Somewhere in my nightly web browsing/exploring, after I had put my babes (baby and husband) to sleep, I came across info on the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XXI which was coming up this month at the Pennsylvania Expo Center in Oaks. It worked out that I was able to catch the last few hours of the last day of the festival with my mom and baby E. I didn’t know what to expect, having not gone to any sort of quilting store or event before, but I was curious. I’ve always been drawn to textiles and sewing and want to learn more…
Quilt Fest featured a vendor marketplace with shops and groups from all over the country selling products from craft embellishments and fabrics to high-end quilting machines and equipment. But my favorite part of the Festival was the showroom that displayed countless quilts of various styles from around the world.
I’m no quilt expert (my quilting technique consists of basic designs and making it up as I go), but I was completely blown away by the quilt selection on display. The amount of time, attention to detail, and intricate designs apparent in these quilts has me convinced that quilting must be up there on the list of art forms that require a significant amount of skill, creativity, and patience.
I wish I could have taken a picture of every quilt they had (including detailed shots), but I probably would have had to go to all 4 days of the Festival for that! Below are some of the highlights from the Quilt Festival with excerpts of notes that their creators included on the display…
“The Spirit of Summer” by Susan Walen from Bethesda, MD. Machine appliqued, machine quilted, original design. Susan writes: In the dead of winter, I had a total knee replacement. I spend many hours in my armchair, happily cutting flowers out of my large stash of floral fabrics. Visitors did too. Ordered a large piece of industrial black felt, and played with many arrangements of flowers from my basket. I submit what I feel was my best arrangement of colors, shapes, and negative spaces. Free-motion quilting holds it together. I snuck in a few little surprises for the viewer.
“Paradise Found” by Ann Kennedy from Wyomissing, PA. Hand appliqued, machine pieced, hand quilted by Windy Witters.
“Red Dot Metamorphosis” by Sheen J Norquay from the United Kingdom. Machine quilted, original design. Sheena writes: 400 red dots form an ordered grid pattern. From a distance they look the same, but on closer observation they are all slightly different as are the stitched lines and shapes connected to the dots, creating individuality within uniformity. Techniques: fabric printing, free motion quilting. Materials: cotton sateen, 50/50 cotton/polyester batting, Auriful No. 50 threads.
World Quilt Competition XVII: Best of Country, New Zealand – “Arum Bouquets” by Anne Yeo. Hand appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted. Anne writes: My original inspiration was a bouquet of lilies in a church. This formed the bouquet in the central diamond. The 8 other bouquets were designed to fit the 8 corners formed by the squares and diamonds of the quilt layout. Techniques used are hand needleturn applique, machined embroidery, domestic machine quilted, hand couched fine gold cord around the ribbons. I feel that this design and quilt layout work very well together.
“Eastward Ho” by Martha Ressler from Hamburg, PA. Machine appliqued, machine quilted, original design. Eastward Ho was inspired by a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Geologic Shaded-Relief map. IT overlays the distribution of bedrock geologic units on the basic elevation of the state. Martha was inspired to interpret this image in cloth. She used many types of materials, beads, found objects, hand and machine stitching and even some old etchings of Pennsylvania historical figures.
“Fire and Ice” by Frieda Oxenham from the United Kingdom. Machine appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted, original design.
World Quilt Competition XVII: Honorable Mention – “Soldier On” by Lucy Carroll from Australia. Hand appliqued, machine appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted, original design. Lucy writes: Soldier On is my interpretation of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial. The placing of poppy is a poignant act which connects us with fallen soldiers through the generations. When we visit the Memorial I take my children to place their own poppies beside the names of my friends and former classmates lost in recent conflicts.
World Quilt Competition XVIII: Best of Country, Israel – “My Brothers I Seek” by Shani Leser. Machine appliqued, machine quilted, original design. Shani writes: Watching these three brothers, listening to their music and their laughter, I was captivated by the energy that flowed between them, uniting them in an invisible bond of love despite their differences. It brought to mind the Biblical story of Joseph searching for his brothers and for brotherhood, “…my brothers I seek.” The technique that I used is machine raw edge applique with zigzag stitch and machine quilting. I used pastel crayons to enhance the faces and the hands.
Best Hand Workmanship: “Circus” by Liz Piatt from Orinda, CA. Hand appliqued, hand pieced, hand quilted.
“Peaceful Paddling” by Babette Galinak from Flemington, NJ. Hand appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted, original design. Babette writes: The spirit of nature influences my quilting. Immersing myself in our beautiful natural world as often as possible through hiking, kayaking, SUPing, etc. provides quiet time to dream about new quilting projects and allow the natural world to influence my work. The inspiration for Peaceful Paddling came from a perfect afternoon of paddling in Maui. Organic shapes, tropical batiks, a little glitter and a “hidden” quilt block merge the spirit of nature and quilting.
“BeDazzled” by Peggy X. Forest. Machine pieced, embroidered, and quilted.
“My Turkish Plate” by Valda Sutton from New Zealand. Machine appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted, original design.
“Littering the Sky with Diamonds” by Jane Hopkins from the United Kingdom. Machine appliqued, hand and machine pieced, machine quilted. Jane writes: As the song says, the diamonds are in the sky and the inspiration came from an art nouveau calendar. Techniques include hand-sewn hexagons which are quilted by machine with a diamond pattern. The figure and lamp are machined trapunto to bring extra loft. There is also machine applique using mostly hand dyed fabrics with extra embroidery and hand crafted cords. The quilt is machine quilted and all embellished with beads and crystals.
A quilt made to look like stained glass.
“Great Grandmas Plates” by Elise Bowers from Harleysville, PA. Hand appliqued, machine pieced, hand quilted, original design. Elise writes: My great grandmother was a quilter, the last one in the family until I came along. Among the scraps I received from her estate were 11 finished Dresden plates plus pieces to finish many more. I completed a twelfth plate can you tell which one?) and made this small quilt in her memory. The quilt “star” in the center of each plate was hers, the template handmade from a piece of scrap cardboard. Since she often employed echo quilting, I decided to quilt in that fashion as well. She was a persnickity quilter: my father an aunt love to tell the story of her pulling out other ladies stitches when she returned home from the quilting bee. I’d like to believe her spirit guides my own hands as I quilt, proudly carrying on her legacy.
Best Use of Color: “Sedona Star” by Ellen Conoscenti from Yardley, PA. This was from the Block of the Month program from The Quilt Show. It was designed by Sarah Vedler. Marchine appliqued, machine pieced, long arm quilted by Diana Leslie.
Best of Hand Workmanship: “Summer Fairy by Kazue Tsukayama from Japan. Hand appliqued, machine pieced, hand quilted, original design.
“Dear Diary” by Kelly Meanix from Downingtown, PA. Hand and machine appliqued, machine pieced, machine quilted, original design. Kelly writes: Every week for one year I made a block of things that were going on in my life. I used different techniques and quilted them as I went. All blocks are also documented with more information on the back on the quilt.
Judge’s Choice: “Open All Night” by Sheila Riess from Ellicott City, MD. Machine appliqued, machine quilted, original design. Sheila writes: My past, present and ever hopeful future inspires my quilting. Using people I know and love as subjects and random thoughts I have come full circle when I lose myself in fabric and thread and end up with a great quilt!
“Fashion Kills Personality” by Korinna Schwerdt from Germany. Machine appliqued, pieced, and quilted, original design.