American Hero Quilts

As we approach Veteran’s Day, it seems appropriate to remind you all of the opportunity to make patriotic quilts for wounded veterans or for family members of veterans killed in action. American Hero Quilts is one such group that does this. At our Bainbridge Island Quilt Fest in September, sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild, there was a Sew In to make quilt blocks for a quilt to donate to this group.

Anyone could participate to sew simple 4-patch blocks, or string-pieced blocks to make a replica of this antique quilt using patriotic colors. The new blocks are much more vibrant in color, the antique quilt having faded with age. This project was coordinated by Marybeth O’Halloran and Barbara Kirk.

The American Hero Quilts organization was established in 2004 to provide recognition and appreciation to wounded service men and women who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Each quilt as a metaphoric hug and a way to express gratitude for their service to our country. There are now over 800 volunteers participating in the program, ranging from piecers, binders, quilters and other helpers, including generous contributors.  As of the first of the year in 2018, over 26,500 quilts had been provided to deserving men and women and their families. The quilts are sent to Madigan Hospital at Joint Base Lewis McCord, other Warrior Transition Centers in the US, and directly to bases in Afghanistan.

 

Balloon Fiesta Challenge

I recently taught at the New Mexico Quilters’ Association in Albuquerque. The big buzz at their meeting was the upcoming Balloon Fiesta, an annual event that takes place for nine days in early October in Albuquerque. The guild runs a booth at this event, where they sell tickets for their raffle quilt and have a variety of balloon themed quilted items for sale. It is their major fund raiser for the year. They had a balloon themed challenge and these delightful quilts were the entries. Members voted on their favorite at the meeting, hence the quilts just have numbers on them and the makers were not identified. I don’t know which one won, but I thought they were all pretty creative. The winning quilt received a prize. All the quilts were donated for sale at the upcoming Balloon Fiesta to benefit the guild. They were whimsical and fun.

Quilted Pet Portraits

Purely coincidentally, on the day of the Bainbridge Island Quilt Fest, there was a small fair with tables on Winslow Green for animal lovers. There were adorable kittens and a couple of dogs out for adoption, a pet food stand and more. One table had this beautiful quilted pet portrait. Raffle tickets were offered for $5, and the winner will be given the opportunity to provide a picture of their pet to be memorialized in a customized quilt made by artist Dawna Ellis.

I think Dawna does an incredible job at bringing these dogs to life on the quilt. The raffle is in aid the Kitsap Animal Rescue & Education organization. Dawna makes a variety of pet quilts for her clients and always donates 10% of her fee to a pet shelter or rescue organization of the client’s choice. She may be contacted at dawna.nest@gmail.com. Hanging nearby, was this delightful whimsical dog quilt, Mod Dog, made by Dana Dimmick Scarp and machine quilted by Gladys Schulz. The quilt pattern is by Colourwerx, designed by Linda & Carl Sullivan.

 

Salmon Quilts, Kodiak, AK

During my recent visit to Kodiak Island, AK, I went to the Baranov Museum. These two salmon quilts were hanging in the gift store for sale. Both are made by the same local artist, Sally Troxell. The fish panels are made from Shibori dyed fabric, printed with hand carved stamps using Daniel Smith oil-based water-soluble ink. Commercial prints surround the panels and the quilts were machine quilted on a domestic sewing machine.

The Reeds, depicts seven salmon swimming through the reeds.

The River, shows the salmon swimming upstream. The combination of watery colors punctuated with orangish-red make beautiful settings for both of these quilts. The quilting designs add to the pleasing effect. Salmon play an important part in this corner of the world and Kodiak Island is a hub for the fishing industry. There are reminders of this all over the place. In downtown Kodiak, the garbage cans are made to look like the salmon cans from the 1950’s. Here’s an example.

The large salmon sculpture by the harbor is made from marine trash from the ocean and designed to draw attention to ocean pollution and the damage that it is causing in the ecosystem. Iqalluk, Alutiiq Salmon was made by art students at Kodiak Middle School and High School with teachers Bonnie Dillard and Marcin Mazurek with support from KIBSD and the AK State Council for the Arts.

Kodiak Wonders Quilt

On my recent trip to Kodiak, AK, I saw this attractive triptych wildlife quilt hanging in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center. I was in Kodiak to teach at the Kodiak Bear Paw Quilters and was able to stay additional days to explore. Members of this lovely group made this quilt and donated it to the Visitors Center in 2007. It hangs near the entry way in an area with seating where people may watch a video about the wildlife on Kodiak Island. I love the animals and wildflowers. Check it out if you are in Kodiak.

The Project was coordinated by Darsha Spalinger, Ilva Fox, Christy Kinter and Sheila Wallace. The quilting is by Sue Thompson. Here are some detailed shots.

Fireweed by Becky Applebee. Fox by Elsa Dehart

Otter by Christy Kinter. Puffin by Mary Buben.

Bear by Sandy Peotter. Forget-me-nots by Sheila Wallace.

Salmon by Ilva Fox.

 

Kodiak Bears!

