QuiltCon 2021

It is QuiltCon weekend!!!

For those of you who don’t know the magic of those words….. QuiltCon is the international quilt show of “The Modern Quilt Guild”.

I had looked forward to attending my first QuiltCon this year as it was being hosted in Atlanta, GA….a mere 1 hour drive from home. Alas, COVID had different plans!!

However, MQG took the situation into their own hands and set up “QuiltCon Together”, an online quilt show!!

I have signed up for 4 classes and have enjoyed the first two immensely. The first was “Modern Scrappy Quilts with Value” by Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade. Her focus was that “value” is relative…..it depends on what it is next to!!!

She showed numerous quilts but this was probably my favorite…..

My friend Sheila has made MANY Pyramid quilts and she assures me that they are easy to make…..maybe I will have to try one and see!!

The second class was “Design A Quilt in Five Easy Steps” by Latifah Saafir. She presented the process as a circular one…..

….starting with asking what the purpose of the quilt will be, then imagining the color combinations, design styles, etc. Then on to planning how the quilt will come together. followed by actually creating the quilt. Finally you look for ways to improve your ideas for the next time!!

Then she created a quilt while we watched and based it on suggestions from the participants. It was amazing to see her work and to create this wonderful pattern in just 20 minutes…..

She encouraged us to each think about “What is my personal design signature”….ie….can someone look at one of my quilts and KNOW that it is mine!! Interesting to think about!!!

So, two classes down and two more to go. I can’t wait!!!

Classes and lectures are closed but you can still get a Quilt Show Pass and enjoy the contest quilts. Check it out!!

Prepping for an Art Show…

I am so excited that “Bridge Over the River Kew” was accepted into one of our large local Art Shows!! I am even more excited because this is not a quilt show but an ART show!!!

As I was getting it packed up, I realized that I had not put a label on it yet, so I turned to my favorite method…..printing it onto fabric and then sewing or fusing in place.

I start by designing the label in a text editor or in Powerpoint. Then it needs to be printed onto fabric. My fabric of choice is “Printed Treasures”……

It is a high-quality fabric that has a paper backing so that it can run thru an Inkjet printer. I really like this product because the photos come out sharp and the hand of the fabric stays the same…..it doesn’t get stiff at all!!

The fabric sheets are pricey and I always hated using an entire piece of paper to print one 3×5 inch label!! So I came up with a solution that allows me to use all of the little bits of fabric!!

I first print the label on paper (normally in black and white) and then cover it with the piece of “Printed Treasures” fabric……

I secure the fabric to the paper using a long strip of clear tape…..be sure to cover all of the leading edge with tape (in this case I folded the tape over the top of the paper)……

….but also make sure that the tape doesn’t cover part of the area that is going to be printed.

Run this page thru an inkjet printer and voila……

….the label is printed and ready to be applied.

Often the hardest part is getting the paper backing off of the label!! But, I have learned that if I heat the back with the iron, the paper will peel off easily…..

Since this was for a wall quilt, I chose to use Wonder Under to attach it. I have learned that it will adhere and hold better if you round the sharp corners…..

A quick press with the steam iron……

….and the label is secure on the back!!

The next step was to prepare a hanging rod of some sort. I found one in my closet that was the right length and used a small amount of acrylic paint to color the ends…….

That worked well…….

…..and it is now turned in and ready to hang!!

Virtual Quilt Festival

Last weekend I attended the Virtual Quilt Festival that took the place of the International Quilt Festival in Houston. While it was not NEARLY as much fun as spending 3 tiring days walking the convention floor, it was still fun to peruse the galleries and take some classes.

The most exciting thing was to see my quilt Mahek the Market Girl “hanging” in the competition entitled “In My Mind”…..

It was also fun to be able to sit with my feet up, drinking a cup of tea while I watched the classes that I had signed up for. Both were quilting related and while one was just so-so, the second one was AMAZING.

I spent 1.5 hours with Claudia Pfeil in her studio in Germany!!

I would never have taken this class in person because it was designed for a long-arm machine, but with distance learning, I was able to enjoy her work and learn lots about developing new quilting designs.

She started off by talking about her “alphabet”….the building blocks that she uses with most quilting designs…..

screen shot from class

She starts with 5 basic patterns…..bridge, swirls, S-designs, straight lines and balls!!

Then she talked about her 5 elves (she had cute names for them) …. additional element, echo, mirror, combination, spacing

Then she moved to the machine and demonstrated how she uses these elements. As she started quilting in an area, she would begin with one of her simple designs. She would echo and/or mirror the design and start adding additional elements as she went. The final combinations were amazing….

She also showed a way to tie off your threads without having to bury them. I videoed this portion and want to get to the machine and try it out. IF I can figure out exactly how she did it, I will be sure to pass it on!!

I left the seminar feeling encouraged and inspired and then discovered that she had also provided a 27 page pdf full of quilting designs!!!

If you haven’t heard of Claudia, be sure to check out her website. And, if you get American Quilter magazine, there is a wonderful article about her quilts in the January 2021 issue!!

Mahek is going to Houston… Sort of!!

Back in May, I entered “Mahek, the Market Girl” into the International Quilt Festival (Houston Show) competition.

As we all know by now, Houston was canceled for 2020. and I was so disappointed when my entry fee was returned!

