Antique hexagon quilt at Lanhydrock House in UK

I saw this stunning hexagon quilt on display at a National Trust property, Lanhydrock House, in Cornwall, UK when I was there at the end of July. The house was built in the early 1700’s and then renovated in Victorian times after a bad fire. The quilt was on the bed in the nanny’s room. My guess is that it dates from the late 1800’s, judging by the Turkey red and the patterned fabrics. On the detailed shot you can see some embroidered crowns on some of the blue hexagons, so perhaps it is from even earlier. If any of you readers can date it more accurately, please write me a reply.

Someone spent hundreds of hours piecing this beautiful quilt and planned the pattern of the colors of hexagons carefully. I love the arrangement of the concentric rings of hexagons with the defining red rows. Even the areas between the red hexagon outlines are well planned in regular patterns with symmetrical spacing of the colors. This is a magnificent quilt.

Grant County Piecemakers’ Quilt Show, John Day, OR

Last week, I posted pictures of my quilts hanging in the John Day quilt show at the Fairgrounds on 19th and 20th May, where I was the featured artist. Here is a sampling of some the other quilts in the show made by guild members and locals. The first is a Carpenter’s Wheel, made by Dotty Parsons and machine quilted by Mary Lou Drury. Dotty made this quilt for her grand daughter, Halle. I love the blue background to offset the the horsey, western themed fabrics.

The delightful farm quilt was made by Karen Hinton. The hearts quilt is another by Dotty Parsons made for her grand daughter, Halle and quilted by Mary Lou Drury.

Karen Hinton made this curved strips quilt. I love her arrangements of the colors and all the different fabrics.

This denim Memory Quilt won the People’s Choice Award. Faith Hundley used materials collected from her relatives. Her Mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, aunts and daughter gave her fabrics, trims and pillow cases. There is white silk from a World War II parachute and fabric from a wedding dress. Faith combined these beautifully and the outstanding machine quilting by Nancy Rowland really enhances this charming quilt.

Featured Artist at Grant County Piecemakers’ Quilt Show, John Day, OR

Last month, I drove across the mountains on a long teaching road trip to northeastern and central Oregon. I was invited to be the featured artist at the Grant County Piecemakers’ quilt show in John Day on 19th and 20th May and then taught my Bargello Quilts with Twist workshop there the following day. I took about fifteen of my quilts representing my work over the last 20 years, plus an addition 12 Bargello block quilts. Seeing them all hanging together was quite something. Many of the large quilts stay at home when I travel to teach and even those that travel frequently are never hung altogether, but usually shown one at a time during my lectures. I have to admit to having a, “Wow, did I make all of those!” feeling!

These four are Glacial Stars (the blue and white one), Trip Around the Garden, Celestial Garden and Stars Around the World. I designed Glacial Stars for the 2017 Kitsap Quilters’ Guild raffle and worked with other guild members to piece the quilt top. Barbara Seitz, one of our guild members, won the raffle and kindly let me borrow the quilt so that I could display it at the show. The pattern is available at my on-line store. Trip Around the Garden is featured in my book, Traditional Quilts with a Twist. Celestial Garden was a finalist in the 2003 National Quilt Museum’s contest, New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Feathered Star. It placed 5th in that contest and hung in the museum in Paducah for three moths before touring the US for another 18 months. My most recent quilt, Stars Around the World, was made for my daughter and son-in-law using 64 fabrics that they collected from 27 countries on their one-year trip around the world.

I displayed several of my template-free Kaleidoscope quilts including the two Op-Art Kaleidoscope quilts on the left of each picture, Retro-Radiation and Tropical Matrix. Dragonfly Dance has on-point Kaleidoscope blocks. There are three Bear’s Paw variation quilts, all featured in Traditional Quilts with a Twist. The quilt with the large green triangles is my Almost Modern Jacob’s Ladder, a finalist in the 2013 National Quilt Museum contest which also hung in Paducah and traveled around US. Down at the far end is my black and green Radiant Feathered Star. Patterns for the template-free Kaleidoscope quilts and the Feathered Star are available at my on-line store.

The right picture shows my Mongolia table where I had items for sale to raise funds for the Mongolian Quilting Center. Both pictures include examples of my Gateway to Mongolia design (pattern available) which is one the most popular classes that I teach. The Woven Rainbow is a relatively recent piece and I’d like to experiment more with this idea. The black, white and red quilt is my Original Octangles in which a large print is featured in an octangle surrounded by triangles. Further down the row is the tree quilt made First Graders at Blakely Elementary School, with hands for the leaves of the tree and woodland animals drawn in the borders. This quilt is featured in my first book, Creative Quilting with Kids.

I had a large class with 18 students the day after the show in the same hall at the Fairgrounds. We left all the Bargello block quilts hanging to inspire my students. These are all featured in my book, Bargello Quilts with a Twist (available for mail order at my on-line store).

