Quilt Season – The Quirkology of Quilts, Part 1

Quirkology in action!
Quirkology in action!

The Quirkology of Quilts was a quilt show held at the Ran Ramon Valley Museum in September, 2011

I was very happy to be co-curator along with my mentor and friend Margaret Linderman.

We were asked to collect the quilts for the show and we ultimately chose quilts that we really liked and that we felt had enough quirk to make them a happy collection.

We attended planning meetings, collected the quilts, and collated the descriptions from the quilters. We gathered small collections of interesting sewing-related notions, created displays, and wrote text to accompany them. AND then the big day came and we hung the show!

I have to say that I really enjoyed this part of the process the most. We had an eager team of volunteers, ranging in age from 18 to 78, and they were all there to “Make it work, people!”

The quilts went up surprisingly easily, using a hanging system created by one of the clever museum people. I focused on having each quilt “talking” to its neighbor quilts and also to the quilts across, behind and beyond them. I was delighted at the results and was delighted to see how great everything looked!

We had a main quilt room where we hung 15 quilts down the center. Two antique sewing machines stood sentry down the center, and reminded us of how far we’ve come since the days of the treadle machine.

The main room
The main room

We had a case at the far end with framed chair quilts. I am proud to say that the quilt in the center of the case was made by my niece Lucia and was given to me as a gift. Lucia was six years old when she made it this summer. It is her third (but by no means last) chair quilt! The case also included Te Amo Chair, which was made by my sister-in-law, Alethea G. See the Te Amo Chair blog post.

Dream Chair Case
Dream Chair Case

You can also see some of my small, painted and framed chair quilts.

Lombard Street Quilts
Lombard Street Quilts

Everyone who came to the show had a different favorite, but no one passed these two quilts depicting Lombard Street in San Francisco without stopping and admiring the amazing work. Susan Lane’s quilt on the left is just wonderful to see in person, and next to Cyndy Rymer’s Sunset on Lombard quilt they were a great visual pair.

Lombard Street, by Susan Lane; 2010
Lombard Street, by Susan Lane; 2010
Detail of Susan Lane's Lombard Street Quilt
Detail of Susan Lane's Lombard Street Quilt

Susan made her quilt using a variety of methods, including fused and raw-edge applique, painting and texture magic, over a span of 2,000 hours!

Cyndy has made a pattern and a kit with all the fabric for her quilt Sunset on Lombard, including a fabric applique of the cable car at the top of the quilt. Contact Wooden Gate Quilts if you would like to make one of your own!

Chair Quilts
Chair Quilts

Two Mexico-inspired dream chairs hung side by side showed off the colors and images that have inspired so much of my work of late. Sandy Jorgenson’s Lady of Guadalupe Celebrates the Day of the Dead on the left and Margaret Linderman’s Frida and Diego – a Dream on the right, were a visual feast!

Two quilts by Renee Steinpress
Two quilts by Renee Steinpress

One of the most exciting things about the central floor area was the juxtaposition of these two circle-themed quilts made by Renee Steinpress. Eurythmia (left) was created using a yard of fabric that Renee painted using Procion MX dye. It is featured in Christine Barnes book, The Color Club, C & T Publishing, 2010.

Tail Chase, by Renee Steinpress; 2011
Tail Chase, by Renee Steinpress; 2011

Tail Chase, seen in the center of the photo, is Renee’s newest work. She used an improvisational design process to develop the quilt and used Dale Fleming’s 6-minute circle method for the creation of the motifs. People were really impressed by this amazing piece.

I love how it looked with the Eurythmia quilt in the foreground and Margaret Linderman’s Alligator Teeth at the far right.

Through the door - A Wonderful Quilt Conversation
Through the door - A Wonderful Quilt Conversation

My Geisha Landscape from Maverick Quilts on the left was a nice partner next to Renee’s quilt, too.

Stay tuned, there is more to come about this wonderful show…

Dream Chair Corral – Happy Halloweenie quilt

Happy Halloween Wink! 
Happy Halloween Wink!

How fun is it to make quilts with a Halloween theme?

There are so many great Halloween fabrics out each year the problem becomes not whether to buy Halloween fabric but rather which ones to buy!

Here is another wonderful chair quilt made by our favorite Volkswagen Bug Quilt lady, Chris Leach – Halloweenie Chair!

Halloweenie Chair, by Chris Leach; 2011
Halloweenie Chair, by Chris Leach; 2011

Chris added ghoulish points to the arms and headrests of the chair and created a fabulous wall hanging!

Halloweenie Chair, detail of funny feet
Halloweenie Chair, detail of funny feet

The funny witches feet really made me laugh!

