Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Paducah Quilt Show 2016

After being so disappointed with the vendors at the Chicago Quilt Show, I was REALLY hoping the vendors at Paducah would be better--I was not disappointed. Here are my purchases.

I bought $5 AQS books, fabric, a stencil, some thread, a magazine, a VERY small cutting mat (to use with my 365 Challenge blocks), and some miscellaneous items. My best buys were the $5 books and the $3 a yard fabric (the black and white with the lime stack in the left corner of the pic). I bought a jellyroll and two charm packs of Grunge from Moda. I just love that fabric. I was glad to find various reds and oranges for a project I'll be working on soon. I also bought a couple of tops, a vest, and two pairs of shoes. I have a little bitty Tutto coming where I will house my Featherweight. Obviously, I found the vendors to be much better (for me) than those at Chicago.

I enjoyed the quilts here, but I think Chicago was better for me for several reasons.

  • the ease with which I could view and photograph the quilts
  • there were more "art" quilts
  • the quilt "stories" were displayed

I do want to share a few of the quilts I liked in Paducah. (This show is a REALLY difficult one to photograph. There is NO way to get a good picture of the quilts on the sides of the three-sided display nooks. That is where all the quilts are located when you see a picture that is very wonky.)

I just love black and white quilts. These were my favs. (Top-Untamed Symphony by Sheila Frampton-Cooper, Bottom Left-Black & White Crayons by Lynne Tyler, Bottom Right-Can You See (M)E Now?)

People grouping--(Left-Summer Wind by Marina Landi, Middle-Life's Journey by Devon W. Pfeif, Right-Le Reve (The Dream) After Pablo Picasso by Lynn Isenberg)

Nature grouping--(Top Left to Right--Out on a Limb by Thelma V. Bearden and Desert Moon by Judy Beskow; Bottom Left to Right--Singing Bird by Sumie Nishimura and Sunkissed by Theresa Olson)
Linear/Geometric grouping--(Top Left to Right--Dog Walks Girl by Pam Beal and Blueberry Green Teas by Marcia DeCamp; Bottom Left to Right--Las Ventanas by Kristin Shields and Bohemian by Judi Madsen)

Circle-themed quilts--(Top Left to Right-Life by Yoshiko Katagiri and Pompom Mum by Reiko Naganuma; Bottom-R.E.M. Rapid Eye Movement by Sonia Grasvik)

From my pictures, I guess you can tell I'm a modern/art quilt lovin' gal.

Some friends and I met up at Flamingo Row for a great meal and some visiting.

All in all it was a really fun trip.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

More from the Chicago Quilt Show 2016

The In Full Bloom exhibit is always a favorite of mine. This one really looked like cherry blossoms; I guess that is why it is called Cherry Blossoms at Night (by Makiko Aoki).

Foliage (Gabriele DiTota) has three dimensional blooms. I thought it was interesting that she quilted the piece and then monoprinted it.
I love Susan Brubaker Knapp's Old Red Door. I really needed a closer look at this one. It truly looked like a weathered door; the texture was SO realistic. This is a whole-cloth painted quilt.

Affinity for Improve & Love of the Line (Leslie Tucker Jenison) really drew me in. I find very geometric designs SO appealing. I like the colors, movement, and repetitive nature of this quilt.

It took me a minute to see the word in this quilt. Do you see it? The maker, Kathy York, says, "As I get older, I find that I am increasingly attracted to the idea of repetition. I find a peaceful meditative quality in repetitive tasks. These are represented abstractly in Dot." I find that to be true for me too.

Survivor, by Jennifer Benoit-Bryan, affected me more than any other quilt in the show. She says, "At some point in life, most people live through a terrible event. In my case, I struggled to label myself, but neither survivor nor victim felt completely right; although, I felt much closer to the victim side. This quilt represents the shift I've experienced over many years along the continuum toward the survivor side, while the victim label has faded into the background." I found it very powerful and thought provoking.

There are many other quilts from this show I really liked--WAY too many to show you. I just got back from the Paducah quilt show and have a few of those quilts to share later this week.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Chicago Quilt Show 2016

Some friends and I recently attended the 2016 Chicago Quilt Show. We had a great time and saw beautiful quilts, did some vendor shopping, and ate some great food. The SAQA quilt exhibits were fantastic, and the In Full Bloom exhibit is a favorite of mine. (I like to see how far those quilts have come since I had a quilt in the very first In Full Bloom exhibit. I'll be sharing a couple of the In Full Bloom quilts in my next post.) Getting to see some of the Quilt National quilts was a big plus. I have always loved going to this show because it has a more art quilt vibe than other shows I attend. (I did find it ironic to hear someone make this comment, "This is almost like art." Helloooooooo, IT IS ART!!!!!)

