Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Blossom's Journey"

"Blossom's Journey"
Pilgrim/Roy Challenge Quilt 2012
Live Auction AQS Show, Paducah 2012
40 1/2" square

My quilt is finished!  I was invited to be part of this year's Pilgrim and Roy Challenge, a group of quilts made by well known quilters to be auctioned live at the AQS show in Paducah to raise funds for the National Quilt Museum. 

The quilts were due last April but because of health problems I was unable to complete mine until this winter.  But it's done, will be exhibited at the quilt show in the convention center with the other magnificent quilts already featured and displayed this past year.  To see them and think about bidding on one or more of them, click here.

The quilt auction is Thursday evening April 26, 6-8 p.m. with food available beforehand in the food tent.

You can bid online if you won't be at the event:

The quilt was made of a packet of challenge fabrics by Moda from Hancock's of Paducah, and I added two additional fabrics to complete the design.  Quilting motifs are original, including the animals from my Quilting Whimsy digitized embroidery designs for OESD.

The animals were traced to the quilt, but the feathers surrounding it are done freehand and are not symmetrical or matching, totally organic.  I thought the birds, cats, and rabbits looked best surrounded by flowing natural greenery.

I used YLI #100 silk thread and YLI Sparkle thread, and Pellon Legacy wool batt, and the lovely piping/binding was made using Susan Cleveland's Piping Hot Binding materials, book, and technique, which worked wonderfully.  Love it.

Below is a detail of the border quilting. 

I will add more photos in an upcoming post so if you are interested in purchasing this quilt you will have more detailed information.  If you are going to the AQS Show in Paducah, you can see it there, which is always so much better than a photo.  The motifs are outlined in taupe/gold YLI Sparkle thread which gives it such a richness and vintage warmth. 

All of the quilters involved in this project made stunning quilts, and we hope you will be generous and bid and support the museum.  Your contribution will be tax deductible, plus you will own a piece of quilting history from some of your favorite iconic quilters. 

I hope whatever quilt you choose to buy you will be thrilled with this opportunity to own and see every single day something that will enrich your life so much and do so much to support our museum.  The museum belongs to all of us, and we have to do as much as we can to support it. 

The story of this quilt is all about Blossom, a lovely and amazingly sweet little tabby cat who found our home in the snows and ice of February, and went through a long and incredible journey of trust with us to find a new life. 

While that was going on, I made this quilt, a happy diversion for Oliver and me, and included the two cats on it to represent this ordeal.  The "Trip Around the World" pattern is very fitting indeed.  It has a good ending, and Blossom has a new home with a family in our town.  The quilt I hope will find a new home too.

Please spread the word about these quilts so as many people as possible will know about them and think about buying one of them.  I thank you so much.

I am making plans to go to Sneak Preview at the AQS Paducah show and opening day, so please say hi if you see me, whip out a feather plume to show me, and I will be happy.  Can't wait to see the quilts, see old friends, do some shopping, see what everyone has been making!

Keep quilting,  your work gets better every day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Art Quilt Exhibit

Yesterday we braved monsoon rains and drove an hour south to the Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha, WI to view the Quilts in Color Exhibit on display through tomorrow.  We arrived 15 minutes before it opened, so sneaked in a major lunch to wile away some time.  When we returned the rain was not as heavy and we ran to the front door, and walked in to a world of glorious color and design. 

The exhibit showcases the works of major art quilters: Ann Fahl, Melodie Johnson, Marcia Stein, Barbara J. Schneider, Gloria Hansen, and Rhonda Rodero. 

It was wonderful to get a dose of quilting, to be able to see these quilts displayed so beautifully in a splendid old mansion, each one spot-lit perfectly.  The threads twinkled and glowed, the colors were rich and vibrant.  I think some of these quilts left an impression on my retinas that lasted for hours!  Perfect viewing on a rainy spring day.

Loved the variety too, soft colors in the abstract quilts that reminded me of the shimmering rain on pavement right outside the French doors, looking out to Lake Michigan, a stone's throw away.  Intense color in Melodie Johnson's work,  the illusions and depth created by Gloria Hansen, and oh the whimsy of Marcia Stein. 

Ann Fahl's quilts were all on the main level, and hung perfectly so there were sight lines where a quilt could be seen from many feet away, perfectly framed.  Then you strolled up as close as you could get to see the individual thread colors and stitches.  Her cat quilts were fantastic seen all together.  I had the chance to look at them and spend some time not only enjoying the overall look, but seeing up close how things were done.  Although much of it did appear to be a mystery to me!

