Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Celebrating the 1st of May

May 1st falls halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. In ancient Europe,  May 1 was the day of the Beltane Festival, which honored fertility in all living things, including crops and people! We're celebrating too, with this festive May Tree quilt.

May Tree by Katalin Horvath, London, United Kingdom, 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival

Katalin writes, "In [the country of]  Hungary, on the last day of April and first day of May, young men place a May Tree in front of the house of the girl they love. The decorate it with flowers and gifts and guard it all night, so that rivals will not take it. This...is the celebration of spring and the rebirth of nature, a tradition honored in Hungary for hundreds of years and still alive."

Close up, May Tree by Katalin Horvath

Katalin continues, "Young people get up early and go out to sing and dance around the May Tree. I designed a tree like that, with traditional folk flowers."  Katalin's work is machine and hand-appliqued, embroidered, and free motion quilted.
We love the beautiful symmetry of this quilt, the circular motifs which remind us of the cycles of nature, and the balanced distribution of flowers and village buildings at the corners.  Notice how the  green of the rolling hills makes a lovely contrast with the bright red of the dancers' costumes. Katalin's precise, detailed applique work is beautifully done in this joyous tribute to being outdoors in the fields, as summer approaches the Northern Hemisphere.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2013 Houston IQF.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Waste not, want not: Thrift Store challenge quilts

This week, we celebrated Earth Day on April 22, with an emphasis on renewing and saving valuable resources -- including fabrics!  In honor of that occasion, we're presenting a showcase of  quilts from reclaimed clothing from the 2014 Arizona Quilters Guild Show.

Fancy Pants by Stella Kennedy

Winner of the Best Overall Recycling award, Stella notes," [I was] using recycled infant/toddler size jeans with embellishments, thus the title. Being legally blind, crazy quilting is my favorite to make. Made for a great niece. " 

Close up, Fancy Pants by Stella Kennedy

Stella's original design contains so many cute embellishments ! There's a variety of lace, darling floral embroidery, butterflies, and bows. Solid pink background fabric provides bright splashes of color.

Two Shirts and a Dress by Donna Hilliard

Winner of the Best Goodwill ( as in the thrift store) Ambassador, Donna states, "I went to Goodwill and bought two shirts and one large dress. I designed and quilted this wall hanging. I used most all of the material."

Close up, Two Shirts and a Dress by Donna Hilliard

Donna did a great job in appliqueing these flowers, which are a lovely shade of pastel peach. The buttons add a very cute touch to this very creative project.

Blue Jean Blues by JoAnn Taylor Rice

JoAnn says of her original design, "The quilt top of made from men's 100% cotton Levi's jeans. The thread came from my stash. Binding and backing are Michael Miller's  'Fairy Frost' fabrics. We were impressed by  this modern quilt with the whimsical curves and cheerful round "bubbles".  The peaceful waves motif reminded us of a day out on the ocean.

Close up, Blue Jean Blues by JoAnn Taylor Rice

JoAnn quilted this abstract work herself on a stationary machine. The array of stitches used in pink, peach, lavender, and silver thread was very impressive. 

Now I Can See The Moon by Maureen Tollman

Maureen was inspired by Japanese poet Mizuta Masahide's philosophical haiku, "Barn's burnt down, now I can see the moon."  Winner of the "Best Salvage Artist" award, Maureen used a recycled tablecloth, which was dyed, discharged,  solvent transferred, and embellished with a wooden necklace. Maureen's work is certainly eye-catching, with its soft complementary colors, balanced symmetry, and artistic lettering.

MomMom's Table by Andrea Williams

Andrea notes, "This quilt was made using the tablecloth from the children's table at MomMomWoodward's. It was one of the first quilts done on my new  Tin Lizzie Longarm Machine."

Close up, MomMom's Table by Andrea Williams

What a great way to preserve an obviously much loved tablecloth which undoubtedly was a part of family history and some very memorable meals. Muted calico print sashing gives a vintage look to this quilt and helps the tablecloth blocks really pop out.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter !

For at least five centuries now, eggs have been depicted by the Christian Church as a symbol of Christ's Resurrection and the new life of the spring equinox.  Eggs were among the food traditionally given up during the 40 day Lenten season, so Easter Sunday is a day when Christians returned to the use of eggs in their meals. Speaking of food, these lovely eggs below are certainly candy for the eye !

