Teaching at Fabric D’eva, La Conner, WA

Last month I did a one day trip to La Conner to teach at the relatively new fabric store, Fabric D’eva. La Conner is a picturesque town by the Skagit river with an excellent bakery, boutiques and artsy shops.

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In addition, it is the home of the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum, which as I’ve written before, is a wonderful place to go. Their Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival with a large quilt show as well as exhibits at the Museum on 4th-6th October is not to be missed. While you are in La Conner for the Festival, take a walk along the main street and check out the quilt store, Fabric D’eva.

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The Skagit Valley is well known for the bulb fields which are ablaze with color in the spring. First the daffodils, and then a whole array of tulips. The have a tulip festival every April to celebrate. Fabric D’eva has a great selection of daffodil and tulip fabrics. They also have a whole shelf of fruit and vegetable fabrics as well a wide selection of other goodies.

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The classroom and some of the fabrics are upstairs. Here’s the fantastic fish quilt hanging by the stairway and the view looking down from the top.

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Seven is about the maximum you can squeeze in for classes. We had a full contingent for my Op-Art Kaleidoscope technique and it was a great day.


I’ll be back in the area very soon, attending Quilt Festival on Sunday 6th and then lecturing for the Fidalgo Island Quilters on 7th October and teaching my Bargello class at In Stitches Quilt Shoppe in Anacortes on 8th October.

Teaching trip to Valley Quiltmakers Guild, Southern California

I recently returned from a delightful teaching trip to the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, CA. As I’ve mentioned before, these by air trips require careful planning to manage the luggage. I always heave a sigh of relief when the two suitcases loaded with quilts are safely checked in at the airport and another when they appear at baggage claim at my destination. It’s great when a smiling face greets me and whisks me away in an air conditioned car to the welcoming home of a guild member. So far, I’m glad to say, I’ve never been left stranded at an airport and with only a couple of exceptions, I’ve stayed in comfortable accommodations. The quilters at Valley Quiltmakers Guild gave a me warm welcome and I immediately clicked with my host who was extremely kind and thoughtful. Sharing the passion of quilting brings together a whole variety of people all with a common interest and I love it.

I gave a lecture and taught my Bargello workshop. My ten students all did very well. We had a great workshop venue with plenty of space and good lighting. I love seeing the fabric choices and how differently the blocks turn out even though they are the same pattern.

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One of my students, Edith Close-Vaziri, is a recently retired 3rd grade teacher. Knowing of my work quilting with kids, she brought a class quilt she had made with her students. It’s a charming Dr. Seuss themed quilt. Each child drew a block depicting their favorite Dr. Seuss character. I love to see projects like this.

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In addition to teaching, I had the opportunity to visit two quilt shops, Candy’s Quiltworks in Northridge (left picture) and Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills (on the right). Each had its own character and pleasant atmosphere. Check them out if you are in the area.

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On my final day, I crossed the hills to the next valley, Simi Valley, where I spent the morning demonstrating my template free Kaleidoscope technique at another quilt shop, Quilty Pleasures. After a challenging start due to the road being dug up and a diversion through a residential area, I enjoyed sharing my Kaleidoscope Puzzle and Op-Art Kaleidoscope quilts with the small group assembled and others who stopped by during the morning. In the afternoon, my host took my on a much appreciated trip to the coast to escape the 100+ degree heat then a delicious dinner with her husband at a Mexican restaurant. All in all, a most enjoyable trip.

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APWQ Show, Tacoma 2013, Cheryl Malkowski’s Star Quilts

My favorite special exhibit at the APWQ Show was a display of 32 beautiful star quilts all featured in Cheryl Malkowski’s book, Blocks to Diamonds, C & T Publishing, 2010. Cheryl transforms traditional quilt blocks into diamond shapes which are then set into Radiant Lone Stars. She uses a variety of starting blocks in her designs and the quilts are colorful and absolutely stunning. Here’s a sampling from this inspiring exhibit, Kaleidoscope Star Quilts from Traditional Blocks.

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My Whirlwind Romance by Cheryl, is made from elongated Flying Geese units within the diamonds of the star. This quilt has such motion and the light limy green background is the perfect setting for this striking purple star.

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Flamenco Dancer, also by Cheryl, utilizes skewed striped Flying Geese blocks in a Carpenter’s Wheel setting. The vibrant fabrics are cotton/silk blends and the use of variegated thread adds a nice touch.

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On the left, Crystalline Entity, made in softer colors by Louise Kindig and quilted by Cheryl, has skewed Storm at Sea blocks in a Carpenter’s Wheel setting. Louise chose a smaller block and added a New York Beauty variation for the inner square blocks. On the right, Maltese Cross, by Amy Vetter has New York Beauty blocks skewed into the diamonds. Amy placed her blocks in the Carpenter’s Wheel setting to achieve this lovely design.

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Both of these quilts skew the Storm at Sea block into the diamond. On the left, Prairie Storm, by Cheryl Meredith and quilted by Richard Weckerle, has the small diamond in the rectangle oriented towards the center of the star. On the right, Tuscan Star, by Lois Flevelling has the star diamond turned so that the larger diamond in the rectangle is in the center of the star. Lois’ wreath and feather quilting is gorgeous and really enhances this quilt.

