Thursday, November 13, 2008

IQF - Part 3

My posts on IQF to date have focused on the workshops I took. Obviously, the show is about a lot more than that, including a huge show of quilts. Today I thought I'd write about some of them and share photos with you. The winners were amazing, as usual, but none of them were really my cup of tea.

One of the more interesting sections was one of quilts focused on politics, especially given that the election here in the States was the following Tuesday. This one showing now President-Elect Obama was pretty impressive:

From IQF 2008 - Quilts

and there were quite a number done over the years by Fran Soika, with quite a distinctive style:

From IQF 2008 - Quilts

The Texas DAR had an excellent exhibition of 20 quilts from the organization's Washington, D.C. collection, titled The DAR Museum Collection: Quilts of a Young Country. The quilts dated from the 1750s to 1850s and were real treasures. Unfortunately, I was unable to take pictures, but after asking a couple of docents, I did learn that you can view the images on The Quilt Index by searching for the DAR Museum as a contributing institution. The search turns up 360 quilts, well more than those in this exhibit. While the quilts in that section were beautiful, I have to admit that I thought the docents treated me rather rudely. Apparently, if you look young, you couldn't possibly know anything about quilts. I'd asked a question of the one docent and she answered it and then grabbed another visitor and told her, "Oh, you know about quilts... Look at this one. Can you imagine she did all of that applique using the straight of grain rather than the bias?" as if I couldn't possibly understand what that might have meant. Well, there's nothing that turns me off more. In close to 9 years of quilting, I've picked up a few things, including an understanding of what the bias can do and just because someone looks like they have more experience doesn't mean that they know one iota more (some people don't even start quilting until they're older). Is it any wonder that young people might be turned off by women like this? I'll step off my soapbox now.

I think it is interesting to see what I end up taking photos of at each show I attend, as the photos seem to show trends over time. At some shows, I seem to take photos of bright quilts, at others, floral quilts. I'm not sure there was really a theme this time, and I think that many more of my favorites this time around were in portions of the exhibition where photography was not allowed. Nonetheless, here are some of my favorites:

From IQF 2008 - Quilts

From IQF 2008 - Quilts

Many more photos are available in my Picasa album. Ben also took some with his camera; I'll let you know when and where they become available.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

IQF - Part 2

Yes, I know it's taken me a while to get to writing my second update about the quilt festival in Houston. But my delay doesn't indicate in any way a lack of interest or enjoyment. Life gets busy sometimes...

Today I thought I'd write about the second class that I took while I was in Houston. This class was with instructor Melinda Bula, to make a new daisy project based on the techniques and style of her book, Cutting Garden Quilts. I'd purchased the book a while back because I thought her flowers were amazing, and I probably could have made the quilt on my own without taking the class. But you know how it is: sometimes you need a class to give yourself the opportunity to set aside time to actually work on something.

I love the cover quilt on the book. It's a coneflower. And as many of you know, that's my absolute favorite flower. Unfortunately, her one-day workshop for that quilt was already filled, so I "settled" for the daisy class. After 6 hours of class time, here's how far I got.

And here's the finished project:

As you can see, I am nowhere close to being finished. And I was probably one of the people who got the most done. It's not a difficult technique, but it is time-consuming. You have to trace the patterns onto Steam a Seam 2 (her preference), fuse that to your fabric, cut out your pieces, and then position them on your background. I'll admit that I wasn't too exacting about the process and if I went off the lines when tracing or cutting, so be it. It's organic, right? (Some people were simply unable to break from the need to draw exactly on the line and cut exactly on the line, which is why their progress was much slower).

She had a beautiful grouping of her quilts there for us to see. Here's that cover one that I said I really loved (I bought a fabric kit so I can make it myself).

More images are available on my Picasa album.

What did I think of the class? My major complaint is that there weren't enough irons for a class based on fusing, and those that were provided were absolutely crummy. The Teacher's Pet for the class was able to secure additional irons for the afternoon, but it's amazing to me that the IQF staff people didn't understand that a fusing class would require more than 2 irons for 22 people! Given that this was the first time Melinda had taught this pattern (it'll be published soon), we were the guinea pigs for it and we did find a few minor errors. Hopefully she'll be able to take that feedback and incorporate it into her published product. I think it must have been a difficult class to teach because people worked a very different paces and she attempted to allow those who work quickly to continue to move along, rather than waiting for others to catch up. But I think that led to her forgetting to point out some important details along the way because she had to repeat herself to different people at different points in time and she probably couldn't remember whom she'd told what.

Overall, it was an enjoyable day spent looking at pretty quilts and making progress toward one that I'd had on my to-do list for some time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I'm putting in the mail tomorrow this little quilt I made for my partner in the Another Little Quilt Swap. I'm sad to see this one go as I really love it and especially the buttons. (Random aside: did you know you can sew buttons on with your sewing machine? I had no idea. But Sandi and Mary assured me on retreat this weekend that it can be done; if I'd had my sewing machine manual with me, I would have given it a try. These 20 buttons were sewn on by hand!)

