Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Quilt Convention, and Kaleidoscope #2

I recently attended our State 4-day Quilt Convention, held in Chadron, Nebraska. We stayed in Student Dormitories. The facilities were excellent, cafeteria wonderful, attendance great, 54 classes available, and the summer heat in the upper 90s, was uhhhh… normal.

I will tell you about the 3 classes in which I participated.

The first was an all-day class with M’liss Rae Hawley, and we worked on a Kaleidoscope Quilt, based on her just-released book, M'Liss Rae Hawley's Scrappy Quilts: Let the Fabric Tell Your Story. The main part of her class was learning to sort our scrap fabrics, no matter what color, from light to dark VALUE. When using ALL fabrics, this is a bit more challenging than using fabrics in just one color family. I had already constructed a Kaleidoscope quilt (previously posted, see below) BEFORE the convention because as I pulled fabric in preparation for the class, I became sooooo inspired, the top was DONE before even receiving her brand-new book. But, fabrics on my too-early project, while quite acceptable, did NOT blend, which was the point of the entire exercise.

So YES, I did start another one (below) in her class, with better understanding of VALUE blending, from light to dark and visa versa.
All the fabrics are from my stash. I am very pleased with this second kaleidoscope. But I DO need to SHOP for the perfect border.

The second class (half-day) was “How to Improve your Hand Quilting Stitch” with Ami Simm. She brought 40 different battings with her, gave us each a size 10 Colonial-brand needle, and we each had a very short time to practice on each of those battings and rate them as to how we liked them. The sandwich was made of the same fabric top and bottom on each hoop, but with a different batting. It was not easy to give each sample more than a minute or two, but there were definitely differences. We rated them on a spreadsheet. When time was up (too soon!) she provided us the key – a wonderful tool! Some of us liked one and disliked the next, but the next person might be totally the opposite. We did NOT practice on bamboo, a new product on the market, but we DID try a Corn blend, which was OK. However, the instructions on the Corn blend said “Do not Iron.” I WILL take this information with me for the next shopping trip I make for batting.

I am almost totally convinced the variables have mostly to do with the batting, although heat and humidity, fabrics, and my own attitude also influence my stitches.

The third class was a trunk show given my a state teacher, Bonnie Kucera. What a great bunch of quilts, so unique in many ways, and most of them made with small – really small – pieces. What I liked best was that her fabrics were ‘regular’ (not the latest and greatest or most expensive) fabrics. In other words, she WAS using up the older stuff but THAT did not detract in the slightest.

Now, I knew Ami Simms has a humorous side to her personality, and looked forward to listening to her presentation during one evening dinner program. However, I was not prepared for her delightful skills as a comedienne. She had the almost-400 diners practically rolling on the floor with her stories! So much cackling and guffawing, and hooting from the audience! What fun. If you have the opportunity to hear her Life with Quilts presentation, I urge you to sign up.

31 comments:

Joyce said...

The class must have been really good because your second quilt is just amazing. I love the way the straight lines seem to move in circles. It's wonderful.

sMC said...

well I am just speechless. There will be no stopping you now. oh why are you on the other side of the world to me. I mean couldn't the Gods have directed us to live "just down the road"

Candace said...

What a wonderful 4 days and what wonderful teachers and classes. I'll bet that you took away a lot of new knowledge. I love your second quilt, but it must be the gypsy in me that likes different colors, because I like the first one just as well. It may even be my favorite. They are both extremely beautiful.

mamaspark said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I love how the second kaleidoscope quilt turned out. I might have to invest in that book!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Wowie - how fun. What a treat to participate in this. Love the quilts - both of them.

jovaliquilts said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed Ami Simms -- she's coming to our guild in September!

paula, the quilter said...

Can out-of-staters join your guild? Then I could have taken off from work and come to the convention. It sounds like so much fun. And that second K quilt is totally amazing. I will have to keep my eyes open for a class by her.

Jeanne said...

Ami could be a comedienne! She is so talented and funny and full of energy. Glad you were able to take a class with her. I like both of the quilts shown, but I'm a scrappy type gal. *s*

Su Bee said...

wow what a wonderful time! I'm very curious tho - which batting did you prefer?

meggie said...

Wishing I had been there! Love both your quilts.

Morah said...

I'm so jealous! Value is the one class I would love to take and your quilt is fabulous!

Owens Family Adventures said...

That sounds like a wonderful time!!! By the way...I love both your quilts! :)
dawn

Becky said...

