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!!!

And just like that….it’s over

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I wondered if there was any more to see at the show…..boy was I wrong!!!!

We started the day with the “Saturday Sampler” with 24 quilter’s talking about their specialties. Our first stop was to Karen Miller again as she was talking about Quilter’s Doodles.

She said that this next quilt was supposed to be at her display since it was the perfect example of her techniques, but, alas, it had been accepted into the show so wasn’t available for the sampler…..

A Quilter’s Doodles Quilt” by Karen Miller

Next, I spent time with Nancy Roelfsema who talked about “Coping Strips”. No, they don’t help you cope with your life, but they do help to put different sizes of blocks together perfectly!!

The comment that struck me most was that when you have a block with points, don’t “square” it up, but instead “trim” each edge so that points aren’t lost and then add the “coping” strips!!

Next, I spent some time with Susan Cleveland who was talking about using piping to add pizzazz to your quilts. Her technique is interesting and I admit that I bought her supplies to give it a try sometime.

I also spent some time with Karen Kay Buckley on both mornings as she talked about preparing applique pieces. Last year, she taught me to use templar plastic to prepare my fabric pieces and her templates are the ones that I have used for my circles. I did learn that a few of my templates had warped because I was using too hot of any iron!!! On the second day, I watched as she prepared pieces with internal and external points and I certainly feel more confident about trying them at home.

One of my favorite exhibits in the show was the “Up and Coming Quilter’s”. Terri Grant was one of the people featured and I have been following her blog for many years and have loved her work. She was scheduled to do a talk about her quilts but wasn’t able to be there. I would have loved to meet her in person!!

One of the reasons that I wanted to meet her is because she owns a piece of my work. MANY years ago, I created a small quilt and offered it as a gift on my blog to celebrate my first blogging anniversary, and she won it!! When she posted photos of her new studio I was excited to see a corner of it in the sitting room of her new building….

She hasn’t been posting much in the last year so I am a bit worried that she might not be well.

When we hit the main show floor again, we realized that we had missed a very important aisle…..the portrait quilts. These always amaze me and the following were my favorites…..

“Pensive Pause” by Linda Anderson

The quilter made this next quilt by turning a photo into a mosaic pattern and then laser cutting 4,000 pieces!!! It is so cute…..

“Are You Smiling at Me?” by Heidi Proffetty

The excitement on this little boy’s face is palpable…..

“Mi Nieto Ismael” by Immaculada Gabaldon

This was one of my favorites…..based on a photo where the dog was being introduced to the newest member of the family……

“Hello Momo” by Hiroko Miyama

Needless to say, this landscape/portrait struck my fancy…..

“Artistic License” by Kathy McNeil

I loved this architectural piece…..

“Rails, Ducts and Stairs” by Judi Bastion

….probably because it reminded me of a photo that I took in a palace in India…..

This next quilt was interesting in that it used only two colors and that the designs were made with strips of striped fabric…..

“two Friends” by Gabrielle Paquin

The colors in this cathedral were amazing, but the hexagon background is what really caught my attention…..

“Church of the Bread of Life” by Amy Munson

This landscape from Taiwan was also a crowd pleaser…

“My Hometown – Seeing Beautiful Taiwan” by Hsiu-Chih Wu

The geometrics and color in this piece were eye-popping….

“Blau de Colors – El Turbo” by Montserrat Forcadell Blasco

And before we knew it, we were back at Pappasitos for our final Tex-Mex dinner, although we did make one last, quick foray to the Vendor’s!!

I am thankful for my friend, Linda, and that she is such a wonderful companion on these IQF trips…..

Here’s to many more!!!

Friday Fun Day…..

Friday morning started with the “Friday Sampler”, a two hour session where 29 quilters presented their specialties and we were allowed to move between them and glean what we could.

One of my favorites was Karen Miller who specialized in Free-motion quilting. On this day, she was talking about using rulers in your designs. After telling us about threads and needles, she then displayed a number of examples of simple quilting done with rulers…..

The “bead-board” border on this quilt is fantastic….and simple too.

I also spent some time with Gail Garber, watching her draft the amazing designs that she specializes in…..

I was reminded to go home and pull out my “flexible” ruler and GET TO WORK!!! This was one of her fascinating pieces…..

This landscape quilt caught both of our eyes, but Linda was the one to really see the vines on the fence post. Some of them were tiny bias binding and some were couched threads. It was super effective…..

“Missouri Barn” by LeAnn Hileman

This sweet quilt was one of the first that we saw when we arrived on the show floor. It was a magnificent mixture of thread painting for the bird and applique for everything else. I cant remember, but the windshield wipers may have been a photograph…..

“Curious Australian Bird” by Barbara McKie

These “dampened” colors made for a very effective quilt…..

“Midnight Rayes” by Mary Brown

……as did the colors in this quilt…..

“Season of Sadness” by Mary Molettiere

Just the opposite colorwise, this quilt was full of happy, bright colors and WAY TOO MANY perfectly matched stripes. This person must have been seriously OCD. But, the result was a fun quilt!!

“Piece of Cake” by Ann Feitelson

I spent a lot of time in the “Landscape” division and was drawn to this quilt……

“Beautiful Taiwan” by Hsu Hsi-Chen

….and was not surprised when I saw that the artist was one of my favorites from last year!!

I did love that she used a tulle over the fused applique pieces and then quilted over the tulle…….

This seems to be a current trend and certainly makes quilt with lots of little pieces easier to create!

I loved these gentlemen sharing their bench with a dog…..

“Still Life” by Pauline Salzman

As we wandered into the SAQA retrospective exhibit again it was fun to see an older quilt by Elizabeth Barton….one of our Athens, GA quilters!!!

“Warm Light” by Elizabeth Barton

This was the 45th anniversary of the International Quilt Festival. Since the Sapphire is the stone for the 45th year, they had presented a “Sapphire Challenge” and the results were amazing. There were old quilts, new quilts, big quilts, miniature quilts and everything in between. The medium size quilts were all displayed from the ceiling of the ballroom and the display was striking…..

After several hours of looking at quilts and several more in the vendor mall, we were both tired and headed back to the hotel.

The Holiday Inn Express is a special place to stay during Quilt Show week!! They do so many things to make us feel at home, including providing dinner for us on one of the nights.

It was fun to sit and listen to the voices of so many women united in conversations about color, fat quarters, rotary cutters, piecing and applique…..seemed a bit like heaven to me!!!