Spring, 18 x 18,  by Jill Sheehan, Woodbridge, Virginia

Jill Sheehan said: "I started this [Arts and Old Lace Art Quilt] challenge with an idea in mind, but had to re-think when even beads and crystals wouldn’t get it to work. I found the answer staring me in the face in the form of a watercolor I’d done years ago – white lace eggs on a background of spring colors. I’ve even used some of the lace that was the pattern for lace in the painting. The eggs were created on tulle and fused and stitched in place. Two of the eggs have lace from old garments from a great aunt."

Close- up, Spring by Jill Sheehan

Jill's quilt was part of the Arts and Old Lace Quilt Challenge Showcase at the 2014 Road to California Quilt Show,  sponsored by the Artistic Artifacts Shop in Alexandria, Virginia. Each artist who entered the challenge was given a packet of materials including fabric swatches and pieces of lace, some in shades of white, and some colored. Artists could use the fabric provided to them, or they could substitute their own fabric.  The finished quilt size had to be 18 " x 18 ". 

In this close-up, you can see how carefully the delicate lace has been added to the tulle, then fused to the background, which is embellished with tiny beads. We think Jill did a fabulous job of creating such a fresh, vibrant, and beautiful work.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baltimore Bunnies

Did you know that the tradition of the Easter bunny goes back to the 17th century in Germany? Legend has it that the original Easter Hare showed up with candy and gifts for children who had behaved well throughout the Easter season. In addition,  Wikipedia notes, "Some Christians believe that the rabbit symbolizes new life, particularly in relation to the resurrection of Jesus."  

Baltimore Bunnies by Fleda Gorbea, quilted by Ann Skitt

Floral blossoms, baskets, and bouncing bunnies comprise the charming motifs of Fleda's quilt. The Baltimore Bunnies pattern is by Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs. Fleda notes, "I love to applique. Anne Sutton's patterns are so fun and whimsical. The details in ( longarm) quilter Ann Skitt's quilting completed my quilt perfectly. "

Close up, Baltimore Bunnies by Fleda Gorbea

Plaids (in the flowers) and muted tone-on-tone springtime prints are perfect for this work. In this close-up, you can see the lovely and intricate outline quilting, which really makes Fleda's applique "pop" off the background.

Close up, Baltimore Bunnies by Fleda Gorbea

We at Quilt Inspiration hope that your Easter baskets are filled with goodies and wonderful ideas for a new season of quilting !

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2014 Arizona Quilters Guild show.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good Friday

Good Friday is today, the Friday before Easter, the day on which Christians annually observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We think that this Christ in Gold quilt is a beautiful celebration of the life of Christ.

Christ in Gold by Laurie Tigner (Rapid City, SD)

Laurie Tigner is a quilt designer, teacher and artist who says that one of her "loves" is religious art.  We were mesmerized by Christ in Gold at the 2014 Road to California quilt show.  Can you imagine making a quilt from stretchy gold Spandex?  Laurie Tigner says,  "This is my newest quilt in a series of Icons, exploring different techniques in Iconography and quilting. I really enjoyed using the Spandex fabric and learning how to do beading to embellish the work."

closeup, Christ in Gold by Laurie Tigner

Many painted icons were covered in heavily worked metal and embellished with precious stones, and we thought this heavily quilted piece looked exactly liked embossed and hammered gold work.  Christ in Gold took first place honors in the large wall quilt category at the 2013 Machine Quilters Exposition in Portland, Oregon and Second Place for Wall Quilts (Longarm/Midarm Machine Quilted) at the 2014 AQS QuiltWeek in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

For more information on Laurie, check out her website at Laurie Tigner Designs.  You also might be interested in a 2013 interview of Laurie Tigner by Pat Sloan at Auribuzz (on that post there is a free pieced quilt block designed by Laurie!)

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration. We previously featured Laurie Tigner's angel patterns in a post called The elegance of angels.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Springtime in California: Concord quilt show

Sometimes we find the prettiest, best made quilts at our hometown quilt shows!  That was certainly the case at the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County show on April 6. Here's a look at some of the fun quilts we saw.

Atomic Spring, 80 x 80, by Phyllis McKenna

This quilt was based on the Atomic Bloom design by Wendy Williams at Flying Fish Quilts (Australia). Phyllis says of her mixed technique and machine quilted creation, "[I] just loved the pattern !" So do we, as it was one of the happiest and most radiant quilts that we saw all day. The checkerboard pattern adds extra personality to this very lively work, and we loved the bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

Amazon Star 104 x104, by Nancy Ritter

An award winner at this show, Nancy Ritter's dazzling Amazon Star was based on the design of the same name by Judy and Bradley Niemeyer at Quiltworx. Nancy notes that she made it for a friend during a six month Block of the Month program. It was machine quilted by Diana Johnson.