In September, they announced that there would be a “ Virtual Quilt Festival” and that entries were open for the “My Mind” exhibit. I told Michael that I was hesitant to enter the virtual show because I REALLY had wanted the opportunity to see her hang at Houston. As usual, his advice was spot on!!

He counseled me that we didn’t know what the next years were going to be like, and ALL of the shows may be virtual in 2021!! As I thought about that, I decided to go ahead and place the entry.

On Friday, I got an email saying that my quilt had been juried into the virtual show

I am thrilled to bits!!

It won’t be quite the same as walking up to her hanging on the wall as part of one of the exhibitions, but it’s still pretty neat.

I guess now I need to get started on another collage type quilt so that I have something like that to enter next year.

I think that the Virtual Show is actually going to be pretty good. You buy a pass for $10 that allows you to tour all of the online galleries on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th. There are various lectures and workshops that you can take for a $20 fee, and of course, there is a vendor mall…..because we HAVE to buy the newest thing!!!

You can visit THIS LINK to get more information and follow the link there to purchase tickets or register for classes.’

While it won’t be the same as seeing the quilts in person, (and of course there won’t be Mexican Food), it will be an exciting 3 days!!!

What I brought home…..

This post is in the same vein as “what I did this summer”, but instead it is about what came home with me…..either as “stuff” or as ideas. Here goes…..

Ruth Ann Berry talked about making those amazing 3-D quilts….you know, the ones where it looks like things are floating in space!! I always imagined the designing of those to be horrific, but she uses 60 degree triangles which means NO inset seams!!

Karen Kay Buckley not only reminded me to use a medium heat when working with Templar templates, but she also emphasized the importance of cutting the template plastic so that there are super smooth edges. To this end, I bought three pair of her scissors…..two for templates and one (serrated edge) pair for fabric…..

She said that if there is a slight bump on the template edge, you can use an emery board to smooth it out, and she also urged using a piece of fine sandpaper under the fabric when you are drawing the shape on.

Finally, she gave great instructions for preparing a leaf shape for applique. The first hint was to put a small loop of painter’s tape on the back of the template so that it doesn’t slide around when you are pressing the edges in place. Then, after you have used Magic Sizing and ironed all of the fabric in place, slightly wet the tips and pull the fold back so that it doesn’t overlap the leaf edge.

Deborah Gale Trico talked about Wool applique and thus encouraged me to buy a kit to make a small wool applique hanging…..

She was also giving out free needles and a skein of wool thread….gotta love freebies. The most interesting thing that she talked about was how to thread a Chenille needle. Here is her video…..

She also talked about using a thread to baste the pieces in place and hold them while the applique was being done. I came home and decided to baste my circles in place as I applique them and it has made the positioning a lot easier…..

I listened to Lois Hallock talk about how to organize your fabric and although I liked her suggestions, I finally decided that I have mine organized as well as I can. WHEW….nothing to change!!!

Jean Impey talked about using Fabrico markers to paint and reminded me AGAIN not to draw lines but to shade.

I had mentioned in the previous post that the vivacious Susan Cleveland talked about using piping and random prairie points to spice up your designs. This was probably my only “impulse” purchase, but I bought her book and templates for both the piping and the prairie points…..

Let’s hope that you see it in use in the near future!!

Reeze Hanson was talking about Machine Applique and said to use a super fine thread (80 or 100 wt) to do the stitching around the appliques…..what a good idea

One of my most memorable talks was from TSC designs. They are the ones who sell lots of inks, markers and stencils. As I walked up to the talk, I was just standing to one side rather than sitting down. The woman who was supposed to be the presenter (Joyce Teng) had lost her voice so another woman was doing the talking. Joyce walked up to me and invited me to sit. I declined and stood there for another minute or so. Finally, she walked back up to me again, pointed at the chair and explicitly told me to sit…..I sat!!! But, the tip that came from my sitting time was that you can use 404 spray adhesive to hold the stencil in place so that it doesn’t shift!

In the Color seminar that I have already talked about, she encouraged us to add white or light tones to “open up” the quilt. She also suggested taking a photo in Black & White so that you can look for value and better determine if your quilt needs different values to keep it exciting.

I have been interested in trying some heavier threads in my machine quilting and bought three spools to start with. Two spools of 28 wt thread from Aurifil and one spool of 12 wt from Superior…..

Let the practice begin!!!

I purchase this book by Lea McComas (the award winning quilter who made “The Long Goodbye” from my first post)…..

I am not sure that I will ever try anything this detailed but it is interesting to read her process.

The final purchases were some facial toned fabrics that I MAY use in an upcoming piece……

….and a cute applique quilt that I am looking forward to playing with (in my spare time)!!!…

Finally, I leave you with two things that caught my fancy as funny…..

First of all, as we walked past the “Lost and Found” table, there was a HUGE stack of reading glasses. Does that tell you anything about the clientele for the show.

Lastly, as you can imagine, the Ladies bathrooms were always busy and often there was a line out the door. In the bathroom on the show floor, there was an attendant who was hilarious. When you were waiting, she pointed out that there was an open stall for you to use and when a line started forming, she called out “Alright ladies….there is a line starting out here so get going. I need to hear some flushing!!!” I felt bad for anyone with a shy bladder!!!

To recap….the show was wonderful as always and I came away with so much inspiration and excitement about my favorite pastime.

Enough talking…..let’s get up to the studio!!!