There were LOTS of positives about this show. That being said, I was disappointed to find that the vendors carrying art supplies (paints, inks, fabrics other than cotton, embellishments, art books, dyes, etc.) were VERY few. I miss the mini-workshops they used to have; I think they were sponsored by Quilting Arts Magazine (which is blatantly missing from the show). I miss the excitement of the crowd (there was no crowd). The plus is that it was easy to get in and out of the vendor booths, and it was easy to see and photograph all the quilts.

I don't know if this is a replacement for the mini-workshops, but the show now has four 2-hour "Open Studios" going on at the same time all day long. There are instructors presenting some techniques like "The Art of Zentangles," "Flower Ribbons," "Decorative Stitches on Your Quilt," and "Improv Piecing." These "Open Studios" are a good idea because they allow you to sit down for a bit and learn something while you are resting. However, they are located in the middle of all the "action," and it is VERY noisy. The instructors do not have microphones and are REALLY hard to hear. Also, many of the instructors are not very good teachers. (I'm probably more critical because I am a teacher, but one of the instructors said a few words of intro and then sewed on her machine the rest of the time.) I think a one-hour format might be more successful. Most people sit for a few minutes and leave which is very disruptive for those interested in the presentation (and I'm sure it has to be disruptive to the instructor).

I miss the old Chicago Show--I miss the excited crowds, preview night, and the numerous vendors who no longer attend. I think this show was REALLY hurt by moving to Cincinnati for a few years and then moving back to Chicago. (Of course, I really liked it being in Cincinnati because the drive was SO much easier for those of us in southern Indiana.) I also think it is hurt because the timing of the show is VERY close to the big AQS quilt show in Paducah. I don't think the show can continue with such a lack of attendees. I will go back (if the show continues), but I certainly wouldn't go every year.

Of course, I will share some pictures of my favorite quilts from the show. I'll start in this post and have one more post with pics. I'll start with Suzann Thompson's "Mama Lion."

She machine pieces, machine quilts, hand embroiders, and hand embellishes, her work after knitting and crocheting the components. I found it fascinating. I thought it was a pieced quilt when I looked at it from a distance. Be sure to zoom in on it so you can see that it is knitted/crocheted.

This quilt was unbelievable--SO many pieces. (I have to say I wasn't a fan of the ruffled finishing.)

These half-square triangles finished to one inch.

I loved the title ("Hip Hip Hooray") and story of this quilt. The maker, Bernadette Houghton, said she had intended to make a miniature quilt at a quilt camp. (I'm assuming a "quilt camp" is like a quilt retreat.) Ten days before she was to attend the camp, she fell and broke her hip. After she got out of rehab, she decided to make a full-size quilt instead of a miniature beginning with the half-square triangles she had prepared for the camp. The quilt was completed one month after her hip was pronounced fully healed.

I have a friend who has made some items with selvedges; this reminded me of her.

"Selvage Star of Bethlehem" was made by Mayeen Vinson and quilted by Jan Hutchison. Mayeen says, "This is my version of a vintage string quilt. I was attracted to its unique borders and graphic design. Using selvages donated by quilt guild members and online friends, I've made a selvage quilt for the past three of our guild's biennial quilt shows. At first using selvedges was a novelty but now I challenge myself to use them in traditional designs."

I was looking at this quilt with a friend of mine and she says, "Do you see the word/letters in the quilt?" I looked again and saw it. Do you? Now I can't see anything else when I look at this quilt. After reading the maker's description of the quilt (below), I don't think this was intended. (In case you don't see the word/letters in the quilt, I'll tell you what it is at the bottom of this post.)

"Prayers of My People" was made by Ann Horton. She says, " Using the traditional Burgoyne Surrounded block, this quilt celebrates the blessing of prayer for all people. Seventeen prayers are embroidered into the body of the pieced blocks. Lush silk applique, hand-beaded shells, and hand-quilting on the Ikat border complement the extensive machine quilting on the blocks. The silk hands lifted in prayer are a photo transfer of my hands, complete with hand-stitched lifelines."

