 6 months, and won Rookie of the Year.  At 11 months, I was selected by HandiQuilter to be part of their 2011 advertising.  It was moving and moving fast.  I was surprised, but the roller-coaster was fast, and flying towards success.  I didn't want to slow down long enough to blink for fear I'd see the progress decline.  A year ago, as I had done for the previous couple years, I entered 2 quilts in the Maine Quilt Show.  It's a decent, smaller show.  It lacks a lot of higher end quilting that you'll see at machine quilting shows, but is still generally well represented by hand and machine quilters alike.  When I arrived to the show last year, I stood in shock to see my quilt hanging with the Best of Judged ribbon.  It still strikes me as shocking that I have already received a best of show award.  I haven't put in my decade of dues yet.   It was a strong wake up call that my quilting is good.

It was also a scary thing, because all last fall I wondered how on earth I'd ever make anything that could top that for this year.  Winning once was easy.  I never thought about it, in fact.  It just happened.  But repeating it would be hard.  Nobody wants to go back the following year without a quilt capable of knocking the judge's socks off.  At least, I certainly didn't.

The quilt I had been working on, and intended to enter in this show, was giving me absolute fits.  First off, I had horrendous tension problems with the Glide thread on the batik fabric that I had to rip out a huge section.  I then opted to stitch with a gold Glide because the gold bobbin would blend with the backing fabric, disguising any tension problems.  The problem was that I hated how this looked on the front.  It was not in my "plan".  The general quilting went pretty well.  I found one small pleat on the back because of how I chose to quilt (SID all first, then go back and fill - places on the quilt were hard to keep smooth and taught during quilting).  I conceived a long and skinny label to cover that.  Creative or Ingenious??  You be the judge!  Then it was done quilting and onto the blocking boards.  Then the shit hit the fan.  OMG, there was bleeding.  It was horrible.  Areas of the ivory fabrics looked bruised.  I didn't want to say that the freaking quilt was jinxed, but it sure seemed that way.  I contacted another fellow quilter that helped me with the dye release.  It took about 4 days and 100 Shout color catchers.  But when I was done, I had another problem.  Some of the pins I used to secure the color catchers in the wash cycle had left a rust spot on the quilt.  This was maybe 15-20 1-2mm rust spots onthe front and back -- and not in locations where I'd conveniently place a crystal!  I tried washing it again with a rust detergent.  The problem is that all the washing I did on the quilt, and all the use of detergents, color catchers, etc had taken it's toll on the quilt's brightness and fullness.  It just seemed thin and limp, not having the nice loft it had the day I took it off the frame.  And the bold batiks had visibly faded.  Perhaps nobody else but me would realize it was a shadow of it's former, unwashed self.  But I knew.  And I was heart-broken.

I opted to finish the beast anyways.  I got out the crystals to discover that the ones sent to me were not hot fix!  Another sign, or so it seemed.  I waited a week, and Dreamtime kindly returned the wrong crystals for the type I needed.  I did the hand painting, as planned -- not originally, but after seeing the gold Glide thread on the gray triangles, I decided I'd paint the vinework to better blend it in.  I don't think I really believed that, but at that point I was just going through the motions in a feeble attempt to finish this quilt.  In fact, the picture below is the only thing I can find that shows any of the painting!  
I continued on and added what seemed like an ingenious variagated piped binding.  I did post about that here.  I used about 60-8" segments of graded color around the binding.  It looked pretty cool.  Correction: It looks freaking awesome.  But I still had reservations about sending this quilt to the Maine Show for fear it flopped.  All signs with the multitude of issues I'd had were that it would flop.  I didn't want to go into the show and have egg on my face.  I don't have the Tara Lipinski mindset (remember her as the one-time wonder, who won the olympics in 1998, and then retired before she could ever compete again.  I don't think she wanted to not be able to repeat her performance).  Anyway, I have digressed there.  I don't give up.  I tackle things strongly, and would prefer to go down in a blazing ball of fire than to run the other way.  But, I really don't want to go down in a blaze of fire anyway.  So...

