Monday, May 28, 2012

Heritage Park Festival of Quilts 2012

Hi everyone:

Well, it's definitely been a quilty week-end! I spent all of yesterday and half of today at the 17th annual Heritage Park Festival of Quilts admiring the over 650 quilts on display (and doing just a bit of shopping). While the weather wasn't very warm and the sun kept hiding behind the clouds, at least the snow rain held off for these two days. 

I look forward to this event every year for several reasons; here are just a few of them:

  1. Viewing the beautiful quilts displayed indoors and outside around the park
  2. Chatting with my vendor, quilting and guild friends
  3. Practising my acquisition skills in the vendor tent (and doing more chatting)
  4. Finding my own quilts that are on display (a bit of a treasure hunt)
  5. Having a cookie (or two) from the bakery
I'm always amazed at the quality and variety of the quilts that are on display. Just when you think you've seen every possible type of quilt, there is something new. This year I did notice more "modern" quilts, which I think is great. Not only are the fabrics and designs fresh and new, but the quilting is also different and typically more geometric. There were also many young people volunteering at the event and I hope that some of them were quilters too!

Now, for your viewing pleasure, just a few examples of what I was enjoying this week-end.

Okay, they're not quilts, but aren't they cute?
This couple was guarding some of the quilts hung in
the tent outside (didn't see any white gloves on them)
Sea Star by Linda Nixon, Calgary
Quilted by Sheila Mote, Stitchez
Magic Tile by Inge Klingemann, Calgary
Quilted by Cairnhill Quilting
Jelly Roll Brights by Rita Guthrie, Calgary
Cat Nip by Sonja Hind, Calgary
Another Brick in the Wall by Marie McEachern, Calgary
Mr. Kosowan by Beverly Patkau, Calgary
Spring Bouquet by Jennifer Peirson, Calgary
Through the Portal by Jennifer Peirson, Calgary
Rose Garden Wonder by Cindy Phaff, Calgary
Quilted by Fran Stromberg
Just for Fun by Lorraine Rohs, Calgary
Dragon Slayer by Kim Sanderson
Salsa! by Marsha Cochrane, Cochrane
Come on- Get Happy by Mary Dylke, Calgary
Time Machine by Mary Dylke, Calgary
And finally,
Baaack in Black
Posh Pets
Thanks to all the volunteers and quilters who work so hard to put this event on each year. It's always an amazing event and I look forward to the 18th annual festival next year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review - Exploring Embellishments and Sew Embellished!

Hi everyone:

Do you ever have those days weeks when you are less than inspired and can't seem to find the get-up-and-go to do anything? Oh yes, the meals get made, the laundry is done, but when it comes to quilting... I've been having one of those days weeks. I have so many patterns and projects on the go and deadlines to meet that I don't know where to start. I guess you would say that I'm overwhelmed. At least this is the excuse that I am currently using! What to do? Anything! Once the first step is taken, everything seems to flow along and obligations don't seem quite so burdensome.

So, in keeping with this philosophy, I am starting to catch up on some of my book reviews. Today I'm looking at two books, both dealing with embellishing your projects. I'm not really an art quilter, but I do love collecting embellishments - buttons, trims, lace, doilies - and never quite know what to do with them. These books have given me many ideas.
Photo courtesy of Martingale
First, let's look at Exploring Embellishments: More Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Appliqué by Rose Hughes. The six projects in this book use various types of embellishments and use Rose's "fast-piece appliqué" technique in constructing the background. This method is similar to reverse appliqué in that you layer the fabrics and then cut out certain areas to let the base fabric show through. This method can be applied on any size project. In addition, Rose uses couched yarn to delineate the cut out portions. See, you need to collect more fabric and yarn for projects like these!

Excerpt from Exploring Embellishments
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Rose includes information about setting the mood through the colour choice of your fabrics and embellishments, as well as discussing various types of embellishments beyond the usual buttons and beads (which she talks about too). 
The Truth about Cats and Dogs
Photo courtesy of Martingale
I found the fast-piece appliqué technique intriguing and liked how you could create a complex background with only two fabrics. Each project uses different embellishments, so you can try something new, such as lutradur or wool roving. This book has lots of photos so it's easy to understand Rose's process.The section on creating your own design from your personal photos was also informative.
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Another book, Sew Embellished! Artistic Little Quilts, Personalized with Easy Techniques by Cheryl Lynch, has smaller projects, loaded with embellishments. Cheryl's projects are more personal and would make great mementoes to celebrate special occasions. The projects are a combination of machine and handwork and would be great "take along" pieces due to their small size. 
UFO Fun! from Sew Embellished!
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Cheryl provides information on using polymer clay decorations, which I found interesting as my son is big into polymer clay and I've often thought these would be perfect additions to wall hangings. She also deals with buttons and beads, and, like Rose, declares that "if it has a hole, you can put it on your quilt". Now, the hardware section will be as appealing as the fabric store when searching for embellishments! A section on various methods to put words on quilts and fancy ways to finish the project edges are covered. 
Wearable adornments from Sew Embellished!
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Both of these books provide inspiration for creating your own art quilt, whether you want a wall hanging based on a holiday photo or a smaller personalized remembrance. 

Do you consider yourself an art quilter, and if so, what are your favourite embellishments?