Monday, September 22, 2014

Quilt Match Manhattan 2014...the Winner!

I knew that Francis Holiday Alford would be making the trophy winner's belt, and I WANTED it.

It would be awarded to the champion of the designer match-up competition at the Quilt Alliance's Quilters Take Manhattan celebration and fundraising event last week-end in New York City.

This was the fourth year the Quilt Alliance has hosted QTM at the Fashion Institute of Technology's campus in the Garment District of NYC.  And it sold out! There were 350 attendees, Amy Butler was our keynote speaker, Mark Dunn presented beautiful quilts from his vast collection, there were live "Go Tell it at the Quilt Show" interviews, vendors, workshops, an after dark party at the loft of Victoria Findlay Wolfe....and the Quilt Match.  Lots of fun quilt-centered schmoozing and inspiration occurred!!!

But what was the Quilt Match?  3 designers were given 1 hour and a pile of fabrics they had never seen before, pins, fusible web from Mistyfuse, scissors, and a design wall.  We were each allowed to bring 1 yard of our own fabric of choice, and in front of the live audience, had to create a quilt top!  (To be sewn down later.)

My fellow contestants were John Kubiniec and, because our third quilter missed her train, a very intrepid audience member, Encyclopedia Brown, volunteered to fill in.

John and I were hamming it up, the day before...

We were on Meg Cox's tour of The High Line urban park (also part of the weekend's events). John and I became super new friends.  ;-)  Even if he did bring a banana peel for me to slip on on stage!  (He was kidding.)

But once the Match Up began, we were all focus.

My fabric of choice was "Pretty Day" from Shades Textiles, a sky fabric I have loved and used in my work for over 20 years.  So I knew I wanted to create a landscape quilt...Cherrywood Hand-Dyed Fabrics and Moda donated our "pallettes", which we were not allowed to see beforehand.  The Moda fabrics were in a style I NEVER use, so this was very challenging.

One hour are the three quilts:

Encyclopedia didn't have her own fabric of choice so she used some Cherrywood for her background.  This evokes her Jamaican roots.

John brought a neutral solid for his background, and made a medallion style quilt with a whimsical floral basket in the center.

I indeed went for a landscape, and did my best to make color, value, line, shape, perspective, contrast and whimsical appeal work for me. Especially keeping in mind that this was going to be viewed from a distance, the audience needed to be able to "see" it from afar.  This was a designer challenge, after all!
The winner was decided by the audience's raising of hands!

Do I look happy, being attended by Mark Lipinski, the Match Up's emcee?  I forgot to put my shoes back on, having kicked them off in the frenzy of my hour designing.
Yes, I am happy!  The belt is mine!!!!!
I'll be wearing it at Quilt Market next month, oh yeah....

We had such a blast.  Thanks John and Encylopedia for making it so much fun.

And you might want to mark your calendars for Quilter's Take Manhattan next September! 
Learn about the Quilt Alliance,  and its mission of preserving, documenting, and sharing the stories of quilts and quilters everywhere.

Monday, September 1, 2014

2015 Crazy Quilt Calendar: December..."Peace"

Pamela Kellogg invited me to be one of the 12 crazy quilters to create a page for the calendar she produced and has made available for purchase.  I was given the month of December.

When I think of that month, of course Christmas comes to mind.  But that holiday is from only one our world's religions...and I wanted to reach for something universal.  So my block expresses my feeling about the onset of deep winter, and what we all celebrate....

Hence, "Peace".  I photographed my process as I went along.  The 8" block's construction was unusual....

 I began with printing up the template for my lettering.

Using adhesive spray and a light touch, I adhered the paper template to some holographic lame that had first interfacing, then fusible web fused onto the back. Using sharp scissors, I cut out my letters and then carefully peeled off the paper.

For my block's landscape (and skyscape) design, I made freezer paper templates.

I fused some interfacing onto the back of muslin, and ironed my freezer paper templates to the front.

Using the freezer paper templates, I marked the muslin, making sure there was a healthy 1/4" seam allowance before I cut them out.

I used the flip and sew technique to piece each section.

Then I ironed the templates back on for the final marking, trimming, and folding under of the edges.

Here they are all ready for assembly on the block's muslin foundation.  Note, the block pattern is drawn onto the muslin for placement guidance.

Fast forward...this was fiddly work, getting the edges ironed under, pinned into place, and machine appliqued with a clear thread in a small zig zag.  The snowfields were easy after that!  I put the most heavily textured lace in the foreground, to help give a hint of perspective.

I hand embroidered all the sky seams with feather stitch in machine weight silver thread and herringbone in Kreinik metallic threads, then fused on the letters and appliqued them with the clear thread in a zig zag as well.  I like using a Microtex Sharp needle for this step, sized 60/8, to keep the holes as small as possible.

Here is my finished block, with the stars all shining on a peaceful winter night.

Thanks again, Pamela, for inviting me into this project!  The other crazy quilters are:

Mary Ann Richardson
Nicki Lee Seavey
Maria Mulder
Kathy Shaw
Pat Winter
Cathy Kizerian
Brenda Sandusky
Gerry Krueger
Terri Lee Takacs
Betty Pillsbury
Connie Eyberg
Pamela Kellogg

What a great gift the calendar will be for your stitching friends.  Order it here!