Tag Archives: Nancy Crow

Running Out Of Strips

I’m winding down my work on all the strip improv pieces I’ve shown you before. Most are in a drawer awaiting future inspiration. One is kind of done, though it needs more…something.

Only one has made it to the finish line. I call it Stripe 3. I’m still fiddling with the width of the vertical outer yellow stripes. The crookedness on the left side is caused by the felt strips I use to try out different widths.

It was inspired by this $5000 dress advertised in a glossy magazine. How can anyone look so bored while wearing such a pricey outfit?

I tried some variations, such as four circles, but decided that overwhelmed the rest.

The circles are left over from a failed drunkards path quilt from about four years ago. Since I refuse to throw out bits I’ve spent some time making, they were waiting for me in my parts department.

As you can see, I got tired of all solids and added prints to the mix, partly because I had run out of solids that played well with the colors I had already used. As I look at it now, I wonder if I should either make this even larger, or reduce the size by eliminating all of part the top and bottom print strips. Your thoughts?

 

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Filed under Completed Projects, In Process, Modern Quilting

Playing With Solids

The double whammy of the recent Circular Abstractions bulls eye quilt exhibit and a quilt group program on Nancy Crow’s design methods led me to pull out all my saved solid fabric strips and sew them together. I hope this link to Pinterest gives you an idea of the exercises students do in Nancy’s workshops. She offers several multi-day classes that range from beginner to expert.

My design wall became colonized by stripey units in various stages – just stripes, units cut from stripes, units with added cross stripes… As always, it’s fascinating to see which colors enhance each other and which just stick out their tongues at each other. So far I’ve worked only from scraps, though some of the scraps are about fat quarter size. If I want to make larger units I may have to break into stash.

For now I’ll set these assemblages aside to mellow a bit and wait for further inspiration. My fellow group members had fun playing with strips. Here are some of their efforts.

You begin Nancy’s workshop with lots of strip piecing, which you then build into units, and finally you do an overall composition. Since I made my units above before our group program I didn’t exactly follow Nancy’s dictates.

I learned that Nancy takes away everyone’s ruler after a few days; that she wants you to cut towards, rather than away, from you (I find that scary); and that she wants you to backstitch at the start and finish of seams.The ruler thing is amusing as Nancy once lent her name to an acrylic ruler.

I also learned she uses the same rotary cutter blade for a long time, even up to a year. Apparently she doesn’t sharpen it. We all wondered how that was possible, given the amount of cutting involved with her method.

All that cutting is the reason I won’t be adopting Nancy’s methods in a big way. Pressing down to get through multiple fabric layers and seams doesn’t do my shoulder any good. I plan to develop some of my starts further, but after that, who knows.

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Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting, Project Ideas, Techniques

Circular Abstractions Exhibit

Earlier this month I traveled to Lancaster, Ohio, to see the Circular Abstractions exhibit curated by Nancy Crow, and had my eyeballs bombarded by intense color and pattern, in a very good way. The Ohio Decorative Arts Center there is hosting the exhibit until April 23, 2017, after which it will move on to other venues in the east and northeast.

The 51 quilts in the show were made at Crow’s invitation by some of her former students. Like most of Crow’s work, they are large (at least 60 inches square,) feature highly contrasting solid colors, and follow the bulls eye quilt format. They are pieced, with no raw edge applique. Most also feature matchstick type quilting, sometimes spaced as little as an eighth inch apart.

I went around the show three times and could have spent even more time, but my group had lunch reservations. The venue was tight and the quilts were large, as I mentioned, so displays were creative. Some quilts were wrapped around large pillars so the quilts showed in the round. Others were grouped by fours on L shaped metal frames, so the quilt mid lines met at the center. Luckily, our group had the place to ourselves for a while, so we could peer at details and back up to see the quilts from a distance.

We weren’t allowed to photograph the show, but I found photos online by some of the quilters and the museum that organized the show. I’ll start with room shots, and then show some of my favorites.

The above photos were taken by Heather Pregger, one of the artists, at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Here you can see the quilts wrapped around the pillars. This photo and others below are from WOUB Digital.

The black and white quilts are all pieced, not appliqued.

One of my favorites, Maren Johnston’s Emergence, is against the far wall. It features beautiful small pieces skillfully blended with each other. I found it more refined than some of the other quilts.

This is one of two quilts by Ohioan Maria Elkins. We spent a lot of time puzzling over whether she painted all those dots or used fabric. Turns out she used fabric, which had to be bias cut and pieced.

Finally, here’s my favorite by a whisker. It’s Rise by Carol Hazen. The bull’s eye elements are secondary to the letters, but give a lovely transparency effect. The light colored quilting thread also enhances that effect.

More photos are available at the Muskegon Museum of Art’s website.

Special Ohio events related to this show are a lecture by Nancy Crow on April 2, and a day long workshop on making bull’s eye motifs on April 1. You’ll need a reservation for either.

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Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

Blasts from the Past

It’s hard to remember a time when a quilter’s biggest problem wasn’t choosing among a plenitude of fabric, but was finding all cotton fabric suitable for quilts. And then the choices usually were between little calico prints.  So, SQ was surprised to uncover some old fabric that didn’t fit that description when she was going through an enormous fabric donation to her guild.  Actually, one piece is redolent of its period, so let’s get that out of the way first.

Here’s a piece of Thimbleberries fabric from 1995.  The line is called Christmas Valley.  Now, I know some folks love this fabric, but why would anyone want to use this dreary stuff with all the wonderful fabric out there?  And I own fabric from the 90s so I know it wasn’t all this drab.

Now that I’ve maligned the Thimbleberries lovers, let’s move on to a fabric line I never knew existed – Nancy Crow’s for John Kaldor.  I assume it’s from the 1990s as well.  I don’t know about the plaid one, but I love the wavy stripe and the purple/violet piece that’s practically a quilt in itself.

Finally, the trove contained three pieces of fabric from Jeff Gutcheon’s American Classic line.  Each is quite different – a small print, a delicate floral, and an eyeball numbing swirly number.  At one time, maybe the 1980s?,  Jeff and his then wife Beth were big names in the quilting world.  Jeff has pretty much left Beth and quilting behind to concentrate on his music.  I gather this line was one of the first expressly made for quilters.

Update 8/29/13:  Here’s a link to a piece about the death of Jeff Gutcheon.

Please get in touch if you know anything about these fabrics and/or are interested in adding them to your collection.  My guild would be happy to entertain offers.

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