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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

My Quilt Market Impressions, Part 2

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Last week I shared some of my impressions of Quilt Market: new products, fabrics, inspirations. I’m continuing with more this week.

1. Michael Miller Fabrics introduced a number of new lines. In Kathy Miller’s Schoolhouse presentation she mentioned trends of navy, gray and red. For sports fans, Emily Herrick with Crazy Old Ladies introduced Hall of Fame. Her designs were inspired by vintage photographs of sporting events. Mark Hordyszynski showed his Halloween-themed fabric complete with glow in the dark pieces. And, I loved the bright and cheery designs from Pillow & Maxfield in their Ooh La La line in Citrus, Sky and Spice colorways.

2. Andover showed a number of wonderful collections from its designers. I loved the Pear Tree line from Thomas Knauer with its clean blues, greens and salmons. New from Lonni Rossi are Bubbles & Swirl and Lala’s Garden. And, the Winterthur John Hewson  collection is based on work by this important textile printer who came to Philadelphia at the invitation of Benjamin Franklin in 1773. The line includes a large panel, florals, birds, a border stripe and a textured leaf print.

3. Noble Notions had some great quilting notions. I particularly liked their multi-use Quilters Clamp. It can be used as a channel lock for longarm machines or for securing your quilt to a table for basting. It can be used also for hanging items from your work area, such as a trash bag. They also offer both hand and finger grips for machine quilting.

4. eConcept Mall introduced a number of useful sewing products. The Sew Straight Guides are positionable rulers in 1/4″ markings that go on your sewing machine bed. They would be great for beginning and experienced sewers alike. Very handy is the dual thread stand, perfect for twin-needle sewing and also for easy bobbin winding. I also liked the KISS Laser Line. By positioning the laser light on your fabric and holding the fabric in place, you have a line to guide your cutting. eConcept also overs a variety of sizes of hoop shields for embroidery.

5.  I also discovered some scissors developed by Marry J’s. They feature a 1/4″ stop so that you can easily trim appliqué pieces or cut into corners without going too far.

Please share your impressions on Quilt Market below.

Book Review: Sew the Perfect Gift

Sunday, November 6th, 2011















Sew the Perfect Gift
Martingale; $24.99

I like books that include a variety of techniques and Sew the Perfect Gift showcases 25 small projects from 22 quilt designers. Projects range from traditional and contemporary table runners to a wool felted journal cover to a variety of bags and even funky bracelets. You’ll learn tips for felting, sewing with vinyl and spray painting a stencil on fabric. I found several projects that will be perfect for holiday gifts. I was particularly drawn to the Totally Taupe Table Runner featuring a collection of Japanese taupe fabrics, the City Roses Purse, and the Elegant Parsons Chair Dressing.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt shop or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon  if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: The Best of Quilting Arts

Sunday, October 30th, 2011














The Best of Quilting Arts
ed. Pokey Bolton
Interweave; $24.95

Are you a fan of Quilting Arts magazine? Ten years ago Pokey Bolton happened upon a craft store, the fabric beckoned, and long story short, when she couldn’t find a magazine dedicated to art quilting, she decided to start her own. Over the last 10 years, the magazine has provided resources, techniques and inspiration for thousands of quilt artists. In this collection, Pokey has compiled the most popular articles from the magazine. I am particularly drawn to books that teach a variety of techniques, and this won’t disappoint if you are looking to try new techniques or expand your horizons. Some of what you’ll find: free-motion quilting, stitch-resist shibori, thermofax printing, batik with soy wax, embellishment, and fabric painting. A bonus is the five articles written by Jane Dávila with the professional artist in mind.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt shop or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Australian Spirit

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011














Australian Spirit
ed. Sham Lohani and Barbara Macey
M&S Textiles Australia; $34.95

We often hear that the quilting makes the quilt. In this case, it’s the fabric. More specifically it’s the unique design and bold coloration of the Australian Aboriginal artists as seen in this collection of projects from eight designers. The book features 10 projects of varying sizes and complexity that showcases the fabrics. In addition to the projects, the book includes a gallery of 21 additional quilts and 90 color shots of the Aboriginal fabric collections. What I most enjoyed was reading about the Aboriginal artists and learning about the traditional aboriginal symbols and motifs.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt shop or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Meet Teacher, Designer, Author Margaret Miller

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The Fall issue of The Professional Quilter includes a profile on teacher, designer and author Margaret Miller by Eileen Doughty. The photo on the cover that you see to the right is of Margaret’s quilt “Passion Flower.” Here’s an excerpt from the article:

How would you characterize your designs?

The more you look at my designs, the more you see. Variegated and gradated fabrics add depth; stripes create new areas not bounded by individual blocks. I have always striven to camouflage where blocks adjoin each other and where they adjoin the border. This is done by looking for motifs that naturally extend out of one block into another and letting color accentuate that effect. It bothers me when people say that my quilts are “complicated” when actually they are all based on such simple ideas.

