Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Festival" is coming!

Houstonians refer to the big International Quilting Association's quilt show as "Festival" - a byproduct of its name in earlier years. Festival is coming soon - it is held in the late October/early November timeframe every year. The past couple of months have been busy for me, as I'm preparing two quilts that need to be ready for the show. The first one will be the (shhhh!) new block-of-the-month for Alex Anderson and Ricky Timm's online community, "The Quilt Show" ( - or "TQS." The quilt below, "Ruffled Roses," will be the fourth block of the month that I've made for TQS - Alex and Ricky have given me such an honor to design this quilt just for TQS. Check out their booth at Festival this year!
"Ruffled Roses"

The second quilt that I've been working has truly been a labor of love (though when I'm pulling my hair out to get it done on time, it's sometimes hard to remember that!). I designed all of the blocks, with some of them based loosely on antique Baltimore blocks. It still needs a final border of 1" half-square triangles on the outer edge of the quilt -- that will get done after Festival is over.
The borders are all unique -- each border has a different vase and bouquet in the center and each corner also has a different vase and bouquet. I don't think I've had so much fun designing a quilt in a long, long time! Here's one of the borders...

And here are three of the corner vases. When they are stitched onto the long borders, the joining seams will be invisible, as will the vines and flowers that flow across the seams.

In September, some friends of mine chartered a bus and 57 of us rode over to Austin, Texas (about a 3.5 hour drive) to go to the Austin Area Quilt Guild's show. The Austin guild has almost 600 members and they hang 400 quilts in their show. It was a lovely field trip for me! Here are a few pictures of quilts that hung in their show.

The first one was the Grand winner at the show -- "Star Medallion (or 96 Baskets)" was made by Kathleen McCrady. It is based on an original quilt made in 1890 that was featured in three issues of Quilt Mania in 2009. Kathleen's quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted. I love seeing her work; she is an amazing quilter!

This next quilt caught my eye because the quilter (Mary Laminack) used one of my TQS block-of-the-month patterns - and she won First Place in her category - go Mary! What amazed me was the write-up about the quilt: "I had gone to the Houston International Quilt Show and saw a group of my friends with stars in their eyes and grins on their faces. Not wanting to be left out, I rounded the corner and saw the most beautiful quilt that I had ever seen. Being a new quilter, I immediately started crying because I thought that it was much too advanced for me to accomplish. Now, one year later, I have finished my quilt and I am entering it in the AAQG Quilt Show." Mary offers us a tremendous lesson in commitment, dedication, and perseverance: if you really want to do something, you probably can. So for all of us who have thought "that's too difficult"... think again!
This next quilt tickled me: "Mother's Yellow Quilt" was made by Lynette Morgan Dundee, Michelle Mears, Terese Morgan, and Cecile Morgan. For their mother's 80th birthday, they decided to make a quilt with four quadrants - and each quadrant would represent one of their interests and personality. They worked individually for almost a year, hand piecing their quadrants. Two of the women had never made a quilt before. They finished this 77 x 78" quilt and presented it to their mother, who is a quilter and had made quilts for each of the daughters. What a gift! So if you decided to make a set of blocks that represented you and your interests, hobbies, personality, and pastimes, what blocks and fabrics would you choose? What a wonderful, intriguing idea!

Quilter Elaine Rich made the quilt below, "America" (86 x 68"). She views America as "a nation of people from across the globe, living in communities organized into states, with a shared vision but a set of individual personalities.... This quilt celebrates our history and the role we can play in forming a future for our planet." I love how Elaine has made the color wash across the quilt from light to dark, in rainbow fashion. What you cannot see in the photo below is that each of the little squares captures a piece of our Nation; check out the close-up below and you can begin to see how Elaine's creativity played a huge role in the making of this quilt.

The quilt below is one of the many small wall hangings that hung in the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) traveling exhibit. The Austin area is replete with art quilters - and their work is wonderful!

Here's an art quilt ("My Nesting Place," 20 x 28") made by Sara Sharp -- the sky is full of feathers, trees and grasses are made of her hand-dyed fabrics and commercial batiks and prints, and the thread-painted warbler sits on a nest that was built stick by stick. Sara says that "the joyous freedom I feel as an artist is represented in the quote: 'a bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.'"
Close-up of the warbler in "My Nesting Place"

This quilt was also made by Sara Sharp; "Cape Cod Dreams" (25 x 33") is based on a photo she took out of a house overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I like how Sara's work immediately brings memories to mind.

Close-up of fruit in "Cape Cod Dreams"
Here's yet another art quilt; "Eagle" (11 x 11") was done by Tresha Barger. Her quilt was based on a photo by Jack Marshall of Austin, who consented to her use of the photo. She used only four thread colors: white, black, and two shades of orange. What a talent she has for embroidery, right? Below this picture is a close-up so you can see the incredible job of embroidering that she has done.

One of the treats of the Austin quilt show as a "bed turning" that happened several times over the weekend. Marcia Kaylakie, a quilt collector, teacher, judge and AQS Certified appraiser from Austin, specializes in American quilts history. She generously offered a set of her antique quilts for a bed turning. What, exactly, is a bed turning? In a bed turning, a bed is brought in to a guild or quilt show and quilts are placed on it. One by one, each quilt is turned and held up for the audience, and its history and story are told. It was a joy to see a real bed turning -and Marcia's quilts were inspiring to see! Below is only a small sample of the quilts everyone got to view - wow!

That's all for this month. The rest of October will be taken up with preparations for Festival - and then I will rest a teeny bit before I finish a round-robin quilt I'm working on, applique a tulip challenge quilt, tackle hand-quilting my Baltimore (and finish writing up the patterns!), and... oh yes, start designing the next block-of-the-month!

Happy quilting, everyone!
(c)2010 Susan H. Garman

Here's a close-up of her hand piecing and hand quilting - note that, ever the Texan, she put 5-pointed Texas stars between all of the baskets.