Monday, November 20, 2017

Quilting Inspiration

We all need inspiration, don't we?  And gathering with like-minded souls who share our passion for creating with fabric and fiber (or paper and paint, beads, yarn, whatever you create with) is an important aspect of that inspiration.  At Artistic Artifacts, there is a monthly group that meets to do that - share their work and inspire each other.  JAMS is the name of the group and stands for Judy's Altered Minds (Judy Gula is the owner of AA.)  Yesterday, we were joined by Sue Warburton of Manchester, England who is in the area visiting family.  A friend of Judy's, she was kind enough to bring part of a collection of journal quilts she made - this was a one-a-week project for her, so she initially made 52, but has since doubled that number. So in addition to the regular member show and tell, we were treated to seeing Sue's work close up.
Here is Sue explaining a fabric bag project to one of the attendees. Below are several of Sue's journal quilts.  Her work includes a variety of techniques, from applique to wool, vintage and found objects to collage, surface design, beading, hand embroidery and machine thread work.  All a treat for the fiber enthusiast!

These small pieces are all about 8 x 10 inches in size, a good size to experiment with a new technique, focus on your own individual style, and stretch your boundaries.  Maybe a new goal for 2018? 

Monday, November 13, 2017

VCQ Quarterly Meeting

We spent Veteran's Day at our quarterly Virginia Consortium of Quilters meeting in Manassas, VA.  As always, it was a fun day with classes, Come Quilt with Me, socializing and quilting.  This time we had 2 workshops going on - Deb Schupp of Gumbo Design Studios taught "Big Blue" Modern Mini and Penni Domikis of Cabin in the Woods Quilters taught Nested Petal Machine Applique.
Above is show & tell of Deb's class - as you can see, it didn't have to be blue! They had fun creating their own compositions with Deb's guidance.

In Penni's class, we learned to use Terial Magic spray to stabilize our fabric for machine applique.  Above, Karin has 4 completed blocks sewn together.  Below, some of us were assembling in rows.  Penni's pattern, called Merry Blossoms, has 9 blocks and a border.
Meanwhile, in Come Quilt with Me, folks were busy with their own projects they brought to work on.  Some of us come to learn something new, others come for the "retreat" type atmosphere of CQWM and the camaraderie. Here is some of the CQWM show and tell.

We had a delicious boxed lunch from Pot Belly Sandwich Shop, and our business meeting followed.  At the end of the day we gather for show and tell and a door prize.  Here are a few more photos from show and tell.
We are also gearing up for our 4 day Celebration retreat next spring.  We gather at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Center and bring in national teachers for 2 full days of workshops, plus other fun activities.  There are still spaces available, check out all the info at the link above.  Block lotto kits were available for purchase and the finished quilt that can be made from the blocks (if you win!) was on display.

Since November is our annual meeting where we elect officers, we also bring our memory quilt to display.  This quilt was made by Sherry Whitford to honor our members who have passed away.

If you've never been to a VCQ meeting, come check us out!  We meet 4 times a year in various locations around the state.  You get to meet quilters from all over Virginia, see different parts of the state, and find new quilt shops along the way.  Check out our website and come join us in March in Staunton, and/or Celebration at the end of April!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey

The latest survey of the quilting industry in America shows that it is a $3.7 billion industry!  The article below is by Morna McEver Golletz and reprinted with permission.

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at

HOUSTON- October 27, 2017- The results are in for the Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey. The survey shows that the annual industry value in terms of consumer spending is $3.7 billion. Quilting in America™ is presented by The Quilting Company and Quilts, Inc., but conducted independently by ORC International and Advantage Research, Inc.
Highlights of the Survey show an estimated 7 to 10 million quilters in the U.S., the total number of households with a quilter at 6 to 8.3 million, and an average dollar spending per quilting household at $442 annually- that’s a 48% increase over 2014. Modifications to information gathering for the 2017 Survey also reflect an even more accurate assessment than previous editions.
“Dedicated quilters are spending more time and money than in the past. It’s also exciting to see that over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of quilters who are utilizing websites, social media, and other digital resources to learn about quilting and buy quilting related products,” says John Bolton, Senior VP and General Manager, F+W Media.
“I know that quilters create with their hands, but they often speak with their dollars. And I am very glad to see that they are speaking loudly with their purchasing power,” adds Quilts, Inc. CEO and Founder Karey Bresenhan. “I am honored to be involved in such a creative and artistic community. An added bonus is that quilters are just some of the warmest and most generous human beings I’ve ever come across.”

Dedicated Quilters

Within that total group of U.S. quilters are “Dedicated Quilters” who spend $500 or more a year on their art form and hobby. The average Dedicated Quilter is female, 63 years old (down by a year in age since 2014), and has been quilting for 19 years. She is well educated (70% attended college), affluent (average household income of $95,900), and leans toward a preference of traditional quilting styles (85%) over modern {37%) and art (20%).
Other trends noted among the Dedicated Quilters — who are responsible for 72.2% of entire industry spending — are higher levels of purchases of longarm machines, cotton thread, and pre-wound bobbins. Overall spending by Dedicated Quilters has also increased.
Large percentage jumps since the 2014 survey were also seen in those who get information from quilting-related websites (64%, up from 28%), learn from online classes and videos (52%, up from 30%), and are active in quilt-related social media (5O%, up from 14%). They are also spending an average of 2.5 more hours overall online browsing quilt-related websites, and 68% of them are purchasing items online.
Finally, data showed that a younger group of Dedicated Quilters under the age of 45 are a rapidly growing segment of the quilting population. While this important group is often involved in quilting less due to time, work, and family constraints, they still devote an average of 10 hours a week to quilting. Quilters under 45 spend only 10% less than those of a higher age bracket, but do have a higher participation rate of time spent on quilting-related websites and online video viewing. We’ll cover the Under 45 Quilter in more depth next week.