Cheryl Malkowski is from Roseburg, OR. She is a traveling quilt teacher and the author of four quilting books. These stars were all made using her simple paperless freezer-paper piecing technique. Check out her website: www.cherylmalkowski.com.

APWQ Show, Tacoma 2013, Antique Quilts

In addition to the judged quilt show, there were several special exhibits including a wonderful selection of antique quilts from the permanent collection of the La Conner Textile & Quilt Museum.

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This was a excellent opportunity for the museum to display a great selection of their quilts for hundreds of people to admire and to promote the museum. They were excited to share and to see so many of the quilts hanging at once. If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit the museum in La Conner, I highly recommend it – see my earlier blog posting in June for further information. Here are four more antique quilts.

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Nearby, quilt appraiser Ann Bodle Nash, was busy at work. I just happened to pass by when she was examining a spectacular 60″ x 60″ crazy quilt which she estimated as being made in the 1890’s.

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The quilt is made from velvet and silk, with amazing stuffed work, 3-d applique and embroidery in chenille and cotton threads. There are beautiful animals, birds and flowers and the more you looked, the more you saw. There was some deterioration of the black silk, especially near the center of the quilt.

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I talked to the guardians of this quilt and they gave me permission to share these pictures. The owner of the quilt purchased it from an estate sale and had no knowledge of the history. Before passing away recently, she had requested that the quilt be sold and that the proceeds be donated to the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in purchasing it, I can give you the contact information for the seller. Ann was eager to do further research on the quilt before her final valuation.

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APWQ Quilt Show, Tacoma 2013, more of Maggie’s picks

Whenever I go to a quilt show, there are always many quilts that I enjoy, but a few that stay with me, standing out as special for a variety of reasons. You can learn a great deal by studying the quilts that you particularly like and that inspire you. What is it that initially draws you to a quilt? Is the design balanced and coherent? Is the color and fabric choice particularly pleasing? Is the workmanship precise and tidy? When you see the quilt close-up, are there additional details that surprise and delight you?

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Blue is my favourite color and I love the classic look of blue and white quilts. “Ole Blue” made by Opal Myers of Lacey, WA, won Honorable Mention in the Traditional Applique category. Opal used a nice selection of blues ranging from very dark to light and they look crisp on the white background. The combination of appliqued flowers and Celtic knot work is beautiful and I love the way she has scalloped the edge of the white against the the dark blue framing border. Up close you can see her lovely hand quilting.

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This quilt “New York Beauty” by Sharon Bakke, Redmond, WA,  in the Traditional Pieced category, was hanging at the end of an aisle and I first saw it from a distance. What a striking pattern created from the orientation of the Log Cabin blocks. I love it.The label said, “Replica of vintage quilt made in Hornsby area of New York State, date unknown, unique design, maker unknown.” From a distance the dark reads as a dark red, but as you can see from the close-up, it is actually alternating black and red. There is a wonderful variety of fabrics used in the narrow Log Cabin strips.

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“Ms. MacDonald Had a Farm”, made by Hanging by a Thread Group, Chehalis, WA,  won third place in the Pictorial Large category. This quilt was great fun and what really appealed to me was the creativity of the fabric choices on the animals. Who would think to use Kaffe Fassett fabrics on a goat! This is a happy quilt and it made me smile. The label said ” The topic is appropriate for these ladies whose lives are rooted in the colorful farming community in the Boistfort Valley in Washington.” Here are a couple more detailed shots.

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APWQ Show, Tacoma, 2013, Maggie’s pick

The recent Association of Pacific West Quilters Show at the Tacoma Convention Center was, as always, a feast for the eyes. For the judged show, the entries are juried and only about half of those submitted are accepted. It’s a national level show with many outstanding quilts. I’d like to share my Viewers Choice pick, “Spirit” by Georgia Pierce of Seattle which won third place in the Innovative Large category. Georgia’s quilt was absolutely stunning and her execution of the beautiful Native American Indian designs was impeccable.

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The quilt is her interpretation and inspiration from the designs illustrated in a two volume set of books, Learning by Design, by Karen Clark and Jim Gilbert. The label read, “The black sashing represents the formline essential to the art form. The white background provided an inviting canvas for quilting.” Look at the detailed pictures of these gorgeous creatures and notice the intricate quilting designs in the white background.

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The quilted Native American Indian designs and background textures really enhance this piece. It is not simply stipple quilted to death, but carefully thought out, the designs blending beautifully with the applique. I was excited when a white-glove lady came along to show us part of the red back of the quilt where the white stitches stand out even more. Georgia definitely made the most of the “inviting canvas for quilting”.

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The trend over the last few years in quilt shows is for the heavily quilted glitzy quilts to win the major awards. While I can admire the amazing workmanship exhibited on these quilts, I find the overuse of metallic threads, stipple quilting and the multitude of tacky-looking shiny “crystals” distracting and detrimental to the quilts. I know there are many who disagree with me….. I’d welcome your comments and thoughts on this topic.