My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quilt Show 2013, Part 1

Image from Shelterness

When the pumpkins appear in my neck of the woods, it's time for quilts! And this year's 16th annual October Fiber Arts exhibit at our public library was special, since my friend (and quilter extraordinaire) Jo got to attend it with me during her visit earlier this month! That was fun for us both, as I got the benefit of her insights and expertise while viewing the quilts, and she got to see them up close and in person instead of having to press her nose to her computer screen in Michigan to try to study some of the quilt details. :-)
Unfortunately, though there were many beautiful exhibits, we didn't think they were shown to their best effect because of how they were displayed. In past shows, the quilts were usually hung unfolded from the mezzanine railing from as close to their top edge as possible to make nearly the entire quilt visible from below or from across the mezzanine. This time many of them were folded over width-wise before being draped halfway over the railing, so that in many cases just 1/4 of the quilt was visible from any particular vantage point. To show you what I mean, here's an overview photo from a past year's show...

and here are this year's overview photos... 

In some cases you could still see enough of the quilt to get a good idea of its pattern and design, but in several cases hiding that much of the quilt made a big difference. I think were a lot more quilts in this year's show - which was great - but they also looked crammed together (often overlapping) with no thought to color or design placement, so some of the colors or designs clashed with each other. I don't know why they didn't use the stair railing to display some of them like they have in years past, and I wouldn't have wanted to be the person who labored on a quilt for months only to have it folded up and scrunched in a corner. And most annoying of all, several of them were hung very crookedly. I had Jo straighten out one of our favorites as much as she could before I photographed her with it, ignoring the "don't touch" signs because it was listing so badly! Anyway, I was disappointed since they've always been displayed so beautifully in the past, and I wanted Jo to enjoy our quilt show at its best! But we still had fun. I mean, just look at all those colors and patterns! So yummy!...

I'll start with the above section, since I took closeups of four of the five quilts displayed on the wall  (and you'll see more of that red and purple eye-catcher on the railing in Part 3!) As always, I've included, in quotes and italics, the exhibitor's personal note from the quilt's info card whenever I thought it was interesting or informative. And also as always, click on any photo for more detail. And enjoy! :-)

I thought this quilt was quite elegant...

Magical Medallions
Technique: Needleturn Quilting, Appliqué
Artist: Judy Peck
"Begun January 2012, completed November 2012"

And this one was cheerful and summery...

Jane's Flower Garden
Technique: Machine Appliqué
Artist: Jane Rader
Quilter: Janis Farr
"Patterns for the appliqué came from the Kansas City Star in the 1930's.
The fabrics are all 1930's reproductions."

I'm always a sucker for dark backgrounds and bright colors, so you know I loved this one...

Garden Nouveau
Technique: Needleturn Appliqué
Artist: Judy Peck
"Begun August 2012, completed Februrary 2013"

It's a shame they hung this next beauty behind one of the display cases; Jo and I both admired it and I'd have loved to have captured it in its luscious entirety...

Aunt Grace's Circle of Friends
Technique: Machine Pieces, Hand Appliqué, English Paper Piecing
Artist: Maureen Humphrys
Quilter: Virginia Ohr

Jo and I also were really drawn to the reddish one to the left of the mitten tree... 

Its background color was quite unusual - a sort of rich, rusty burgundy - but it gave us both fits trying to capture it accurately with our cameras! No matter how many lighting or angle permutations we tried, it kept turning out too light, too orange, or too red. This was my most accurate attempt in a closeup, which still turned out too light and orangey-red, but which I wanted to include so you could see the details. Because the quilting technique - just vertical lines - was also pretty unusual, and the combination of the quilting and the color made it look like warm, cozy corduroy...

Falling Stars
Technique: Machine Piecing
Artist & Quilter: Susan Baggett

These next three quilts were made by three quilting friends named Jamie, Marcia, and Mary Jane ("JMMJ"). One of them picks a fairly simple pattern and challenges the other two to do it too. Here is the result of their latest "MJJM Quilt Challenge" trio...

L-R: Jamie Leupold's quilt, Mary Jane Collins' quilt, Marcia Suranyi's quilt

I thought they were all lovely and fun, but my favorite was Jamie's, I think because of the unusual colors and the fact it made me feel like I was looking out through the port holes on a ship, embarking on some grand adventure...

JMMJ Quilt Challenge
Technique: Machine Pieced/Raw Edge Appliqué
Artist: Jamie Leupold
Quilter: Becky Stednitz

Some more I admired...

Imperial Diamonds
Technique: Pieced
Artist: Peggy Gable
Quilter: Becky Stednitz
"I make each grandchild a special quilt for his or her 21st birthday. 
This one lives in Texas."

The quilt on the right, though not the main one I was photographing, deserves a mention too, especially since it's a quilt pattern that Joanne has also made!...
Tree's Up, Lights On
Technique: Machine Pieced
Artist & Quilter: Jennifer Golden

Another that appealed to my love of bright colors and whimsy...

Irish-Chained Pin Wheels
Technique: Machine Pieced & Quilted
Artist: Pamela Rapp
Quilter: Virginia Ohr
"Part of a Friendship Block Exhange"

And since tomorrow is Halloween (my favorite holiday!), I'll end this post with this delightfully festive pumpkin quilt!...

Primitive Pumpkins
Technique: Machine Pieced
Artist: Margaret Prout
Quilter: Becky Stednitz

In Part 2 I'll share some favorite non-quilt fiber art pieces from the show, and then will wrap up with Jo and my VERY favorite quilts in the show (and some post-show quilt goodies) in Part 3. But for now, click on the quilt-patterned pumpkin picture at the top of this post for DIY instructions on decoupaging your own if you'd like, and enjoy a happy (and bewitchingly healthy) Halloween! :-)

Click here for Part 3


  1. How right you are. The quilts (what we can see of them) are beautiful, but so badly displayed. Which is disappointing.

