Houston here we come!!

For the past week, the International Quilt Festival Facebook page has been posting photos like this one…..

…and even better…..this one…..

What does this mean???

It means that the Houston Quilt Show starts this week!!

And, I am SO excited to be going again. Last year’s virtual show was fun but it just wasn’t the same!!

My friend Linda and I are packed and hit the runway later this morning.

Be prepared for tons of quilt photos to follow in the next weeks!!

On the other side of the table!!

As I mentioned on the weekend, I spent 2 days helping to judge the quilts at the Georgia National Fair.

There were 6 judges…..

…and it quickly became obvious that we had our work cut out for us!!!

We first judged a practice quilt and were put into teams based on the scores that we came up with. This was one of the hardest things to do because we three new judges really had no idea what we were doing!!!

I was teamed with my friend Deb which was just fine with me!! I knew that she and I would work well together!! Each team was sent to their table which held approximately 85 quilts that we were to judge!!

It was a slow start, but I finally got the hang of how to judge the quilt and assign the score. After that happened, I started to enjoy myself!!!

It was fun to see the quilts “up close and personal” and to see the amazing creativity that exists in the quilting world.

It was also eye-opening to view the quilts from the “other side of the table”…..ie from the judge’s viewpoint, and I learned SO many things that I need to watch for in my quilts!!

First of all, when I sew those long lines of blocks together or attach them to a sashing, it is so important that the seam be straight!! This can be done with accurate piecing and especially with a good ironing technique.

Next, I am bad about piecing with whatever thread is on my machine but it makes a huge difference if the thread matches the fabrics (or at least splits the difference with two contrasting fabrics). Note to self…..change the thread!!!

I also need to watch for dark fabrics shadowing thru light fabrics and showing on the top. This was particularly distracting!!

The one thing that was hard for me was to see the number of quilts that were quilted with an all-over pattern that didn’t particularly enhance the piecing. It re-invigorated my desire to encourage others to do their own custom quilting!!

I also realized how important good tension is when machine quilting. I tend to “not worry about it”, but that is going to change now!!

Finally, I realize that it is important to apply the binding straight so that the sides of the quilt don’t wave!!

Once we had all finished, it was time to select the superlative awards for the show…..

This was the first time that we had seen many of the quilts and it was fun to listen to why each team had awarded their particular score. A consensus was quickly attained and it was time to attach the ribbons…..

I did find a minute to snap a photo or two along the way…..

And the quilting on this one was amazing…..

A big SHOUT OUT needs to be given to the volunteers who helped during this entire process. They were taking in quilts and laying them out until 10pm the night before, but were back and smiling happily at 9:00am on the next two days. When we finished, we left the building and headed home but they were all still working hard getting all of the quilts stored until the hanging days.

It was an amazing experience and I hope that I get to go back again!!!

Now I can head to the studio to go make BETTER quilts!!!!

A New Adventure…..

Today I am off on a new adventure to help judge the quilts for the Georgia National Fair!!!

I am super excited and pretty nervous too!!

They use a checksheet scoring which should make it a bit easier and, hopefully, after the first 10 or so quilts, I will feel more comfortable with it!!

I have a long history with fairs!!

In Abilene, Texas (where I grew up), my favorite part of fall was the West Texas Fair. We would be released from school early on the first Tuesday of the fair and given free tickets so that we could attend!!

It was such fun to walk thru all of the pavillions, pick up free goodies from the advertisers, stroll thru the homemaking tent where the crafts and bake goods were housed, and then finally visit the barns. My Dad LOVED the barns so we spent an inordinate amount of time there….but it was fun to smell the farm fragrances and see the beautiful animals.

And then there were the rides!!! It is sad how much faith we put into rides that were hastily built and seldom repaired, but it is fun to remember the screams of joy as we whirled thru the air. Since I was an only child, Mom and Dad would often let me bring a friend, but if I was there by myself, I could always count on my Dad to climb on the ride with me!!

Back in 1971, I knitted a pair of houseshoes for a Girl Scout project and entered them in the fair. Naturally, my Mom kept all of the documentation and apparently, I won a Second Place ribbon…..

When my Mom returned to quilting in 1976, she immediately started winning ribbons at the West Texas Fair and she was SO proud of them.

In later years, she even helped to judge the entries…I guess that nut didn’t fall far from the tree!!

Her last entry in the fair was a quilt that she and I had made together…..

She had hand appliqued all of the amazing flower blocks and was just going to put some borders on it and call it done. I asked her if I could finish up the quilt and she happily acquiesced!!

She was SOOO excited that it won first place that year in the Applique division and I even have the ribbon that I purloined from her house…..

So Fairs seem to run in my blood.

I’ll let you know how this weekend turns out!!!

Quilts in an art show

Our local art gallery….Lyndon House Arts Center…..is holding it’s 46th Juried Exhibition and I was honored to have a quilt accepted into the show.

“Bridge Over the River Kew” hung proudly between other non-fiber art…..

The other quilts included were from local artists…..

“Pump Baby Pump” by renowned quilter Elizabeth Barton won the Nancy Lukasiewicz Award for Excellence in Fine Crafts.

She also had “Brief Encounter”…..

Elizabeth teaches many online courses and keeps an inspiring blog.…you should check it out!!

Also accepted was “Circular Reasoning” by Modern Quilt Artist, Sylvia Schaefer. Her website is worth a peekas well!!

I picked out a few of my favorites to show you……

“Ga. UGA” weaving by Shirley Cambliss
“Blue Wave” – folded paper by Rebecca Kreisler

“Growing Patchwork” – Oil on Canvas by Hannah Jones

Did you notice that ALL of my favorites were geometric in nature? Wonder why that is???

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!!