Close up, Amazon Star by Nancy Ritter

Sophisticated batiks and an updated, spiked border give this traditional star pattern such an elegant, contemporary look. We really admire all the work that Nancy put into her super-sized masterpiece.

Sleep Tight 46 x 54, by Sandy Butner

Another award winner, Sleep Tight, was based on the Sweet Dreams Lily design by Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs. These darling appliqued designs remind us of some of our beloved stuffed animals that we owned as very young children.

Close up, Sleep Tight by Sandy Butner

Restful pastel rose plaids and prints are livened up by the polka dot border and outline quilting. Look carefully, and you'll see the words "Sweet Dreams" printed on the background fabric. Baby quilts don't get much cuter than this gem !

Springtime , 34 x38, by Audrey L. McInerny

Audrey writes, "I attended Nancy Rink's class on invisible machine quilting and fell in love  with this pattern. Her class was so helpful in all the little things you need to gather and the techniques needed......that I actually went home and started the project!"   Audrey's adorable quilt with its vibrant border and eye-catching blossom of various size valentine hearts earned many compliments from viewers at this show. The quilt is based on the Have a Heart pattern by Nancy Rink. 

Thousand Pyramids 90 x 99, by Shirley Wilson

Shirley states, "My mother pieced this quilt in about 1990, using a cardboard template to cut it out. She had about 3/4 of  it hand quilted, then put it away. When she moved to California in 2003, she gave it to me. I finished hand quilting the triangles, then added the 2 outer borders and quilt them. ...This is another of my three generations quilts, using my grandmother's 1930's and 1940's fabrics, then my mothers fabrics from the 50's and 60's. Most of the pieced border fabrics are contemporary."  We think Shirley did an excellent job of designing the border, which really complements and magnifies the painstaking patchwork and color arrangement of the quilt center.

Kaboom! 52 52, by Donna Brooks

Donna notes, "I wanted to challenge myself with a new techniques. I jumped at the chance to take a course based on  Kool Kaleidoscopes by Ricky Tims and taught by Valerie Yeaton. I succeeded in challenging myself !"

Close up, Kaboom by Donna Brooks

Donna's work is pieced and machine quilted with dynamic spirals on the outer blue star and contemporary bubbles on the inner star.  Gorgeous complementary colors of blue  and orange-yellow really add sparkle to this intriguing medallion quilt.

Antitude , 56 x49,by Sharon Manzanec

We used to sing an old Girl Scout song, "The ants go marching one by one.....", and they do........right onto this cheerful and comical quilt! Sharon writes, "When I saw this fun quilt at ThimbleCreek Quilt Shop, I knew I had to make it. ...I was able to use fabrics I had on hand, and that pleased me. Love to applique, and it was easy. It was machine quilted by Kamala Alahan. "   The Antitude pattern is by Corey Blunt at Chitter Chatter Designs.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Highlights of the 2014 Arizona Quilters' Guild show - Day 3

We've saved some of our favorite quilts for Part 3 of this series.  Here are more highlights from the 2014 Arizona Quilters Guild Show,including quilts inspired by Kaffe Fassett and Picasso, along with original fabric art!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Brenda Archambault

This quilt is a wonderfully creative rendition of Girl with a Mirror by Pablo Picasso. Brenda Archambault says:  "A storybook challenge spurred me on to combine Snow White's wicked stepmother's image with the fair Mona Lisa.  Thanks to Pablo [Picasso] and Leonardo [da Vinci] for the inspiration."  The project was inspired by a Modern Mystery Quilt Challenge by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.

Hippocampus, Uniquely Mine by Mary Patrick

We were enchanted by this colorful, decorative seahorse with its frilly orange and purple mane. Mary Patrick says,  "While seahorses are truly unique in nature, mine became even more so with the fabric color combination it seemed to demand."

Close up, Hippocampus, Uniquely Mine by Mary Patrick

In this closeup photo you can see the many bits of fabric that were combined in raw-edge collage fashion to create the cheerful seahorse, which floats in a garden of seaweed.
Wildfire by Christy Schliesmann

This miniature quilt really stood out with its crisp piecing and fiery colors.  Christy Schliesmann says,  "Foundation piecing was complete, but I had no reason to finish.  Then the Granite Mountain [hotshots] fire news came.  What an inspiration to complete and dedicate this quilt."   The quilt was dedicated to the memory of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in 2013 in the Yarnell Hill fire, the deadliest fire ever in Arizona.

