Not a good photo but a very good quilt. This was best of show at the Machine Quilting Expo last Thursday in Manchester, NH. The excellent, and appropriate, machine quilting doesn't show at all in the photo. I say "appropriate" because in previous shows I've seen too many quilts so ostentatiously over-quilted I thought technology had trumped (or should that be a capital T?) good taste. I am not a fan of long arm machine quilting -- although I saw many examples of it in this show that were beautiful and pushing me to change my conservative attitude.
Unfortuantely I no longer have my program book to give name of the quilter. The design, I was surprised to see, is a "Modern" one that, in fact, I like a lot. This artist has a sense of humor andmay be making a statement about the environment, either consciously or unconsciously.
For me quilt shows are almost as good as museum visits. The artistry and technical brilliance of many quilters is amazing, a whole area of art making that is unknown to many, many people. A one-man show by Mark Sherman had about 15 quilts, showing many styles Sherman experimented with. I understand his impulse to try his hand at portraiture, various takes on traditional patterns, many new ideas. I admire a person who has the time and creativity to come up with a great variety of quilts, and most of them at last 40x40.
I think there were over 100 quilts in the show. Some were so complex and, at the same time, technically so perfect, that the only word is amazing. I was glad to have endured a miserable bus ride (8 hours of grayness and continuous rain). The quilts I saw further fired my enthusiasm for quilting, while forcing me to recognize that I am nowhere near their league ... and in fact I don't aspire to be. I enjoy my forays into visual arts in the form of quilt making but i don't have a personality that would lead me to do this kind of quilting.
I've made a few quilts that illustrate poems. This one was easy. The poem, that is on the quilt is by William Carlos Williams -- a very short poem that many people have memorized. (It doesn't take a lot of brain power.)
So much depends
on a red wheelbarrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white chickens.
This is a kind of breakthrough -- at least a new direction -- me. The challenge was to make a quilt with "metallic" in it. Actually I have many fabrics with metallic print. I was happy to have a chance to use some. I made half a paper piece star -- didn't like it. Chucked it. That happened twice more and then I made a set of 18 little stars and put them together. And didn't like that either. Out it went. I decided stars weren't "in the stars" for me this time. In a fit pique I pulled out all my red fabrics that had some metallic on them and I made four 9-patch blocks, simple, plain old 9-patch. That was okay but not very interesting although I like the fagrics . So I quilted it very simply and dug through my collection of fabrics with metallic and found one with a swirly design. I cut it up into four segments and decided to applique them on with couched gold piping. This is what I came up with. And I even found a name that suits me although I will not explain the metaphor that is intended. The name is "Trumpiana". I have never made a truly abstract expressionist quilt before. I think it's far from perfectly executed but actually it makes me feel good. I expresses what has been on my mind. I wish the photo were better but I don't have a camera that will make it better. I think this is a new direction for me, already I'm thinking of making one that's in blue fabrics (mostly without metallic designs. I don't know if it will be another 9-patch or something else traditional with something untraditional about it. But I have a name in mind already so they can be a pair so I'll definitely try to make it the same sizes with is about 40x44. More on that score in the indefinite future.
I am waiting impatiently for spring -- we had a week of "teaser" spring, beautiful skies, temps in 50s, pushing 60s. The last few days the sky has remained lovely but a nasty wind has blown down from colder climes to the north. This morning is brilliant but the temperature, when I heard the radio report before getting out of bed, was 16 degrees. My apartment is warm enough but the idea of that chill just beyond the shining windows made me curl up a bit longer in the warm cacoon of pillows and quilt.
The quilt in this picture has been sandwiched with batting and backing and pinned in place but I won't get around to quilting it for some time. I have too many other projects that I need and want to do first. And, I admit, the actual quilting part is my least favorite.
I like this quilt, it looks quite modern. The truth is it's not modern. The design was published in a newspaper in the 1950s (with a white background as you might imagine). It was resurrected and printed with a paper piecing pattern a couple of years ago in one of the quilters magazines I read -- I think it was Quilters' Newsletter magazine. It was fun to make with various scrapes and I love the setting with just one spoke of the asterisk (as I think of the pattern -- others might call it stars) touching. This quilt will reappear when finished sometime in the relatively distant future.
At last I finished this UFO. It's tied throughout the checkerboard; the red border is quilted by machine. The binding was to be all obvious zig-zags like the section in the lower middle of the photo but the fabric, inexpensive and from JoAnne's, was not printed straight. A shame because I like the effect. Ah, well.
