A Sunday in Las Cruces

Spouse and I went to the 8th annual Las Colcheras Quilt Guild Quilt Show today at Corbett Hall on the campus of New Mexico State University. Las Cruces NM is well outside the scye of the industry. Most of the time, I like that just fine. Anyway, we had a quilt show today. I love to go to those. Of all home sewers, I like quilters best. They’re smart, they’re funny, they’re picky as all get out but most of all, they’re very technical minded. Quilting requires excellent spatial skills. They’re easier to teach. I don’t have to fight with them over seam allowance. In my opinion, I think quilt making is just as valid a needle-trade worthy of recognition and admiration as is French couture. It’s just a different kind of needle-art. It has lower barriers to entry, anyone can do it and you can’t say that about French couture. I like quilting because it is so human. The maker’s pulse is just so close.

Anyway, I took a few pictures at the show and the lighting in there must have been bad or something because all of the pictures came out terrible. If I knew anything about photography or bothered to learn how to use the digital camera, I’m sure I could have done a better job but I didn’t, haven’t and the pictures came out lousy. I thought about not publishing them at all but then what would I have to write about? Here’s some quilts I liked:

By Paula Baloun: above is Samuel Beckett and below is William Butler Yeats. I like portraits. At the show were several other portraits from a series of influential authors.

The picture below is of an Escher-like quilt titled,”The Impossible Triangle Interpretation” by Linda Gerritson. I’m into Escher.

I liked the quilt below because it was kind of old-fashioned. In the world of art quilts, this one seemed quaint, like the kind our grandmothers may have made. When I saw the quilter was only 14, I was pretty impressed. Titled Victorian Christmas by Capri Price, age 14. Her entry card reads “My mother helped with the machine quilting”.

The quilt below I liked because it had detailed surface interest. This design was whimsical and had a clothes line with clothes (and a quilt) hanging from it. I thought the clothes pins were cute.

The last picture I took because I liked the colors. I like wild vibrant colors. My color sense is no more sophisticated than a pre-schooler’s. These pictures came out terribly :(

There was also some vending. All the ladies were quite pleasant, selling their patterns and fabrics. Quite a nice crowd actually. Older but more genteel. I didn’t see anybody I knew there. It’s not as tho I know many people but you do meet people in the oddest places. All in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Las Cruces NM.

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  1. Jeff says:

    Actually, the photography is not that bad. I’ve seen much worse. I see overhead lighting, due to some shadows, which can be challenging. Then, possibly some loss of value due to your own flash, although I really can’t tell for sure if you used yours. Seems like it though, due to some wash. “Impossible Triangle” is simply out of focus. Did you only capture one shot of each? Most digital cameras have a simple menu to select indoor/outdoor and flash/no flash. Also speed, which should be on “auto” or 100 due to the absence of movement of the subject matter. Plus, most cameras come with editing software to easily correct values. Most are really easy to use these days. Try uploading to your computer, launch editing software and look for an “auto-correct” tab, at the very least. I think they are fine for these purposes.

    There is a very large and dedicated quilting community in Iowa, with many permanent collections in and around the Des Moines area. I have always been impressed and inspired by their work. Like hand-made rugs, they seem to be a throughback but, really, they are not. I too adore the more pleasant and genteel qualities of older, more rural people. I hope to be one someday. Sounds like a perfect Sunday. Thanks.

  2. christy fisher says:

    These are fantastic and beautiful pieces! Thank you for sharing them! One piece (the one with the clothesline) has inspired me to do a skirt and/or dress with a clothesline border.
    The picture quilts always facinate me.
    Quilters are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to using new media. I noticed some digitally printed fabric on the Samuel Beckett quilt.
    Quilters also have become masters of a lot of computer programs, such as Adobe, and I love it that they are merging the oldschool techniques with modern tools.
    Love it!

  3. Diane says:

    Quilting is one of those places that is hard to be lean. There is always scrap from cutting into new fabrics and rather than throw them out, they are saved for a future project (muda). If you’re old school like me then you recycle old clothing as well giving the fabric new life. There is something spiritual about working with the cloth, arranging it into patterns, feeding it through the machine and then stitching by hand.

    Remember those deconstructed men’s jackets? In a quilter’s hands they become works of art to keep off the winter chill.

    For several years I’ve been trying to convert the craftiness of quilting into the couture of fine clothing. Everyone knows how labor intensive quilting is. I just bought a couple of industrial machines at auction. Maybe that will speed things up!

  4. Cheryl Smith says:

    Thank you for recognizing the quilting world! The pieces you’ve chosen to share are wonderful. I never tire of seeing a quilt.

    I have been in the textile industry for over 25 years, many of which were spent in the product development area of a circular knit manufacturer in Toronto. Fabric has impassioned me from a young age so quilting seemed like a natural progression.

    I took up quilting as a hobby in the early ‘90’s. It is an amazing world and you are right. It is a valid needle-trade. It is also a very vast industry, a billion dollar industry and an industry unto itself. This is due in part to the eagerness of quilters to expand their horizons. There is a never ending quest to find something new: a new technique, new pattern, new print, new thread, new gadget and on and on and on!! They travel miles to attend quilt shows, attend workshops, and link up with fellow quilters. They approach quilting with such alacrity. It is infectious. Every year tens of thousands of quilters from around the globe travel to their Mecca. The two biggest shows are in Paducah, Ky (www.americanquilter.com) and Houston, TX. (www.quilts.com) Both of them play host to quilt aficionados, with vendor booths, fashion shows, workshops, seminars and just plain networking. Both Paducah and Houston have serious competitions, with cash prizes being doled out in the 10’s of thousands of dollars.

    Quilting is now a solid part of my life. I have purchased what is referred to as a long arm quilting machine. This is an industrial size machine that performs the actual quilting. Fellow quilters bring me their “quilt tops” and I do the actual quilting for them and I have now branched out and quilt small yardage runs for garment makers and interior decorators, many of whom cannot manage the usual minimums imposed by manufacturers.

    And your comment on seam allowance: a quarter of an inch. No exceptions!! lol

  5. Gigi says:

    What gorgeous works of art! I really love the portrait quilts. I *detest* quilting (I made one for my MIL last year) but really admire those who do it and do it well. The time and patience that go into each quilt is just mind-boggling to me. Just getting the colors right takes a lot of talent which I do not possess.

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