Voices In Cloth 2018 Show Celebrates Quilting Diversity in the East Bay
Albany, California, 11 December 2017 – Returning to the beautiful Richmond shoreline at the historic Craneway Pavilion on March 17-18, the region’s largest non-profit quilt show will have lots to offer anyone interested in quilts, textiles, sewing, wearable art, and more. Voices In Cloth (VIC) 2018 will feature demonstrations, delicious on-site catering, specialty vendors, two special exhibits (over 100 art quilts & a curated show of contemporary Korean textiles), as well as scores of quilts by East Bay Heritage Quilters (EBHQ) members.
Our name suggests tradition, but our biennial quilt show is broad, and is neither juried nor judged. The efforts of each individual quilter, whether beginner or experienced – traditionalist, modern, or art quilter – are equally valued and enjoyed on their own merits.
I spent the day at PIQF yesterday with my SIL n.2. I only had one full day to see the show, which isn’t quite enough. We spent most of the day looking at quilts and I didn’t get to see all of them. I missed most of the Threads of Resistance exhibit and all of the modern exhibit, which disappointed me once I realized it. We stopped at about 4pm to look at vendors, though we had visited Colleen to buy solids and drop off a quilt and The Batty Lady to buy Sue Spargo embroidery thread (oooh la la!!!) early in the day as we were heading to the next section of quilts.
The show has the same look it has in the past. There are a lot of landscapes and they are still using black drapes. The move to shake up the vendors by adding new ones and moving continuing ones I discussed on Thursday was good. Colleen was, again, in the front half of the show and seemed to be doing a brisk trade when I stopped by yesterday.
I noticed an unofficial bird theme. Of course, the Peacock is a bird, but I also saw quail, swans, a variety of Australian birds in the World Quilt Competition, some imaginary birds as well as many others. It is always interesting to me to see what snags people’s imagination enough to take the time to make a quilt using that motif.
I didn’t take as many photos as I have in the past. I didn’t see a quilt that stands out in my mind, either. There were a lot of nice quilts with excellent workmanship and interesting motifs. Of course, there were a number that were not to my taste as well.
I was pleased to see Pamela Allen’s Sleeping Beauty quilt. She always enters PIQF and I had forgotten. This quilt has a much more subdued color palette than some of her other work. Her workmanship and quilting have improved so much over the years. It has been a joy to watch her evolve.
Although, I didn’t not look at the Threads of Resistance exhibit, I did get to see Sarah Ann Smith’s quilt in person. I was so pleased since, as you know, she was a huge influence and support on my Down the Drain quilt. I was able to look at the details and take some detail shots, which really pleased me. this is a wonderful quilt. It says so much to me about the strength of women, about the importance of our fundamental rights such as the right to peacefully assemble.
A technique theme I noticed was people inserting a very tiny slice of color into blocks. One of the quilts that included this technique was Eifersucht (Envy) from Martina Hilgert-Vervoort of Germany and another was by Joan B. Dyer of Grass Valley, Calif called Waves. There were more examples, but these were two that caught my attention.
Machine work continues to be a focus. Many of the quilts had lots of tiny machine work in areas around the piecing. There was a fair number of all over long arm quilting designs, which was a shame as they get the quilt done, but don’t always contribute to the overall design look of the quilt.
Yes, I bought a few things. All in all, it was a good day.
I went to the preview of the Pacific International Quilt Show 2017 last night.
The Preview is an hour and a half long. Preview attendees can look at quilts and interact with vendors as on the normal days. The bonus is that it is really empty, so it is much easier to take pictures of quilts that will be mobbed once the show opens. also, if you can find that one thing you want at a vendor booth, it will be there and you won’t have to fight for it.
I did a quick survey of the vendors and, yes, bought a few things. I saw as many of the quilts as I could, but I really didn’t see anywhere near all of them. I didn’t get a chance to look at the special exhibits.
many vendors were in different places
lots of new vendors
same types of quilts – look and feel of the show was the same
I was really pleased to see some new vendors. I didn’t get to look at all of the wares the new vendors had available. I got an idea of what I might want to buy when I go back.
I was disappointed by the New Quilts of Northern California. I didn’t see anything new and must not understand that point of that exhibit anymore.
The Peacock was hanging there. I was pleased with the location. I was pleased to get a good photo of it.
It is really fun to have another quiltmaker around the corner. SIL and I went to Quilting in the Garden out in Livermore on Sunday and had a good time.
Last time I took BART, I think, and Mrs. K picked me up and drove me to the show.
Quilts were hanging right out front of the main nursery building, so we didn’t have to wait to get our fix.The Halloween quilt reminded me of a mixture of two friends: Julie and Gerre. If they made a quilt together, it would look something like that Halloween quilt
While most of the quilts, in general, were much more traditional than other shows I attend, I was excited to see so many quilts. Many of them had aspects I enjoyed. There were also vendors. I bought some new rotary blades (can you believe I ran out? Shocking!) and a ticket to win a cherry red Featherweight. I absolutely don’t need it, but it was very cute.
Edyta Sitar was the featured artist so many of the quilts on display were her quilts and used her color palette: blues and beiges. She had a booth with all of her books, patterns, thread, everything! Otherwise, I didn’t really see her wandering around chatting with people.
Ms. Sitar’s quilts have a traditional feel to them, but there is generally a twist. She uses a lot of different fabrics in the same values to add interest. She often seems to use intricate piecing or applique’.
The three quilts above are three of Ms. Sitar’s quilts that I really liked. I am not fond of her colors, but I can see adding a white or charcoal background to any of them along with some brighter foreground colors. They would make wonderful quilts in my style and colors.