I saw a checkerboard quilt in a European Fabric Mania magazine about three years ago and realized it could be made in 12-patch increments by a method of sewing strips together and then cutting them, flipping every other strip and sewing into blocks. I had quite a collection of blues and also of whites, many with blue print, so this scrappy quilt contains at least 50 different fabrics. As always I love that so many patterns can all lie side by side making a coherent pattern.
This strip quilt is even more obviously scrappy. A similar one (no two could ever be alike!) was on Selvage Blog (see sidebar) a couple of years ago. It clearly did not need a pattern, just many horizontal strips and a couple of rows of shorter vertical strips to break up the pattern. Nothing complex about the sewing. I attempted to chose among the many, many strips, ones with color affinities so there seems to be a little bit of planning -- actually not planning ahead but thoughtful choices as I went along. That was terrifically enjoyable for me. I love freedom of choice as I sew, it can't become boring.
I did not attempt to make all strips the same width but stayed in the 1-1/2 to 3 inch range, most are 2 inches or a little more or a little less. I tried to make the entire strip the same width even when I sewed pieces together. The pale pink and black border makes me smile. The entire back is a busy, small scale black and white stylized print. So much fun, I'm feeling tempted to make another ... but my "to make" list is always in mind.
The summer Bayberry Quilt show will have Stars as the theme. To inspire people, Tumbleweeds, the large quilting fabric store at the edge of town is displaying star quilts. A call eent out to members of the guild for quilts they can hang for the month of January. I gave them three of mine to hang. I've been making star quilts for ages. The red-white-black one is the result of swaps on Swap-bot so, of this 9 patch sampler, I made five square from Carol Doak paper pieced patterns and the others were sent to me.
This star "quartet" with wreaths of flower shapes is another Carol Doak pattern (she did a book of 50). I had a spell of making quartets which measure about 30x30. I actually made 24 of the 50. That was several years ago and I have given away the majority of them. This is a favorite of mine because I used a striped brown/maroon fabric that worked with the wreath and the borders nicely (click to enlarge and see the print).
This lone star quilt was made about 15 years ago from a paper piece design I found in one of the quilting magazines. It has over 900 pieces. I hesitated to display it because the piecing is so time consuming, and I cannot direct anyone to the paper pieced pattern I used. But maybe it would be a bit inspiring ... besides, I'm quite proud of it and showed it in an Empire Guild (of NYC) show when it was new.
If this morning's snow fall cancels plans I had for today, I will make progress on a small "challenge" quilt for that sunmner Bayberry show and possibly also make one or two of the Block of the Month patterns for the January guild meeting.
I love star quilts as much as I love log cabin ones.
Happily I've found homes for these two quilts. I enjoy making quilts but I also am very happy when I can give them to someone who will enjoy having them. I also enjoy making more space in my closets (top shelves) and under beds so that I can store more quilts as I make them.
The top quilt is made from a design by Karen Griska (see side bar) who wrote a book about using selvages and has authors The Selvage Blog. I very much enjoyed making this quilt but had not seen it for a year or two when I began sorting quilts last week. I gave it to a long time friend (basically my daughter Rachel's friend) Paloma who had just had a birthday.
The second quilt, a classic snowball block surrounded by bright two inch squares was from a Swap-bots swap. I made squares for swappers and they sent me squares and then I added a few more to make the quilt as large as I wanted it to be. This quilt I gave to Cheryl who is my daughter Leslie's "near-sister" as they decided a couple of days ago. They were best friends all through grade and high school but have gone separate ways and very rarely see one another. I had not seen Cheryl, as she said "for decades." I had been sorting and feeling overwhelmed with quilts I've made, inspired by first one magazine article or another, so I was happily inspired to give Cheryl a bright and cheerful quilt like the "snowball among jewels" as I named it. Obviously both of these are essentially scrap quilts -- I truly enjoy scrap quilts, the great variety of patterns and colors are a pleasure to put together. I always think that scrap quilts are metaphors for crowds of people and for civilization. Individuals harmoniously together within a context.
Oh my, I love making quilts. I love the colors and designs and seeing how they go together. I don't love the actual quilting really and do very basic machine quilting. (I also don't like a lot of the currently very popular long arm complicated quilting patterns over-laying the block designs).
Currently I have three completed tops to be sandwiched and quilted. One will be finished soon, the other two may take longer.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!