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."
"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."