Quilting with Kids – 5th Grade Project

In January and February, I made several trips to Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue to quilt with the 5th Graders in collaboration with my daughter who is their science and math teacher. I loved the fresh enthusiasm of these kids who embraced both hand and machine sewing and were so excited to see the two quilts come together.

There are two classes of 15 kids and each class made a quilt. We cut out 45 hearts backed with fusible webbing, ensuring that every kid had a nice variety from which to pick. This is where having a good fabric stash comes in handy! I included some really funky fabrics and was surprised that the kids thought that they were cool, e.g. spoons and forks, clocks, and water melons. We fused the hearts and then taught the kids how to hand blanket stitch around them. For some this was really challenging, but they persevered and everyone finished.

We gave them a choice of fabrics for the corner triangles on the blocks and I took two sewing machines into the classroom working with two kids at a time for the sewing. They practiced on graph paper to get the feel for the stitching speed and sewing in a straight line before sewing the triangles.We made color photocopies of all the blocks and put them up on the bulletin board. The kids each received a copy of their block for their work portfolio too. After I had assembled the quilt tops and we had basted them, I went back into the classroom with my sewing machine and worked one-on-one as each child machine quilted around their heart. Then, I finished the quilts.

The quilts will were auctioned in early March at the annual school fundraiser. Here are some detailed shots.  I have to smile every time I see the heart with a grinning dinosaur and the cartoon eyes in corners of the block.

 

The kids were very enthusiastic about the project and excited to see the finished quilts. It was a rewarding experience for me and I’m really proud of the job they did. I encourage you to quilt with kids, girls and boys, to keep this beloved tradition alive and to have the joy of completing projects together.

 

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show – Maggie’s picks

I’m always drawn to the traditional pieced patterns, so it’s no surprise that three of my four top picks from our recent Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show fall into that category. Along with the attraction of the designs, these quilts display excellent use of color, value and outstanding workmanship.

Terry Loy made this gorgeous quilt, Georgetown (My Version), using a pattern by Jen Kingwell. She was having so much fun that she made twice as many of the circular pieces than needed! There are four different white fabrics and many Kaffe fabrics. The beautiful quilting by Marybeth O’Halloran enhances the crisp bright look of this lively, cheerful quilt.

This intricate Log Cabin is stunning. Snake River, was made by Betty Ekman who admits to finding the small piecing challenging! She used a pattern by Judy Martin. It was quilted by Pat Sloan. I love the use of the beige fabrics in the background of the design. These give the quilt a wonderful warm look. All the small red pieces give the illusion of curves in the quilt and the scallop look inside the piano keys border is extremely effective.

Here’s a classic blue and white Feathered Star, entitled Feathered Stars, made by Mary Polensky and adapted from Marsh McCloskey books. The outstanding machine quilting, (which earned the quilt, the Best Machine Quilting in Show award), was done by Jacque Noard.  Jacque made full use of the setting squares to enhance this precisely pieced quilt with beautiful quilting patterns. It is a gem.

My final pick for this blog is an applique quilt, Piece O’Drama, made by Wanda Rains from a pattern by Piece O’Cake Designs. I’m drawn to this piece because of Wanda’s fabulous choice of fabrics. Firstly, the dark background makes the floral designs in the blocks look stunning. Secondly, the fabrics used in the flowers and leaves include unusual beautiful prints that I wouldn’t think of as prime candidates for applique blocks. Finally, the choice of sashing fabric brilliantly frames the blocks and they look gorgeous. I love this quilt.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show – Ann Trujillo, Featured Artist

At our local Kitsap Quilters‘ Guild’s recent show, our featured artist was guild member Ann Trujillo. Ann has been been quilting for about 20 years, but has been involved in crafts such as embroidery and sewing doll’s clothes for much longer. She has won many awards for her colorful intricate quilts and the booth looked beautiful with her magnificent array. She loves to try different techniques and complex patterns.

Ann has a hard time pinning down her favorite technique because she loves it all. She writes: “For me, the slow and steady progress on an intricate project is like a mediation. I love puzzles and complex things that take a long time to do! I love to learn new things, try different things, and challenge myself to never say it’s enough. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!”

This bird quilt is a project in progress, with birds from the book Bird Dance by Sue Spargo. Ann inherited vintage lace from her mother and decided to use it in her blocks. She is now adding more beads and embroidery and planning the border. These birds take on their own characters with all the wonderful embellishment.

This luscious water-lily quilt, Emerging Beauty, was designed in collaboration with Ann’s sister, Mary Hennington, who painted the oil painting. Ann took a photo of the painting and enlarged it to life size and used this to create the pattern. The quilt is hand appliqued and the silk is hand painted. Marybeth O’Halloran machine quilted it.