Halloweenie Chair, close up
Halloweenie Chair, close up

Chris used the small armchair pattern from Dream Chair Quilts as the basis of the quilt and added all the delightful fabrics, ric rac, and whimsy needed to make this a great quilt.  Thank you Chris for sending me the photos – you ROCK!

Quilt Show Season – PIQF part 1, circle quilts

Detail of quilt by Irene MacWilliam
Detail of quilt by Irene MacWilliam

It may surprise you to learn that I don’t go to many quilt shows.  When I have attended quilt shows in the past, when I was working full-time, I would see everyone’s wonderful work and feel that I was really underachieving and working below my potential. I was not only intimidated by the work I saw, but intensely jealous that everyone else seemed to have more time and more talent than me. Not a good feeling.

Also, the shows provided such intense visual stimulation that I was yawning after the first thirty minutes and absolutely catatonic by the second hour.

With my leave of absence beginning its second year, I have had more time to quilt and have created some of my best work. I have had two quilt shows of my own in a year and things feel like they are clipping along at a good rate.

The best news is that this allows me to enjoy quilt shows so much more, and this year’s Pacific International Quilt Show (or PIQF) was a great pleasure to attend. The work was new and fresh. The quilts were interesting and beautiful. And I really enjoyed myself!

Over the next few posts I would like to share some of the quilts that I was inspired by. Case and point: these amazing circle quilts.

You Can't Put a Hole Where a Hole Don't Belong, by Irene MacWilliam
You Can't Put a Hole Where a Hole Don't Belong, by Irene MacWilliam

First up and all the way from England, Irene MacWilliam’s You Can’t Put a Hole Where a Hole Don’t Belong! Three layers of turned applique and big chunky hand stitches – wonderful! Irene wrote that the lyrics to Bernard Cribbins’ song Hole in the Ground was the inspiration for this quilt.

Hot Town - Summer in the City, By Janet McCallum
Hot Town - Summer in the City, By Janet McCallum

Also coming from England is Janet McCallum’s Hot Town – Summer in the City. Janet lists the view from the Empire State Building as the inspiration for this piece. She used conventional and hand-dyed fabrics to create the streets, buildings, water towers and air conditioning units as viewed from above.

Hot Town - Summer in the City - detail
Hot Town - Summer in the City - detail

The background/borders were absolutely luminous in person, fuchsia and green dupioni silk. I wish the photo could convey some of that!

Detail of Towards Infinity
Detail of Towards Infinity

From South Africa, quilter Sally Scott submitted this unusual quilt called Towards Infinity.

Towards Infinity, by Sally Scott
Towards Infinity, by Sally Scott

Much of this quilt is yarn couched down with black zig-zag stitching. The diamonds on the serpents are embroidered and the center circles are made with coils of beads. The influences of African imagery and textile are very palpable when you look at this tall, thin wall-hanging.

Super close up of Towards Infinity
Super close up of Towards Infinity

The colors are wonderful and I absolutely loved this quilt.

Passages, by Mary Ruth Smith
Passages, by Mary Ruth Smith

Mary Ruth Smith’s Passages was entered in a part of the show called Layers of Memories presented by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).

Mary Ruth states, “Memories of a feed sack dress with a circular motif, made by my mother and worn in the first grade, provided the content for Passages.” It is a captivating combination of fabrics, colors and embroidered circles.

Detail of Passages
Detail of Passages

Again, I wish the photography could convey the magic better, but you can see the wonderful hand work propelling this quilt right into the field of quilts as ART!

Close Up of Sunset
Close Up of Sunset

The last quilt to share today is from a collection curated by Northern California Quilt Council (or NCQC). Jan Soules’ Sunset really caught my eye with the wonderful floral fabrics and the lively colors. I have been loving making circle quilts lately, and I really wish I could have made this quilt!

Sunset, by Jan Soules
Sunset, by Jan Soules

Sunset is an example of something I saw often at PIQF this year, and that is the combination of pieced quilts with fun and funky embroidered elements.

Detail of Sunset
Detail of Sunset

Stay tuned – more quilts coming!


Fall is quilt show time – DVQ’s quilt show

Camping Bus - quilt detail
Camping Bus - quilt detail

Here in the East Bay we have several really good quilt shows in the fall, including the Alden Lane quilt show in Livermore and the upcoming PIQF. I had the pleasure this year to attend the show put on by the Diablo Valley Quilt Guild, also called DVQ.

This year the DVQ show was housed at the Jewish Community Center in Walnut Creek, and I really liked the large airy space and the way the show was laid out. Often I feel really crowded in a show, but, with the way the quilts were set up, there was room to move and see everything without feeling like you were standing on people’s feet the whole time.

