Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quilting on a longarm in Salt lake City

think pink by nanotchka
think pink, a photo by nanotchka on Flickr.

A rainy memorial day week end has given me the opportunity to do a little WIP work for a few days. I have had this queen size quilt made with some ugly stash vintage fabrics all pieced and quilted for awhile. The quilt just wasn't doing anything for me. After returning from New York City where I experienced an inspiring quilt lecture and trunk show at the American Craft and folk museum on 66th Street I had been thinking of using this simple pieced quilt as a canvas for something more exciting. I guess it was because of the touch of pink in some of the blocks that brought visions of flamingos into my head. Although I toyed with other ideas....the flamingos just wouldn't go away. I am definitely not an artist and I don't often feel inclined to even attempt to draw anything let along a pair of flamingos but I couldn't find anything that I liked on the internet...a few close but no prize possibilites. In frustration I finally pinned a few sheets of tissue paper together and began to sketch. This pair was the finished result. Now it's time to put it back onto the longarm and do a little thread painting. I'll let you see it again when it is all finished and bound. I think I'll take it to Liberty Park for it's final photo session. They need to be close to a little water and maybe a few fountains! Have a good holiday week end!

Monday, May 14, 2012

HQMS show Salt Lake City/Innova longarm quilter Salt Lake City

I was working in the Innova Longarm Quilting Booth at the HQMS Show in Salt Lake City, Utah this week end and took a few minutes away from selling to snap a few pictures of some of my favorite quilts.  The quilt exhibit was amazing this year with a variety of quilts from traditional to art to liberated in style and construction.  This quilt was one of my favorites.  It was created from an image of a bird that was photographed in Africa.  The colors were acheived with the use of disperse dyes and heavy thread painting especially on the body of the bird.  The detail was incredible and this large quilt had the look of a live bird in its natural habitat.

I like the contrast of colors and the abstract look of this mini quilt.  The pieced background was broken with the lines of the fused raw edge applique and had the look of trees.  This quilt was an amzaing art piece, very similar to some of the pieces I saw in galleries on my recent trip to New York City.  The use of "untraditional" fabrics added to the interest of this quilt and it was heavily stitched to give it even more depth and additional color.

There are always a few show stopping quilts that you just have to pause and look at, just to take in all of the details and to dream of making a quilt of that calibur "someday"!  From the intricate scrolling victorian workwork to the hairs of the cat and the feathers of the bird I loved taking time to study every inch of this quilt.  The colors of the flowers and vines were blended in such a way that they appeared to be handpainted even though it was all appliqued and pieced.  The quilting really added to the dimension and depth that you felt as you were looking at  the quilt from across the hall or just a foot away. 

I am always drawn to quilts that incorporate unusual fabrics.  Although I love all of the fresh modern prints and contemporary designers in the quilt world, I  love so many different types of fabrics.  I am fascinated with the use of what many designers now call  "found" fabrics and the use of silks, woolens and even synthetics (heaven forbid!) in todays quilts.  I imagine that the maker of this quilt must have traveled to Guatemala and wanted to use the colorful handwoven fabrics found there in this beautifully handstitched, pieced and appliqued quilt.

The new modern abstract quilts seem to be a perfect canvas for unbelievable quilting!  This quilt is an example of  how a fresh modern quilt can and should be quilted.  The variations of stitching patterns was amazing and the  extraordinary use of color and the placement of the random piecing was very dramatic

 If you are looking for inspiration for longarm quilting, this is the show!  These are just a few examples of the quilts and the fabulous quilting that inspired me during the three day show!   Each and every quilt in the show was a joy to look at and offered something new to think about and  prompted new ideas and possibilities of future quilts.  I couldn't wait to get back to my studio and sketch.  It didn't take me long to be pulling fabrics and piling them up on my worktable to begin new projects.  I can't wait to cut into the neatly stacked piles and begin the process of turning these fabrics into quilts that I can get on my longarm.  My father could never understand the concept of cutting fabrics up so you could sew them back together again.....I guess it's just because..... I can......Now to get to work!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I just returned from a fabulous trip to New York City.  I have been away far too long!  I lived in New York City when I was studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and have claimed it as my second home ever since.  When I had my retail stores I would travel to the city twice a year to buy ( and go to the theater and dine mostly!).  It had been a long time since I had been back to the city that I love, in fact the last time I was there was before 911. 

One of my stops was at the City Quilter not far from my F.I.T. neighborhood that I knew so well. Their gallery had an exhibit of Sue Benner's amazing art quilts.  I was so inspired by her work that it's the first thing that I want to share with you from the trip.  This was one of my favorite pieces.  Visually it is circles, but the base is simple blocks.  The circles are created with narrow bias pieces that she has swirled and fused to the base.  She also does alot of stamping and printing on her quilts to add dimension and interest. 

I love to use unexpected fabrics in my quilts.  I do love all of the new modern cotton quilting fabrics that are out there....but I have worked with so many different types of fabrics over the years and I love the qualities of fabrics like silks, rayons, woolens and more!  Sue uses alot of "found" fabrics in her quilts.  You can see the difference in the overall look of the quilts.  There were alot of silks and other fabrics, even polyesters.  These fabrics gave her quilts a sheen and colorations that she would never have been able to achieve with cottons.  The quilts are also heavily quilted with rayon and yarn dyed threads to add even more color and contrast to her quilts.

Another thing that Sue does with her quilts that makes them hang well and look perfect in the exhibition is a trick that I want to try on my next art quilt.  She has a sleeve in both the top and the bottom of her quilts.  The top sleep has a 2 inch board in it to keep the top straight and smooth .  The bottom sleeve also has a board in it.  It weights the quilts and it really makes a difference in how her quilts hang and show in the exhibit.  I hope you enjoy looking at these wonderful quilts as much as I did!  Be sure and visit Sue Benner's website to see more.

As you can see there was a wealth of inspiration to be found in the "City" and I can't wait to share more of it with you!