Monday, October 16, 2017

What's Happening in the Studio?

Even though a lot of our posts lately have been about being out in the community at shops and exhibits, that doesn't mean we haven't also been working in the studio.  Here's a peak at some of the things we've been working on.
About a year and a half ago Sue took a class with Susan Carlson, learning her fabric collage technique.  The spiral was started in class, and is now finally layered with backing, batting, and tulle on top and ready for quilting.  You can see some photos from Susan's class and the start of the collage here.
Another on-going project is this one started in August in another class using the Denyse Schmidt pattern called "Free Wheeling Single Girl".  Three of four rings are completed, the fourth is started.  The plan is to make just 4 rings for a baby size quilt, or possibly use each one separately for preemie quilts which Sue's local guild makes and donates to Children's National Medical Center.
The local guild also tries to put together some quilts for Veteran's Day, and asked members to make and donate blocks.  We had a "midnight madness" sewing session on Friday and Sue got these 5 blocks cut and sewn.
Elizabeth has been busy with her Super Baby embroidery machine making these cute barrette covers.  Spiders, ghosts, owls, oh my!
She is ready for Halloween or Crazy Hair Day, or both!  These designs are from GG Designs Embroidery and are called "felties".  We would love to see pictures of what you are working on!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Exhibits at Sew Expo

Last week at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Fredericksburg, there were a number of quilt exhibits which to my mind were the highlight of the show.  They included traditional quilts, modern quilts, art quilts and challenges.  It's always interesting to see how quilters interpret a theme or concept. Here are some examples from each.

Quilt Remix is a series that aired on beginning last January.  Host Kelly Bowser was given 12 traditional quilts to interpret in a new quilt in her own modern aesthetic.  On each episode, a guest quilter also made their own version.
Traditional version

Kelly's modern version

Another exhibit was called Template Tendencies which were made using Fons and Porter templates.  The two quilts below show different ways of using the same clamshell template.
Half clamshells form pinwheels
Traditional clamshells

Recycled Hexies was curated by Mary Kerr.  These pieces were made from re-purposed hexies, which could have been unfinished tops, pieced hexies, or damaged quilts, and are transformed into contemporary quilts.
Pieced by Mary Kerr, quilted by Kelly Kline
Pieced by Mary Kerr, quilted by Vicki Maloney
The Tampa Modern Quilt Guild presented Lemoynes and Lemons.  The challenge was to take the traditional Lemoyne star and interpret it in a modern way.  Here are 2 examples.
Pieced by guild members; quilted by Ann McKinney
Pieced and quilted by Ellen Ault
Cut Flowers is by the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild - Bee Artful Fiber Group of Clarkesville, GA.  Participants each made a mini-quilt of a vase of flowers with prescribed guidelines.  Then, they were cut in quarters and in a blind drawing, each selected 3 other quarters to join to one of their own.  Looks like a successful challenge!

Old Glory is another exhibit curated by Mary Kerr.  Red, white and blue quilt tops were given to long arm quilters for finishing; all the quilters have a military connection.  These were created to promote the Quilts of Valor program.  After 18-24 months of traveling, the quilts will be auctioned off to support Quilts of Valor.
Quilted by Kris Vierra

Quilters Quilt the Blues was a 2016 challenge presented by a group of quilting magazines.  Quilters designed an original quilt using a bundle of pre-selected fabrics and could add only 3 fabrics of their own.  These are 2 of the prize winners.
Finger to the Blues by Marie Nelson is the third prize winner.
Out of the Blue by Terry Weiss is the grand prize winner.
The Uhuru Quilt Guild also had an exhibit.  Here is a favorite from that group.
Play a Little Blues is by Sandra Ealy

There was also an outstanding "Two By Twenty" exhibit by Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).  Unfortunately, photos of those art quilts were not allowed, but you can view a slideshow of these quilts here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fly Me to the Moon at Library of Congress.

Tuesday was another great day.  The "Fly Me to the Moon" book of quilts is currently featured in a display at the Library of Congress, in the Science and Reading Room in the Adams building.  The quilt artists who were close enough and able were invited to come for a special tour and viewing of the exhibit, as well as a display of the quilts made by the participants, for that day only.  It was a very special event!
As we gathered outside the main entrance we began signing each other's copies of the book. Here are Marsha White and Linda Cooper, two of the local quilt makers.
Our morning started off with a tour of the Jefferson Building which opened in 1897.
This is the Great Hall on the main floor of the Italian Renaissance-style building which is heavily ornamented.  A large brass inlay of a compass rose is the centerpiece of the marble floor.
The second level mezzanine is highly decorated.  Fifty-six circular printers' marks adorn the triangular ceiling vaults.  In the ceiling of the west mezzanine above, the 8 paintings in the arches show The Sciences.  Three medallions in the center depict the arts - sculpture, architecture, and painting.
We saw the reconstructed Thomas Jefferson library on the second floor.  When the original collection of books was lost to the burning of the Capitol in 1814 where the library was housed, Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement.  It was purchased by Congress in 1815 and became the foundation of the national library.  The books remaining are what is left after a second fire, before the current library was built.
Some of the books are Jefferson's originals.  Some have been purchased to replace ones that burned.  Some were replaced with identical copies from the Library's collection.  Others are still missing and the library continues to search for copies and replace them as they are found.
Above is the overlook of the main reading room.  It's hard to see here, but all those alcoves under the arches contain books.  The top of the dome which isn't visible here contains a mural painted by Edwin Blashfield representing Western civilization as understood in 1897.  The marble columns support 8 figures representing features of civilized life and thought. The bronze statues are tributes to men whose lives were devoted to the subjects which the plaster statues represent.
We then moved on to the Adams building where the Science, Technology and Business Division is located.  In the Reading Room here is the exhibit honoring the Fly Me to the Moon book. 
The display includes photo copies of some of the quilts, and other books from the library collection that connect to the events and themes depicted in the quilts.
From there we went to a central room where the quilts of those in attendance were on display.  Again, the display included books that linked to the subject matter of the quilt, as well as a placard for each quilt on display.  It provided an opportunity to see the quilts up close, sign each other's books, and chat with members of the library staff who came in to see them.
Here is Sue with her quilt.  Another amazing thing the library staff had done was create a slide show of all the quilts, which was showing on 2 electronic screens in the room.  The colors of the quilts on screen were particularly vibrant.
Above are the folks who made this all possible: Nanette Gibbs, exhibit curator and guide, her supervisor, and Susanne Miller Jones with husband Todd.  Susanne is the curator/book author of the Fly Me to the Moon collection whose forethought and dream made this idea a reality.