Close up, Wildfire by Christy Schliesmann

In this close up photo you can see the flame-shaped quilting and the crystal embellishments.  The quilt was based on the Circle of Fire design by Pat Wolfe, published in American Quilter in 2009.

AQG President's Quilt by Kathe Carolin, quilted by Jeannie Rogers

Winner of a blue ribbon for Group Quilt, Kathe Carolin says:  "The bold, bright colors and expansive white background are reflective of the influence of the modern quilt movement." Kaffe Fassett fabrics were featured prominently in cool and warm color blocks connected with fabric strips and bordered with flying geese. 

Close up, AQG President's Quilt by Kathe Carolin, quilted by Jeannie Rogers

We enjoyed seeing the longarm quilting done by Jeannie Rogers, who used the Modern Ogee quilting design by Anita Shackelford for the Statler Stitcher.  Here is a closer closeup that shows the pretty variegated thread:

Desert Solitaire by Margit Kagerer

For this original landscape art wall hanging, Margit Kagerer chose locations from Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire including Arches National Park and Canyonlands.  She says:  "I share his love of the Southwest."  Margit incorporated the natural tones of earth and rocks and the brilliant blue of the Southwestern desert sky. 

Close up, Desert Solitaire by Margit Kagerer

The geometric piecing brings to mind the sun's rays shining through clouds to illuminate the natural rock formations.  The mini quilts were separately quilted and then attached to the quilted background.  Margit Kagerer is an accomplished art quilter who has created 250 quilts since 1993; to see more, check out her website and book at Artrageous Fibers.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Highlights of the 2014 Arizona Quilters' Guild show - Day 2

 The Arizona Quilters' Guild just keeps getting better each year ! We think you'll enjoy these interesting and beautiful highlights.  

Shaman's Dream by Sheila Arnold, design by Sue Olfers

Second place winner for Small Appliqued Quilts, Sheila notes, "I didn't trust just fusing the appliques, so I machine blanket-stitched them using variegated thread. The pieced background adds dimension and interest to this quilt."  We were intrigued by the vivid complementary colors of Sheila's work.  The design is by Sue Olfers at Off Your Rocker Designs.

Close up, Shaman's Dream by Sheila Arnold

Sheila adds that her work was inspired by the "Shaman's Dream" quilt pattern by Sue Olfers. This vibrantly colored pattern features hunter and animal motifs which are based on petroglyphs of the southwestern United States.

Pickle Promenade by Betty Santa

First place winner in the Machine Embroidery category, Betty notes that her lovely work was constructed using the foundation piecing technique. Betty chose the fabric and thread herself. If you're enchanted by machine embroidery, this work is a real show-stopper.

Close up, Pickle Promenade by Betty Santa

Betty used the Pickle Promenade pattern by Sharon Schamber, based on the traditional "Pickle Dish" quilt pattern. For a detailed and comprehensive lesson on how this magnificent embroidery is created, please see Sharon's instructional You Tube video.

Labyrinth by Nancy McFall

First place winner in the category of Modern Quilts,  Nancy explains, " [A] labyrinth is traced from its entrance to the center, then out again. It's the journey that's important, not the destination. I made it for my son, Chad. "  We really like the way that Nancy used lighter fabric in the center of the quilt to give it such a glowing, luminous effect.
Nancy's dynamic work is based on Wendy Wetzel's Labyrinth of St. Omer pattern, available online from the American Quilters' Society.

Roo Garden by Vicki Bohnhoff

Winner of the Excellent Use of Color Award and second-place winner for Large Pieced Quilts, Vicki notes, "Returning to Australia in 2009, I purchased Aboriginal fabrics [and[  became addicted to 3/4 " hexagons. [I] depicted a kangaroo, dawn rays, and flowers with 4,125 pieces."  Roo Garden also won First Place Traditional Pieced at IQF Houston 2013.

Close up, Roo Garden by Vicki Bohnhoff

We loved all the fabulous fabrics in Vicki Bohnhoff's spectacular quilt, which was an original design. You can hear Vicki talk about making her quilt in this video:

Red Mountain by Audrey Good

Third place winner for Best Group Quilt, these quilters took parts of a painting and made blocks with fabric, yarn, and thread, separating them with handsome neutral tones for the sashing and border. We love the great three-dimensional effect that shows up in Attic Windows pattern quilts, and this one is no exception!

Close up, Red Mountain by Audrey Good

Amidst these sparkling colors, on the right,  you can see the embellished, tall slender, Ocotillo cactus, well-known in the Southwest. The group who made this original design was inspired by Audrey Good's painting of  Red Mountain, a natural geologic site in Mesa, Arizona.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

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