Thursday, August 23, 2012

World Quilt Show, more smiles

 This was one of the cleanly graphic quilts I liked very much.  It's called "Summertimes" by  Berkeley, California artist, Nancy Bardach.

I'm very distressed that none of these photos were copied on the blog as they are in my photo file where they were all cropped to get rid of the distracting hanging mechanisms.
The second photo is Barbara McKie's "Dandylions".  Much a I like her sense of humor in the squirrel quilt I printed a couple of days ago, I think the fun in this idea just didn't work out.  I fully understand the impulse that she had -- I might have a similar impulse. But upon seeing it I'd say to myself, Oops, just didn't work.

The last photo which I stepped far back to photograph is very neat when it's cropped.  The entire quilt is tiny squares, I think about 1.5 inches -- a graphic technique that has been much used, sometimes overused but in this case, I think it worked well.  The artist is from Australia, Ingrid Rudolph, and it's named, what else?  "Kangaroo"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Favorite Quilt

Rachel and I went to the Mancusco World Quilt Show in Manchester, VT last weekend.  From past years we knew it's  a show so big it needs two days.  So this year we took two days and saw the hundreds of wonderful quilts -- a very good portion of them being art quilts.  The major country show was from Israel -- over 40 wonderful quilts from different quilters in that small country, most were art quilts and they were wonderful.  We loved most of the show and took our time since we, for a change, weren't hurrying to get back home at a reasonable hour.  I did not take very many photos because I usually feel too overwhelmed afterwards and always wish I had take this or that.

The quilt here is "The Squirrel's Speech" by Barbara McKie.  I fell totally in love with it. The various squirrels (and they are different ones) are photos, but their wonderful tails are thread painted.  As you see it follows the eating of the corn off the cob. Each squirrel seems to have an expression on it face. I discovered Barbara McKie at the time I discovered art quilting, in approximately 1981 at a show in the American Folk Art Museum in NYC.  At that time manipulating photos on fabric with a computer was just beginning and McKie was the first person whose work did that, as far as I knew.  I've watched her over the years and felt she was always a meticulous quilter, adventurously trying new things.  I did not always like her quilts but I always admired her perfectionist approach. 

Last year at the World Quilt Show she had two quilts, a bird and a little white dog, both mostly thread painted.  They were beautifully done, I admire them very much.  But this year I find something I have not seen in her work previously -- a sense of humor, a sense of play.  These squirrels and their "attitude" shows that.  I will print a second quilt of hers in the show another day along with a few other photos I took.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Started but not finished

A whole week of  cutting scraps into squares and strips and now a whole week of sewing 6" strip squares into 12" squares and setting them together with the blue stripping.  And it's not big enough.  So I will start making more six inch squares, 40 of them.  And then see what I think.  It will then be wide enough, but will it be long enough? Maybe not.

One sure lesson about quilting, everything takes longer than you think it will.  This is purely a utility quilt and an opportunity to use up many of my strips.  The quilt is as scrappy as they come.  And I've still got plenty of scraps to make it bigger; so bigger it will be. No complaints except I have several other quilts I'd like to get started on but if I start them and let this lapse, who knows when it will get done?  Better do one thing at a time.  (I'll have to remind myself of that somewhere down the line, I suppose when I stop taking my own good advice.)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Only I Know What I Accomplished

Phew!  I now have hundreds, ye, thousands, of fabric squares in various sizes all neatly arranged in baggies  according to size.  I also have a very fat baggie of Chinese coin pieces -- maybe enough for two quilts.  A big bag of strips, some long, some shorter, and some triangular little pieces for corners, for strip quilts blocks.  Also a big bag of miscellaneous triangles -- it's a mess, I admit, I just couldn't face triangles.  I have a wastebasket almost totally full of the cuttings that are going OUT, tomorrow morning.

What I do not have is bags of miscellaneous scraps of various sizes and shapes.  This is the accomplishment.

Another thing I have is a head full of possibilities -- but then, I will admit, my head is never empty of possibilities.  But one possibility is not sewing but to give way batches of these squares.  I have already set aside two small baggies to be given away, one of vintage 4" squares and one of 20 attractive 6" squares. 

To distract myself yesterday I laid out the 80 strip pieced blocks I have -- actually I discovered I had 81.  I like their bright craziness but I could see immediately that I need to make either 15 or 23 more blocks to make the quilt long enough.  I can do that, of course. I've got the strips in abundance and still plenty of white muslin for foundations.  So that's the immediate job and I hope it will be done, maybe this week.

With that big straightening job complete, I am into a second one, which is the living room.  A new sofa arrive three weeks ago; two days ago the old sofa and two chairs were taken away and the new sofa put where it belongs.  This means much else has to be moved -- the desk already migrated to its new place.  All this neatening and rearranging is not a metaphor, so far as I can see, for bigger and bolder changes in my life.  It's just a part of the usual  progression of mess, clean up and, probably mess again.   That includes a lot of books, too many books.  So WHY, yes, why did I buy six books at the library today?  It was not because they are being decommissioned (or whatever librarians do to their possessions) at three for a dollar.  I actually thought they were a dollar each.  They're books I won't find any place else, they promise to be very good reads.  And I didn't even take time to really look hard at the lower shelves.  The truth is I have never regretted spending money for books, all I regret is that I am a slow reader and will never keep up with my buying.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bayberry Guild Quilt Show -part III