If there was a theme, I would have to say Hunter’s Star. There were a number of Hunter’s Star quilts. SIL noticed them first as she has been making them with the die and ruler she has. They are super fun to play with in terms of colors. We saw probably half a dozen, which was amazing since I don’t think I have ever seen one at a show. Lora Zmak and Lisa Norton of Material Girlfriends had patterns for Hunter’s Star quilts and many of their samples were clever, bright and cheerful.
The version on the left had really fabulous quilting. Though the fabrics were all solids, the quilting made it look like the fabrics were patterned. Zoom in to look at the full effect of the quilting on the left quilt.
The quilting really worked with the blocks and didn’t take away from the overall design. A+!
My favorite quilt was also by Material Girlfriends. They call it Radiant Star. It is a version of the Sawtooth Star and you know I love almost all Sawtooth Stars. Remember my donation quilts and my Star Sampler?
The Radiant Star had good colors, great quilting and I loved the grid on which the blocks were placed. Look how regular the lines of blocks look horizontally, but once you look at them ont he diagonal, something new and different happens. Genius!
I also like the way the maker arranged the blocks from light to dark.
The Fair is held in June and with the YM’s broken ankle and a big new client, it took me awhile to get this post together. Here it is.
I was tempted to call this post 4 Entries, 4 Prizes, but I thought that might a bit too much self congratulation. It is true, however. I entered four items into the fair and received four prizes.
SIL and I have determined that the way to get prizes is to enter items into the non-quilt categories. I received monetary prizes for everything but the quilt, which received an honorable mention and more criticism on my binding as well as criticism that my seams don’t match. I was annoyed at that since there was maybe 2 seams that didn’t match. I work very hard on my piecing so it looks good. I suppose they have to find something to criticize. The point about my binding was grudgingly well taken. I had no idea what they meant, but SIL showed me what she thought they meant and I took her advice to heart when I did the binding on the Peacock.
I need to make another apron, so, perhaps, I will wait and enter that in the fair in 2018. In fairness, my niece has been waiting for this apron, so it might be a little annoying for her to wait another year. Perhaps I’ll make two.
The fussy cutting on the apron was worth it. There was a comment that they really liked the way I used the fabric. They also liked it that I finished the seams.
They did not like that I did not finish the seams on the California shirt. I kind of knew that when I was working on it. I wanted to make French seams like I do on the pillowcases, but just didn’t do it.
Now I want to make another shirt with French or finished seams. It might be a good way to learn to use a serger.
I have lots of pictures of exhibits to show, so I’ll see about writing some more posts on the Fair in general.
SIL and I went to the SF Quilters’ Guild Show yesterday. It is still on today so you can see it if you have time. The show was held at the Event Center at St. Mary’s is located in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is a San Francisco landmark designed by award winning architects Pietro Belluschi and Pier-Luigi Nervi, in case you were wondering.
I had never been to that particular venue, though I have driven by many times. I thought it was an improvement in terms of lighting over the place they used to use South of Market.
Luke Haynes and Freddy Moran both had special exhibits. We were able to catch Freddy speaking but missed Luke. We saw both exhibits, though many of the quilts Freddy had hanging were the ones she showed at the lecture I attended several months ago.
I am always interested to see Freddy’s work. She is getting up there in age and I am inspired by her continued work, visiting classes, etc. She talked about going to Sisters every year and taking classes, which I think is wonderful. Everyone can learn new things.
The show had a very interesting system to determine Viewer’s Choice. They gave each entrant 5 stick-on orange dots. Our job, as viewers, was to stick an orange dot on quilts that were Viewer’s Choice favorites.
While this might have given some quilts an unfair advantage, because people could see the favorites, I thought it was easy to manage. I rarely vote for Viewer’s Choice at quilt shows. Since I didn’t have to try to find the quilt’s number or the ticket box for depositing choices, this was and easy activity in which I could participate.
I have found that each show has a signature or theme. It might only be noticeable to me. I think it can be because of a workshop given where a lot of participants finished their quilts. It can also be that someone showed a quilt and others were inspired. I noticed a LOT of log cabins at this show. There were certainly other quilt designs, though I would say that log cabins dominated. They were certainly not all the same type of log cabin, but there were a distinguishable number.
SFQG now has some modern bees (small groups). One of them purchased the same fabrics. Each member made chunks, then they got together one day and put the chunks together into a really great Improv design.
The cohesive colors definitely help. However, the overall design doesn’t look like it was made by seven people. In addition to the colors, there is also a sense of cohesiveness in the design. Of course, I can’t help liking the colors. 😉
There was also a room full of Antique quilts. Many of these were in amazing condition. I was shocked at how good the colors had held up, especially in one quilt, apparently from the 1880s that a bright and vibrant Turkey red included.
I saw a couple of excellent La Passacaglia efforts. We looked carefully at the quilting of most of the quilts. We weren’t in agreement on all of the efforts, but found a number that could have been improved by better quilting efforts. One quilt made a group of Monkey Wrench (Churn Dash) friendship blocks shine. They could have been set straight or on point and been indifferent, but the artist did a great job.
The vendor mall had a couple of good booths. Serge-a-Lot and Heartway were both there, which was great. The Sashiko booth from which I bought a selection of needles at PIQF last year also set up shop. The Featherweight guy had his fabulously painted Featherweights. I was pleased see he also sells Sew Steady Tables. It is good to have multiple options. There were 3 jewelry vendors and a makeup booth. I found there to be a distinct lack in the vendor department. I wanted to buy some fusible fleece and no booth had it.
We spent about 3 hours at the show and it was a good way to spend a Friday afternoon.
