Monthly Archives: October 2016

Where Old and New Met

The recent Mutton Hill quilt show served up both art quilts and heirloom quilts and coverlets. First, the old.

The Summit County Historical Society featured its collection of early to mid nineteenth century woven coverlets as well as quilts.

The show had about 30 art quilts entered. Here are the ribbon winners, in order of placement from first to third. The first place winner was also Best of Show.




There were six honorable mentions, four of which are shown below:





My Torii Traces also won an Honorable Mention, as did a quilt called Indian Summer by Cyndi Dininger, which I somehow missed in my photo session. In the interests of completeness, here’s Torii Traces at another venue. Lighting was dim where it was hung at the Mutton Hill show.

Torii Traces Final





Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

Of Course I Took Pictures At The Quilt Show

It’s disturbing to think that many of you will assess the quality of the quilts at the Mutton Hill Quilt Show from my bad photos. The lighting works against the accuracy of the colors and my adventures with Google Photo on my new smartphone didn’t help.

That said, here are my viewer’s choices. The quilt titles and makers’ names are given in the image title. Some photos show only part of the quilt.

I think I’m drawn to quilts that suggest a story, based on my selection above. Many but not all these quilts won ribbons.



Filed under Quilt Shows

What’s Next?

For my October projects I’ve stepped away from the current master class assignment and concentrated on projects already started. I did the sketches for the October assignment but that’s it.

I divided my stuff into work in progress and work abandoned. The work in progress is mostly past master class assignments that I need to complete. The work abandoned is an attempt to be honest with myself.

Why abandon work? I don’t like it anymore/ I don’t have the quilting chops to finish it well/ I lost momentum all apply. I began some work in a fit of enthusiasm and then got bored. My fifteen by fifteen inch interlocking squares series is one example. I just can’t bring myself to make any more. Other work I can’t figure out how to quilt or know it will require free motion quilting skills I don’t possess or am physically incapable of.  (My shoulder issue turned out to be an inflamed rotator cuff.) I may turn some over to a long arm quilter.

To return to work in progress, I decided to concentrate on four projects. I plan to quilt two already pieced tops (correction, one already pieced top), complete and quilt another, and piece a large project I began last spring.

JMM May 2016 layers blocked 2My silk organza layered piece has been sewn down and I’m working on a quilting design.

drunk-pink-elephants-detailMy lines master class piece is quilted and faced. Never again will I make bias strips from silk crepe. It’s like sewing worms. It’s also impossible to photograph.

I finished the individual blocks for Transgendered and am working out a design. My concept is to change from pink to blue in a diagonal line. Here’s a much earlier picture of this project.


The top of Mean Streets is mostly complete, but it needs some final touches. I have yet to figure out how to quilt it.

Then, there are small hand work projects hanging around that I pick up very occasionally, mostly when I’ll be a passenger for some hours.

One further goal – I won’t start any more projects.



Filed under In Process

Thoughts on Quilt Show Judging

Recently I spent 9 hours volunteering as a scribe for the Mutton Hill Quilt Show, and have to tell you I’m tired of hearing about bindings. I joked to one of the judges that there  should be ribbons for best binding.

Let me back up a bit. At show judging scribes write down the comments the judges make about the entries. The judges may say a lot more in discussion with each other, but the scribes write down only the official comments which are directed at both the strong and weak points of each quilt. The comments give more feedback than just ribbon/no ribbon.

The comments are meant as learning tools, not as hurtful criticisms. Often the comments concern technical points about quilt construction and quilting – are points sharp, do pieces match, are borders straight, are corners 90 degrees, are appliqued curves smooth, is quilt stitch length consistent, etc. Comments may also cover color choices in fabrics and quilting threads. Occasionally there are comments about a quilt’s design. Judges admire careful attention to detail and little extras in the way of matching up fabric patterns and embellishments. The little things do indeed count.

I typed up a lot of comments about bindings. They weren’t completely filled with batting, they were uneven, they were crooked, the corners weren’t mitered well, they weren’t securely sewn down.

Now, a carefully sewn on binding is one of the easier aspects of quilt making in that it’s all technique. You can get fancy with bias binding or changes in binding color, but it’s about squaring up your quilt before binding and careful sewing. Steam pressing and school glue can help a lot. I have links on my tutorials page about such techniques.

I get it’s a pain to be fussy about binding, but if you make a quilt you intend to enter into a judged show, then please save yourself from some negative comments by doing the binding well.

Other sources of negative comments? Dark fabric shadowing through light fabric. The solution is either to line the light fabric or make sure the dark fabric in a seam is cut narrower than the light fabric. Or, even simpler,  you could press toward the dark fabric if feasible.

Then, there were comments about backtracking on machine quilting and obvious starts and stops. I think this may be more an issue with long arm quilting. Again, it’s attention to detail.

The judges were also wowed by quilts and said so in their comments. They joked with each other about drooling on the quilts, and were delighted to point out wonderful features to each other like kids in a candy shop.

If you enter a quilt in a judged show please look at more than any negative comments. The judges want to encourage you to improve your quilting and are happy to note the good points, too.



Filed under Commentary, Quilt Shows

An Inspiration Too Far

Shortly after I read the following in a newsletter, “Do you ever get in a creative rut? The best cure is to get out and explore. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Let in the sights, sounds and smells around you. Take a camera or a notebook and capture what catches your eye.” I came across this in my kitchen trash can. Maybe I took the advice too literally.



