Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Denise's Koi Pond Wins a Spot on the Coburg Quilt Show Calendar

Our booth at the Coburg Quilt Show
Tom here. The 2015 Coburg Quilt Show turned out to be a success in a number of ways. Fortunately, the forecast rain unfolded as merely a light sprinkle early in the morning. The rest of the day was a nice blend of blue skies, clouds and warm temperatures. Many sighs of relief for the owners of the over 200 quilts hanging in the park.

Quail's Nest Quiltworks had a space at the show, where we said hello to many existing clients and chatted with prospective new ones. So much of quilting is about relationships. The whole process involves people mixing it up -- whether shopping for fabric, attending guild meetings and small groups, or the joy of gifting a quilt to a loved one.
Some of the over 200 quilts on display

The "Quilts in the Park" was the highlight of the show. Live music played, while people leisurely analyzed the entries, writing down their three favorites. Based on a People's Choice Ballot, the top 13 quilts were chosen for the 2017 calendar. Denise entered 4 of her quilts. During the day, several people visiting our booth commented to me about her Blue Wonder quilt and said they voted for it. It was my favorite as well. I called it the "galaxy quilt," because to me it looked like an explosion of bright stars in space. Surely it would make the top 13.

We wouldn't know the results until the next day, Sunday. After church, Denise made another trip to Coburg to pick up her quilts and hear the results. I was at home, pacing the floor, teeth chattering with expectant anxiety, when the phone rang.
Do you see the Koi Pond?

"Guess what?"
"We made the top 13!"
"No way! Was it the galaxy quilt?"
"You mean the Blue Wonder?"
"The Koi Pond? [my second favorite]"
"Whoa, we're in the calendar!"

So the Koi Pond won a spot in the 2017 Coburg Quilt Show Calendar. It was Denise's favorite all along. Here's her description of it from the Show Guide: "The original design called for mostly blue and green triangles, representing the shimmering colors of a lake. However, I thought it needed some livening up. I pictured brilliant goldfish swimming beneath the surface of a clear pond. Can you see the dragonflies hovering over the water?"
The Galaxy, oops, Blue Wonder

Actually, the thread-painted applique dragonflies are easy to spot. Denise used wash-away stabilizer, tulle and her sewing machine to create those snazzy insects.

She used 522 equilateral triangle blocks (all the same size) to create a very impressionistic quilt. You must use your imagination to see the pond and the koi. Her inspiration came from a quilt called City Lake, from the book Urban Views by Cherri House (Stash Books).

Denise assigned me the job of quilting a water pattern. Beforehand, I practiced longarming three or four different water designs, finally settling on a pattern from Sheila Sinclair Snyder's book Get Addicted to Free-Motion Quilting (C & T Publishing)Snyder refers to the horizontal flowing water as a "familiar Asian aesthetic." The Asian theme worked well with the Koi Pond and dragonflies. Enjoy the photos.

Koi Pond
Close-up shows applique dragonfly, one fish, and horizontal flowing water quilting

Friday, May 8, 2015

Blue Wonder...or Screaming Letter P

The Sisters in Stitches Quilt Show occurred last weekend in Eugene. I had quilts to finish for clients who were depending on me to get their projects back to them in time for them to get bindings and a sleeve attached for the show. I had planned to have two quilts in the show myself and it looked like I wasn't going to have time to finish them. Somehow I got them done. An hour before I dropped the quilts off, I was still clipping threads on one.

What a great show the ladies from Eugene First Baptist put on. About 200 quilts came in, some well over one hundred years old, and at least one of them so fresh, it was finished hours before the deadline. The majority were submitted by their makers. 

I walked through the show slowly, first looking at the theme quilts, Sunbonnet Sue's of all varieties and ages. Each quilt included a descriptive paragraph the owner submitted, and it's fascinating to read each little history.

Interesting that I had not noticed the outline of the hexagon in red against a narrow red border strip that appears to form the letter P -- until just now.  I cannot tell you how long I stared at the quilt when putting all the pieces together, moving all those separate half-hexagons from here to there and then to somewhere else. How could I have missed a screaming red P? I may have to change its name from Blue Wonder (the technique is One-Block Wonder) to Screaming Letter P.''
Walking through the show, I believe I counted nine quilts that either Tom or I had quilted over the past many months for a variety of people. It's so satisfying to see the quilts completed after we return them to their owners and the bindings are applied.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Shall I Quilt This?

Every quilt is unique. Colors, design, size, they all come out differently. And as every quilt is unlike any other, each quiltmaker has their own likes, dislikes and favorite themes.

Some clients bring us quilts to quilt with a definite idea of how they wish it finished. Thread color and design have been decided upon before we ever see it. Often we receive a top with the direction to quilt it as we wish. That's almost always fun. I am happy to comply with either request.

I do get a little anxious, though, when someone with whom I'm discussing designs states: "You're the expert!". I feel an obligation to explain that Tom and I've been in this business for barely more than a year. I am not an expert. Between the two of us, we have quilted perhaps sixty to eighty quilts, anywhere from an intricately pieced 25" square to several king-size spreads, more than ten feet square.

Now here is my own conundrum. I have been working on a labor-intensive quilt since November, the pattern/technique from a wonderful book called One-Block Wonders (Maxine Rosenthal). I've been thinking about how to quilt it for a few months. Now I am very close to finishing the top. No particular quilting pattern seemed to "speak to me". It's difficult to describe the top, so I'll just have to show you. I haven't gotten a photo of it neatly pressed, but I think you will get the idea from it casually thrown out on a table to see after getting the borders sewn on.
Now, as to how I should quilt it, I'd come up with a few thoughts, but nothing that really grabbed me.
Today as I sewed with several friends, one of them brought out the quilt I'd quilted for her recently, and we all admired her (nearly finished) project with its binding attached. I'd quilted it with twisted ribbons, a fun pattern with swoops and loops that looks like ribbon twisting back and forth. 

Suddenly I knew how I'd quilt my project. On the suggestion of one of my other quilt pals, I will emphasize a few of the stand-out hexagon blocks with their own quilting pattern. But when I've chosen and quilted those, the rest will be finished in twisted ribbon! (Thank you Glorieta and thank you Cathie.) I am still unsure about thread color though -- am thinking I will quilt this in different colors at different sections, keeping the thread as little prominent as I can.

However, if you, dear reader, have other thoughts, please let me know. I'm always open to suggestion. After all, I am no expert!