I’ve just returned from a teaching trip to Alaska and had the good fortune to spend time on Kodiak Island with the Kodiak Bear Paw Quilters. We had three days of workshops and then I stayed an additional three days to explore the area. I went on a trip of a life time, bear watching. We flew in a float plane for an hour to a remote area on the Fraser River near a fish ladder where we could observe Kodiak bears fishing for salmon. We saw five bears. The 900 lb mama with two second summer cubs were the most photogenic. This was an incredible experience! Despite the mist and rain, we had excellent views. The bears crossed the river and came up on the trail very close to us. Our pilot was not concerned and reassured us that these bears are well fed on salmon and salmon berries and were not interested in us!

The following day, I had dinner at the Old River Inn and spied this bear quilt on the wall. There was no label on the back and the restaurant staff did not know the maker of the quilt. It’s a pretty good representation, even down to the massive claws!

Inspiration from a Navajo Rug

In May, I taught in Santa Rosa at two quilt guilds and stayed in the lovely home of quilter Janet Tonkin. Several years ago, Janet purchased a Navajo hand woven rug at the Hurbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ. The 20″ x 30″ rug was woven on a loom by Lenora Davis and the style is Two Grey Hills. Janet has it displayed on a wall in her home. This rug inspired her to design a quilt using the rug pattern as a guide. She was able to break the pattern down into squares and rectangles to piece this beautiful replica. Here are the quilt and rug side-by-side.

As you can see, Janet added red to her quilt and used grey tones rather than the browner tones in the rug. The quilt is about twice the size of the rug. Janet has it folded over the back of a grey couch in her living room where it is a pleasing addition to the decor and can be used as a large lap-quilt on cold evenings.

Southern Region Forest Service quilt celebrating 100 years

On my recent trip to the Asheville area to teach at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, I stayed an extra three days to explore the area. I headed southwest to the Pisgah National Forest and saw this beautiful hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt hanging at one of the park information centers.

As you can see from the legends in the borders, the quilt was made in 2005 to celebrate 100 years of service caring for the land in the Southern Region. Each of the southern states from the east coast to as far west as Texas provided quilt blocks representing their area. Here are some detailed shots. There is a map showing the states which are part of this Southern Region, and on the right, a block from the Interagency Wildland Firefighters and Support group depicting Smokey the Bear.

Here the blocks from the Cherokee National Forest and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The block for North Carolina depicts a hiker silhouetted with a waterfall behind. The picture on the right is of Looking Glass Falls which is just a few miles down the road from the Center where the quilt is hanging. The waterfalls were spectacular and very swollen. The locals enthused that they had never seen so much water gushing. The area had over 20″ of rain in a two week period just before I arrived. I was blessed with three clear sunny days to explore the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway and experience the glorious natural beauty there.

 

March for Our Lives, Seattle

On Saturday, 24th March, I participated in the March for Our Lives in Seattle. I applaud the young people taking a stand for the implementation of common-sense gun regulations and wanted to show my support for this cause. The march was peaceful and there was a feeling of optimism and hope that this is a beginning for positive change. Several of our St. Barnabas Church parishioners participated along with other members of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia including the Bishop. Here I am marching with our church banner, one of my rare applique quilts, made in 2000.

The banner was much admired during the march. This is one of the more challenging quilts that I’ve made.. The Island, church, shield and lettering are done using a combination of hand, machine and fusible applique. The ferry boat was pieced and then the whole thing appliqued onto the background. We have a beautiful red brick church and I expressed my idea of our community extending beyond the parish by quilting lines radiating out from the lit up windows. The blue u-shaped piece in the border was cut from a large piece of fabric so that it could be made from just one piece. The quilt was machine quilted on my domestic machine. It has a split hanging sleeve on the back to accommodate the banner poles.

I spent several weeks working every day on this banner just after my father passed away in the spring of 2000, and the experience was very soothing. I donated it to my church in his memory. He was an Anglican priest and a Canon of Newcastle Cathedral, (U.K.), and this seemed a fitting tribute to his ministry and my fond memories.

 

Quilt Artist, Kathleen Bond, Prescott, AZ (2)

In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. Last week, I posted pictures of two of her quilts and this week I am presenting another three.

This Serptentine 1930’s Fans quilt was made from blocks that Kathleen purchased at a Guild rummage sale. She assembled them in this striking layout and filled in the white spaces with beautiful quilting using her long-arm quilting machine. Of course, the person putting the blocks in the sale loved the finished quilt and regretted parting with them!

Pretty Rosettes, is Kathleen’s original design. The nine sunflower blocks were hand-pieced and appliqued. Once again, Kathleen has used an eclectic selection of fabrics to create this beautiful quilt. Surprisingly, the wide striped sashing and wide borders work well to display the attractive blocks.

Going Away Eagles, is a quilt made from eagle blocks appliqued by Kathleen’s friends and given to her when she moved from Colorado to Arizona. The fabric in the border is Colorado toile depicting historical Colorado scenes. I love the triangles separating the eagles in the center from the border and adding more contrast to the piece to make it alive and to highlight the toile fabric.

Kathleen’s quilts are inspiring. As well as making a strong initial visual impact, they display her attention to detail as well as fine workmanship. It was a delight to stay with her and to be privy to her work.