I wanted to share some quilts that I took photos of. Of course, this is just a sampling of the quilts in the show.

My Sister's VW Bus, by Kathy Gerdts
My Sister's VW Bus, by Kathy Gerdts

Let’s start off with everyone’s favorite theme, the Volkswagen. (Yes, I got more queries about Volkswagen quilts again this week! I wish I had invented Volkswagen quilts!) I love how each van has a different theme!

One thing I have been doing at quilt shows it taking photos of the labels when I photo the quilt. That way I can remember who made the quilt. I am often slightly dazed looking at all the quilts in a show, and this way I can read about the quilts when I look at the photos at home.

The card for the VW bus quilt
The card for the VW bus quilt

See how cool this is? Now I know that the fabrics for the vans have been saved for years and have special meaning for the quiltmaker and the receiver of the quilt.

There were several groups of quilts that were the result of different mini-group challenges. I liked these two quilts with the theme Into the Woods.

Into the Woods, by Linda Pawlowicz
Into the Woods, by Linda Pawlowicz
Into the Woods, by Lynne Douglas
Into the Woods, by Lynne Douglas

Lynne wrote that her main concern with going into nature was where the coffee would come from – I know just what she means!

Another group of quilts was a wonderful collection of work that was a result of a class given by Lynne. I think it was held at Asilomar. I really loved all of the work, which consiseted of layers of appliqued industrial-inspired circles. This one was submitted by Dorothy Foster. What a wonderful quilt!

Celebrate!!!, by Dorothy Foster
Celebrate!!!, by Dorothy Foster

Each layer of interesting fabric peeks through the wonderful shapes. In Dorothy’s work the golden rays of the corner blocks were absolutely radiant!

Celebrate!!!, detail
Celebrate!!!, detail

I always feel that the more you spend time looking at all the layers and exploring the motifs of a quilt, the more successful it is. Just look at how tantilizing these layers are!

Life in the Desert, by Hilda Koning-Bastiaan. 40" x 30"
Life in the Desert, by Hilda Koning-Bastiaan. 40" x 30"

I was delighted with this wonderful quilt made by Hilda Koning-Bastiaan. It has raw-edge applique and such lovely imagery. Hilda wrote that she enjoys watching the road runners in Southern California, where she lives for part of the year. This quilt is an adaptation of a pattern by Susan Cranshaw.

Life in the Desert - detail of succulent plant
Life in the Desert - detail of succulent plant

I loved the desert plants in the quilt.

Life in the Desert - detail of nopal cactus
Life in the Desert - detail of nopal cactus

See? And the rocks! Wonderful!

Pumpkin Peeps
Pumpkin Peeps

I have had the pleasure of going to Margaret Linderman and Janis Stob’s drop-in class on Mondays. This quilt, submitted by my dear friend Cyndy Rymer, was made by some of the ladies from the class. I love the folk-art feel, the fall colors, and the great appliques!

Pumpkin Peeps - detail upper right corner
Pumpkin Peeps - detail upper right corner
The Pumpkin Peeps card
The Pumpkin Peeps card

Another quilt that I really liked was this simple, yet very dynamic quilt made by Nancy Bournes.

Wonderful Stripes, by Nancy Bournes
Wonderful Stripes, by Nancy Bournes

Nancy wrote that the quilt was made from a Christine Barnes pattern called In and Out.

Wonderful Stripes, detail
Wonderful Stripes, detail

I am so enthralled at the contrast between the bold stripes and the subtle batiks. And the LIME green – yum!

Rising Temperatures, by Ann Grundler
Rising Temperatures, by Ann Grundler

Rising Temperatures, by Ann Grundler, was made entirely from cotton fabric that she dyed herself. It consists of three distinct color families and has varying angles oand shapes. This quilt stuck out to me as very different from all of the rest, and I loved exploring itl! This is the only photo that I took of the quilt, but I do want to add that the note indicated that this quilt is For Sale! If you are looking for a wonderful abstract quilt – you might be lucky enough to get it!

Folk Art Applique quilt, By Charlene Dakin
Folk Art Applique quilt, By Charlene Dakin

The last quilt I have to share is an applique quilt made in cotton and wool by Charlene Dakin, who I have had the pleasure of meeting. I didn’t take a photo of the card – see it really helps – but I was really taken by Charlene’s use of color and fabric. The playful animals are wonderful and the plants and houses, superb.

Folk Art Applique quilt - plant detail
Folk Art Applique quilt - plant detail

These appliques are so fun to study!