Tentatively, I entered (OK, the real truth...I entered the quilt before it had ever been quilted, and before it had any problems!!)   my new problem quilt, named Rainbow Nouveau, on account of all of it's many colors.  I also entered my Sea Glass quilt.  I think that this will have nice appeal with people considering the show is in Maine.  Very (VERY!!) much to my surprise, my client and friend Kathleen called last night from the show preview.  She said that Rainbow Nouveau had won the Best of Judged.  I was shocked.  More than shocked - I think I had a cardiac moment.  I was starting to think that the judges had a mental lapse, when she told me that the two judges were there with her and wanted to talk to me.  Oh holy freak out on my end, are you kidding?  They were very nice and had fabulous things to say.  If only I had the where with all to ask them a real question or two about what they really thought!  Oh Lordy, thank you for them not having enough time to discover where the garbage tension is, and where the rust spots and remaining dye bleeds are.  My theory seemed to work - With enough to look at, the eye will wander continuously, and it won't be possible to find all the bloopers!  I am elated and surprised that lightening did strike twice.  I have found such tremendous fortune and success and pleasure with quilting.  And the hard work and perseverance is rewarded and recognized sometimes too.  I will indeed take some close-ups of the quilt on Sunday, since I don't have any!  This is the one my friend emailed this morning.  I warned you this was a busy beast!
Oh, and Sea Glass took a 1st place too.

The end.  The show is this weekend at the Augusta Civic Center.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Playing in the Swamp

Proverbially, that is.

Last week before we left on vacation, I started paper piecing (ick!) the 16 outer setting squares.  These have 15 pieces each.  I had cut them out before we left from a dozen or so of the greens I have, plus a few blades of deep teal just for variety.  I was really shocked that they took me about 7 hours to sew.  I made a few mistakes, but mostly they were sew iron, repeat.  They need the quarter-circles still, but that's where I had to stop and regroup with the entire design in order to determine which fabric looked the best there.  I layed out the entire broken star...
In my original design, I had the quarter-circles in a deep rose/pink.  It brought a lot of contrast to the design, which it needs since it has so much blue and green.  Unfortunately, it just seemed out of place.  I will have water lilies in pale pink appliqued on top of this quarter-circle (see right part of upper pic), and pale pink flowers on deep pink background was getting circus-like, and not pond-like.  I tried out a couple shades of greens and aqua, but nothing seems as right as a deep marbled blue.  I'll just hope that the water lilies and the bright pink bias piping around the quarter-circle will provide the contrast needed. 
I'm also playing with what color to narrowly outline the inner star.  All the blues and greens seem to disappear.  I'm leaning towards the deep brick red.  It will be a subtle and thin outline, but just enough to set the center star off from where the green leaves of the first round of setting squares begin.

I also played (top pic) with the orientation of the outer 24 diamonds.  Did you catch that??...On one side, the purples point outwards, and on the right side the purple points inward.  The left side gives much better definition.

This top will probably not be too much fun to put together, given the very many number of Y-seams - and a total of 56 pieces to all make lay square and flat.  Sounds daunting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baby Quilt: 1st of three

I have 3 small-ish baby quilts to quilt for a new client.  For the most part, they are only about 50" square.  They'll be relatively fast jobs, which is good.  The first one is so bold and lively.  The green is actually more green than the picture shows (more bright apple than mustardy).  I know the popcorn panto is used often by many quilters, but it is just perfect for these fabrics.
It's going to a baby boy as soon as the owner binds it.  I snapped a picture of the backing, only because it was SO cute!
Later today I hope to load another of these quilts.  This week, both of my boys are headed to day camp, and later in the week, my daughter is going to "Nana camp".  I should have sufficient time to get all 3 quilts finished.  Heck, I may even make it to the grocery store to get more than enough food for 2 days!

Last Saturday, I dropped off the last of the show quilts that I have for a show that is this weekend.  Two are currently in Hershey, PA for the Quilt Odyssey show, and two others made their way to Milwaukee for the MQToday show (formerly the Milwaukee Quilt Show).  My experience this past weekend makes me less comfortable to send quilts anywhere.  I have always felt like the scariest part was putting them in the mail, but  now I think I may wonder more about the handling.  Right in front of me, I watched the quilt that was dropped off ahead of mine get refolded (the owner had already left).  In the process of refolding, it was dragged on the ground, and given little care for how it was folded.  It makes me sick to see this done.   This was a judged quilt too.  I always very carefully fold mine so that the corners are not crumpled.  I delint both sides very carefully before folding.  I fold them in a way that will minimize wrinkles when it is unfolded and hung.  I do not expect some shmuck to unfold it at drop-off to check the sleeve width.  I refused to show her - when is "Trust me, it is fine" not good enough?  Mine are routinely 4-1/2" wide.  The sleeve is always at the middle of the folded quilt.  I folded them so that the lower right corner was exposed so that they could add their tags without messing with a thing.  And what's with a handfull of shows wanting cloth bags??  I hate them.  HATE them!   They breed lint and little threads.  Where do you think those go???  And these quilt collectors thought I didn't need to repin the end of my bag (it will slow them down when they are emptying the bags (or pillow cases, as most were).  Seriously, are they total idiots?  What's going to happen when the pile of quilts slides off the table?  They obviously are not as concerned with the integrity of the quilts that they are collecting as they should be.  I think this may be the last year I submit anything to this show.  I've really seen enough.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Hump Day

This is officially the middle of "summer".  Mind you, I hate to think that summer is more than half over, as I completely live for the heat and sunshine, the beach and all things outdoors, but today marks 5 weeks since the kids got out of school and 5 weeks until they start again.  Soon, I may see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It will be that of a sewing machine...