About the Quilting in America™ survey and its partners

Quilting in America™ 2017 is the eighth in a series of studies done since 1994 with the intent of measuring the amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby in addition to profiling the key segments of the market.
The study is conducted in two phases: Phase I, administered by ORC International in January 2017, involved surveying an online, national panel of households to measure incidence of participation and the dollar value of the quilting industry. When 6,105 completed surveys were received, ORC closed the survey for tabulation. This information, along with new sources of market data that were not previously available, were used to present the 2017 findings.
Phase II was conducted by Advantage Research, Inc. in April and May 2017. Survey invitations were sent to a total of 415,104 quilters over a period of several weeks. The invitees were comprised of customers from APQS, The Quilting Company, Hobbs Batting, Northcott Fabrics, Quilting Treasures, and Quilts, Inc. When the survey closed, a total of 21,347 completed surveys had been received, yielding a response rate of 5.1%.
The Quilting Company, a division of F+W Media LLC, is building off the tradition and excellence of established brands including Fons & Porter, McCall’s, and Quilting ArtsThe Quilting Company is dedicated to inspiring, educating, and equipping quilters of all interests and skill levels. Its websites, online education programs, video services, live events, magazines, and books all serve to meet the needs of the quilter wherever they may be. Building Your Passion Piece by Piece.
Quilts, Inc. is the producer of the wholesale industry trade show International Quilt Market (fall edition since 1979, spring since 1981) and consumer show International Quilt Festival (Houston edition since 1974, Chicago edition since 2003}. The Houston Festival is the largest quilt show in the U.S. and regularly attracts more than,55,000 attendees from 35 countries. We’re Quilts!

Your turn!

What are your thoughts about the survey results? I’m excited about the drop in age of the average quilter.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Magnificent Monarchs Migrate

It's postcard time again!  Sue's swap group decided on a fall theme of Animal Alliteration - a 3 word phrase including an animal.  Some examples: "Are artichokes artful? Can cats count? Elephants eat enormously! Squirrels scamper speedily." 

As evident from the post title, Sue's alliteration is "magnificent monarchs migrate".  Using a thermofax screen of a monarch butterfly, she printed 2 sizes of butterflies with black paint on orange hand dyed fabric.  These would be used to made fusible appliques.
In order to make them a bit more realistic, Sue used a paint pen to add white dots around the perimeter of the wings. Below you can see the difference with and without the dots.
Here's one close up.
Next, MistyFuse fusible web was applied to the back of the fabric.  Then they were cut out.
After fusing a mottled blue hand dyed fabric to the postcard base, the butterflies were arranged on each and fused in place.
Stitching around each butterfly secured them, and after fusing on the back of the card, satin stitching finished off the edges.
Then they were ready to migrate to the mailboxes of their recipients!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sue Pelland Designs

Way back in August when Elizabeth was on vacation in New Hampshire, our friend Terri Sontra from Purple Moose Designs invited her to attend a lecture at the Belknap Mills Quilters Guild
The speaker that night was Sue Pelland from Sue Pelland Designs.   She brought with her gorgeous quilts made using her versatile applique template method.  As Terri and Sue are good friends, after the lecture Terri helped out with vending in her pop-up store and that meant Elizabeth got to fold and pack up these gorgeous beauties.  It was wonderful to go to the lecture and see the quilts but a special treat to see them so close up as they were packed away.  We hope you enjoy these photos.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fiber Artist Terry Kramzar

Terry Kramzar of Kennett Square, PA, was the featured speaker last night at Sue's Quilters Unlimited guild meeting.  Terry has exhibited widely in shows and her work is in private and corporate collections.  She is inspired by adventure as well as her deep connection to nature.  An avid hiker and traveler, many of her quilts feature wildflowers.  Another source of inspiration is Longwood Gardens which is within walking distance of her home. The quilt below is based on a photo from Longwood.
Sue first saw Terry's work at a Quilt Odyssey show in Hershey, PA.  She remembers being intrigued by her design method that consisted of 4 inch squares, with a smaller inset center square, with elements of the design pieced into the squares as well.  It appears more complex than it actually is.
Above are some small sample quilts.  The tulip quilt uses the square in a square technique with pieced design elements.
This sunflower and ravens quilt also uses the square in square design.  The sunflowers and ravens are appliqued on top of the background.
And here is another in the same vein.
Here is a modern quilt interpretation, still inspired by nature. 
This one (I think) is of a flower called Sweet Water Blood Root.  Though harder to see, it also uses the square in a square technique in the background.
The sunflower and raven quilt above combines traditional piecing and applique.  Sometimes she does needle turned applique and other times it is fusible raw-edge.

Terry has been fortunate to have two Artist in Residence experiences in national parks - one in Everglades National Park in Florida, and the other at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  These experiences allowed her to combine her love of hiking and adventure with her love of creating fiber art.  Terry's work shows a masterful use of color and design, both representational and abstract. Find more information about Terry on her website.

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.