Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lecturing at the PVQA's 32nd Annual Show

I'm off to Watsonville, CA this week-end!
It is such an honor to be the Featured Artist at the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association's annual show. There will be a selection of some of my work on display, and a lecture at 2 p.m. on Saturday the 27th. I'll be on hand during the week-end and look forward to seeing and meeting all of you who come to the show.
This is a really talented guild and I know there will be some awesome quilts on display, as well as great vendors.
Hope you can make it!

Meanwhile, I do have some last minute sleeves to sew on and quiltlets to finish.... ;-)

I'd better get busy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fan Block Finished

Esther got that Juki really singing and finished her quilting of the 9 Patch.

She was very pleased!

I stitched away on my fan block in the meantime, yesterday spending the day deciphering the enigmatic sport of curling, watching the Olympics. I get such a kick out of it...

This seems more like "primary colors" than "jewel tones", but I did keep things bright!
To see the other blocks that will go into this quilt for a hospital in Texas, look here.

Next up, I hope to get started on my entry for the Alliance for American Quilts contest this year, "New from Old". (All the info you need for entering is on that page.) It's a broad theme that celebrates the past in the frame of the present.
Though as a board member I am ineligible to win--and the prizes are really great this year, including a HandiQuilter mid-arm machine, the traditional "sit down model", valued at $5000--I love participating. 16" X 16" is a great format...I hope you'll considering entering, too. The winners are determined by online voting of Alliance members. You don't have to join to enter, but your entry fee is so much less if you're a member that it pays to join for that reason alone...plus, you'll get to vote! The quilts will be shown in different venues around the country, and then auctioned off next fall. Proceeds benefit the Alliance--what a win/win!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quilting with Esther

My son's girlfriend, Esther, is visiting for a few days to use my Juki to quilt her first large bed quilt. What a treat it is to have her here in the sewing room.

I cleaned everything up and got her work station ready...

This set-up is inviting, isn't it?

She arrived by train from Seattle and we went right to work basting her quilt.

With two people, this job goes fast! But not before we enjoyed lots of juicy conversation about that guy we both love, Max (who was Instant Messaging us all day to see how things were going.)

Then she got rolling with the quilting...

...and now she is zooming right along. She should finish by this evening, then back on the early train tomorrow morning. It's been swell!

I've gotten just a little done on my charity fan block...

More poppies to come!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crazy Block Construction Class

Quilt class! I had the pleasure of teaching 7 ladies a few different ways to construct a crazy pieced (or appliqued) block at an all day class on Saturday.

A most energetic woman, Lisa Encabo, spearheaded and organized the entire event. It was the first of three all-day classes on crazy quilting that we will have together, the next one to be held in March, and then once more in mid-April. The plan is that students will have time to do "homework" between classes. I want four blocks by next class!

In March we will tackle seam embroidery, and then in April, 3-D embellished flowers.
All is taking place in a lovely home in the country, 25 minutes from me.

Here is the sassy Lisa coming down the homestretch on her first block.
She teaches advanced and intricate paper piecing at the quilt shop where she works, so my fast, loose, and somewhat improvisational method was alien territory for her I think.
A paper-pieced Broken Star quilt would be no problem for her, however! She did great with this, though.

We spread out in our hostess Gloria's home, and my seven students worked hard all day.

They all brought a lot of skill to the table and it was fascinating for me to watch them work. I feel like I've gained a new circle of friends and can't wait to stitch with them again in March.

And speaking of blocks...
...I am fortunate to be part of an online group that creates a crazy quilt each year to be donated to a hospital that treats breast cancer patients. This is our fifth year together! Stephanie Novatski designed this year's block and will be the one to assemble the quilt.
I pieced mine last night.

The color scheme this year is "jewel tones" and this obviously isn't there...yet. I plan on having my embellishments be eye-poppers and thought this slightly subdued background would be the way to show them off.

To view the other blocks underway and already completed, look here on Barbara Blankenship's Flickr site. There are some dazzlers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Flowers of the Year

It was cold gathering them, and I was dodging raindrops...but the first blooms are opening in the yard and I wanted to share them with all my sister Persephones in the white winterland....
Helebore, viburnum, forsythia, daffodil, violet, and one sole vinca....how they gladden the heart!

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Colors from Point Bonita

Every year at Point Bonita there are two events that bring all of us out of our studios to the main gathering room: the Bazaar, where anyone can bring their wares to sell, and the Silent Auction, where people donate quilt-related items that are auctioned off for the charity of the buyer's choice.

The bidding at the auction can get quite intense. Ladies hovered over the bid cards and blatantly crossed off each others bids, smiling ferociously at their rivals as the time left was called out: "One minute remaining!" "30 seconds remaining!" I was in such a bidding war for a huge and luscious pile of silk samples...and lost, alas! But when there were but 15 seconds to go I gave up, scooted across the room to another table, and put my winning bid on these incredible wool shawl ends covered with exquisite tambour work. (Here's a great link to see how tambour work is done.)