I have been piecing and diddling for an hour in the early mornings before the kids get up, and doing a little bit of hand applique in the evenings, but little to no longarming.  The winter and spring were very busy with client quilts, but summer has fizzled.  It has given me time to work on my own projects in whatever time I have had, but no money to do anything fun!  Next week my boys are off to another week of day camp.  In preparation for having some alone time (Little Miss will be attending Nana Camp for a few days), I have been trying to get this monster quilt (it's 102") onto the frame.  I put it away in January when I discovered a bazillion other bloggers were making scrappy modern Dresden quilts too.  Seriously, I started this in the spring of 2011, long before everyone else started theirs.  I love to take traditional patterns and rework them. I was saddened and disgusted that my idea was not original, and that it seemed 2012 was the year of the Dresden.
I do have a couple other quilts in the piecing stage, but not close enough to actually quilt.  As of last week, this only lacked adding 4 Dresdens, stitching down the spikey border that started as a prairie point concept, and prepare the backing.  The backing is now ready.  Found some fantastic SSI fabric for $4 per yard.  It takes a scary amount of fabric to back a king sized quilt.  I now need to hand stitch only 2 more Dresdens, and stitch down 1/8 of the outer border.  Today, I even started clipping away the backing fabric from behind the appliques (nearly 8 ounces of excess fabric to be exact!).  Looks like this needs a real good pressing, but  never fear, it is really flat, and should quilt just fine.
Despite all of the Dresdens being hand stitched, I lazied-out and opted to invisible machine applique the prairie points down.  I decided that I hated the floppy look, but the border needed the points.  In hindsight, which usually bites me in the ass after quilt shows, I know I should have just pieced these - they'd have been crisper, and would have had better matches, but then.  Part of me says that I am just quilting this for my bed, while the other part of me doesn't know how to not make it into a show quilt.  
I have a number of quilting sketches done.  I think I am ready to start the quilting next week.  I do have 3 baby quilts to do first, however, as well as make 2 bags fro quilts that need to be delivered to the Maine Quilt Show this weekend.  That's procrastination for you...If I could just purchase 2 30" bags, rather than waste my own valuable time making them, you know I would!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Slow Return

I returned from a short-ish 4 day vacation to Acadia & Bar Harbor yesterday.  The weather was fantastic.  Hot, Hot, Hot and sunny -- just the way this Southern gal likes it.  We did a little bike riding, little trail hiking, went to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which by all accounts is not really a mountain, but it affords lovely views of the islands in the bay none the less.  Our cottages had a pool, so this satisfied the kids' need to swim a LOT.  We got home to a hot house, loads of laundry, and tired everybody.  Now, I will officially hit the half-way to the summer this week...5 weeks until the kids return to school, and I can return to actually quilting during the day.  I am in serious withdrawal.  When I was at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2 weeks ago, I overheard someone say (while seeing my quilt Zen Garden hanging) that they'd just seen it in a magazine.  And, here it is!  This is in The Quilter Magazine, August/September 2012.  It's a lovely 4 page spread of quilts from MQX East, held in April.  It's some of the winning quilts, and several of the lesser known quilts as well.  This magazine always chooses a great selection of lovely quilts to showcase.  
Last month, I finished a couple of quilts for Sandy.  Here's the first...She often makes Schnibble quilts.  This is a baby quilt, that I quilted with swirls to break up the very-linear nature of all the straight lines.  Wonder if the baby's name starts with T?
It's all in doggy and dog bone fabrics, great for a little boy.
Here's another I did for Sandy.  The Feather Meander pattern is one my favorites, and looks great here.
I used a tan thread so that it shows up on both the colored fabrics and on the lighter tones.  Though my pictures do not show the details of the fabrics, these are wonderful.  Some of them have antique street maps of Paris - so cool.  Here's my favorite; may need to get some for "someday".
I am busy finishing the hand details on this quilt, started so very long ago.  You see, I designed and started this quilt more than a year ago - long before EVERYONE in blogland was making a modern Dresden plate quilt.  In fact, I am so pissed that my design is being done by so many people (not "my" design per se, just the concept!) that I stuck the unfinished 102" quilt on the shelf, said several profanities, and left it there since about last December.  Now I have decided that it is the closest of anything I have started to being ready to quilt, so I am finishing the hand stitching, and will either have it on the frame when kids go back to school, or sooner if the client workload allows.  I'm busy getting the backing made, which takes an absolute TON of fabric, and designing all the quilting motifs.  Maybe I'll show some of them next time.

