I went with a group of Bayberry Quilt Guild colleagues to the Machine Quilting Expo in Providence, R.I. on Thursday. I took very few photos. I did not fall in love with most of what I saw. Some small whole cloth machine quilted pieces were awesome -- in its proper usage. Of the "how did anyone have the patience to do something so perfectly?" Those are quilts I just look at with my jaw agape and do not aspire to do. I felt that many of the "regular" pieced quilts were marvelously done, a little baroque and not especially interesting. I felt a sameness, a lack of inspiration. Two pieces of thread painting by Barbara McKie which I'd already seen in magazines, a Sheltie and a cat lapping water from a running faucet were brilliantly done. The cat looked most amazing in a magazine, but looking at them I found the Sheltie more appealing. Funny, as I've mentioned often, what photographs can do.
I have been watching the advance of the so called "modern" quilts which are, in effect, a return to quite simple piecing, often one patch, with lots of white or carefully chosen, relatively muted colors. A pair of young men quilters had a display of at least a dozen such quilts. These two photos are theirs. The machine quilting on them is close together but very simple, usually straight lines, not even stippled. I find this simplicity refreshing after the over the top piecing and embroidery that is on most of the quilts that win ribbons in shows today.
The convention hall in Providence is a very nice venue for a quilt show. The lighting is uniformly excellent. There is plenty of space for this show and for the many vendors -- many, of course with long arm machines that cost almost as much as compact car. Ah, but with them, one can start a cottage industry and earn the money back ... with a lot of hard work, of course. I am not a proponent of technology for it's own sake but I think the initial gaga reaction to long arm quilting is giving way to more judicious practices. Good.
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