AQS Charlotte Show: Modern Quilts

AQS issued a Modern Quilts challenge  and so there were many of this sort of quilt at the show in Charlotte. For those of you non-quilters, check out this link for a definition of what a modern quilt is. As any arty group does, quilters are always redefining themselves…

This is Modern Mirage by Lee Heinrich. I think the color here is a bit off – one photo has the background showing as pink and this one as blue. It was closer to white! I very much like the colors and the circular sort of stars pattern.

Modern Mirage

Orange Creamsicle was made by Renee Eudaley. Impossible to photograph in the convention lighting was the variety of machine quilting on this quilt. Many modern quilters rely on a straight stitch, but not this quilt! There’s a lot to admire.

Orange Creamsicle

Marina Kontsevaya made Warm or Cold? One of the typical colors associated with modern quilting is gray, and though I like gray, I am not fond of colors with gray added. This warm (it looks warm to me!) sort of kraft paper color appeals to me, as do the colors that look well with it. Many modern quilters use commercial fabrics in solid colors, and I notice that Marina, as well as a few others I chose, included some prints.

Warm or Cold?

Waterfall by Sandra Morgan Cockrum was actually in the bed quilt category. I would very much like to see this quilt on a bed – either a modern, floating platform bed or even an antique iron one would showcase this great design!


And here is my favorite – Graphic Garden by Kendra Biddle. The shape of it is so appealing and the bright pops of x’s or crosses with the many, many “almost whites” is great.

Graphic Garden

Here’s a detail that better shows all the light-colored fabrics. And I’d like you to get an idea of the variety of fabrics she used in her quilt! She notes in her interview (the link above) that amassing those neutrals was the hard part. I have some that I could have contributed!

Graphic Garden detail

There was another show sponsored by AQS and because they have a book about it, there was no photography allowed! I was sorry as there were several quilts that caught my eye. Each year AQS chooses a traditional quilt block – this year it was Carolina Lily – and quilters create a quilt with that pattern as the starting point. It is amazing to see what ideas they come up with. When I was a new quilter, I used to buy the books to give me ideas. Back in 1989, quilts were pretty traditional and I wanted to get some ideas about what might be possible.


Next up: People, mostly!



AQS Charlotte Show; Color!

Wow – I haven’t been to a (big) quilt show in a very long time so I was excited to attend the new AQS show in Charlotte. They have added several new shows this year and I am also hoping to go to Chattanooga in September. I hopped in the car early Friday morning and headed off to Charlotte. It was a good show and I enjoyed being inspired. Because I am not a fan of posts where the blogger just posts picture after picture (it’s boring!), I have decided to break down my collection of pictures into categories. Today’s is color, my favorite part of quilting!

Rainbow Star was made by Carol McDowell and Kim Burterbaugh. There were two of these Judy Niemeyer quilts in the show and this was my favorite. (Didn’t it photograph well?) It’s hard to see in this photo, but the variety of fabrics in the flying geese border is amazing. The color moves so well from family to family. Carol must have an amazing fabric stash!

Rainbow Star

At every quilt show, I think I am tired of Baltimore Album type quilts, but then I find one that is different in its use of color or design. This is Autumn Journey at White Oak by Kathryn Zimmerman. Rather than having a variety of appliquéd squares, the many borders around the beautiful center square makes it quite unique. The yellows are so inviting and the red-orange (which didn’t photograph that well) adds such a pop. Being a fan of hearts, I very much admire the designs of the heart squares.

Autumn Journey at White Oak

And yum – how delicious are these colors??? This beauty is Adagio by Diane Hire. Her quilts always are amazingly colored and beautifully designed. The cool exterior moves into such a bright and warm middle. Here is another link that tells more about her work.


This has to be my favorite quilt! It is Grande Finale and was made by Tami Graeber. The color called to me from across the convention center.

Grand Finale

From a distance it looked to be all the same orange fabric, but there are subtleties when you look close up. I really liked the surprise of the jeweled button or brooch in the middle! So many of the flowers and butterflies are fussy cut and done in a broderie perse fashion. And it’s not overly quilted – just enough to highlight the design.

Grand Finale detail

This is an astounding use of color! From a distance this quilt looks like Chinese or Japanese embroidery. As I approached it, I wondered if the quilter had used silks for the appliqué. But no, she picked intensely colored hand dyed fabrics to give the look of silk embroidery!!! Susan Marra made this beauty.