Have a good week-

Saturday, July 07, 2012

My Zen Garden at VQF

One last post from VQF.  I know you have seen this a time or two, but hey - it's mine and it took the Best Mixed Media Award last week at VQF.  That's the award for both piecing and applique.  My thoughts??...I was pretty excited to read that upon arriving.  Then I saw my quilt hanging, and felt horror & shock.  Red ribbon??? What on earth did the judges think I did wrong?  I'd have to wait for the quilt to come home for that answer.  The show hung my quilt on an end, in a lovely prominent place.  I was pleased for that.  It's probably my most dramatic quilt -- nothing subtle about the bright colors.  The purples & greens are all me.  ALL.  And did you know that when I designed this 14-15 months ago, I made it completely from fabrics I had on hand.  Only the backing & binding fabrics were purchased.
I will be happy when all quilt shows will put the cards and awards hung off of the drapes.  You can imagine how horrible it looked on the 24" miniatures to have all these cards blocking the view of the quilt.

The judges in general gave me very nice comments.  They liked my machine quilting, especially the checkerboard.  Gotta admit - this is so easy, but so very effective.   There is always one thorn in a bunch of roses though.  It was this way last year too (but somehow the average of the 3 judges yielded a blue ribbon then).  One judge scored my quilt way lower than the other two.  It's kind of irritating not to have more consistency, or at least some explanation  for deductions.  My piecing is textbook; no missed points anywhere.  So why take off 2 points when the other judges didn't?  This one judge took off a point on visual impact too.  They went so far as to write "powerful and bold impact", but only gave it 4 of 5 possible points. One judge shouldn't be allowed to score 10 points below the average of the other two.  And they ought to give some credit for complexity of piecing and applique.  I know they have a system, and I am far from understanding it, but when a very simply pieced quilt without so much as a triangle to possibly nip off can score a blue ribbon (because frankly there wasn't anything included that could be done incorrectly), it beckons the question, Why?
I could rant about judging until the crows come home, but all it would do is make readers think I am ungracious, which I am not.  I am a product of 45 years of having lived a competitive and judged life.  First it was competitive gymnastics through my youth.  Then I figure skated as an adult, and now the quilting.  I have lived and experienced judges that "just do it differently" than the others time and again.  I disagreed with it then, and still feel there should be be more accountability or guidelines for consistency.  At the very least, I'd like to receive some comment that indicated why this one judge thought this quilt only deserving of the yellow ribbon-points she/he awarded.  The fact that the Vermont Quilt Festival is known for being a conservative and traditional show should not be a factor.  I ask you...

What is improper about my suitability of materials?...
Is there something only 80% in my border treatment?...
Is the quality of quilting only deserving of 17 out of 20 points?...

 I bury all threads, it has perfect tension, and is wildly creative.  The fabrics chosen are perfect for a "blooming" style quilt, creating a big wow factor.  I stood around anonymously and listened to people looking at the quilt long enough to know that they thought it was beautifully executed.  The other two judges wrote that the values and colors were highly complimentary, so why is one judge allowed to deduct.   They should at the least be required to put their names on the judges forms (pink!) so that we know who they are.

Just my thoughts, ya know!

Here's some other looks at this quilt...here and here and here

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

VQF - #2 The Outrageous!

 Here's a sampling of the truly outrageous and fun quilts that were at VQF.

This first one took the viewer's choice.  It's called Sweet Memories by Dominique Ehrman.  It has more stuff appliqued, floating, 3d, puffy, etc than you can imagine.
The chef is holding this 3D frame of a wedding cake on top of a candy house, complete with cupcakes around the border.