Wow! I am so impressed with the difference in the two K quilts. I posted a link to them on my blog. I wish I had those skills! Becky

Marilyn said...

What a wonderful opportunity you have had! I loved your first K quilt but now WOW I really love the second one. Yeah, I want to know which batting you liked best. And did it surprise you? Or did you think you recogized the batting you tend to use often?

The Calico Quilter said...

It sounds like you had a fabulous time! Now...I have a comment that might be taken wrong, but bear with me. The second K quilt is beautiful, and the colors blend, and the circles-within-the-squares show up; in other words, it's a successful quilt, but....where's the exuberance that is so apparent in the first one? The second one is so tame and safe. The first one fairly vibrates with personality. I look at the colors in it and feel I can know a little bit about you, something that the second quilt doesn't tell me. The second quilt says you're wonderful at needlework; the first one says you love color and quilting. Maybe it's just me! I don't mean to belittle your second project, which is lovely on its own.

Purple Pam said...

Love both kaleidoscope quilts. I just bought M'Liss Rae's book. I want to do a kaleidoscope quilt class with my guild. I just had to have that book! I was hooked as soon as I saw the kaleidoscope quilt hanging in the background on the cover. I am delighted with the chapter on kaleidoscope quilts. I must get back to making more of my turq/purple ones. I like Ami Simms, too. She is a hoot! Glad you had a good time.

Julie said...

It sounds like you had a great time and that new kaleidoscope is just stunning! I have been a huge Ami Simms fan for many, many years. She has a wonderful newsletter. She just seems so down to earth.

Glad to see you are taking some time to enjoy yourself and are back to posting. I hope the rest of your summer is stress free and joyful!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Elaine I loved your first kaleidoscope quilt but that second one is stunning. On a recent mystery quilt I made the value was so important and I made many mistakes that I couldn't see until the top was finished. It makes all the difference! Blessings, marlene

Exuberant Color said...

Your first K quilt kind of has a 1970's funky look when you see it compared to the second one. I do mine like the second one and the circles do show up better.

Sue R said...

The gradations in the second kaleidoscope work really well, and I like your colors alot. I like the first one too!

Lindi said...

Wow! That is one gorgeous quilt! Breathtaking.

Rhonda said...

Love, love, love your kaleidoscope quilts!

Tanya said...

How fun! What I wouldn't give to participate in something like that! Wow, that kaleidoscope quilt is a real winner! I mean, I liked the first one too but that second one is such an eye catcher! I'd say that teacher should be proud of herself for her ability to get her students making something like yours!

I would love to "learn" how to hand quilt. I've been doing it for over 20 years but it is such a hit and miss skill with me. Sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm lousy. I thought I liked Milward needles but my last batch was a dud and they have been bending after just a few stitches.

Not too much in the way of different battings in Japan.

LC said...

Some food for thought in these comments, particularly about the progress from one quilt to the next. What I thought about with Calico Quilter's remarks is how we put our children's art on the frig, but would we do it when they grow up and their art is more 'refined'? I guess there are several ways to evaluate what is appealing. Some like the unplanned spontaneous, while others want more order, flow, etc. The things that you learned in that class will come out in later projects that may have that same unplanned, spontaneous look yet there will be a 'maturity' if you will, about them, a wow-factor. I can see it coming! You go, girl!

Rose Marie said...

I'm so amazed at the difference between the two quilts. I do, admit though, that I like your first quilt just as much as the second.

KathieB said...

WOW! That Kaleidoscope quilt is SENSATIONAL. Love that pattern and all the secondary designs that appear.

Julie said...

I love your blog and read each new post with anticipation. You have been such an inspiration to me that I'd like to give you an award. No pressure to accept, Elaine. You deserve it regardless.

Mama Koch said...

What a fun class to take! I have trouble with values sometimes too. Your quilt really shows the variation.

Bizarre Quilter said...

Wow! I love your kaleidoscope quilts. I didn't think anything was "wrong" with the first one until my eyes went round and round sticking out on stalks with the effect of the second one. I really do love its effect... it has put me in a trance.. in zombie voice "I must make kaleidoscope from stash, I must make kaleidoscope from stash..." Dang it! Now I need a new list.. projects I want to make using my stash!
Loz in Oz

Anonymous said...

Big"E":
Congratulations are due for your excellent design of the kaleidoscope quilt!!
Is it for sale?
peace, C

Anonymous said...

Big"E":
I left a comment but it was not accepted!!

C..