Japanese Fighting Roosters

Next post: Modern Quilts…


Lovely Log Cabin Quilts

Many, many years ago, before I was a quilter, I decided to make a log cabin quilt… hand! I was engaged to Peter and we were driving down to Florida over Spring Vacation to see my grandmother and to go to Disney World. It would be a long road trip so I thought that some hand stitching would be fun. In those dark ages, there wasn’t “quilting” fabric, but I did find some reds and whites and blacks I liked. And I began sewing. Shoot me now – – – it was SO boring to sew endless straight lines! I completed a few blocks and kept them for years and years, but never completed that quilt. (I love hand sewing, but these days log cabin is not on the approved list…)

Fast forward to “the machine age”- nowadays I love making log cabin quilts. It’s fun to play with the lights and darks and it’s a great mindless project for times of high stress. I made two of them the Summer we had our Colorado house on the market. It didn’t sell and didn’t sell, Peter was gone a great deal, the realtor was driving me bonkers, and I sewed and sewed and sewed! You’ve seen my favorite of the two – called “Seeing Red – the House Won’t Sell” – beautifully machine quilted by my friend Beth.

Seeing red

Long story, which I won’t go into, but I made a king sized log cabin for my dear niece. I won’t ever do that again; it was way too big. I didn’t want to make it but my niece has a way of making me say “sure” when I’m thinking “no way!”. Again it was quilted by the wonderful Beth.

Kim's quilt

I haven’t done much piecing since we moved and last week I began to collect fabrics for a new project when I came to my senses. I did throw out some of my UFO’s when we moved, but there are plenty left! I don’t recall when I started this log cabin for one of the guest beds and since we have a lot of house and garden projects going on, a mindless project is good. The colorway is my favorite of light and bright candy colors. I had forgotten, but last Winter when I was folding (and tossing) fabrics in the studio to get the house ready to sell, I cut a lot of strips for this quilt. What a treat to have a stack ready to sew.

Zig Zag log cabin pattern

The log cabin pattern variation (I think) I am doing is a zig zag, which will be so fun and graphic to see as you walk into the room. (It will look like the border on my niece’s quilt.) The design idea began with a trip to Paducah. Besides being the home of the amazing quilt show, they have great fabric stores. I spied this flowered fabric which seemed perfect for log cabin middles. (Wait till you see the fabric for the back of it!) I drafted it on EQ7, to figure out what size strips and squares to make and to be sure the design would fit nicely on the twin bed. Interestingly enough, all the squares are pieced in the same way for this quilt; like half square triangles, the pattern depends on how you rotate the square. So I’ve oiled up and dusted off my Pfaff and am happily sewing away.

Estrella by Vallori Wells

Outside my studio window, the birds are singing and the daffodils are blooming! Bradford Pear trees and plums (?) are popping out daily. I have been wandering around the yard to see what may be coming up. A SC Master Gardener was the first owner of this place and everyone tells us that it’s gorgeous in the Spring. ;-D

My Summer Garden Quilt

This is the working title for the quilt I’m making for the guild challenge. I need to take it to the meeting the first week of March, so I decided I had better get back to it.

The seed packages themselves are like tiny quilts and working on them is fun, but I have been mulling over what to attach them to. The design idea in my head is that the packets are scattered on some kind of surface and I’ve been deciding where to plant them in the garden. I’d like to attach a pencil and perhaps a “real” piece of graph paper with a garden design drawn on it. This quilt is being transported to and from the meeting and the show by me, so I don’t have to worry about shipping it and having the paper crunch or the pencil fall off.

I’ve spent the morning auditioning fabric for the background. Here is one idea for a “tablecloth”. This is a piece of fabric from my stash.

Tablecloth idea

Here is a napkin that looks like a tablecloth because of the border design. I would un-hem it, of course, because it must be quilted.

Another tablecloth

And here is a real placemat, with the correct dimensions. (The quilt has to be larger than 12″.) It’s nice, but it was made in India and is printed on a sort of canvas. Because of the stiffness, this would be nasty to quilt!

Placemat idea

When I’m designing a quilt, the elements that I need to work out seem to run in the back of my head in a subliminal sort of way while I’m doing other things and often a great idea pops up at an unexpected time. Taking pictures and looking at them on the computer screen helps me see the design in a different way as well. And it’s always nice to have fresh eyes looking as well…

Any thoughts???

What To Do…What To Do….

Some upcoming fiber shows:

I love taking workshops and going to galleries and talking fiber to anyone who has an interest. Last year was all about relocating and I didn’t have the time or energy to go to workshops or conferences. This year all bets are off, and I thought some of you might be interested in some events on my list.

I began my fiber journey by taking weaving lessons with my mother when I was in college. We both took to it immediately. I was a Second Grade teacher and did not have the money or the time to get as involved in the craft as my mother did, but we both joined The Handweaver’s Guild of America and attended many of the biennial Convergence conferences across the US and Canada. Weaving was hugely popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s but not so much these days, so the group now embraces all manner of fiber crafts. The 2014 version is in Providence, Rhode Island, the home of the amazing Rhode Island School of Design and an area rich in textile history. I just downloaded the class and workshop list. {..sigh…} There is a lot going on! This is on the maybe list.