The quilt pattern is called Box of Chocolates and it's done up in pinks, creams, and browns in the book Bits and Pieces by Karen Costello Soltys. A great little quilt and it makes up quickly at about 16"x20". Makes me think that I actually could make a few more gifts in time for Christmas, but I'm going to stick with a plan to avoid extra stress this holiday season (Hah! Is that ever possible?).

I'm not going to mention the recipient's name quite yet, as she doesn't know who has her name and she may read my blog. I'll reveal once I've heard she's received it. Wonder if she'll like it...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Willkommen! Quilt from Germany

I arrived home yesterday to a package from Germany, which I knew could mean only one thing - I'd received my quilt from my ALQS partner. How exciting to be matched with someone internationally!!!

I opened the package and was pleased to find this beautiful Log Cabin star quilt made by Gabriele of Waghaeusel (sorry, I don't know how to do the umlaut in Blogger), outside of Heidelberg.

It's done in lovely blue batiks and white tone-on-tones with quilting in the ditch. I feel lucky to have received such a fine piece of work. The only thing I have to decide is whether to hang it here at home or take it in to work and hang it in my cubicle. It'll look great either place. Decisions, decisions!

Vielen Dank, Gabriele! Der Quilt gefaellt mich! (Apologies for my poor German.)

Watch soon for pictures of the quilt I'll be sending off on Monday (I finally began tonight!).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

IQF - Part 1

I had the privilege to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week!  It's not the first time - I've been twice before - but my last visit was in 2005.  Even though I've been a couple of times, I still find the experience to be exciting and full of inspiration and fun.  I've tons of news and pictures to share so will update you on my time there in a couple of posts over the coming days.  I have much to do this week, so please bear with me as I write the posts in my spare time.

One of Ricky's quilts from the workshop quilt show
From Ricky Tims' Super Quilt Seminar

We flew to Houston last Wednesday afternoon so that I could take workshops Thursday through Saturday.  I started off with a 2-day workshop Thursday and Friday with Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson and Libby Lehman.  I was certainly looking forward to time with some of the bigwigs in the quilting world and assumed it would be a pretty small class.  WRONG.  I think there were close to 100 people in the room.  However, it was actually really well-organized so that everyone could see. They had the speakers on a raised platform, had a videographer and a projector and screen so that you could really see the demos that the instructors were doing, etc.  I was fortunate enough to get there early enough on both days to get a seat in the third row.

While we didn't do any actual sewing over the course of the two days, we did receive a 120+ page "syllabus" (not available for sale) that described how to do all of the things that they showed us.  And we covered a lot of ground, including Ricky's Caveman, Convergence, Kaleidoscope, and Rhapsody Quilts; Libby's applique and sheer ribbon illusions techniques; Alex's hand quilting, color and fabric shopping tips; as well as techniques for flip 'n sew, paper piecing, curved piecing, set-in corners and circles, and piped bindings.  Whew! That's a lot!

At the back of the room, there was a small "show" of Ricky and Libby's quilts hung just for us to look at, and they had two tables with samples that we could touch, feel, and inspect.  If you'd like to see images from this private quilt show, you can check out my album from the workshop.

While I have a lot going on right now and won't have time to start any of the projects covered in the seminar, I really, really, really want to make one of the kaleidoscope quilts. It's way easier than it looks, and you can see Ricky putting one together on a design wall here.
Ricky shows the Kaleidoscope Quilt Process
From Ricky Tims' Super Quilt Seminar

All of the instructors were good and put a lot of humor into their presentation.  I was also impressed with how well they managed time and the transition from slides to live action and back.  And the PowerPoint slides, while duplicating some of the material in the "syllabus," weren't copied exactly word for word, so it was entertaining and you felt like you really got something out of being there, as opposed to having gotten the same thing out of simply reading the syllabus.  I especially liked the personal stories that the instructors told about how they got into quilting, what their sewing space looked like, mishaps in design and sewing processes, etc. All that being said, there were a few times where I felt like we were in church and the seminar was being run with call and response tactics to "make us converts."    

It was also quite interesting to see the demographic represented.  At one point, Ricky determined the age of the oldest person in the group.  Would you believe that one woman was 81? And another was 80! Good for them!  The next day, he did the opposite process and had people stand by decades of age ranges, moving downwards to see how many people were in each group.  There was one woman in her 20s, and two of us in our 30s!  Being amongst the youngest was enough to score me a free DVD.  Isn't that cool?
Libby Lehman Quilt From Ricky Tims' Super Quilt Seminar

More about other aspects of the show soon.  But most importantly, don't forget to exercise your civic duty today: get out and vote!!