My friend, Kathy Loomis, has authored a book called "Riffs on the Rail Fence Block" which looks at ways you can use the rail fence concept to make fabulous quilts of your own design. (You can buy the book from her blog here: Art With a Needle.) This quilt reminded me of that concept except this maker used the log cabin block. I also thought of Gwen Marsten who makes beautiful improve log cabin blocks. I liked the fresh color combination, quirky blocks, and border of this quilt.

"Modern Log Cabin" was made by Kimberly Lapacek and quilted by Marcia Wachuta. She says, "This quilt was inspired by the Riley Blake Modern Quilt Guild Challenge. The center of each of my modern Log Cabin blocks starts with red to keep with the tradition. I used a combination of fabrics by Riley Blake with Kona solids to create the look you see here. I ran out of the fabrics for the borders and visited multiple quilt shops to find more. I couldn't so the resulting border is what happened during the "make it work" time frame, and I am so happy I ran out of ombré fabrics."

I'll be showing you a few more of my favorite quilts from the show.

The word/letters is/are "HO."


Monday, April 11, 2016

Kennel Quilts

Today is National Pet Day! I just read the following in my latest The Quilt Show emailed newsletter:

"The "TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team," a volunteer organization, was formed after Hurricane Sandy to help animal shelters affected by disasters. It was started by TQPM ("The Quilt Pattern Magazine" - an international, digital-only publication). When disasters strike, TQPM checks with the Petfinder Foundation to see if there are shelters in need of assistance. Then they spring into action to make small kennel quilts."

I went to the site to get more information and decided I might have to make some of these. I don't know about you all, but I have TONS of scraps I need to use. I also need to practice my machine quilting on my mid-arm machine. This looks like a win, win, win to me. I'll benefit by using up some of my scraps and practicing my machine quilting, and the pets will win by receiving some new kennel quilts.

Here is the website for more information--kennel quilts website. There are free patterns, instructional videos, blogs, and information about where the quilts are going. Of course if you decide to participate and want your quilts to stay local, you could check with your local shelter to see if there is a need for kennel quilts.

I think Libby would approve!


Friday, April 8, 2016

365 Challenge Update

I have been spending some time working on my 365 Challenge blocks. Several of the blocks, this time, have used a mitered corner to make block segments. I did ONE of them that way; I HATE doing it. The others, presented using that method, I chose to do a different way. I am stumped on one of them, but I will figure something out. These are the new ones I have finished. These are all still supposed to be "dark" blocks (although she has incorporated some mediums into the mix). I just love that bottom 6" block.

Most of the blocks up until now have been 3" finished blocks. As you can see, some 6" finished blocks are being presented. I'm still enjoying the piecing--not the cutting so much.

Of course, I'm still working on my hexagon forever project, my extreme embroidery, and my game boards for the Play with Me Quilt Along. I also have a new art quilt drawn up and am currently shopping for some reds to use in that piece. This is one of the many reasons I love quilting--the variety of different things I can do within the scope of quilt art. I NEVER get bored!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nick DeFord Lecture and Workshop

Recently, I went to an hour long lecture by Nick DeFord on the campus of the University of Louisville. He spoke about his artwork and showed pictures of several of his pieces. Most of his work involves embroidery on paper of some sort--maps, board games, books, etc. He also collages "papers" with stitch. He spoke of his motivation, his inspiration, and his likes and dislikes. He definitely has an interesting point of view.

I also attended his three-hour "learn-to-stitch-on-paper" workshop. I was interested in the concept not only out of curiosity but to see if I could do something with the numerous postcards I have collected. (I have some fabulous postcards that need to see the light of day rather than live in a box in my basement.)

I discovered some interesting differences between stitching on fabric and stitching on paper. I guess I had never really thought about it before.

  • Because of the nature of paper, one has to be very careful about the holes made in the paper--once in the paper, they can't be removed. I know that sounds silly to say; it is SO obvious. However, it sure brings the point home when you are actually stitching on paper!
  • Holes can't be too close together, because the paper will "collapse" making an unintended hole.
  • Doing embroidery onto a game board, requires the use of an awl. Holes have to be "punched" into the board through which the needle and thread can easily pass. Nick uses an awl for bookmaking because it has a thin point.
  • To stitch on cloth I often test to see if I'm in the correct spot to begin stitching by pushing the needle up from the back and checking to see how close to the stitching spot I am. If I'm not in the right place, I adjust and move over a little bit and bring the needle up again. That can't be done on paper/cardboard. Again, that seem so obvious, but I kept forgetting I couldn't do that. To solve that issue, I ended up making holes in the paper with my needle where I intended to stitch.