Long on my bucket list has been to attend something at Asilomar. Many moons ago they had a rug hooking week, but popularity for that craft has waned. The winters are now filled with quilting workshops, called Empty Spools Seminars. The locale, on a peninsula near Monterey CA, is supposed to be amazingly beautiful and of course any time you can immerse yourself in a craft you adore with like-minded souls for 5 days is heaven indeed! I wanted to attend a workshop with Melinda Bula and do a flower of my own (remember the wonderful zinnia top that’s waiting to be completed???) but this isn’t the year. They always have the most amazing teachers….

The big rug hooking event this year will be rug hooking week in Ohio at Sauder Village, August 13 – 16. I very much enjoyed it when I attended a few years ago. It’s always a treat to see a lot of hooked rugs on display, but this year an exhibit of woven coverlets will be included! On my to-do list when I started weaving was to make a coverlet…… not so much now, but I still love to look at them. This is another maybe…

The American Quilt Society has added two shows to their list this year, and since they are nearby, I am sure I need to go to them! One is in Charlotte NC, on July 30 – August 2. The other is in Chattanooga TN from September 10 – 13. I am hoping to throw Peter and his bikes in the car and have a little vacation there; it looks like a lovely spot. And maybe I should enter the quilt I’m working on in one of the shows???

There are all sorts of small, local events that I will be attending and will share with you. One of the many reasons we chose this area (of SC, NC and TN) was because there are many craft related events that seem to be well supported and attended.

This is just a sprinkling of fiber shows you may not have heard about. Where are you headed this year to feed your creative spirit???

Granny Square Inspiration

Isn’t it funny when you start working on a project, what turns up. I’ve been going through magazines and came across the November 2000 issue of Martha Stewart Living, back when they were wonderful and so fat. In that issue, the one with the amazing chocolate turkey on the cover, there is an article about granny squares, and I must say that nobody elevates projects to the level that Martha Stewart Living does. Look at this tiny book mark being crocheted out of thread! {Imagine that as a doll house rug!!!}

MSL November 2000

I do think I will need to try some babies. Another thing I found interesting in the article was their use of color in the squares. Most of us crochet each row a different color, and think square by square, but they did some designs that took in the piece as a whole. I like that idea; sort of a “Modern Quilt” done in crochet squares. I have lots of ideas to play with in our extended stay room in Greenville! And I haven’t even looked much on Pinterest and Google yet…

Crochet color ideas

I showed the article to my crochet teacher and even she was amazed by the lovely projects. I also noticed that as I was working, she was looking through my book and oohing and ahhing at the patterns. Maybe I have converted her! Meanwhile, in my lesson, I learned to make this fat flower middle! I like it very much.

Fat flower

We went over two other designs. There really wasn’t time to actually make them, so I am going to try to follow the directions myself. As well as written directions, crochet patterns include a “drawn out” pattern. My teacher went over these with me, thinking that since I am such a visual person, it would be easier. We’ll see! I also treated myself to some new colors. I originally bought this yarn for a knitting project, but now I want to have more colors to choose from for the flowers. Yummy, huh?

New yarn

Nothing like a new project to get the creative juices flowing!

Four granny squares

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: border ideas

It occurred to me, as I was editing these photographs of border layouts that these would make great striped designs as well. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a striped half triangle quilt. Sounds like a great idea for a “modern” quilt, with plenty of room for wonderful quilting. These strips could divide a quilt top into areas, like lattice does, or just be stripes. With most of the borders, I made sure to create a corner as well. Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to end one border and begin the next one.

These three designs are just one square wide. There are lots of ways to flip these single squares to make an attractive border design. In this group, the third design appeals to me the most. I love the wonky feel of the triangles flipping back and forth.

Borders 1

This pair is pretty great! The top one is a flying geese design. It’s edge made a box or square on point, which lead me to the next design. Piecing these borders would take some time, but they have a lot of appeal.

Borders 2

Of course in this set, I love the zig zag design and the way it forms such a tidy corner. The bottom border would be quite an intricate one to do and couldn’t be sewn to just any  sort of quilt top. I am not sure what I would do in the corner, obviously! That would take a bit of fiddling.

Borders 3

This is the last of my half square triangle posts. I hope you enjoyed them! I make a blog book at the end of each year and so I must admit that I did these for my reference. As I piece and piece half square triangles as leader-ender pieces, I will have lots of ideas to refer back to when I need inspiration.

In between working on house projects, Peter has been building our ark. Honestly – I don’t think short of several hurricanes we’ve lived through that I have endured so much rain. I neglected to take a picture when the rain was pounding on the roof and all the back yards were filling up. It looked like a model of the great lakes! Happily our house is on a little rise, but Peter had a back-up sump pump system put in a few years ago, and we’re so glad for it now. The sound of it emptying every half hour or so is very comforting! There are some daffodils in the front garden waiting for the slightest bit of sun to come out. The ones in the backyard are submerged. It’s been seriously nasty.

