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Not Your Grandmother's Quilts

If one was heading to the World Quilt Show with the intention of seeing traditional quilt patterns, one would have been somewhat disappointed. We, on the other hand, did not know what to expect, and boy were we ever surprised, delighted, amazed, inspired...well, fill in the blank with your favorite superlative and you'll get the idea.
There were hundreds of quilts hanging, including, much to my surprise, three from Sharleen, the woman who runs the Days for Girls sewing sessions. The one on the right above, as well as these two below:
You've heard it said before, when you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Well, I can't imagine how Sharleen finds the time to make quilts, as much time as she spends working on Days for Girls! When I see her I will have to ask her if she quilted the above pieces herself, or had them done at a shop, which we are discovering is pretty common. Before Pam's friend Irene mentioned the practice, it never occurred to me that you would spend so much time piecing only to hand it over to someone else! That said, the grand prize winner not only was hand quilted, but it was also full of applique, something we saw a lot of.
The hours spent making the quilt above had to have been in the thousands! Interesting that with all of the modern quilts displayed a more traditional design won the competition. I could have taken gazillions of photos, however, I suspect you are not nearly as interested in the subject as I. :)

Vendors from all over the country sold machines, threads, fabric, rulers and more. Years ago, probably twenty, I bought my machine at The Sewing Studio.
It was all very tempting and I did buy some fabric, whereas Pam held out. Lisa, on the other hand, was captivated by the folks selling fantastic fabric dyes and stencils. In spite of being on crutches for an injured knee, she was quite the trooper in the huge hall. She succumbed to the dyes after seeing the demonstration using, of all things, shaving cream!
From afar these quilts looked so three dimensional they could have been rugs.
Honestly the things people did with fabric, paint, beads, and all manner of other medium, was simply astonishing. Solid colored fabric was very big, as were quilts done in what is called "wonky cutting." This one from New Zealand just blew my mind.
I was hoping I would see some quilts made by men, however, they were not to be found. That said, I know there are men out there who quilt! I've found a post about wonky cutting on a blog called Quilt Dad. My suspicion is that everyone is creative, they just have to find their outlet. Speaking of blog posts, the online quilting community is large, and do I mean large. People are very gracious about sharing the things they've learned, showcasing helpful techniques. As you well know, that is if you've been reading my posts for any length of time, I've been sewing since I was thirteen, however, quilts were just one of the things I liked to make. As such, my skills were not very well honed, and I mostly did things rather haphazardly with predictable results. One of the biggest challenges, among many, so it is hard to choose which is the hardest, but for now I'm talking about sandwiching the quilt top, batting, and backing. You need a very large area, and for every one I've made before, I've done it on the floor of the living room. Not very well I might add. So, I went searching for a better way, coming across this life changing,( only a slight exaggeration), video.
Before putting it into practice, I laid out the quilt on my bedroom floor to size the backing. Wondering what to use because the quilt was so large, I realized some very fun fabric with scenes of Paris that I'd purchased a while ago would do just fine. Baxter had to have a good rub down..
The fabric was not wide enough, thus the added size pieces. Once the backing was pieced it was time to test out the video advice, which I'm thrilled to say worked beautifully.
Getting the backing completely flat while crawling on top of it was such the challenge in the past! Once all three layers were secured to the table, I added the pins and lots of them!
From the video I also learned it was best to wait until taking the binder clips off to fasten the safety pins, which also turned out to be a brilliant idea. Now, how to get it into the machine??? Using round clips, you roll it up and hope for the best.
So crazy heavy, I began in the middle, and off I went, albeit slowly. As time went on, I got a little faster, thanks in large part to the walking foot which feeds the fabric from both the bottom and the top.
I'm about two thirds of the way done and as soon as it is all bound and pretty, you can rest assured I'll be posting it before giving it away!

Saturday I attended the funeral of Betty Stuart, the mother of one of Matt's oldest and dearest friends. There was a huge crowd, and an equally large outpouring of love in the form of testimonials from her four accomplished children. She was quite a force.  I was wondering how this would all relate as I pondered my post last Friday, and wouldn't you know it, during Anne Elisabeth's remarks, she told how her Mother took up quilting during her more than two year battle with cancer, making a quilt for her three grandchildren that they might feel her love once she was gone. It makes me teary eyed just writing it. The last sentence on the wonderful obituary Anne Elisabeth wrote was this: "we can't go on, we must go on." That pretty much sums up the Stuart family, an Orlando dynasty, if there is such a thing.

And finally a word about the weather...last week was warm as can be, while today, thank God, it has cooled off for a few days. The plants are crazy confused with caladiums popping up in my garden. As well, this Mexican Flame vine, on a fence down the street, seems not to realize it is January!
Maureen just called with belated birthday wishes, and unbeknownst to her, I'd already selected this photo for my post. Asking me if I could look on my blog to see when it should be blooming, I am working on finding that answer.

Back to my very traditional quilt,

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