Folk Art Applique quilt - sheep detail
Folk Art Applique quilt - sheep detail

Look at that little cardinal. He’s no bigger than my thumb!

I hope to go to PIQF this week, so more to come soon

Dream Chair Corral – Paris Chair

Do you see the dancing girl pinned on to the headrest?
Do you see the dancing girl pinned on to the headrest?

The kids camp idea lives on, and I am happy to be teaching a Sew Fun Kids Class once a month in Danville.

Last week we made hand-sewn pincushions and three-color tote bags – sorry I forgot to take photos!

One of my darling students shared a quilt that she had just finished, and just look at it!

Summit and Eva proudly show off the quilt!
Summit and her friend proudly show off the quilt!

Summit had attended my Dream Chair Quilts class in March, and at eight years old, she was the youngest student in the class by three decades! She worked fast and decidedly and really needed very little help. She just cut and glued and sewed and was as determined as can be!

Buttons and sequins are a great addition
Buttons and sequins are a great addition

She had chosen all of the pink French fabric and the chair went together quickly. She and I worked together to choose the green border and the lime shadow. She had the whole quilt top finished by the end of the day.

Gluing the shadow
Gluing the shadow
The quilt top is finished!
The quilt top is finished!

With help and guidance from her grandmother, Summit added some really fun embellishments to the quilt, including sequined trim around the border and the chair.

Buttons and sequins are a great addition
Buttons and sequins are a great addition

I didn’t make my first quilt until I was ten years old, so Summit really has made an early start on her quilting career. With her style, focus, and talent we are going to see great things from this wonderful girl.

A big textural flower and a little baby doll give visual interest
A big textural flower and a little baby doll give visual interest

Maverick Quilts – Goddess

Rivoli Goddesses
Rivoli Goddesses

The blog has been quiet but the sewing machine loud!  I have been working on quilts like a madwoman and have lots of new work to show y’all.

I have just made a new version of the Goddess quilt in the super-hip Alexander Henry Rivoli Girl fabric. These modern, slightly-coy girls just called out to me to be featured in a quilt. Boy, do I love fabric with people on it.

I know you can get some of this fabric at the delightful Wooden Gate Quilts store in Danville, California right now. I have also spied this fabric in other colors at Fabric.com, and I just Might have to get me some in anther colorway – just MIGHT! Rivoli Girl fabric from Fabric.com.

I love making these curved blocks. I use half of a quarter yard (a fat eighth) and free-cut the curves. Each pairing of fabric makes two curvy blocks and then I have some fun long strips to play with and put into the blocks.

Goddess block in progress
Goddess block in progress

I audition all the curve strips on the wall and play with possible sashing ideas.

In progress on the design wall
In progress on the design wall

I am teaching this quilt as a class in Danville at Wooden Gate Quilts. You can contact them for information about the class. Wooden Gate Quilts If you are nervous about trying this on your own, sign up; I would love to teach you how to make these fun curves.

For the Rivoli Goddesses, I made the blocks 17″ and used a 2″ sashing with posts. I used the left over fabrics for a fun scrappy outer border. Yes, please!

Rivoli Goddesses, by Alethea Ballard; 2011
Rivoli Goddesses, by Alethea Ballard; 2011

For those of you who are making the Goddess quilt out of the book, and for those of you who are making the curvy border for the Jalousie quilt in Maverick Quilts, the following images might help you get into the rhythm of the cutting and pinning. This is meant simply to give further information if you’re working out of the book; it is not the whole set of instructions.

First – you must make sure that you stack your two pieces of fabric so the right sides both face up – do not make them pretty sides in!!!

Rotary cut the curves
Rotary cut the curves

Then use your rotary cutter to create a gentle curve down the middle of the block.

trim a scant 1/4"
trim a scant 1/4"

Clip the inner part of the curves a scant quarter inch and about 1/4″ apart.

Again I want to remind you that the image in the book for the curves cutting is wrong!

Bad left image! Good right image
Bad left image! Good right image

Clip the concave part of the curve only – the image on the left of this image is very naughty – it’s wrong. Just cross it out so you remember that the image on the right is the correct one! Thanks!

use ruler to mark opposite seams
use ruler to mark opposite seams

Put the pairs pretty sides in and mark opposite sides of the seams to create markers for the pin placement.

all ready for the pins
all ready for the pins

Mark the apex of each curve and its opposite side. Then you will pin only where you marked.

The rest is just sewing, pressing and trimming. Easy-ish!

I really hope you try this technique out! I really love it.

Here is a close up of Goddess flowers, which is in the book.

Pretty, Pretty quilting
Pretty, Pretty quilting