Monday, September 26, 2011

It's All About 4 Days Of Quilting Mania

Last week was the annual Utah Quilt Guild Festival with classes from beginning to those offered by the National Teachers.  I can't believe I resisted going for so long.  It incorporates fund raisers, humanitarian opportunities, a vendor mall, and my favorite the luncheons featuring the National Teachers.  It’s interesting to hear how they started and the paths leading them to their advanced techniques.  Some have a more gradual progression and others win National Competions with their 1st quilt and sell them for $25,000 or more.  It’s fun to be around lots of quilters who have the same quirks and utter devotion as you do to the art of quilting. One lady was excited another kid had moved out. That would make the 3rd room to fit all her "stuff." I didn’t feel quite as bad I had my one room & the dining room table.... and I suppose the fireplace hearth... and maybe just a wee space in my bedroom. I guess that’s getting close to 3 rooms.  It just happens.

And then there's the Quilt Show. So we'll start with the good news first. The quilt I entered won 1st place in the Miniature category. I have to admit winning is really fun.
"Crossing Paths"  20" Sq. with 1,203 pieces.
Just when I’m feeling pretty good about myself, I turned the corner and saw this quilt.  It is by the National Teacher, George Siciliano,, who specializes in  miniatures.  I took one of his classes and it was just amazing to learn his technique and tips.  I bought a couple of his patterns and fabrics to try other designs & maybe try one of my own.  His wife, Virginia is an award winning hand quilter and both have quilts in the National Quilt Museum.  They teach the classes together.  Ken didn't want to hear about that part.
"Dusk a l'Orange" 12 1/2" Sq., 4,210 pieces

 During class he demos a 1" square made from 25 pieces.  He does a coin toss & the winner gets it.  That's right... it is now mine. I bought the pattern to try it myself.
I also took a class by David Taylor, , another National Teacher who specializes in hand applique.  This was much harder for me but he made me really want to practice & improve.  His quilts are taken from his photographs and it is hard to tell the difference.  His goat is made from hundreds of different fabrics.  Each color change is a different fabric, cut out and the edges all turned under before they are stitched down.  The detail is just exquisite.  He then uses many, many variegated threads for the machine quilting to compliment the quilt design. (because life is too short not to use color)
"Little S'Tinker

 On top of that I took 5 classes to learn how to use my EQ7 design quilt program.  I was exhausted by the end of it... in the best kind of way.  I can't wait for next year.  (It will be in St. George) 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Not About Perfection

Most of you know I keep my mom in quilting projects. We’re both equally passionate about what we create and the happiness it brings us. However, I walked over there today to find her hunched over with a ruler measuring the 9-patches she had just made and telling me quite despondantly she hadn’t done a very good job in putting them together, as she reached for the seam ripper. It broke my heart. Sure they were a little askew and didn’t quite match up to the other blocks they connected to, but she has just the tiniest bit of sight in her left eye and macular degeneration in her right eye which means she has a black spot right in her central vision. So are you kidding me, they were fabulous blocks created with a determination to keep her passion alive in spite of her limitations. I didn’t want her to lose her joy. You know Mom, I told her. Something doesn’t have to be perfect to be meaningful. I hope I can do as well if my eyesight ever fails me.

The quest for perfection is as old as time and I have always felt it is a bit of a self- defeating behavior, but I really felt it at that moment. I finally live in a world where I’m good enough. Damn it. I’m not always picking myself apart, trying to fix all the parts that might have gone askew and don’t always match up to how I think the rest of the world wants me to be. I like my reality and think it helps me love the things I love more. And that doesn't mean I'm not willing to change or try to be all the things that make a human being good, but if it is so discouraging and I start feeling like I can never do anything good enough and it makes loving what I do less, then I'm taking my plants and making another garden.

Anyway here’s the perfect things I’ve been creating lately. Just kidding. I have had fun making some miniature quilts. They’re 12” square and now I need to add some kind of nifty border. I forgot to take a picture of the one I’m entering in the Utah Quilt Guild Show. Sally Collins is one of the National Teachers that will be giving classes at the Quilt Festival this year. She is known for her precision piecing and the awesome way she creates borders to give quilts a balanced finished look. Since I won’t be taking any of her classes, I bought her book, “Borders, Bindings, & Edges, The Art of Finishing Your Quilt”. And that is one reason why I love quilting. There is always something new to learn. It’s an art form that keeps on giving.  (I think I said that once before so it must be true)
 This is "Perplexed By Purple"  Look at the circular geometric shapes then move your eye down and you'll see the purple & white flower.

I want to do some kind of beading on this one.  On this one kind of squint and move your eye between the white spaces and then to the colored.