 A wonderful red and white quilt, too large to be a part of the challenge -- what a dramatic quilt to hang on one's wall.  What wonderful applique work in the tree and the animals.
 Another larger red and white that I found charming and the applique equally lovely as in the above.  I do very little applique and don't aspire to do more.  But I certainly admire this kind of work -- the quite traditional tree of life motif above and the airier, more whimsical design here show two approaches and results with the same technique.
 Only a few, maybe only three or four quilts in the show fit the definition of "modern quilts" which is becoming very mainstream today and is being featured in the old established quilters magazines.  Very often it is marked by a background that is plain white (or the fabric chosen may be white on white) and then bold design that is very, very simply. Usually the colors are clear and bright and the layout simple and strongly graphic.  All of those definitions fit this quilt which was a refreshingly simple graphic statement.  The method of making the striped squares is extremely simple.  Those sixteen different colored squares are bold and delightful. I find this sort of "modern quilting" very inspiring.
 I have long been a devotee of the star designs for paper piecing by Carol Doak.  This quilt uses only four different star designs but each is made with different color combinations.  I am a bit of a graphic addict so I stood and looked at this quilt a long time, looking at the great variety of color combinations and how they change the appearance of the pattern each time.  The white background and very narrow stripping between squares give this something of a "modern" feel although it is much, much fussier and more complex than most so called "modern" quilts.
A simple traditional quilt made of small squares and triangles with white background.  Another quilt I looked at a long time because I am currently sorting and cutting  years of stash scraps into various size squares.  I have plenty in pleasingly bold colors to make a quilt like this and I think I will do so.  I studied the construction for some time and took a detail  photo so I wouldn't forget the method of sewing.  Like many traditional quilts this had no focal point, the overall pattern is the reason it was made.  Bright at it is, the repetition makes it soothing and happy-making at the same time.
The blue ribbons on this quilt indicated that it was Best of Show and also Viewers Choice in the large bed size category.  The very traditional log cabin central portion is precisely done with "logs" of less than an inch and the setting is the most traditional of all I think.  What makes this quilt really special is the embroidered and appliqued border in which the quilter has designed and embroidered the local birds and animals that visit her yard and Cape Cod.  All kinds of birds, a great variety of animals.  It's a fascination to follow the design around the whole quilt and see such skill.

The quilt show was, many said, the highest quality show yet put on by the Bayberry Quilters Guild.  I haven't seen that many of their shows but I have seen many shows and I enjoyed this one very much and truly admire their skill and artistic view and their creativity.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Bayberry Guild Quilt Show - part 2

 We'll start with fowl and fish.  At first glance it seems these are just pre-printed fowl.  Not so.  They are pieced with wonderful choices of fabric.  As always the showy roosters are lording it over the ladies at the bottom. The whole quilt is a delight.
 It's the fish that does it!  The yin-yang signs are beautifully done and pieced -- the guild had a speaker who taught this method. I'm too lazy to look up her name.  It's been applied excellently finally, she added the wonderful fish!

An art quilt, beautifully balanced; the crows amusingly cut out.  Love it.  Crows are my alarm, every morning they call to one another.  The number of caws in a row varies.  I'm sure it's a language this poor mono-ligual human being doesn't understand.  Late in the afternoon they sometimes come to the lawn outside and stalk about looking for either hor d'ouvers, or maybe dessert.
 Simplicity itself.  This quilt falls into the "modern" quilting genre, I believe, thanks to the white background.  These are all squares of Australian fabrics, beautifully set off with the shadow effect.  So easy and so dramatic
 The fan wasn't going to move  so I just had to take the picture.  This is a more traditional quilt that I photographed to  tell myself that I want to make one.  I've been cutting squares of scraps all week and I'm not done yet.  I've got plenty of square 3x3 and/or 4x4 that could become part of a quilt like this. That means lots of sewing but I am very powerfully attracted to simple dramatic  traditional-type quilts like this one.  Look at that border -- that's how to use up a LOT of scrap squares in a hurry -- well, not such a hurry, there's a LOT of piecing happening here.
 And this is my spiral quilt hanging in the show. A bit of the upper left border got cut off in the photo.  Now that it's all done, I can say, never again.  Ugh. 

Tomorrow I go back to the show for most of the afternoon. There are several  quilts I want to photograph, one New York Beauty is really a beauty with very subtle color choices.  I spent a lot of time looking at it yesterday when I was doing the "white gloves" thing. And there are many others -- another amazing red and white that has a special place.   You'll see.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bayberry Quilt Show, part 1

 Here are half a dozen views of some 60 red and white quilts for the Bayberry challenge.  Since the huge red and white show in NYC by the American Folk Art Museum in spring 2010, other guilds have emphasized red and white quilts.  These designs are ones that drop the jaws of those ladies who made the quilts for the original show.  Theirs were stunning, these are extremely inventive.

I was charmed by this big cat and little bird -- plus flowers and the pieced boarder, and quilted border.
 This pear design was very eye catching.  Names of quilters are being withheld until after the viewer voting is counted.

There was a very good crowd for the show.  I will be curious which of many wonderful red and white quilts wins viewer's choice
This pair of little quilts -- all the quilts in the show were less than 100 inches total perimeter -- really caught my eye because they are the same four squares in each are the same but they have been put together differently so a different central pattern is formed.
A view of just a ten percent of the quilts.  I also liked the sea shell one a lot.  In fact, nearly all sixty charmed me.

I will post some of the 200 "regular" quilts tomorrow and more the day after. This was a first "walk through".  I will return to the quilt show on Saturday and have some free time, when not volunteering, to take more photos