Nota bene: Copyright marks on photographs above are intended to denote my ownership of the photographic image not of the quilt or the quilt design.
Last Sunday, I took some time to visit PIQF, the Pacific International Quilt Show put on by the Mancuso family. It was, again held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I was pleased that there was no 49ers game (the stadium is across the street) as I had no interest in fighting THAT traffic.
It was the last day of the quilt show and I could tell all of the vendors were tired. I wasn’t able to find any Aurifil #2600 50wt and found that many of the vendors were out of the most popular items.
In general, I thought that the show showed a slight improvement this year. In terms of quilts shown, I found them brighter and more cheerful.
The machine work was still excellent and quiltmakers seem to continue to push the boundaries. The Best of Show was someone new this year, which also pleased me. There were new vendors and some vendors had been moved around.
The modern exhibit was really excellent and number of BAMers had quilts in that exhibit.
I saw many more Southern California and out of state quiltmakers showing than Northern California quiltmakers. I wonder about that: first, is my impression correct; second: why are more So-Cal and out of state people entering and are we Northern Californians not entering as much? I know I did not enter a quilt this year.
I drove with my SIL down to the show. She spent most of the show talking to longarm vendors. I got her take on the machines during lunch and the drives. I was really glad the show provided her the opportunity to talk to multiple vendors in one place. While she was doing that, I walked up and down nearby aisles and was able to look at most of the vendors and quilts while she got the information she needed from various longarm vendors.
I have always wanted to make a season quilt. I don’t know why, but I like the imagery of the seasons indicating the passage of time.
I am not sure I need to make a seasons quilt now as this one is really great. I love the curviness of the shapes and imagery. Of course, there were things I would do differently, so, perhaps, I do need to make one. 😉
I was pleased to see one Tula Pink City Sampler quilt, Teal in the City by Elaine Lindsay, Cupertino Calif. Seeing this quilt inspired me to continue working on mine. I like the way Ms. Lindsay used a cohesive color palette. The blocks really fit together. I also like the different sashing colors for her blocks. That is a good idea. Seeing a done City Sampler in person also gives me an idea of the size. It is large but not crazy large. It would probably fit on our bed, if we needed another bed quilt. 😉
One day isn’t really enough. I walked down a couple of rows twice, once by myself and once with SIL. I found myself not remembering the quilts I had already seen. I consider myself someone with a good visual memory. I may need to rethink that. There is a lot of visual stimulation at a quilt show and even I couldn’t take it all in in one day.
Some themes I noticed:
several Peacock quilts
secondarily, a number of interesting animal quilts – not in a photorealism style, which I appreciated
fewer dark landscape quilts
fewer art quilts, though the ones I did see were interesting.
I noticed a number of brighter, more whimsical quilts
There was a lot more negative space, even in quilts not in the Modern exhibit
Some improvements the Mancusos could still make:
white drapes instead of black would lighten up the whole show.
continue to vett vendors and replace out of date/boring vendors
more modern vendors
require vendors to have new fabrics, not just old stuff they keep in their traveling kit
limit non-quilt supplies vendors
Of course, I am not a quilt show organizer (though I am happy to consult!) and I am glad to have such a large show so close to me. It is easy for me to say what I think should be changed, but it is not always easy to make the changes. Incremental changes are easier to make and less of a risk. I wish they would publish year over year attendance records, so I could see how the changes they made this year affected attendance, though they might not see an increase until next year.
I bought a few things, but not the items that were on my list. The fabric will be a quick quilt for the grandson of one of my Austrian friends. I want to finish (work on??) the Windmill quilt. Since I still have not been able to find the template I bought another. Silly, but necessary. I also am always on the hunt for sharp needles with big eyes. I bought another Tulip brand pack to try them on Under the Sea.
Dates: Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, 2016
Hours: Saturday: 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Sunday: 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Admission: Two-day advance purchase tickets are $10 until February 29, 2016; tickets purchased at the door are $15 and children 12 and under are FREE.
Location: The Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, in the Marina District of Richmond, California. With its huge windows, panoramic San Francisco Bay views and natural light, The Craneway Pavilion makes a spectacular venue for the vibrant quilts and fiber art that will be displayed at Voices in Cloth.
East Bay Heritage Quilters present Voices in Cloth 2016, Extraordinary Quilts by the Bay. Highlights of the two-day show include an exhibit of more than 200 new quilts and wearable art made by guild members; quilts by kids; a stellar lineup of 37 vendors, offering textile and eclectic wares; a Guild Marketplace of Fine Fiber Art; free demonstrations of quilt-making techniques including new ruler-free cutting techniques by Sherri Lynn Wood; bed turnings by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles showcasing quilts from the museum’s permanent collection; engaging activities for children and introducing new children’s titles from C&T Publishing; and great door prizes.
Voices in Cloth 2016 will as also feature two special exhibits:
“Off the Wall: Maverick Quilts from the Julie Silber** Collection”
Well- known and highly respected quilt authority, Julie Silber curates this special exhibit of 20 of her favorite quirky antique quilts. The pieces all have in common an unusual twist on the ordinary, a certain verve, and a gritty individuality rarely found in more studied and self-conscious quilts. These playful pieces demonstrate that all over America original works of art may be as close as the blankets under which we sleep. Julie Silber will lead a personal tour through the exhibit each day at 1 p.m.
**Julie Silber is best known locally as curator of the world-renowned Esprit Quilt Collection , which was on display at the Esprit Company headquarters in San Francisco in the 1980s. She is the owner of Julie Silber Quilts where she offers a wide range of antique and vintage quilts made between 1800 and 1950. She wrote Hearts and Hands: The Influence of Women & Quilts on American Society, and Amish: the Art of the Quilt.
