AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah VII – Stitch Like an Egyptian special exhibit

The Stitch Like an Egyptian exhibit showcased several wonderful appliqué pieces made by tentmakers in Cairo. For thousands of years, complex canvas appliqué art decorated the interiors of tents and homes in the Middle East. There are only a small group of Egyptian artists (about 55, all men) continuing this tradition, working in their small shops along a covered street. Inspiration for the elaborate designs comes from architecture, Islamic carvings, calligraphy and nature.  Some have circular mandala patterns, some have square and rectangular designs and others are pictorial. Here are examples of all of these. The color choices and sophisticated patterns are stunning.

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This circular pattern above, entitled 573 Ekramy, is from the Al Farouk Shop and has Romy and lotus patterns. The one below, 353 Hosam, is from the Mohamed Hashem Shop. It is a complex Romy design with a star center. Romy applique incorporates a distinctive little curlicue that comes from the era of the Fatimids when the calligraphy permitted in mosques was embellished with small curls and tips that looked like growing plants of leaflets. It often winds under and over like Celtic applique, but is allowed two “overs” or two “unders”.

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The next two utilize square and rectangular designs. 469 Hosam, 49″ x 58″, was made at the Al Farouk Shop. It has stylized lotus borders with Romy designs.

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Here is another, the only one I saw done in a monochromatic pallet. I love the blue and white in 477 Mahmoud. 61″ x 68″, made at the Fattoh Shop. It has a vase with lotus and Romy, two side columns and an intricate lotus border.

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The designs are made by folding paper and punching holes in one-eighth through all the layers. The paper is unfolded and laid over the background. Talcum powder, charcoal or cinnamon is rubbed over the surface making tiny dots on the fabric. Then the dots on the fabric are joined with a lead or white pencil to complete the transfer of the pattern. This technique has been used for the last 4,000 years.

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Last, but not least, is the pictorial. This wonderful tree full of colorful birds, 703 Aly, 57″ x 57″, was made at the Mohamed Ibrahim Shop.

Guildcrafters Quilt Shop, Berkley, Michigan

I was fortunate to visit the Guildcrafters Quilt Shop in Berkley on my way to the Detroit Metro Quilt Guild from Ann Arbor. The store carries over 6,000 bolts of batiks, traditionals, reproductions, designer, novelties, wool, minkee and hundreds of flannels. I loved the character of this place with inviting displays and colorful quilt samples. It was inspiring and I’m sure that if I lived in this area, I would be a regular here. Here’s a pictorial tour.

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There was a spacious notions, books and patterns area and a section of wool. These woolly creations are wonderful and I especially liked the hedgehog.

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A whole section of the store was devoted to babies and children with attractive quilts, toys, clothing, fun accessories and appropriate fabrics. This was great to see all these beautiful samples to entice and inspire, such as the elephant pillow and the Dr. Seuss quilt.

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Bainbridge Island Quilt Festival

The second annual Bainbridge Island Quilt Festival took place on 13th September. This Festival was initiated in 2013, by Barbara Kirk, owner of Esther’s Fabrics on Bainbridge Island. Barbara was inspired by the joy and beauty of the annual Sister’s Quilt Show held outdoors in Sisters, OR and wanted to put on a similar but smaller venture on Bainbridge. The Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild collaborated with Esther’s Fabrics and other local businesses to display the quilts on our main street in Winslow.

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It was a warm sunny day and the locals, as well as many visitors, were delighted by the colorful array of quilts. I gave a lecture in Mount Vernon in the morning and drove back in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the ferry traffic was backed up at Edmonds so I had to sit and wait. I arrived at the quilt show at 5.00 p.m. just as quilt take down was starting, so I hurried along the street to see as much as possible.

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I arrived in time to see my own entry still hanging. Catherine’s Lone Star, made for my niece, was hanging outside the Wildernest Outdoor Store.The stunning Log Cabin quilt was made by Terry Lay and machine quilted with gorgeous feathers by Marybeth O’Halloran. It hangs with a traditional Nine-Patch made by Emily Steed and quilted by Amy Steed.