Finally, we have the  book itself along with Sue's quilt "Moon River" shown in the book.  The book has just shipped from the publisher and is available from Amazon. If you want to know more about the creation of Sue's quilt, you can read about it in this blog post.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Parks Quilts in Berryville

Saturday was a good day.  Sue was able to make a trip out to Berryville, VA, to visit the "Inspired by the National Parks" exhibit which is there until November 25. 
Of course this is not the first time she has seen the exhibit; it has previously been at the Quilters Unlimited show in Northern VA, and also at the Virginia Quilt Museum.  And we've shared them in previous blog posts.  But it's always fun to see the same show in different venues.  This venue, The Barns at Rose Hill, is a wonderful space. 
The rustic interior of this re-purposed barn is a fitting backdrop for these nature inspired quilts.
Some of the quilts are hung in their park grouping of larger quilt of the park with the 2 smaller quilts of flora and fauna.  Others are hung separately due to the venue and method of display.
Above you can see the portable display units that are used for most of the flora and fauna quilts.
The larger park quilts are displayed on the walls.  In the downstairs portion of the building, the walls are white as seen here.
The upstairs portion of the barn has a large meeting room where many of the quilts are hung against the backdrop of the wood paneled walls.

Sue's quilt is the center one of this panel - Scarlet Globemallow from Mesa Verde National Park.
These three are some other favorites, especially the singing vole.
This Rocky Mountain landscape is also a favorite.

If you have the opportunity and want to take a road trip, ride out to Berryville to the Barns of Rose Hill, located between the government center and library, next to the park in the "downtown" area, just off route 7 east.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 - 3 PM, admission is free.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Suzzie's Quilt Shop

This week Sue had occasion to be in Manassas, VA and took advantage of the opportunity to stop in at Suzzie's Quilt Shop.  The shop moved into a larger space about a year ago and she had not been there since the move.  She is happy to report that the new location is a much larger, spacious shop.
Taller shelves line the walls, with lower fabric displays in the center of the store, making the space feel large and open.
There is a very large selection of batiks (Suzzi's favorite) that lines the walls.  I had to take this shot to showcase the seahorse pattern by a friend of ours, Elaine Perez of Summercrafter designs.
A HUGE display of patterns covers one of the outside walls of the classroom space which is in the center rear of the store.
Suzzi's is also a Janome dealer with a large selection of machines from the most basic to the top of the line embroidery machine.
Along with a vast array of notions and thread, books and other quilt-related supplies, there is surely something here for everyone, even if you didn't know you needed it!  There's also a varied selection of classes.  If you are a quilter and happen to be near Manassas, Virginia, do stop in and browse at Suzzie's Quilt Shop!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Quilter's Journey - Pat Sloan

I'm sure most of you are familiar with quilter Pat Sloan.  For the past 20 years or so she has been a pattern designer, fabric designer, prolific author, and more recently, a "podcaster" for American Patchwork and Quilting.  Pat was the featured speaker at Sue's local Quilters Unlimited meeting this week.  She presented a slide show detailing her quilt journey from the late 1970's to today, highlighting her transition from learning traditional quilting to evolving her own style that blends piecing with fusible applique.
Pat has a number of free projects available through her website.  In the photo above, one of the guild members brought a quilt to share that she made with one of Pat's sew alongs.  Pat's story is familiar to many of us, having started sewing as a child with doll clothes, doing garment sewing, and later learning to quilt.  However she took her creative passion a few steps further by creating patterns, fabric lines, publishing books, teaching, etc.  Who doesn't own some of Pat's patterns, fabric or books?
In the quilts above, you see her typical style of quilt on the right, which features a pieced background combined with applique in an asymmetrical style.  She likes large scale designs and simple shapes.  Her applique is fused cut-away secured with a machine blanket stitch.  The quilt on the left is from her Splendid Sampler book, a book of 100 6 inch blocks by almost as many different designers. 
The quilts in the photo above represent more of Pat's signature pieced/applique style. 
This quilt is another example from the Splendid Sampler, combined with an Irish Chain block setting.

As mentioned previously, Pat is also the host of the American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast, where she talks about tips, techniques and trends with designers, authors, shop owners, and editors.  A new show is available every Monday afternoon.  You can listen in at, or download from iTunes. 

Currently, some of Pat's quilts are on display at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, VA, through December 16.  Whether you are a long-time quilter or a newbie, Pat has something for everyone!