Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Quilts" in Atlanta

My husband attended and presented at a conference in Atlanta, GA and I went along for fun. Here are some of the "quilts" I found.

You might remember a few years back that Atlanta hosted the Centennial Olympics. Part of the area has been turned into Centennial Park, and I was thrilled to see a quilt-theme in the park. There are five terraced plazas, each with a different theme: Quilt of Olympic Spirit, Quilt of Nations, Quilt of Dreams, Quilt of Remembrance and Quilt of Origins. Each plaza is marked by quilt squares etched in granite.

They also have a terrace fountain that passes through them and there is a Virginia Reel quilt pattern etched in the stones in the bottom of the pools.

The Atlanta History Center had a section on Folk Art and included both a traditional quilt and a modern Watercolor quilt, which looks like it might have been made for the Centennial Olympics as the heart appears to be on the highest step of a three-step podium, so I guess this quilt won the gold medal.

I also visited the High Art Museum.  You aren't allowed to publish photos taken in the museum on the web, so I didn't take any photos there.  They also had an area dedicated to folk art and I think I remember seeing one quilt in that section.

We stopped at Red Hen Fabrics, the largest quilt shop in Georgia, where I bought a few pieces of fabric. It’s located in Marietta which is 20 miles north of Georgia on I-75, so it really wasn’t out of our way at all.

If you're interested in reading more about my trip to Atlanta, visit my travel blog here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Large Leaf Magnolia bloom art quilt

Our friend Dan has a Magnolia macrophylla tree (aka a Large Leaf Magnolia tree), and the leaves from this tree can get pretty large. It also has some impressive blooms. To celebrate his birthday and also his 25th wedding anniversary, his wife Susan commissioned this art quilt to hang in their foyer. The quilt is pretty big, it's 39" wide and 37" high, so the bloom is larger than life, but maybe not by much. I used batik fabrics for the bloom and also for the background then I added two inner borders and an outer border. I hadn't planned on using a stripe fabric but when I bought the two batik fabrics that were used in the background, I saw the striped fabric and noticed that the same colors were in it as were in the batik, so I bought it also. There is a lot of quilting on the flower and also in the background but I liked the way the borders looked without any quilting so I stitched-in-the-ditch to secure them but didn't do any more quilting to it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fireflies on exhibit with Best of 2011 Show

My art quilt "Fireflies" is in the Ohio Designer Craftsman's "Best of 2011" show. The travelling exhibit will be at the following locations:

Ohio Craft Museum
1665 W Fifth Ave., Columbus, OH
May 1-June 19
Mon.-Fri. 10 am-5 pm and Sat.-Sun. 1-4 pm
Opening reception Sun., May 1 from 1–4 pm

Southern Ohio Museum
825 Gallia St., Portsmouth, OH
July 8–August 27
Tues.-Fri. 10 am-5 pm and Sat. 1-5 pm

School of Art Gallery
Kent State University, Kent, OH
October 11–November 11

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Project Quilting Off Season Challenge

The second season of Project Quilting is finished but it will be back soon for season 3. In the meantime, there will be some off-season challenges. There are no prizes for these challenges but you do have a month to complete them. Here’s the first off-season challenge.

“It’s All In Your Initials”

This challenge is all about using your initials to determine what colors you can use.

1. You must use all three or four of your colors in your quilt or project.

2. It doesn’t have to be a quilt.

3. You may use as many fabrics as you want; just no more than 3 or 4 colors.

4. You may not add any other colors to your piece except when embellishing. Embellishing isn’t required but it is always fun.

5. Project may be any size.

6. Project must have a name.

7. In your story, list your initials and your color choices. Be creative!

8. Please remember that these projects need to be created during the time frame of the challenge.

The deadline for this challenge is Sunday, May 8, 2011, at noon, CDT.

For a list of colors in alphabetical order, click here:

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Got From Project Quilting

The second season of Project Quilting is over and it was both fun and exhausting.

What did I get? I am the grand prize winner for the season! I’ll be getting some great prizes (lots of fabric) and helpful comments from the judges. Most importantly I got 6 wonderful art quilts that I probably wouldn’t have made otherwise (technically I only have 5 because one has sold).

There were some really great competitors, which should be obvious since while I won first place over all, none of my individual quilts made it to first place (although 4 of them got second place).

I also learned more about how I like create. My main method of working was to read the challenge then go to my fabric stash and start looking through the fabric options. Usually that would start me thinking of possibilities and I’d sketch out a few layout options.

With the exception of “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom”, all the other fabric was taken from my stash. I find it interesting to think that if I’d hadn’t had the fabric I did at the time, my projects could have ended up quite different.