Ann is generous with her time and talents and loves to share, teach and encourage new quilters. She finds helping quilters to achieve their goals very satisfying. Once a week she volunteers, teaching quilting and sewing at the Washington Correctional Center for Women in Purdy. Last year, their charity program produced over 2,500 items for the less fortunate. In addition to quilts, they make knitted items, stockings for our military, food bowls for the hungry, backpacks for kids, and much more. Ann works part-time at the quilt store, Quilted Strait, in Port Gamble, where she gives customers a warm welcome and  puts her skills to great use helping them with their fabric selections.

 

 

 

Quilting at the Lake, Lake Havasu, AZ

I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip to AZ, where I taught at the Havasu Stitchers annual Quilting at the Lake event held at the London Bridge Resort in Lake Havasu. The guild has a membership of over 200 and about a third of them are snow birds. They are an active, busy group who gave us teachers a wonderful welcome. In the lobby of the resort there is a replica of the golden carriage used in Great Britain to take British royalty to their coronations. The railing surrounding the carriage was a perfect place to display quilt tops made for American veterans!

AQS Des Moines Quilt Show (4)

I’m still savoring the many beautiful quilts that I saw at the AQS Show in Des Moines in October. With Christmas rapidly approaching, this seems an appropriate time to share a couple of gorgeous star quilts that were exhibited. The first was in a special exhibit, The Art of Quilting, Quilts by Judy Woodworth. Sawdust, 90″ x 90″, is an original design pieced by Mary Sue Suit and quilted by Judy Woodworth. This award winning quilt is one of several on which Mary Sue and Judy have collaborated. I love the rich colors especially the royal blue which majestically frames the stars in the center.

The second is Feathered Star quilt which was in the judged show. I have a soft spot for these especially when they are well executed with exquisite quilting like this one. Fine Feathered Friends, 71″ x 87″, was made by Tamara Gross of Wichita, KS and long-arm quilted by Jan Hutchison. I like the way different background fabrics were used for the stars, adding interest to the quilt. There’s an attractive variety of browns used too and it all looks very crisp and clean. The intricate machine quilting patterns tremendously enhance this beautifully pieced and appliqued quilt.

 

AQS Des Moines Quilt Show (3)

There were several special exhibits displayed at the AQS QuiltWeek in Des Moines. One was The World Painters Challenge. In 1995, a group of quilters from Japan formed the Nihon Heritage Quilters Guild. They participate in an annual quilt challenge and every few years, the challenge is extended to include other nations. A list of 30 world-famous painters was chosen for 30 quilters from Japan, France and USA. Each quilter was assigned an artist and challenged to design a piece of fiber art either representing a work of their painter of making a design of their choice in the style of that painter. Here are photos of four of the quilts that particularly appealed to me. The famous painters are easily recognizable in these creative pieces.

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Benedicte Hanot from France made the Salvador Dali piece. She painted plain white fabric with acrylic paints and machine and hand appliqued a variety of textiles including leather. There is embellishment with embroidery, pearls, driftwood, sequins and machine quilting. The Vincent Van Gogh piece was made by Nancy Kibbey from OR. Her inspiration came while sketching a lawn chair which reminded her of Van Gogh’s painting of The Chair and the Pipe. She included themes from other paintings too, including The Harvest. She used cotton fabrics, both commercial and hand painted, which are fused with raw edges.

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Joan Miro’s work is represented by Ginny Steller from OR. Although much of Miro’s artwork is childlike with a sinister twist, she chose a lighter moment depicting a cat in a garden. Dark lines and solid colors define the shapes. Jae McDonald, also from OR, interpreted Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Jae writes, “I’ve often thought of Klimt as a very “quilterly” painter, with his peculiar use of shape, pattern and color.” This is made from hand-painted cotton and lamé, and commercial fabrics embellished with acrylic inks, fabric paints, metallic threads, gold-plated paillets , beads and wire.

American Heroes Quilts

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I thought I should revisit the American Heroes Quilts project. At our Bainbridge Island Quilt Festival this September, there were several American Heroes quilts exhibited and the opportunity for show attendees to stitch quilt blocks at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Our local American Heroes quilt group meets on the third Thursday of the month at Esther’s Fabrics and is open to all. You can also pick up American Hero blocks at Esther’s to make at home. (This may change as Esther’s is about to have a new owner).

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The American Heroes Quilts project was established in 2004 to provide recognition and appreciation to wounded service men and women who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The quilts are like metaphoric hugs and a way to express gratitude. There are over 800 volunteers participating in the program. As of the January 2016, over 21,500 quilts had be given to deserving service 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.

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The quilts are made using red, white and blue fabrics, often with patriotic prints. Quilters seem to be generous by nature and this is one of many examples of the outreach projects in which they participate.