“Tell Me a Story” A Cloth Doll Challenge
For the first time, Voices In Cloth presents a special exhibit of 36 cloth doll sculptures and their stories. The Challenge is curated by Sondra Von Burg, a local doll artist, teacher and lecturer on the Art of Cloth Doll Making. She states “Dolls traditionally were made to represent the human form in miniature. Contemporary dolls are moving closer to sculpture, but often continue to represent humans beyond just the form and all dolls have a story to tell.” Sondra will be demonstrating “Cloth Doll Finger Turning” during the show and has a vendor booth exhibiting her work.
East Bay Heritage Quilters is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization based in Albany, California. The guild focuses on preserving and continuing the traditions, culture, and history of quilting and textile arts. A significant contribution EBHQ makes to our community is the Deanna Davis Community Quilt Project, through which our members and outside volunteers make and distribute over a 1,000 quilts a year. Recent recipients include First Place for Youth (a home for aged-out foster teens), and survivors of the Lake County fires. In 2016, EBHQ will make monthly deliveries to a Neonatal Intensive Care facility.
There are two Opportunity Quilts that will be featured at the show. Winning tickets in the raffle will be drawn on Sunday, March 20, 2016. Photos and descriptions of Bay Windows and String Theory can also be found at http://www.ebhq.org/quilt-shows/vic2016/vic2016quilts.
42 inches by 46 inches
Raffle Quilt designed by Nancy S. Brown
Appliqued by Nancy S. Brown, Meg Cupman, Cynthia Demidovich Winn, Linda Gavin, Sue Gragg, Linda Gruber, Andrea Hong, Jenny Kolbusz, Liisa Lyon, Lily Pang, Laurel Putnam, Melissa Quilter, Valerie Sopher, Katie Spangler, Carolyn Weil.
Quilted by Laura Lee Fritz.
Photography by C&T Publishing
80 inches by 84 inches
Raffle Quilt by Barbara Ramsey
Quilted by New Pieces in honor of Deanna Davis
Photography by C&T Publishing
East Bay Heritage Quilters, P.O. Box 6223, Albany, CA 94706
I can’t seem to stop writing about QuiltCon. Different aspects of the event are in my mind often.
The thing about this conference was that it was more than a quilt show. It was like a conference I have attended for my professional organization. People knew each other; there were opportunities for learning aside from just quilt classes. Everyone was very focused on a shared set of …values or perceived values. [Actually, I am not sure if that is the right term, but it sort of gets at what I am trying to say.] It was an event with aspects of a quilt show. I wonder if the AQS shows are the same way?
I know I have said before that there was an excited buzz in and around the whole conference. I really liked being in a place where everyone was excited about quiltmaking.
Yes, there were people walking around who looked miserable. Yes, there were people there who were so absorbed by their phones and tablets that they couldn’t talk with anyone. Yes, there were people who only wanted the free stuff. Beyond all that were those who were taking advantage of opportunities. I tried to be one of those people.
I was thrilled to see all the different solids in one place. I didn’t even know Northcott had solids until this show. It was wonderful to see vendors, albeit a small group, with the freshest, newest fabrics rather than the old junk that vendors feel ok with bringing to PIQF. I was thrilled to meet people I follow on Instagram. It was great to see manufacturers there! I was excited to talk with them, see what they brought and, on occasion, play their games. It was great that a few of the vendors brought donation quilt activities with them. It provided a good opportunity to sit and rest our feet while doing some good.
The quilt above was the Viewer’s Choice, Mr. Swirl E. Bones by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I voted for another quilt, but there was a lot that I liked about this quilt. It is a very interesting use of a panel. I also liked the kaleidoscopic effect she created by putting the different parts of the panels together. I also like the diamonds and the way the piece looks like a flower from far away (upper right photo). You also can’t tell that it is a skeleton panel with just one glance.
Windham gave away pamphlets showcasing their newest fabric designers. The snippets were about half a small page (8.5″x11″ folded in half) and had a few of the forthcoming prints with a headshot of the designer. It was nice to be able to look at a few pieces of fabric that won’t be out for months.
Quilter’s Dream had a very boring looking booth. It looked like they had just curtains up and stack of samples. Samples are always nice. Somehow I ended up in the booth and found out that those boring looking curtains were batting samples! They had unrolled some batting and had hung it up so potential buyers could feel it. What a great idea!!! I liked the thinness of that batting and also the different content they had: silk, bamboo, polyester made from soda bottles and many more. I want to get some to try in a quilt.
I dropped my card off a Schiffer Publishing. I have been wanting to send publishers letters telling them that I write book reviews and post them here. As you may remember, I donate 90% of the books I receive to my local library. My library is part of consortium, so those books are available to people in other local libraries as well. I haven’t heard anything, but my fingers are crossed. Schiffer does a lot of interesting books.
I loved working with the Sizzix in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s class. I have been looking through their catalog of designs over and over thinking of what I can make.
As I said the other day, we attended lectures almost almost all day on Saturday. I am not sure why I signed up for such a marathon, but with one exception they were all very good.
Victoria Findlay Wolfe
My new hero. Have I said I want to be her new BFF? Actually I want to be her: tall, gorgeous, funny, kind and makes 14-20 quilt tops a week.
VFW’s lecture was called Creativity & Play/Process. This was a new lecture for her, so we were getting the unpracticed version. It wasn’t that she didn’t do a good job; she did. She just wasn’t as familiar with the flow of the words. Any of you who speak frequently in front of a crowd know how it is to work out the kinks on a new lecture.