This is high quality wool, and a most satisfying consolation prize for losing out on those silks.

At the Bazaar my old friend Vicki Day had some ravishing hand-dyed felted wool for sale, so I bought a nice palette-full.

This is just ultra-wonderful and I know I'll be using it a lot.

More color! I took a painting workshop with Lynn Koolish, who was demonstrating some possibilities of the Liquitex paints C & T is selling to the quilt shops this year.
I wasn't interested in painting on fabrics, but I did try it out on some lace and trim.

That little sheet is Lutrador...I think I'll be able to cut some nice flower petals out of it.

Being in the creative atmosphere of Point Bonita inspired me to step way out of character and paint a shirt too. Well, actually I used the shirt as the background for when I was painting the lace....

I do find the cuff details quite fetching.
My husband says it looks like someone was riding a motorcycle and ran into a South American parrot.
I haven't had the courage to try it on yet!

Some of the wool and painted lace found its way into the project I worked on all week. It is a floral framed portrait of my beautiful niece, Amaleah.

"Amaleah: Welcome Home" 18" X 18"

It was so great looking down at that wonderful smile all week as I stitched. I used a vintage quilt block as my background.

Here is a detail shot:

There is a painted lace leaf along the bottom, and a four-petaled purple wool flower along the left side, with the blue flower bead in its center. (I learned that flower from Conni Jenkins here.) The embroidered leaves are of Vicki's wool as well.
There are several needlepunch ribbon flowers on this piece, and gathered lace flowers too.

What a great week it was.....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Julie and Joe's Quilt Adventure: Crazy Quilting

I had a GLORIOUS week at the annual Point Bonita Getaway for 70 quilters this past week.

Unlike over the past few years, I am not going to post too much about the retreat itself....there were some objections to my "live" reports last year, as some of the ladies just wanted complete privacy. But I will still have a few pictures of my class (which went great!), the studio where we worked, and the project that held my attention all week--it wasn't my Vintage CQ either!

But first I have to tell you about Julie and Joe's Quilt Adventure, which I attended last Sunday (playing hooky for the day from Point Bonita).

Julie Silber is one of the foremost quilt historians, collectors, curators, and dealers in the country with over 40 years' experience. Thousands and thousands of quilts have passed through her hands. Joe Cunningham is one of her best friends; some of you might know him as "Joe the Quilter". Joe apprenticed himself to a master quiltmaker back in the 1970's and is committed to honoring the glory of the American quilt tradition. He too is a quilt historian, but branched out to make art quilts of his own many years ago.
He is also a performer and very, very funny.

The Adventure took place at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, which has hosted a marvelous crazy quilt exhibit over the past few months. Julie and Joe immersed themselves in the history of crazy quilting to prepare for this event, and the result is that I learned so much about the genre I love.
An added bonus was the inclusion of Barbara Brackman on the program, another of America's great quilt historians. Barbara is at Point Bonita as well, so she came on down for the afternoon part of the program to talk about how to date some of the odd and old quilts that Julie brought to stump her.
Barbara was impossible to stump, however.

The first part of the program was spent touring the museum's gallery of crazy quilts, with Julie, Joe, and the museum's knowledgeable executive director, Jane Przybysz, Ph.D, putting them in the context of social history and teasing out such fascinating information from each quilt.

The picture above shows the "trunk show" part of the program which took place after lunch, with amazing quilts from Julie and Joe's personal collections. (This one is made mostly from cigarette and cigar silks.) They brought many quilts, and often had spirited disagreements about them, too!

As you can see from the body language....

My goodness!

How I wish I could remember what the issue was here. I was laughing too hard to follow it!
(And by the way, that is a very rare tile quilt behind them. Click on the picture to see it.)

They gave me permission to post pictures from their talks, so here are just a few of the great quilts they showed us:

There is Barbara on the right. They all guessed that this was a mourning quilt, with some of the black fabrics possibly made from the mourning dress worn by the widow. It was a sad but lovely piece....some of the stitching betrayed real distress.

Julie's definition of a crazy quilt was that it have randomness to the piecing. I believe that the use of fancy fabrics and embroidery stitching along the seams is also part of what makes a quilt "crazy"...so to me this quilt almost qualifies, though they called it a "sampler". But a detail of the middle block on the right at least reveals the crazy influence....

The quiltmaker filled in the squares of her 20-patch block with crazy stitching! How cool is that?

One of the highlights of my Quilt Adventure experience was the commute: driving down from Point Bonita to San Jose with Joe in the morning was so much fun, with stimulating talk the entire way about such things as what is in "the DNA of American quilting"--which Joe says has been freedom of choice, from the very beginning...and then the return drive with Barbara. I was one lucky gal; it was a day I will always treasure.

If you ever have a chance to attend any of Julie and Joe's future Adventures, no matter what the subject in quilting, you will be so glad you did.
Thanks, you two!!!!!