Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Favorite Paducah Quilts

There are so many gorgeous quilts at a big show...every quilt has to be pretty amazing to even be juried in. So in all that greatness, it's sometimes hard to pick favorites. For me, the favorites were the ones that had something unique, that led me to remember them through the whirlwind of all the amazing quilts I saw.  A lot of why these quilts stood out to me is related to my current quilting interests and passions. So here are some of my top choices and a little bit about why:

This is called "Four Loons and Friends" by Patricia Sellinger. Unfortunately my photo is a little blurry. Also unfortunately, somebody pinned a ribbon right on top of one of the ducks! I wanted to go right up to the quilt and move it. Seriously, who did the ribbon pinning?

Here's a close up of the center that came out less blurry. I like this quilt because it combines some elements of a traditional medallion sort of design with some fun applique elements. I am definitely on an applique kick right now but an all-applique quilt can be overwhelming to look at with just so many details. I like how this has a smaller number of appliques with a fun theme and a consistent color scheme. Plus I love that each of the ducks is a different species. It has fun elements to keep you looking but doesn't blow you away with intense detail.  I am a fan!

 This is called "Ancient Sentinel" by Valerie Sauban. I actually saw a photo of this online a few months ago and saved it for inspiration because it was so striking. Elements that make this amazing:

  • The colors. I love how the color scheme incorporates the purple and bright blue
  • The simplicity of the scene. The lone tree packs a punch. Your eye isn't trying to figure out where to land here!
  • The internal element that overlaps onto the border. I've tried to do this myself once or twice and it's technically rather hard, at least for me. But it sure looks cool.

Another completely awesome element was the quilting. There were sheep quilted all over the sky. They were something you only noticed when you gave the quilt a close look.

This photo is blurry, but a lovely flower was quilted in behind the skull. This quilt had a lot of fun treats for those who took the time to give it a closer look!

Okay more Paducah posts soon!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hello Paducah!

This weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the AQS show in Paducah for the first time. I believe it is just behind Houston as the largest quilt show in the US. It was a ton of fun and I will probably split up photos into multiple posts.

I completely lucked out on the ride down because I got to sit next to Casey York! It's so fun to talk to others about quilting and this is the first time I've gotten to chat up someone who's blog I follow. It was a blast and I hope I can get to know others whose blogs I follow soon too :)

I got to see Christa Watson's quilt in the (very small) modern quilt section. Go Christa!
For this post I'll just focus on some general impressions of Paducah. These are generally all in comparison to Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF), which is the only other large quilt show I've been to. First off, Paducah had fewer quilts but waaaaay more vendors. I most definitely ran out of time to do everything I wanted and I had to skip out of the vendor tent early to ensure I actually made it to all the quilts.

Second, this show was definitely more traditional than PIQF. There were far fewer pictorial/art quilts and more traditional patterns. There was quite a bit of hand applique. All of the traditional quilts had a serious "wow" factor, but I have a passion for landscape quilts so I wish I could have seen more.
Lots of big and bold medallion quilts like this one by Masa Yanagimoto (btw there were also a ton of quilts by Japanese quilters. That's a whole nother post!)

One thing that was a little frustrating was that you could not get close to the quilts. A lot of this quilts shined because of their amazing details, and unfortunately you just can't see those details from 6 feet away. Some quilts are really also meant to be viewed head on, and with the  chain you just couldn't do that.
Curse you, chain!

This quilt by Lorrie Hockett just begged to be viewed close up...but you couldn't! It was almost a travesty. I would have loved to found all of the fun details hiding in it.

I took close-ups of all of the blocks on that quilt so I could actually seem their contents!

This one needed to be viewed head-on for full effect. This angled picture doesn't provide  the impact that I know this quilt has. Quilt by Kathy McNeil.
Okay one more whiny point: the quilt descriptions were mighty short. Each quilt had merely a number next to it and you had to look up the number in the program. It seems each person was limited to about 100 characters for their quilts description. Almost none included a listing of the techniques used, which is typical in other quilt shows I attend. That's information I would like to know!

Criticisms aside, there were a lot of pretty flipping awesome quilts. I did one round of the show taking photos and a second round just taking in the quilts and enjoying them without the camera distracting me. It's fascinating how some quilts look awful up close and when I look through the camera lens they look completely different.

Take this quilt by Jo Ann Kilgroe and Jessica Jones Gamez. It wasn't until after I had been snapping a few photos of it that I realized the flowers in the corners were actually butterflies!

Okay that's enough photos for now. I probably be posting a lot more with some specific observations about use of fabric, color, quilting, and so on. It's always great how much you can learn and be inspired at these shows!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kitties! Quilts! Kitty Quilts!

Sew many fun things have been happening around here!

First off, a surprise came in the mail!

It's a quilt rack! Thanks Mom! Right now it only has two quilts on it but as the weather warms more quilts will transfer from my bed over to the rack. As you can see, my kitty quilt seriously needs to be ironed after being folded up in the closet so long! It's great to have a place to keep quilts out and about instead of hidden away when not in use. :)

I also got another treat in the mail, although I knew this one was coming...fabric!

I joined a fabric of the month club that focuses on modern prints. I wanted to join back in Jan but they were full. They finally recently reopened membership and I jumped on the chance to join.  I normally don't buy fabric without a plan, but these modern prints are out of my comfort zone, which is precisely why I wanted to join the club. 

I foresee a lot of fun modern quilts in my future with all of these fun fabrics! Every month the club focuses on a different color, and as you can see, this month was yellow.

This one is a favorite. Look at those bicycles! Too cute!

In other news, actually sewing has, believe it or not, been occurring as well.  I am finally making real progress on the embroidery on my veggie quilts (photos coming...sometime)...and was for a while focused on finishing up the bear and salmon quilt. Then, a friend got seriously injured. And folks, just a PSA here, please get health insurance. Because you never know when you will fall down the stairs and break both your legs in a freak accident. And if you don't have insurance, like my friend, you are looking at a pretty scary hospital bill. 

So I was thinking of how to help and it hit me that I have a number of nearly finished tops lying around my house and this was the perfect chance to finish one. So...remember this quilt?

It's a duplicate of my Stairway to Cat Heaven quilt. It was kind of a commission via the internet and of course the person disappeared off the face of the this got folded up for another day. But all it needed was some kitties and a border...and I had all of the fabric, including backing and batting, on hand!

Of course I didn't take any photos, but I whipped up the top in no time (with a simplified border from the one I made for myself) and tonight got is about halfway quilted.  Basting was a breeze with my awesome new quiltak gun, although I got some lumps in the batting through my own fault.

Miss kitty was all about the worst way! The other day she sat in my lap while I was sewing the borders on and kept poking her paws towards the needle..and I kept jsut about having a heart attack! Today she went out of her way to be in the way while I was trying to quilt. Here I had flipped it over to check out the back and make sure there weren't lumps forming.

You can see the part I've quilted so far. It goes very quickly when there isn't a kitty in the way.

And of course when I turned it upright to do more quilting she made herself right at home! It was at about here that I gave up for the night! I am confident that I can get this quilt finished in another week (or less!) and hopefully get it to my friend to snuggle under while she recuperates. And seriously, please get health insurance guys.

One more kitty shot to take us out: can you be mad at a face like that?