It has to be a shipping logistical mess.  How on earth does one put a quilt like this into a box to send??  Here are some of the floral vines.
And more vines, with an easter egg cookie wrapped in tulle.  Everywhere you looked there was something flapping or popping off of the quilt.  It was really fun to look at.
This next one is called Barn Doors and is by Rita D'Alonzo.  It's cute but not in a hysterical and outrageous way.  There were lots of great animals and details in the barns.
The Best Things in Life are Free, by Janet Cohen & Linda Vizi has a sweet upside down rabbit and a stuffed carrot.  He's pretty cute.
Here's a fun one... No Slices! Fuggedaboutit! by Betsy Vinegrad is a definite fun miniature done in the RaeNae Merrill method.
This next one is entitled Remember the Ladies by Connie Harris Farrington.  There's so much humor in this that I couldn't possibly capture it all.  This is the front...
 ...and some closeups...Lady Godiva,
 Lady of the evening...There was Lady Luck, Sales Lady, My Fair Lady, just to name a few.
A while later, we passed by the backside of the quilt, which was displayed too, and discovered that it had the photos of 14 former first ladies, with funny anecdotes about each.  Who knew that Ladybird Johnson was the first to hold hootenannies in the white house??  What is a hootenanny anyways?!
 ...or that Louisa Adams was the first to raise silk worms in the white house, or that Dorothy Madison was the first to cream ice cream in the white house!
This last one is a parody on all things floral.  It is called A Punny Thing Happened on the Way Through the Garden by Karen Viega.  It's cute and 3D from a distance, but just plain comical up close.

Here's her butterfly bush...
 and the peace lilies...
 Spider plant and blue bells..
And there's more - tiger lilies, and lady slippers (Can you see the glass slippers stitched into the flowers??!). The trumpet vine had trumpet buttons.  The palm tree had hand buttons on it.  It was seriously outrageous.
So there's my take on the fun and silly quilts from the show.  Tomorrow I'll show mine and a final wrap-up.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Vermont Quilt Show..#1

I got back from a whirlwind weekend trip to upstate Vermont last night.  I made the 4-1/2 hour drive with my mom and daughter to see the VT Quilt Festival.  It's the oldest (and largest?) quilt show in New England.  Though known for favoring more traditional designs, it had a wide selection of everything to see - modern and hand quilting alike.  The quilts I am posting today represent a selection of what was there, but the next post will feature some of the complete whimsy that I saw.  

This is Diane Craft's Life at Round Pond.  I like the log cabin quilts even if I probably don't possess the patience to boringly piece all the logs.  The applique around it is fun (see next pic)
 She appliqued all kinds of creatures from deer to fox to other birds, and lots of tiny leaves/vines.
This is appealing to see.  Larger applique, lots of different colors.  It's called Phone Home by Marjorie Lydecker.  She claims that one of the appliques looks like ET.  Dunno about that!
 Up close, "Jewel in the Crown" by Dawn Hays shines because I think it is made largely of silk.
Do you remember last winter when I quilted 2 of these miniatures?...  This one is Betty Chouinard's, and it took a blue ribbon!  Robyn's quilt was there as well, but I royally blurred the picture.  It was fun to see both of them (and their quilts) at the show yesterday.  The piecing is near perfect.
 This is a Judy Niemeyer creation, Starburst, by Kathie Alyce and Pat Boyle.  Catchy design, nice colors, good quilting - I just failed to get any closeups.
 Timna Tar often makes quilts with nice color variations, and this is no exception.  It's fun, and colorful.
 And so is this one.
 Not really a big fan o f modern quilts, but the colors worked here.  It's interesting in a minimalist kind of way.  Colleen Kole claims it is inspired by seeing VT barn rooflines from the sky.
This quilt looked nice.  It's called Banff Star by Bethany Morelli. It's the same general idea of the quilt I entered in this quilt, just considerably tamer. She took the home machine quilting ribbon.
Love, love, love this.  The color and whimsy are perfect.  Something small and colorful is on my bucket list for someday.  It's made by Ann Feitelson and called Leaves Fall.
Winter Frost by Thea Kazmer features very soft array of blues.
As I mentioned, this show is relatively conservative.  I think that the judges definitely preferred the conservative quilts.  Nobody that enters quilt shows wants to think that there is a strong subjective force in the judging room, but it's evident.  The more whimsical and bolder colored quilts, though very eye-pleasing, had to be truly exceptional to get blue ribbons.  Many versions of Baltimore album quilt were there.  It's definitely a labor of love to applique all of that!
This was probably my favorite quilt there.  I may be slightly biased towards the machine quilted works, but Marilyn Badger never disappoints.  SuperStar appears to be all silk, and has amazing quilting.  The best piecing and best longarm quilting awards verify her tremendous abilities.
Just have a look at how she overlay quilts...She ignores the piecing at times and boldly just quilts a different pattern, and it works beautifully.  This quilt is all in metallics of several shades.
Here's the Best of Show.  It's Christine Wickert's Sampling the Silken Road.  The piece is hand quilted, and is indeed very pretty.  She has long pipette beads around the binding, and on the quilt (at first we thought they were pins...)  I can't believe how she appliqued all the silk so well.