Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quilt Market Houston 2012

Codi and Greta at Quilt Market
Made it home on Monday from Quilt Market (unlike many folks from the East Coast, who had their flights canceled). It was, as always, a visual whirlwind, as well as a time to reconnect with friends old and new. I especially enjoy meeting in person the people with whom I've had email and phone relationships. This time around I met Amber Eden, the editor of Stitch. We bonded over our journalism backgrounds and agreement on who was might be Quilt Market's newest "It" couple (Julie and Eric Comstock).

I traveled and roomed with Codi and Greta and spent quality time with Mel and Mary Lou. It felt a little rushed this year, as though I had a day less than I usually do. Here are photos of some of my favorite things this time around.
Marny of Modern Quilt Relish talks about their new BOM (while Jill holds it up)
Michael Miller's fashion forecast included jewel tones, pastels, and neon
Alexander Henry's booth was a little simpler this year, but still lovely
Amy Butler's new line for Renaissance Ribbons rested in vintage cigar boxes
I was in love with Anna Griffin's Blend lines—so many outstanding designers and a partnership with designers and Etsy shop owners—want to make a project with their fabric? Just ask. 
Designer Jessica Swift's Blomma line--one of the lovely Blend collections from Anna Griffin
I liked Brigette Heitland's Zen Chic Juggling Summer collection for  Moda even more than her last. These quilts were outstanding
Carolyn Friedlander and her Architextures collection were one of the biggest hits of Market. The quilt is from a Jaybird Quilts pattern
Echino eye candy at the Seven Islands booth 
Detail of some of the Echino bags at Seven Islands' booth
Fairfield created a natural wonderland entirely from batting and interfacing
Greta Songe's Studio 37 collections for Marcus Fabrics--Adorable!
Benartex's Kanvas Studios fabrics won a ribbon for their bright booth
Lisa Bongean's luscious wools. Always so tempted, but I've yet to figure out what to make with them
Have long loved Marcia Derse's fabrics for Troy, and she's so much fun to talk with—fresh, honest, simply who she is
Moda brought in a vintage Airstream to celebrate designer Mary Jane Butters Glamping line
I thought Melody Miller's booth should have won an award...such vintage good cheer
Moda's well-deserved blue ribbon hangs on their booth-of-many-colors featuring hundreds of paint-dipped stirrers, paint cans, pantone tablecloths and "paint"-dripped chair covers, along with fantastic sample quilts. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Time to Sew

Just returned from Lake Tahoe, site of a retreat I've attended the last few years (here, here, and here). I've so enjoyed getting to know and learn from the women in the group. While it feels more than a little indulgent to travel across the country (with 49 pounds of fabric in a check-on bag and my Featherweight in a carry-on), the opportunity to get input and insight on technique, color, scale, block placement, etc. is invaluable.

This group is super-experienced and there are both teachers and students who have attended many workshops with a variety of instructors (everyone has taken a class from Mary Lou Weidman, who was also in attendance) and I learn so much from them each time. The sad truth of my life is that while I get to talk with and write about passionate stitchers, I don't have much time for my own sewing these days. So the time to just focus and sew, surrounded by friends who would stop what they were doing to provide suggestions and commentary (when asked for, of course) was fantastic. It was also a little bittersweet, as Lynn passed away this summer and her ready laugh and talents were greatly missed. But we were blessed to have De and Sue back with us, along with Sue's niece Linda. They'd been in a terrible car accident just before last year's retreat and their return marked a year of recovery. They were both stitching up a storm.

Strips cut in preparation for my hexagon quilt
So here are some photos of the week. There are so many that I'll spread them out over two posts.

I leave tomorrow for Quilt Market, so expect some posts about that very soon, too!

Debby's quilts, inspired by a Gwen Marston workshop

Kathy's finished story quilt about her dogs, who bark at the Blimp!

Linda's completed quilt
Mel's witch blocks surround a haunted house she based on her son's drawing. Note her flying geese/witch hat border and the name quilt—she stitched one for each of us!
Yes, we saw a bear, although if Debby hadn't shouted "Look!" we probably would have missed it as our heads were all bent over our sewing machines.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quilts in Des Moines

Japanese quilt—the flowers are obi fabric
I'm getting ready to go on the road off and on for the next few weeks, so there will mostly be photos on Pearl the Squirrel. Today's are of some of the quilts I had the pleasure of seeing last week at the AQS show in Des Moines. I thought it was one of the strongest shows I've seen at this particular venue. In particular, I loved the Japanese quiltsGwen Marston's quilts, and the Tentmakers of Cairo. There were many other great quilts, as well. Here are photos of some of what I saw (apologies for the photo quality—all phone photos—as well s the poor job of getting quilter's names). More apologies—I can't get Blogger to post the photos with appropriate captions. For some reason things won't work beyond the antique quilt below. Will try again later!

Love this, and that it challenged my perceptions of Japanese quilting

Detail of the above quilt—made of kimono fabrics
An vendor's antique quilt for sale. Absolutely amazing! Originally from St. Louis area

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Do You Mock Quilters? Then You're Quiltist

A traditional Amish quilt from Kalona, Iowa
I loved what readers had to say about my recent Etsy post on innovation and craft. Is it enough to work within a time-honored tradition, or is it important, even critical, to innovate? People argued both pro and con, and there were a number of insightful comments. There was one, however, that gave me pause.

The post referenced the anger among the art quilting community over comments by juror David McFadden who described the pieces in a current exhibition as looking like they'd been created in a time warp—that they could have been created 30 years ago. In an off-handed manner, obviously meant to be a joke, one commenter said "How irate could quilters get?!?" There it was, that attitude I've talked about in this post and the lede in this one. The idea that quilters are little old ladies who rock in their chairs and wouldn't hurt a fly and that the worst they could do would be to shake their canes at some young whippersnapper.

A person with those ideas is QUILTIST. This term is akin to racist, sexist, ageist, etc. I define it as someone who makes assumptions about a person based on the media with which they choose to express themselves. Of course it's rooted in sexism and ageism (denigrating quilting as "women's work," seeing older women as ineffectual and incapable of righteous indignation). And of course there are many, many divisive issues like this in the arts world: art vs. craft; traditional vs. contemporary; drama vs. comedy; community theater vs. Broadway;  novelists vs. journalists, etc., etc., etc. But I'm really tired of quilting being the broom and dustpan of the craft world.

So if you encounter folks like these, call them out! "When you make comments like that, when you gaze off into the distance looking bored when I tell you I'm a quilter, you're QUILTIST! And that's a decidedly unappealing characteristic."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Grottos, redux

Just spent a few days in Wisconsin—the first day was devoted to research and shooting photos for an upcoming Etsy story. The second day was a lovely ride on the Sparta-Elroy bike trail. On our way home, I couldn't help but stop at a couple of grottos, even though I'd already finished my Etsy story.

The Dickeyville Grotto is the better known of the two. It's definitely flashier and larger. It's both religious and patriotic. But there aren't any trees nearby and there was very odd muzak playing, which was rather disorienting. The grotto I liked best was at the site of the former home of the Paul and Matilda Wegner. When they retired, they started building grotto-like structures around their home, including a model of the ship that brought them to the United States from Germany. It was charming and their chapel, which you can apparently get married in (although I can't imagine three people can fit inside), included elements of multiple religions...I appreciated the Wegner's inclusivity.
The above are all Dickeyville 
These are from the Wegner site