    1. I'm sure it's hard work displaying them all, especially when there are so many, but yes - very disappointing they didn't do a more careful, thoughtful job! Definitely looked hurried. I'm sure some of the quilters were disappointed too!

      But even so, did you find a favorite in the bunch?

    2. Probably Garden Nouveau and Mary Jane Collins Quilt. Except that I know that if I was there my fickle heart would change again and again and again.

    3. Quite possibly, I know mine did a few times! :-) I look forward to seeing what you have to say about Jo and my top favorites in Part 3!

  2. The quilts are terrific but I must admit to being smitten by the pumpkin with the star pattern. Thanks for the pics! :-)

    1. You're welcome! You know, I'd originally written an intro that went something like, "When the frost is on the pumpkin, it's time for quilts" and looked high and low for a photo that had both pumpkins and quilts in it. I could envision such a picture in my minds eye, but couldn't find one! But my search did yield this pumpkin with the star pattern decoupage, and I thought that it was fun, unique and appropriate for the post so I just changed my wording a bit. I'm glad you were smitten with it! :-)

  3. I love your header picture - how pretty!!

    I liked how you started out with photos from last year - it really made it easy to do a comparison. I think you hit the nail on the head and there were just too may this year to hang them all like that but certainly some of them could have been!

    Since I saw the show with you, you already know what I liked about all of them but I'm finding more to say as I enjoy them again.

    Magical Medallions is making more of an impression on me in your post than it did in real life. Perhaps because it was first here and near the end on our tour. Though I do remember the beautiful applique, I didn't remember the gradation of the colors in the flowers as much. Very elegant indeed.

    I think I'm just going to have to copy "painted stars" at some point because I can't get tired of looking at it. It's really striking and that quilting is awesome. It has so much movement. You did a pretty good job picking the photo that best captured that red!

    Thanks by the way for letting me know that the leaves on the midddle JMMJ quilt was on the fabric. That's still my favorite of the three and you know I love that photo with all three of the quilts in it - thanks again for sending me that!

    Awww! Thanks for mentioning me and my version of the "Tree's Up, Light On" quilt. (Not to mention the perhaps exaggerated "quilter extraordinaire" - both mentions tickled me!!

    Looking forward very much to parts 2 and 3. And I totally agree that having seen the show is far better than having to stick my nose up to the screen to see the details!!!!

    1. Thanks! It's funny, my new header's been up there since September, but only one person has commented on it! I think my blog gets cached and so the old ones just keep showing up for a while after I've changed them or something. By the way, the background (which I had to blur to make the words show up on the header) is a photo I took of a gorgeous barberry last year - you and I walked past it on the walk where we saw that delightful buck, but it hadn't yet put on its autumn coat of many colors. :-)

      I'm glad you found more things to remark on! And I had the same thing happen to me with the Magical Medallions quilt. It grew on me more as I edited, uploaded and wrote about the photo on this post. I took at least one closeup of one or two of the medallions, let me know if you want me to send it (them?) to you.

      You're welcome for the leaf fabric info. Mary Jane Collins, the artist of that quilt, works at the library but wasn't there that day, or I'd have introduced you. She's a prolific quilter and teaches classes, like you do. She always has at least a couple of quilts in each show.

      And you're welcome for the holiday tree quilt mention - don't forget to send me a photo of yours when you get a chance! And you're also welcome for the 100% accurate and factual "quilter extraordinaire" descriptions. If you don't believe me, I think there are several First Place ribbons in your possession that you could consult. ;-)

      Part 2 is already done, I'll probably post it Monday when you have internet access again. Happy to do my part to prevent computer monitor screen nose smudges! :-)

    2. P.S. That wine-colored "corduroy" quilt we like so much was called "FALLING Stars," not "PAINTED Stars!" My bad!! Don't know why I had painting on the brain when I typed that, but I've corrected it.

  4. It's fantastic that there were so many displayed but a shame how they had them hanging. I wouldn't know where to look first if I was there. So many pretty colors & patterns!

    Out of all the ones you featured, Garden Nouveau is my favorite. The dark background with the bright colors is so beautiful!

    That's also wonderful that Jo got to visit the quilt show with you this year. Such a fun time for you both! :)

    1. It definitely takes at least two laps around the mezzanine to see them all, and even then I sometimes will see a quilt in one of my photos that I didn't notice at the time! There's a lot of eye candy at these shows, that's for sure!

      Garden Nouveau is sounding like a real crowd favorite so far, so I think you guys will really love the one that Jo and I chose as our "Viewer's Choice" and that you'll get to gawk at in part 3! :-)

      It was definitely fun to get to attend the show together!!

  5. Wow, what wonderful quilts! And how amazing that some really fancy ones took such a short time (e.g. 6 months) to complete! Yes, it's a shame they weren't displayed better. Did you have a word with the organisers?

    1. I know, and some of those artists make multiple quilts in a single year! Do they even take potty breaks??? :-) No, I didn't say anything to anyone because I'm not sure who the organizers are. But there is a quilter who always has several quilts in the show who works at the library (she wasn't there that day and hasn't been there the couple times since that I've been in the library) and I might ask her about it. I do have a feeling it had to do with the quantity of quilts this year (though that doesn't explain why some were displayed so sloppily!). I know from talking to Jo that some shows will limit the number of entries for that very reason. Not sure an informal community exhibit (no judges or prizes) could do that, though.

  6. Incredible! You have to admire the time, effort, patience, and skill that went into each one.

    1. I know, it blows my mind. (And I whine about how time consuming it is to put these posts together! Shame on me!) :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
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There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
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