To her, process and play are the same. Process should not stifle your creativity or imagination. We are often trained out of using our intuition, which means that we don’t know how to use intuition in our work. She encouraged us to think about and document how we work, think about the colors we always buy then rip the process apart and see what comes from changing it up.
She encouraged the audience to put a story into the quilt in order to make a connection with the quilt.
Having an idea in our heads doesn’t mean that the quilt will end up that way, which means we have to be open minded in our quiltmaking. You can always make them into something else by cutting them up or appliqueing on top or….?
Making creative decisions means you are an artist (NO arguing with me or her about that!), which, further, means we are all artists.
The next section of the talk was interesting. She discussed types of creative people. Her types were:
Creative Self Doubter
The Creative Starter Junkie
The Creative Rule Abider
The Creative Free Spirit
One of the things she asked after describing these creative types was which one we thought we were. As she described the types I kept thinking I was this one or that one, then I realized I had elements of all of them in me. I panicked a little until she said she had elements of all in her, too.
Some of the overarching themes I gleaned when she described the types were:
let go, there is always more fabric
If you aren’t having fun, find a new passion. Life is too short and we are all just doing our best.
Making mistakes is a learning experience.
We are all perfect in our imperfections.
Stand up and show your quilt at your guild meeting. That is the only way to find your tribe
Play like children play. They don’t know where the story is going, but they start playing anyway
Chaos and creating go together
Not all great ideas are great, but why not explore them?
Quilts don’t always happen on your timetable.
The more you work on a project and come back to it, the more it tightens up
Surround yourself with creative people
consider the following strategy for people who give unsolicited opinions:
You hear it
You decide if its accurate
Let it go
The more quilts you make the better you get at making them
Slow down. Sit with the pattern or your sketchbook awhile longer. Sitting in the process awhile longer helps you make more connections
Look for opportunities to learn
Repeat techniques you learn so you can really master it
think about what else you can do with a technique – something different than the teacher taught
Make time; break it down into little morsels of time
Every quilt is awesome. Your life will not end if the quilt isn’t awesome. Cut it up, change it, add something to it
I liked her advice and thinking about what she was saying. I realized that I did cut up a quilt once: the Renewed Jelly Roll Race. It was horrible and now it is actually a quilt I am not embarrassed to show people.
If you haven’t seen her speak, get there NOW! If you haven’t taken a workshop from her, do whatever it takes to get into her class. She is awesome.
You might remember that I took a 2 day workshop from her around 2003. I made the Women’s Work quilt, which is still part of a series that I haven’t worked on any further. I will do it; I just haven’t yet.
Gwen Marston is a funny, confident speaker. She engages with the audience very well. I felt mesmerized and riveted by her talk.
She will have a book out in August, A Common Thread, which will be retrospective of her work. [Pre-order now and support the blog by clicking on the title.]
She started making quilts when she saw a quilt show at a Mennonite church in Oregon. After that she went to the quilt group every week the whole year her family spent in Oregon. She only stopped going after er husband;s sabbatical was over and they returned to Michigan. She left with the knowledge to make quilts.
After that she got together with Mary Schafer. They both liked the irregularity of antique quilts and thought newer quilts seemed too coordinated and matchy-matchy. Antique quilts seemed spontaneous. She decided to model her quilts after vintage quilts.
Gwen wants spontaneity in her quilts. She embraced possibilities. She thinks good technique is important, but that an overabundance of concern about precision stifles creativity. She wants her quilts to be square with no ruffly edges.
When she makes a new quilt, she thinks about it as making up a new recipe – she gives herself parameters. She works a lot in solids, but also works with prints.
Gwen also talked about ghost blocks. These are blocks, or pieces of fabric that have no value change, so they disappear. Also, this concept is related to fabrics running together. When fabrics in different blocks run together, because they are the same or have the similar colors and values,they can merge into a block or piece next to them, changing the shape. Add bits and pieces to add interest and create new shapes
She kind of rocked my world about bindings. First, Gwen talked about Amish bindings. Amish bindings are on the straight of the grain. They put the sides on first and then the top and bottom. They do not miter the corners. I have never heard of this and have not checked it out. I also can’t imagine how they would finish the ends of the top and bottoms. Something to contemplate.
Then, she talked about how she uses single fold straight of the grain binding. I have always used a double fold bias binding. That was how I learned and I was always told they wear better. I was justified because I have never had a binding wear out. Gwen’s point was that if the binding wears out aren’t you going to replace the whole binding anyway? <—- Hhmmm
Gwen’s words of wisdom:
Do your own work and don’t worry about what other people are doing
Different sized blocks in one quilt add interest
If you try stuff, some of it will not work. That is part of the game/process. Take a chance!
Think about the practical or smart way to do something not the ‘right’ way.
I think I have a couple of more posts in me about random QuiltCon things, so stay tuned for those.
On Saturday, I think, we attended lectures almost all day. I am not sure why I signed up for such a marathon, but with one exception they were all very good.
First off, we were 5 minutes late for Mary Fons. The lecture started at 9am and I could have used a lie in that morning. They started, apparently, right on time, thus we were late. I thought she did a good job talking about quilt history. It wasn’t a perfect lecture, but she did a good job discussing most of the history of the modern quilt revival such as the Whitney exhibit and the effect of the Bicentennial. Included was mention of a variety of cultural issues/discussion that are relevant to quiltmaking such as gender in quiltmaking (do men get more attention in a female dominated environment), how feminism relates to quiltmaking (it’s ok to put a casserole in the freezer and go to a retreat) while giving a brief overview of the resurgence of quiltmaking. The late 1980s and the 1990s, a huge time for art quiltmaking, rise of shows, guilds and tools was not discussed as much. There was a discussion of the increase in TV shows, especially on PBS such as the groundbreaking Georgia Bonesteel show, Sewing with Nancy and, of course Fons & Porter.