Below I’ve given some more information about the six quilts, including what I would have done differently, although most of the changes I would have made were how I constructed the quilt and not in the design or fabrics.

for the Primary Colors challenge
What I would have done differently: I thought that fusing the color squares to the background and covering the edges with cord would save some time, but I don’t think that it did. The cord was too thin to completely cover the edges so I ended up going back and quilting in the ditch inside the color squares. I think it would have gone better to just piece it in a more traditional way and the put the cords over the seams. This would have made the quilt smaller as part of the original fabric would have ended up as seam allowances.

To read more about "Carnival of Colors" click here.

for the What's in a Name challenge
Maybe this one was a little too ambitious as it was the largest one and took the longest to make, but it is the one that I’m the most proud of.

One of the reasons it took awhile was because I decided to add the traditional Birds in the Air blocks at the top and the bottom and I wasn’t paying enough attention because I ended up cutting twice as many pieces as I needed, but I ended up using some of them because I didn’t piece it together correctly.

Then there were some of the “field” pieces that I didn’t like the placement of during the quilting stage so I ended up hand appliquéing some different fabrics on top of the original pieces. I don’t think I mentioned this is the original blog post but some of the fabrics I used the “wrong” sides of because I wanted them to be lighter in color.

What I would have done differently: paid more attention when piecing the Birds in the Air blocks and made the correctly the first time and planned the field fabrics better so I wouldn’t have had to replace some. 

To read more about "Sometimes I Dream of Flying" click here.

for the Be My Valentine challenge
I originally had the middle sections (with the flowers and text) covered with a nice sheer fabric to help hide the places where I machine appliquéd the fabric with the text but then I decided it was too subtle so I had to cut the sheer out. I was really concerned that the piece was too plain. I had planned on adding the fun fur all along and I was surprised how much of a difference it made. One of the judges gave me a perfect 10 on this quilt, and it has already sold.

What I would have done differently: not put the sheer on in the first place.

To read more about "not even the rain: a love poem" click here.

for the Hardware Store Challenge

Since the first season of Project Quilting had the Office Store challenge, I was expecting something like this for this season. This was my favorite challenge because it came together fairly easily. I already had the fabric and since I’d bought them at the same time, I knew they went well together. Most of my time on this project was sewing the silver cord through the drain cover to make it appear less metallic and for me it was actually relaxing to do this.

This is my favorite of the six quilts and I there isn’t anything I would have changed about the way I made it. I love that it has a simplicity about it but also has movement and texture. I also really like our local hardware store.

To read more about "After the Rain" click here.

"Dancing Geese" for the Flying Geese challenge

I got my lowest score on this quilt (so it’s the one that was dropped from the total score) and this was probably my least favorite of the challenges and I think it’s because I’m not fond of working with contrasting color schemes. I took this to mean that we could only use the complimentary colors but some others interpreted that you could add some other colors as long as the contrasting colors were the most prominent.

It also took me awhile to come up with a layout for this quilt, I’ve got 21 pages of sketches. I’m not sure what I would have done differently, maybe gone with another layout or different color scheme.

There is, however, one judge’s comment that I’d like to address. “I don’t see any binding in any of your photos.” I used a facing technique because I DIDN’T want the binding to show. I really like this technique because it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the design, it takes the bulk out of the corners, and it helps the quilt to hang straighter. While facing might work better with art quilts, is an acceptable technique to use to bind quilts. 

To read more about "Dancing Geese" click here.

for the Large Scale Print challenge

Sometimes when I’m making a lot of custom quilts, I don’t have the luxury to go back and re-explore some techniques. For this quilt, I decided to incorporate a few ideas that I used in some of my other Project Quilting pieces.

I used the fabric mosaic technique that I used with the bird on “Sometimes I Dream of Flying” only I let the edges stay at whatever angle they ended up at and I covered them with netting.

I also used the yarn and ribbon embellishments similar to “After the Rain” except instead of letting them just hang down, I had them run horizontally so I had to attach them to the quilt so I did that using beads.

What I would have done differently: One of the judge’s comments was “I like to see mitered corners on a striped border.” I totally agree and usually do this, however the yellow inner border is so thin it was giving me problems when I tried to miter it, and after several unsuccessful attempts, I gave up on it.

An interesting side note to this challenge: the last several times I’ve been in quilt shops I’ve looked at several large scale prints and stripes with a new appreciation. I haven’t bought any, but I did consider some. 

To read more about "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom" click here.


I appreciate all the hard work that the competitors and judges did, plus extra kudos to Kim who co-ordinated the whole challenge. I urge other quilters to participate in this wonderful project. I’ll let you know when the next season starts, but until there there will be some off-season challenges (no prizes but you’ll have a month to complete your projects). More info will be posted soon.