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These two quilts caught my attention. The classic red and white Snail Trails and Stars quilt entitled Supernova looked striking. It was made by Ki Kilcher and quilted by Teresa Levitt. The attractive Bordered Diamonds was made from a Kaffe Fassett pattern and Kaffe fabrics by Heather Kitchen and quilted by Country Threads. Next year, I hope to be at the show for the whole day and to take a more active part in volunteering to help.

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Lecture and Home Stay in Mount Vernon

In mid-September, I lectured for the Northwest Quilting Connection. This group includes members from the northwestern part of WA and southern British Columbia. They meet five times a year and rotate the location of their meetings within their area. About 50 people attended my lecture and they gave me a wonderful welcome. I was fortunate to spend the night before the lecture with a member, Pat Thompson, in her lovely home up on the hill overlooking Mount Vernon and the Skagit flats. Pat gave me permission to share some of her beautiful quilts with you.

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I slept in the bed with the blue and white antique quilt at the foot and Pat’s matching wall hanging – the odd shapes at the sides of the picture are lamps! Pat made the gorgeous Crown of Thorns quilt hanging over her bed. She contributed to the one on the bed made by members of the Northwest Quilting Connection for a raffle fund raiser and much to her delight, she won it! It was machine quilted by Gretchen Monti.

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Pat made this quilt, It’s a Good Start!”, using the fracturing technique and Trudy Arnold machine quilted it before the beaded embellishment was added. Pat took a class from Tom Atkins who taught the beading techniques. “It’s a good start” was what Tom said when he saw the quilt in class, and so it was named! The photo doesn’t do justice to the incredible beading on that amazing flower.

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The pictorial quilt depicts the a fishing village in Ribesella on the north coast of Spain in the Basque country. Pat began this in a class taught at Asilomar by Hilde Moran. On the right is Curves in all the Right Places, which hangs over Pat’s fireplace. Pat utilized hand-dyed fabrics by Elin Noble. She embellished with couched yarn, ribbon and beads, The border is pieced with thin slivers of curves in the blocks.

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I couldn’t resist including a picture of Pat’s wonderful collection of antiquities – irons, sewing machines, quilts and quilt tops. Her dining room and living room were covered in baskets filled with fabric, books and other quilting goodies – over 160, for which she apologized before I arrived! Pat is responsible for the silent auction fund raiser at the upcoming La Conner Quilt Festival from 3rd to 5th of October. Funds go to operating and maintenance costs of the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. Quilt Fest is always a feast for the eyes. This juried show includes all kinds of textile art, not just quilts and entries are submitted from all over the world. Please support this if you are able, and enjoy this outstanding show.

Mongolian International Quilt Show IV – Japanese exhibit

A delegation of seven Japanese ladies attended the quilt show in Ulaanbaatar and helped us tremendously in setting up the show and packaging and pricing the products made at the Mongolian Quilting Center for retail. None of them were quilters, but they brought eight quilts and fifteen quilted purses with them, donated by members of the Japan Quilting Association. These generous gifts were all for sale, with 100% of the funds going to the Mongolian Quilting Center.

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The quilts and bags were all exquisitely hand pieced and hand quilted. Some of the bags had decorative applique and embroidery all in immaculate stitches. Enjoy this sampling. I particularly like the one with the delicate blue French knots, which my travel companion, Nancy Watts, purchased. The soft beige and brown tones are typical of the work of many Japanese quilters.

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Mongolian International Quilt Show III – Shiilge’s creations

Shiilge Bat-Ulzii is one of the three talented designers employed at the Mongolian Quilting Center. Her work encompasses a wide variety and she is always excited to try new techniques. Here are several examples that were all on display at the quilt show. During the opening ceremony, we had a wonderful fashion show of garments and bags all designed by Shiilge. This tall model was stunning in the yellow dress with a contemporary dressy look including traditional Mongolian patterns pieced into the ruffles. She presented Shiilge with flowers at the end of the fashion show.