She threw out some statistics,w hich I have heard before, but continue to floor me:
78% of US quiltmakers have at least a college education
21 million quiltmakers in the US
$4 billion industry. FOUR BILLION!!!
The major companies in the industry are dominated by men
In general, throughout the lectures, there was a repeated suggestion for modern quiltmakers to look to the traditional quiltmakers (who are finding their way to modern guilds) and to learn from them. There was a constant reminder that the fabric used doesn’t impact the skill set. I heard it at this lecture first, but then throughout the conference as well. I thought that was very nice and speaks to some of my concerns about the exclusionary nature of the modern quilt movement.
Libs Elliott was not on my radar until I heard about her from Kathleen and found out that LE is teaching at the Make It Modern Event in Reno in June. I didn’t know what to make of her. I am really excited about her now.
Libs Elliot is an excellent speaker. She started off her talk with some comments about her family, telling us she is Canadian and grew up outside of Toronto. I got the impression she still lives near there. Her parents are antique dealers which provided a nice segue into her thoughts about objects, including quilts, having secret lives, they all have stories. She also said that when we make something, we are leaving our own marks and should feel a sense of pride.
As an aside, thinking about the ‘lives’ of objects is an interesting concept to me. I like thinking about what the objects have seen and whether they absorb the history of where they have been. Kind of like Ashakic Records, but for objects.
For her the past is calm and the future is exciting. Ms. Elliott likes clear simple lines. She enjoys using new tools and thinking about ways to use technology. She is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and traditional craft.
Creating designs using a computer code generator is an interesting concept to me. Some might think it takes all the work of the artist out of it, but there are still a lot of decisions to make: color, design modifications, size, fabrics.
Elliott explained the process very well, incorporating that into the trajectory of her quilt career. Her lecture clearly showed how she was moving forward within the space of creating quilt designs with code.
The message I got was “never be afraid to ask”.
Scrap Management Panel
The good thing about this lecture was that it was a panel and we got to hear about the different ways people deal with their scraps. I wasn’t able to appreciate the people who have one bookshelf full of fabric. I may have too much fabric, but they don’t have enough. JMO, of course. The members of the panel were Mary Fons, Christa Watson and Judy Gauthier. It was moderated by Rossie Hutchinson.
Another good thing about this lecture was that I found Bungalow Quilting and Yarn. The owner, Judy Gauthier, was a fireball, a great marketer and an inveterate scrap quilt maker. She has a new book, Quilts for Scrap Lovers out by C&T. She has written a number of quilt books and guides. I was only able to take a quick peek at the new book. Go and buy it anyway. She was awesome.
As you can imagine, methods of dealing with scraps run the gamut. Mary does not usually use whole lines. She stores in scraps by color in an old, but refurbished dry goods cabinet and a large rattan basket. She also advises not to buy what you think you should buy, She encouraged the audience to love what you buy.
Mary also talked about the ‘precious fabric problem’. If you have fabrics that you love and pet and don’t want to cut into, put them on the back of a quilt for you. You will be able to enjoy them more. She encouraged the audience to enjoy your fabrics by using them.
Christa is a minimalist. Her philosophy is Know It, Use It, Love It. I can appreciate that sentiment since I buy fabric to use. She cleared out her fabric sometime in the recent past and has one large cabinet for fabric storage. Christa buys and uses a lot of tone-on-tones. She also buys pre-cuts because she can use them up quickly and get a scrappy look easily.
Judy’s philosophy is buy as much as you can and keep as much as you can. She stores her scraps by color. She does believe that the fabric should move you.
Rossie put her two cents in as well and says she destashes scraps. She encouraged people to let go of fabric with which you are finished. She said to buy what you use and don’t be influenced by trends and formulas. Her theme was ‘admire don’t acquire’.
There was a discussion of pre-washing with a mini poll during the lecture. Pre-washers like me are definitely in the minority. Mary led this short segment and said she now pre-washes everything. She reminded us that there are good reasons for pre-washing and also for not pre-washing. We were also reminded that pre-washing=pre-shrinking and if you wash some fabrics for a quilt you should wash them all so they don’t shrink differently.
Christa pre-washes, though she doesn’t pre-wash her pre-cuts. She loves to iron yardage and enjoys touching her fabric.
The panel also discussed caring for your fabric:
keep fabric out of the sun. Sun is the enemy
wood ‘leaks’ oils and will discolor/damage your fabric
use acid free paper to protect fabric from sun and wood
There was also a discussing of building a stash. Judy reminded people to buy colors that make you feel good and makes you happy. Be selfish and buy fabric that speaks to you physically. Also, buy the best fabric you can afford. One great tip was to figure out what YOUR basics are and keep those in stock. As part of this discussion there was a thread about using fabric.
Take a photo in black and white to check contrast
Offset prints with solids (or tone-on-tones)
Contrast is relative: white makes buttercream yellow look dark.
Contrast can be a problem even when colors and patterns are great.
The panel left us with the admonition to USE OUR FABRIC!!
I can’t really say that this post is about Day 4 of QuiltCon, because we spent day 4 driving home. We spent little pockets of time having some fun in the vendor hall and the various rooms full of quilts, however. Some of the fun was discussed in a previous post.
I won a fat quarter pack from Timeless Treasures. The ladies at the booth were very sweet and I was sad not to be able to spend time making a donation block with them. I may see if I can make one and send it along now that I am home.