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: stars and pinwheels

Here’s another  post on creating quilt squares with half square triangles! This group includes star and pin wheel variations, which are some of my favorites.

This one is a bit of a cheat, as I put squares in each corner. It’s probably called a mosaic, but I’m calling it square in the middle star.

Square in the middle star

If you flip just the interior squares, you get the negative version!


This star has nice double points and you can see half square triangles in the corners.

Double pointed star

This one is appropriately called Diamond Star. You can see it’s a smaller version of a whole cloth design I did. Imagine filling in the light parts of the yellow pieces and you’d get an 8 pointed star.

Diamond star

And here’s a star with a pin wheel middle. I’m sure you get the idea now, that rotating the half square triangles or playing with the fabric colors and values will produce an endless number of star variations.

Pinwheel star

This pin wheel is in the middle of a square on point. This might be a fun center for the quilt I plan to make.

Pinwheel in a star

I can’t remember where I found this pretty square, but it seems related to Yankee Puzzle or Flying Geese. There’s so much movement.

Puzzle square

Here’s a great square called Windmills. I’ve seen some quilts where the pattern is even larger, making quite a dramatic quilt. This square is such a good example of how dynamic half square triangles can be.


I’m almost done, but there’s one more post coming next week, on using half square triangles in border designs.

All About (Animal) Faces; with Donna Hrkman

Donna showed us many of her beautifully designed and hooked rugs. I loved this one,which she made while working with a friend who was getting a teacher’s certificate. All the wools are dip dyed or what the fashion world calls ombre. To shade and highlight the flowers and leaves, you manoeuvre the strip of wool to get the lights-to-darks where you want them. It gives the rug a very soft feel, I think. In the front of the picture, you can see three hooking frames lined up. We were there to get lots of work done!

Donna's tulip rug

Barbara was hooking her dog, Leo. She spent almost a whole day working on getting his tongue, which is so key to the design, to look right. Isn’t it great? And Donna helped the animal lovers get that dot in the eye to make them look realistic. Can you see those tiny pieces of white wool hanging from his ear? They are a 2 cut, which is the teeniest tiniest piece of wool you can cut. I can’t wait to see her progress on Leo.

Barbara's dog

Pat was hooking her dog Karen. What a sweet face! The design was from a great close up photograph of Karen begging. I think this is the second piece of rug hooking that Pat has done – wow!

Pat's Karen

Donna is holding up Susan’s design of her dear departed cat Daisy.

Donna Hrkman & Susan's Daisy

And here is Daisy at the end of three days! The drawing of Daisy’s face is so sweet, but then adding the garland of the flowers underneath is such a great touch. Hooking since she was in her teens (;-D) Susan is very accomplished.

Susan'a Daisy almost done

Here is a room full of The Foxy Ladies, hooking away! It was pretty tight fit, so when anyone needed to audition colors, they went into the other room. In the other room, Donna set up a “store”. She had a lot of beautifully dyed wools, including many pinks and beiges for skin tones.

Foxy Ladies hooking

I suppose that my Eliza rug fits into the animal category, though I was hooking easy eyes and just fretting over color, not realism. Here’s my first try… There will be more on all my trials later, of course!

Eliza start

And again, I am missing the photographs I took of Diane hooking her darling dog pulling a wicker basket! Send me a photo and I will add it.

A Weekly Dose of Triangles: making squares

And the design ideas continue! In the last two posts I showed you a myriad of ideas using simply the half square triangle for all over quilt designs. Many, many, many quilt squares are made up of half square triangles. When I took a beginning class with Karen Buckley, and when I teach one, the first lesson is all about triangles. So here’s what I came up with!

This pattern is a sort of simple bow tie design. It also looks like an hour-glass.

Simple bow tie

I’m calling this four square, for lack of a better name. Using half square triangles makes it so much more interesting than four solid squares would be.

Four square

This square has the look of the overall quilt pattern I plan to make. The corner squares could be twisted any which way to make an interesting secondary design when pieced together.

Open Diamond

And this one flips just the center blocks for an almost inside out look of the previous block. A lot of squares like this are simply called Mosaic. In The Quilters’ Album of Blocks and Borders , my favorite reference book, it is named Mosaic No. 16!

Mosaic No. 16

Dutchman’s Puzzle is a favorite pattern of mine and I think I have it in every sampler quilt I’ve made. It has great movement.

Dutchman's Puzzle

Double Z is quite an interesting design. As you can see, it depends a great deal on light and dark values for it to show up well.

Double Z

You can see that as well as twisting and turning the half square triangles around, there’s also color happening. Lights, darks, color families are all playing together – it’s so much fun!