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The striking quilt, black and white, was made by Shiilge. It is queen-sized and made a bold statement hanging on the main large wall of the exhibit. Shiilge surprised Selenge, the Director of the Mongolian Quilting Center, by constructing this wonderful large crazy patchwork horse from blue and white silk scraps. This was very popular at the show, especially with the kids.

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Beautiful Queen is indeed beautiful. She is appliqued and embellished on this wall hanging depicting the traditional Mongolian garb of the princesses from Chenngis Khan’s era. I love this Rainbow Forest made from silk yo-yos. Such a creative colorful idea and well executed.

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It is so exciting for me to see the way the Mongolian women have taken the basic quilting techniques and are using them in their own unique pieces. Shiilge has a creative flare and is prolific in her impressive and original work.

Mongolian International Quilt Show II – Byamba’s Quilts

Now it’s time to feature some of the amazing quilts made by women at the Mongolian Quilting Center. There are three designers at the Center and each has a unique style and flare for original work which is inspiring and exciting to see. Byambalaa Lhagvansuren designs and makes beautiful silk hand applique works of art. Her horses and Mongolian scenes, in luscious silks are truly magnificent.

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Mighty Three, on the left, won best of show and Byamba was awarded a Singer sewing machine, donated by the Singer store in Ulaanbaatar. Magnificent Horse, on the right, quickly sold in the early days of the quilt show.

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The horse on the left goes to a friend of mine who saw my picture of it on Facebook and asked me to purchase it for her. Darling, on the right has folded ribbon flowers on her back.

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I fell in love with this horse with such a gorgeous colorful flowing mane and a royal blue border. It was given to me as a gift from the women of the Mongolian Quilting Center at a celebratory barbecue we had just before I left Mongolia. Here I am with Byamba and this lovely treasure.

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In addition to the horses, Byamba made these two exquisite pieces, both of which sold during the quilt show. On the left, Farewell, depicting a young pair of lovers in traditional Mongolian costumes and on the right a mountainous Mongolian scene. This lady is extremely talented and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.

Suzani Embroidery Exhibit

Ten days ago, I was fortunate to visit the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum where there was a stunning exhibit of Suzani embroidery from Uzbekistan. These pieces, covered with dense embroidery, are bold and colorful. They are recent acquisitions for the museum from the Miriam Wosk Family Trust. They will be displayed for one more day, so if you are in the La Conner area, get over there to see them!

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This floral example was made in the late 20th century. The word “suzani” is derived from the Persian word for needle.They are traditionally created in the western region of Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kryrgystan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. They remind me of the beautiful embroidery I saw in Western Mongolia, the Kazakh area of the country. Natural motifs are often the theme. Here is my favorite one with lovely birds.

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This one was made in the first half of the 20th century.The suzani is both decorative and functional. Often they are created when a daughter is born as part of her dowry. Women work together and several suzanis may be presented to a groom on the girl’s wedding day.

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This maroon suzani bedspread was made in the late 20th Century. The stitching in suzanis is dense and includes chain stitch, buttonhole stitch and couching. They sometimes look as though they are woven. The larger ones are often created in smaller panels, two to six depending on the size and the design. The Kazakh pieces I saw in Mongolia were all done with chain stitch and the stitching was not so dense.

Donation quilts in TX

At the end of April, I traveled to TX to teach at the New Braunfels Area Quilt Guild. There was a beautiful sampler raffle quilt displayed at the meeting in the spring colors of blue and yellow.This was made by guild members of the Hill Country Quilt Guild of Kerrville. I love the array of different blocks both pieced and appliqued and how well they are all pulled together with the sashing in a variety of shades of blue.

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Here’s another opportunity quilt that I saw when I visited the quilt shop, One Quilt Place in Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. This gorgeous Feathered Star quilt in reds, yellows and greens is completed with an exquisite appliqued border. It was an award winner at the last International Quilt Association show in Houston, taking first place in the group category. The quilt was made by members of the Vereins Quilt Guild in TX.

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I’m a softy when it comes to these quilts and I always support the guilds who make them. I’ve never won one, but I really appreciate all the effort that goes into making them. They often rise well above the average quilt made by individual guild members, not just in design, but also in workmanship. I encourage you to donate to these projects whenever you have the opportunity.