We got soft tacos at the convention center for lunch one day. They were very good. While waiting in line, I saw this hilarious sign. Do you think it means you will start weird projects if you drink and sew? Or that injuries might be involved?
I mentioned that we saw the BAM donation quilt. Michelle, the BAM organizer, wanted to see how it looked with some of the other donation quilts.
Do you know that song about how nobody walks in LA? Julie pointed out a number of these young men walking exercise bikes down the street.
I was finally able to meet up with the fabulous and unbelievably kind Annie Smith (Frances’ best friend).
I am still on the fence about some of the quilts on exhibit, but I have to say that looking at them made me look at things a little differently. I am looking at scenes and shapes and scenery with an eye towards incorporating some of the lines into future quilts. With my newfound bias binding skills, lines are easier to contemplate.
I really liked the big star quilt at the Northcott booth. One of the things I like about it is that it is a big block on a field of negative space,b ut the negative space is softened a bit by the smaller stars sprinkled around the negative space. Those smaller stars are concentrated more heavily around the large block. This whole layout is much more interesting than it would be with just that big block.
Food was a little bit of an issue for me during the conference. One of the last days, I demanded Mexican food and there was a mexican place across the street from the convention center that appeared on my GF app. We were able to spend some time with Susan, the History Quilter, and Zina, @zanymouse, who were stuffed and only wanted a drink (not food). Regardless, we were able to catch up and I was able to get to know Zina better.
I also was a little bit ridiculous at the Northcott booth.
I was sad that my dress didn’t cause a sensation in the Free Spirit booth. I think the print was a few years old and the girls at the booth were glued to their phones. Oh well, it caused a sensation everywhere else. 😉
My friend Charlotte wrote “Judges and juries can be pretty different in their ideas too. Juries are often more concerned with what will make a good show and fitting quilts in and then judges get to choose from what the jury has given them.”
Charlotte’s comment made me feel a little better about my Fabric of the Year quilts not getting into QuiltCon. I knew the function of juries, but their job wasn’t on my radar and I was just thinking about *my* quilts not getting in. I wasn’t thinking about the overall look of the show. Thinking about the overall look of the show, I think that the jury did their job. She show was well coordinated and had good visual impact.
The question is: do I make a quilt I think will get into the show or do I continue doing what I am doing? The latter of course. I don’t want to make quilts I don’t like or quilts that use colors and fabrics that don’t appeal to me. That is a recipe for instant UFOs.
I think one idea of a show is to make a quiltmaker think. I am definitely thinking about what I saw. I have definitely been influenced by attending the show. I don’t know if what I saw will show up in some way in my work, but I think influences will.
One thing that won’t probably change is my love of complicated quilts. I have never been moved by minimalist art and translating that movement into quilts has not changed that. I don’t hate that style and will look at those pieces in a museum. I will always look at complexity and visual interest for longer.
Another quick post to keep you in the QuiltCon loop.
Today was our day to look at the rest of the quilts and vendors. There weren’t a ton of vendors (PIQF has more), but the vendors did have interesting stuff and there was lots of free stuff – fat quarters and charm squares. It was kind of fun, but also somewhat overwhelming.
First, we looked at quilts. As usual there was a lack of understanding of what the judges were thinking.
One I liked was Phoenix by Anne Sullivan of Gaithersburg, Maryland (@playcrafts). Anne gave a lecture to BAMQG at some point in the not too distant past about color.
Colorfall by Timna Tarr of South Hadley, MA (@timnatarr) was very interesting. I really liked the quilting on this piece. It did not distract from the overall design and fit in very well.
Drip by Suzy Williams, Chicago, IL, (@suzyquilts) was one of my favorites. I think it was because of the colors. I saw it from across the room and it caught my attention. I am dying to make a quilt that invokes such a sense of calm.
Falling by Kathy York of Austin, TX and the Austin Modern Quilt Guild (@kakiyark) was another favorite. The balance is good. The colors work well together. The design isn’t too fussy or complicated. There is also repetition with variety. That little bit of handwork adds something, but not a lot. I love it and am inspired to make something just as fantastic.
I also really liked Cog by Emily Cier (@cpatchwork). I have always wanted to make a Jack’s Chain quilt. This is the same pattern except in Jack’s Chain the squares are replaced by 9 patches.
I love the addition of the trees in Putting on the Glitz by Tami Levin of Sunnyvale, Calif. (@lemontreetami). The colors used to imply the trees are perfect on top of the Michael Miller challenge quilts.
There were some quilts I wondered about, but there were many, many more quilts that wee really interesting in some way. I did wonder about the size of some of the quilts. I thought modern quilts were supposed to be utilitarian? The small quilts, unless they were large mug rugs, did not seem to be utilitarian to me.
One of the good things about the show is that it wasn’t just about looking at quilts and buying stuff. There were manufacturers there who were not there to sell, but to market their newest lines and concepts. A couple of the manufacturers were also working with attendees to make donation quilts.
Kona’s new Color of the Year, Highlight, was the theme of the booth. In addition to all the Highlight quilts being shown, they had a color activity where you could design your own palette around Kona’s new Color of the Year. Julie created her own palette and we both received FQs for her trouble. 😉 It might be interesting to work with.
Timeless Treasures was making a donation quilt in their Dear Stella booth. We didn’t have a chance to stop and make a block, but we did take some time to post a selfie so we could possibly win a pack of FQs. I posted the goofy selfie above!
Victoria Findlay Wolfe told us about the donation quilt that Marcus Fabrics was making to provide additional funds for ALS research. We needed to sit down for a minute, so we stopped there and made some blocks. We met a fellow class member from yesterday and chatted with her about her guild, the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild.
