International Quilt Festival

I left town last Friday to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston. No I don’t quilt but that doesn’t prevent me from admiring the artistry. I don’t know how many of you know about modern day quilt making but little of the work from today’s artisans resembles the scrap quilts of our foremothers. I love quilt shows, I get a real boost from the color therapy. I’ve gotten some ideas of projects I’d like to work on too. Of course I took tons of pictures of quilts, dolls, clothes and people. Here are some ladies who were stylin’. In some cases with details of their garments I found interesting.

By the way, I was beyond pleased with my models. It seems most people don’t like for you to take their pictures. All of these ladies were happy to pose for me. Okay, the lady off to the right, immediately above, wondered for a moment if I intended to make her an example of bad fashion since I mentioned I had a fashion website. Her shoes were the best. The stylin’ couple above had it down pat. What you can’t see if that even her hose was perfect (back seam, enforced heel). MIL said they looked too old fashioned. Heh.

My hands down favorite garment (some kind of contest, pardon my ignorance) was made by Tracy Anna Bader. Below is a coat she made; I thought it was great (!) but judging from the reaction of others around me, they thought I was nuts but whatever. My mother in law wasn’t too keen on it either. I’m just glad the judges thought it had some merit otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it to appreciate it. Here’s a close up of the detail. Yes, the polar fleece coat is “embroidered” in polar fleece. There’s insets too.

The concept of insets on polar fleece isn’t new. A few months after I published my book, the magazine Sew News published an article that was a copy of a chapter from my book -from content to the artwork!– substituting polar fleece for leather but otherwise it was the same. Anyway, that’s how I know this idea has been done before, not that something has to have an original technique to be meritorious.

Another outfit that also won a prize that I liked is the one below. There’s three shots of it. Check out the back of it. I was glad to see no coffin clothes here.

Here’s another garment that won, with two views showing details.

The range of quilts was beyond description. Some I post for outstanding reasons, the rest are in my online photo album. This one below measured 10″x10″. Ten Inches! It was made by George Sicilliano of 4,129 pieces. Really. The photo off to the right shows the piecing in greater detail.

Here’s another one of special mention by Marie Karickhoff, also tiny. Those little blocks you see (961 of them) are 1/8″ square. One-eighth!

There was one quilt of which the backside was just as beautiful as the front.

There were more than quilts, dolls and clothes too. Here’s a photo of an enormous shirt, the making of which was sponsored by Rowenta in support of breast cancer.

Among quilting patterns (there were lots of vendors of fabrics, gadgets and patterns), Bigfork Bay Cotton Company was a favorite. I like the new trend in quilt design that uses black as an underlay (sample).

Stuff I bought:

  • A CD of quilt photos. These were the quilts you weren’t allowed to photograph. Frankly, I have no problem buying the images ($15). I just want to enjoy the pictures (color therapy) and I’m happy to support the artisans.

  • A rag rug frame and booklet. Snicker all you like. Here’s a site that has the booklet and frames (not the manufacturer who I bought it from). The vendor was quite charming, did a great demonstration too. I’ve been wanting to make rag rugs from old jeans. I also have a 33 gallon plastic bag full of silk scraps I’ve been wanting to make into a rug.
  • I bought a four panel series with pattern and fabric complete. Tools of the trade, they’re a thimble, scissors, spool of thread and an iron. I thought if I could manage to fuse those together (the dumb bunny series for those who don’t yet quilt), they’d make great office art. I think I will stitch them down tho with a buttonhole stitch even if it’s only over raw edges. Thank goodness the standards of quilting have evolved to permit such lackadaisical construction. Yeah me! I can quilt too!
  • Lastly, I bought a vintage apron book (The Apron Book) that was being sold by the American Sewing Guild. The lady in the booth actually recognized me. How flattering.

Summary: don’t forget to see the quilt photos in my album.

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