I am known for my use of color – lots of it! I try to use at least three color families in every quilt and go all the way up in the lights and all the way down in the darks.

What is your teaching philosophy?

In all of my workshops, students are encouraged to reach for the unexpected and to make their own design and color choices. I tell the students to have patience with themselves – the first time they try something new in quilting, it often feels awkward or confusing. At the beginning of every workshop, I announce, “This is not a race and not a competition.” It is immensely gratifying to see a student grow in confidence in her quiltmaking skills or make a breakthrough in understanding color.

What are you working on now?

I’m most excited about the next design direction I’m pursuing – combining Easy Pieces and AnglePlay™ into what I’m calling Fusion Quilts. I’ve begun doing five-day retreats at The Quilt Gallery in Kalispell, Mont., for this technique, and the students are producing refreshing results!

Also, I am focusing on training others to teach my revolutionary piecing technique with long triangles (right triangles formed by cutting a rectangle in half diagonally). This long triangle is going to be the next classic shape in pieced quilts, I believe, after the square and the half-square triangle. Four-day-long Teacher Trainings will cover how to work and design with the long triangle. Information on teaching updates, reunions of teachers, new patterns and new workshops will follow. These trainings will help both experienced and aspiring teachers to hone their skills and develop new workshops around the AnglePlay™ templates. They will also develop a network of teachers all around the country.

The heavy question: What would you like your legacy to the quilt world to be?

Actually, that’s easy! I want to be known as the teacher that (1) enabled people to reach for the unexpected in their quilts, (2) enabled quiltmakers of all skill levels to painlessly include more colors and a complete range of values in their quilts, using a simple block and (3) made the use of the long triangle accessible by way of the AnglePlay™ templates. I hope I will leave a design legacy of many new blocks and quilts that feature that long triangle shape, which introduces the possibility of undulating lines and circular and spiral shapes in pieced quilts – for people who want a refreshing new look to the pieced quilts they love to make.

Please share your thoughts below on the blog.

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Margaret Miller, it’s included in the Fall 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Book Review: Orange Peel: New Quilts From Old Favorites

Sunday, September 25th, 2011









Orange Peel: New Quilts From Old Favorites
Linda Baxter Lasco, ed.
AQS Publishing; $26.95

I always look forward to each year’s release of the book showcasing the winning quilts in The National Quilt Museum’s annual New Quilts From Old Favorites Contest. The contest features creativity and innovation of individual quilters as they interpret a traditional block with their own design, this year being the year of the Orange Peel block. Each of the 18 winning and finalist quilts is featured in full color along with comments from the quiltmaker. What I like best about the book is that you learn about the quiltmaker’s design decisions, inspiration and techniques in constructing the quilt. I would not have thought about an Orange Peel block incorporating stained glass or Mola techniques. A terrific inspirational and learning resource.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt shop or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon  if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Design Magic

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Design Magic
Shelly Stokes
Cedar Canyon Textiles; $22.95

In this follow-up to her first book, Paintstiks on Fabric, Shelly Stokes continues exploring the possibilities of Shiva® Artist’s Paintstiks®. In this book, Shelly’s Design Magic method is based on a Japanese design principle known as Notan, which is defined as the interaction between positive and negative, light and dark space. The process includes creating a design, making a pair of equal and opposite stencils and then stenciling the images on fabric with Paintstiks. Shelly’s step-by-step instructions are very complete, down to cleaning your brushes. She includes instructions for stenciling whole cloth and patchwork images as well as instructions for five projects ranging in difficulty. If you prefer not to cut your own freezer-paper templates, Shelly includes one set of DesignMagic™ Stencils. You’ll find lots of inspiration from the gallery in the book, and if you want more, you’ll find it in the learning center on Shelly’s website.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Art + Quilt

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Art Quilt
Art + Quilt
Lyric Kinard
Interweave Press; $26.95

Lyric Kinard introduces her book by telling you it is not intended to teach you all you need to know about art. Rather her goal is to give you a solid foundation upon which to build your art. Lyric begins by introducing you to the elements of art: texture, shape, line, color and value. With each she includes ideas for gathering inspiration and then provides exercises to develop your skills. She follows the same format – information, gathering inspiration and working through exercises – as she tackles the principles of design: unity and variety, focal point, balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, depth and space, motion and rhythm. While understanding the basic concepts of art is key, ongoing practice is essential if you expect to develop as an artist, and Lyric offers a number of 30-minute challenges to get you on your way. What I found quite valuable was the discussion on evaluation and critique, whether self- or group-focused. If you want to work with others, Lyric offers guidelines for setting up a critique group and suggests elements to consider for a variety of quilts. She goes further to offer critiques of 17 of her own works. Understanding and practicing the concepts Lyric presents will help you improve the look of your quilts. You’ll also appreciate her easy-going, comfortable style and the hardcover, spiral binding so you can open the book flat while you work.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

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