I made two blocks and we have some pieces from the class that we can use to make more. The blocks are hand pieced and I have stuff to make more with me. I hope to find the time to do it. You know how much I support efforts make donation quilts. The fabric is the new Victoria Findlay Wolfe Manor House line. Julie and I bought a layer cake and will share it.
Finally we took some time to look at the vendors. There weren’t as many vendors as I expected, though others have said that there are twice as many vendors as last year. I loved seeing new and interesting fabrics (not the old stuff vendors bring to PIQF) and fun prints. I was also pleased to see Sizzix, Accuquilt, several machine manufacturers and small fabric stores like Crimson Tate.
I was thrilled when Coral messaged me asking to meet up. We met at the Marcus booth, because we were still working on our donation blocks. She was a sport in that she was willing to meet us there so we could finish. Coral is a lovely person who is a Bay Area native, but now lives in Canberra. We chatted for a few minutes, then she needed coffee and we needed to get back to our vendors.
It is fun to meet people I know from Instagram and Twitter.
I decided to look for some fabrics that I could mix in with my Timeless Treasures background for the VFW quilt. I won’t have enough of the original background and I want to make the design more interesting and the quilt larger. I took a piece of my fabric with me and compared it to various solids that were available. The above were some of the good choices. I also want to take a look at Moda Bella Seafoam and Moda Bella Big Chill. They look like they will work. I want the solids to blend, though, and not to stick out too much. It is a difficult problem because the TT fabric I used has a lighter fabric overlaid with a darker fabric.
All in all we had a fun time, met some nice people, saw some great products and quilts.
Short version: she is a great teacher, I learned a lot want to buy a Sizzix Big Shot Pro. 🙂
The class was called Pies & Points and is an updated version of a variation on the Drunkard’s Path. This pattern was popular several years ago and was called Snails Trails or something like that. I’ll look it up when I get home (if I remember). I have always wanted to make a quilt like this, so it was the perfect opportunity.
Victoria Findlay Wolfe is a great teacher and if you have the opportunity take a class from her. She was very clear. She was supportive and didn’t try to have us accomplish too much in one day. She was available, was walking around the room offering assistance and seam ripping services. VFW was also accessible and made the project accessible. She was pleasant and funny and very human. I liked her very much and want to be her BFF. She also wore leather capri pants, which were super cool.
I am not a project class person. This class kind of bordered on that type of class, but was full enough of technique that I could apply to other projects that the class worked for me. I could work within certain boundaries, but still spread my wings.
She gave a little bit of information and the Sizzix people passed out the Pies and Points die to us. We each got our own!!! I didn’t know that was going to happen and it was useful as well as exciting.
About this time, one of the QuiltCon people came in and announced that Victoria’s quilt, Mr. Swirly Bones, won Judge’s choice! We all clapped and she was very excited.
VFW showed us how to cut using the Sizzix and then how to sew the curved seams and then we got busy cutting and sewing. You can cut a lot of pieces at once, but there is still prep time for using the Sizzix. Without my normal setup, it took time to get the pieces cut.
I had a bunch of pieces cut and ready to sew, but wasn’t able to sew much before lunch. Right before lunch, I was able to sew one seam and that made me feel better.
Lunch was two hours. Very civilized IMO. We brought our lunch so wolfed it down and then went to check out the vendors and some of the quilts. There were not as many vendors as I expected, but there were manufacturers at the show giving away prizes and showing off stuff, but not selling.
The whole feeling of the show area is so light and airy. Everyone seems cheerful and there is very good energy. People seem excited to be there. I love that.
We looked at the vendors – more getting the lay of the land than shopping – and started to look at the quilts. After 1.75 hours it was time to head back to class and to sewing.
I got right down to business and started sewing. I had a lot of little pieces to sew together, but the first seams to get the middle arc were all straight seams. Once I got a few of the arcs done, I started making quarter blocks.
The class was supplied with Sizzix machines, rotary mats, rulers and cutters, irons and sewing machines. The sewing machine I was using was a Juki electronic machine. I wrote down the model, but am too lazy to go look for it. I’ll post about it later. It is a little disconcerting to use a different machine. This one kept lifting the presser foot every time I stopped the machine. It made it really hard to line up the edges of the curved seams. There was a Juki lady, Chris, who was there to help with machines and she changed a setting so I didn’t have to deal with that. I could probably learn to use that feature, but for one day I didn’t want to deal with it.
Without too much pain and suffering I made a whole block. I planned to put them together in her Snail Trails arrangement.
After working on the one block and looking at the options I had chosen for myself, I decided to make some of the other parts and mix it up a bit. No photos of that to share yet, but soon.
I want to work some more on this piece. I may add some different backgrounds to add interest (my idea turned out to be more boring than cool looking) and because I only have about a yard left and I’d like to make a larger quilt than a wall hanging. I also have the Sizzix problem. I do not have a Sizzix. There a few reasons I am not buying one, but the most important is that I have no place to put it. It is a desktop model and it stays out on a table (desk, worktop, etc). This is problematic since I have to cut more pieces for the quilt. I hope one of the local shops has one to rent and, perhaps, I will buy one at some point. I can also make templates and cut the pieces that way, though …. bleah.
Julie rested after the class and I walked around the show a little bit more. we went to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner. They bring all different kinds of meat around and you can take what you want. It was a little bit on the pricey side, but extremely tasty. I was a little protein deficient, so it was just what the doctor ordered.
One of the projects was posted on Instagram. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of other students work 🙁 , but I did take a few.
You can see some of the options available in the above blocks. My latest block has the pieced center like Stacy’s bottom block.