Filed under Commentary

Readymade Resists

Quite by accident I found out that white on white printed quilting cotton acts as a resist when painted or dyed. I dyed some fabric pieces that I thought were plain white but weren’t, and I was delighted with the results.

My first cheater resist featured tiny flowers, which aren’t quite my cuppa, but they do stand out.

overdyed-purpleThen, a friend found white fabric woven with polka dots that showed up wonderfully when dye was applied. Here I used periwinkle dye.

overdyed-periwinkleBy this time I began to seek out white on white fabrics I could color. At a store in the middle of Ohio corn fields I found white fabric printed with cracked ice patterns. I used Pebeo Setacolor to paint a strip of it. The white fabric behind the aqua is the original fabric.

overpainted-setacolorThe popularity of white printed on white fabric waxes and wanes, so you might not find plentiful possibilities right now.  Here’s what eQuilter offers at present. However, I suspect if you investigate your stash you may find you already own some examples.


Filed under dyeing, Fabric Printing, Techniques

October Quilt Show In Akron

If you live within driving distance of Akron, Ohio, please consider a road trip to the Mutton Hill Quilt Show in Akron, Ohio, on October 22 and 23. It’s a fundraiser for the Summit County Historical Society that combines a preview party, a judged show, historical quilts and coverlets; plus 60 art quilts from 2015’s Quilt National. There will be at least 25 vendors, free talks, raffle opportunities, and probably lots more I’m forgetting. Check out the website for details.


SCHS Perkins Mansion and the namesake mutton.

Yes, I have a quilt in the show and am volunteering both before and during the show. But I can tell you, based on what I saw at quilt intake, the entries are above and beyond those in the usual guild show. Even if you only like art quilts, here’s another chance to see two-thirds of the 2015 Quilt National choices.

The show will be at the John S. Knight Convention Center in downtown Akron with lots of close by free parking. Admission is $10. Hours are Saturday, October 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I’ll be around Saturday morning and early afternoon, and Sunday after 3 p.m., so if you come please track me down and say hi.


Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

September Master Class, Parts 2 and 3

September’s work presented many technical challenges, so Mean Streets is a vague pinned together mishmash of fabrics instead of finished. I did get the Misty Fuse I ordered and have fused at least a yard of it to dyed and painted silk organza. Some of that yard ended up on my iron. Now I’m in a quandary about how to cut up said organza as much of it cannot be replicated.

But, onward. Here’s what I sent in.
My work on Mean Streets has been very slow. I’m still working out the direction of the light and where shadows are cast. I’m also waiting for a shipment of Misty Fuse to hold down the silk organza. There are sags where the organza droops between pins that aren’t meant to be there and some gaps where pieces don’t quite meet – all not meant to be part of the design. The shadow of the light pole is paper for now. The street in the foreground needs considerable work. I don’t intend the abupt change from the yellow to white to remain. I doubt I’ll finish this by the end of the month, but that’s OK. The size seems to be working out to about 35 inches wide and 29 inches high.

Elizabeth’s response:

You know in the photograph, you don’t really see some of the problems you mention…so don’t worry about them.  it does look really interesting and mysterious…which is one of the great ways to use lost edges.

At present you have two yellow squares competing for attention, but I know you’re going to fix that….
Also the very interesting yellow and black fabric on the right draws one’s eye…I’d carry bits of that fabric through into various places within the quilt.
The colors are super…and blend together really well…and it does have a very gritty urban feel to it – so you’re really capturing the atmosphere
I also really like the edge contrasts you’re developing…so I think it’s a really great start and definitely well worth continuing with…
and yes…you’re right to pool the shadows…excellent way to pull things together.

So what did I send it for my finished project? Why, a completed Emerald Isles.



Filed under Art quilts, In Process

America The Beautiful

Inspired by the National Parks is an art quilt exhibit that honors one hundred years of U.S. national parks. I had a chance to see the 177 quilts in the exhibit at the end of September on an outing with fellow art quilters.

Despite the small size of most of the quilts, there was a lot to take in. Each of the 59 parks was represented by three quilts to show its flora, fauna, and landscape. Here’s the set for Acadia National Park.


I wish I could link to a website that showed all the quilts, but I gather the only way to see them outside of the show is the book.

I’ve grouped the photos I took by flora, fauna, and vista. My selections are based on artistic preferences, so some parks are more represented than others.  Also, I’m showing only photos for which I can find attribution. I tried to photograph that information, but sometimes I goofed. The names of the park and artists can be seen if you hover your pointer over the photos.


The most effective quilts depicted the flora in situ. Some of the quilts showed the plants on a plain background, which I didn’t think was as effective.


As you can see, many of the animals are on the whimsical side. The javelina has expressive eyebrows, the elk looks like it just had a collision with a wealthy dowager, the owls seem to be part of a day of the dead gala, and the vole is far more anthropomorphic than the Parks Service might have expected.


The vistas lean toward realism, yet some draw from modern quilting and improvisational piecing. Check out the whale’s tail in the quilting on the Channel Islands quilt.

I particularly admired the flora quilt for Haleakala Park in Hawaii. It combined a branch of sandalwood, the tree in a landscape, and stylized branches in a Hawaiian quilt.


You can see the exhibit’s schedule here. We spent an illuminating few hours studying the quilts, which showed just about every technique in the art quilter’s toolbox.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Quilt Shows