We spoke with a young mom and two girls who had just finished viewing the quilts, and their faces said it all.  It was so rewarding to me as a quilter to see how they were affected by these works.   Ann's cat quilts were their favorites, and each named one that was her own special "best." 

We talked cats, and quilts, and they wanted to know the name of the black and white cat in the quilts, so I told them it was "Oreo."  Ironically, my first cat as a grown-up was a tuxedo cat, a boy, and his name was Oreo too. 

There were many other visitors while we were there, and they were thoroughly enjoying all the quilts as were we.  It was a pleasure for me to see how they were interacting and so excited and happy with this exhibit.  Each room was a new discovery, and all of it was so satisfying. 

I hope if you live within a day trip of this exhibit you will try and go before it is over on March 25.  Let yard work wait, go grocery shopping next week.  This is worth changing your schedule.  I think I enjoyed this much more than seeing many of these same quilts in quilt shows.  It was fabulous.

Today I have to face making piping and binding, but will grit my teeth and just do it.  Then one more project with a deadline will be done.

Hope you are quilting a little bit in this warm early spring,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stolen Quilts

Batik Cascade Ribbons by Karen Combs

I am very sad to report that fellow professional Karen Combs was the victim of a break-in to her car while in Texas this past week, and a suitcase of teaching supplies and quilts was stolen.  Please go to her blog to see the photos of the missing quilts and contact her if you have any information at all.  Many eyes might help locate these quilts. 

My heart goes out to Karen.  Having something stolen that is so much a part of you as your quilts must be terrible, and to have vital supplies and samples for her classes and her work taken is an added assault. 

Let's hope these quilts can be located and returned, and meanwhile show our support to Karen.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Feathers Everywhere

I hope you've been enjoying quilting feathers!  Here is a photo of a portion of a quilt, "Twilight Rhythms," that contained lots of feathers, flowers quilted with the echo feather technique, and backgrounds on a hand dyed sateen.  The largest feathers are about 5" long, and the tiny ones are tiny. 

Once you learn the shape, and the spacing technique with the line of echo quilting, just about any non-continuous line design can be quilted this way.  Leaving a small space and echoing the line, then echoing the entire design gives it a tailored, finished look.

Here the flowers are quilted with the technique, as could be leaves, pinecones, sunflowers, whatever you choose that has petal shapes or parts hat all unite to form a unit.  The echo lets you travel to the next shape.

My sewing machine has been getting a tune-up and soon I'll be working at it again.  I have reached the physical boundaries in my sewing room with no more space, and I can't find anything anymore.  It's a dilemma, as I really want to keep everything, but must start downsizing to be able to function at all in the space. 

Oliver plans on helping me sort and organize.  Ha!

Hope spring is in the air where you live, it is here in the north, with longer days already.  Time to plan a spring trip to a quilt event!

Keep quilting, keep feathering, don't let what you've learned fade away.

Monday, March 5, 2012

NQM Quilt Ruler!

Oliver has checked out my new ruler that arrived from the National Quilt Museum gift shop and discovered that Mom has a quilt included on its vertical display of quilts from their collection.  How cool is that???

It's $8.95 and features some really beautiful favorites.  I will keep mine handy for the necessary measuring of things I do all the time. 

My "Shadows of Umbria" is on the ruler and I think you'll recognize so many others that you all have loved at the museum.  The detail is excellent on the photos; you'll love seeing the fabrics and quilting. 

Please excuse the cat hair, a carryover from previous cats that became part of the fabric of the quilt.  Oliver enjoyed investigating the "new" smell of the ruler, plus the "old" scents of all the prior cats who slept on this lap quilt, but was not unduly alarmed at all.  Just curious.

I guess it is due for a good wash soon!  It is quilted with smoke invisble monofilament thread, which has held up well over the years, and mostly because it was good quality fresh thread, quilted with the correct set-up and needle, but most importantly quilted with the correct tension.  I used cotton #60 Mettler in the bobbin.  It has lasted nicely, has cotton batt, no trapunto.  I love its vintage look.

SewCalGal has given me some sneak peeks at comments and photos on the Free Motion Quilting Challenge Facebook page, and I am really pleased and proud of all of you for doing so incredibly well!  The best thing is to see finished feathers in actual quilts, table runners, wall hangings.  Go for it!  The more you quilt them, the better you'll become and you will WANT to quilt your own tops, yes, on your very own home sewing machine.  Yay!!

Oliver finally fell asleep by the ruler, adding yet another layer to the interesting fur deposits on the quilt. 

Keep quilting!  Your work gets better every day,