Here, Nick DeFord is talking about what kind of thread he likes to use. (He likes DMC floss for embroidery, and he likes Gutterman quilting thread for beading.) He demonstrated different stitches, discussed the need for backing some paper with fusible interfacing, showed us stitching for collage, and beading on baseball cards. He also showed us some of the pieces he had done. I found the class VERY interesting.

He also says this is his favorite book for learning embroidery stitches. (It is an old one from Coats and Clark--not an easy one to find.)

Students from U of L attended the class alongside members of LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists).

We were asked to bring "papers" we might want to stitch onto, and lots of "papers" we're made available to us. I stitched on a piece of card stock I had brought from home. This is what I got done.

I really enjoyed this class. It is always fun learning something new, networking with other artists attending the workshop, and meeting new people. Now, we'll have to wait and see if I figure out how I might use this new-found knowledge to include my postcards into some new art pieces.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Visiting Louisville for a Stitching on Paper Class

My husband and I recently went to Louisville so I could attend a class and lecture about stitching on paper. First, though, I want to talk about where we stayed and other things we saw while we were there.

We stayed at the Central Park Bed & Breakfast. (We stayed in the Rose Garden Room.) We had such a good experience with this stay. It was very close to the University of Louisville campus, which is where my class and lecture were; that made it very convenient for us. The cost was less than what we would have paid at The Hampton Inn for that weekend. (We checked.) We had wonderful hosts, a nice suite, snacks and drinks (including some good bourbon, wine, and moonshine) at no extra cost, good company, and a great breakfast. We had heated towels in the bathroom, a KEURIG with all varieties of coffee and teas right outside our room, and bourbon balls in the candy dish in our room. Rob and Eva were great hosts. If you get a chance, you might want to visit. Here are a few pictures of the inn.

We ate at Buck's our first evening there. That is a fabulous place to eat--fresh flowers, a piano player in a tux, good service, and great food. The atmosphere is old-school elegant. I just love it.

Before my workshop, we made a trip to the Speed Art Museum. We spent almost three hours there, and I didn't even get to the Contemporary section (which evidently included several pieces of fiber art I wish I could have seen). It is a place I will definitely visit again. (Free admission on Sunday's; it is usually $12 a person.) We enjoyed a very good meal at the museum restaurant; don't pass that up if you have time to pick up a bite while there.

Here are some of the pieces I really enjoyed. In the Native American section, these beaded pieces REALLY caught my eye.

Click on these for a close-up view of the beadwork. I'm in awe.

I saw three quilts while there. I enjoyed them very much. Virginia Mason Ivey made this quilt about 1860. There are trapunto flowers, farm animals, and even a statue of Henry Clay in quilting on this quilt. She copied the depiction of the statue from an engraving published in Harper's Magazine. Quilts like this were made for display rather than day-to-day use. The edges of this quilt looked like tassels (see bottom right). If you take a close look at the top middle picture, you can see a rider on a horse, a cow, and a duck in quilting.

This 1884 crazy quilt was made by Fanny Owen Woolfolk. In the bottom right picture you can see a closeup of a souvenir ribbon from the Louisville Southern Exposition (a massive fair of industry and art) which displays the year "1884." I love the fabrics (bugs, top right) and the fancy embroidery stitches (bottom left). I thought this quilt was very interesting because the crazy quilt part of this quilt is the border for the central log cabin blocks.

This Cross-Border Quilt by Mary Mize is dated between 1850 and 1855. It is believed that the maker and her family resettled in Clay County, Kentucky, to escape Confederate Tennessee for the Union state of Kentucky bringing this quilt along with them.

The last fiber piece I saw at the museum was this piece by Alma Wallace Lesch. She called it "Ful-O-Pep," and it was made in 1972. The description card for this embroidered piece says, "Textile artist Alma Lesch created something new to represent something old; an embroidered representation of a feed sack. Lesch, who grew up on a farm in western Kentucky, often referenced rural living in her work. Her nostalgia for textiles associated with country life--feed sacks, quilts, overalls--connects her to other artists from the 1960s and 1970s who shared her romance for the rural."

I'll talk about the lecture and show you what I did during my workshop with embroidery artist Nick DeFord in my next post.