3 Favorite Quilts from 1 Quilter!

When I noticed that 2 of my favorite 11 quilts at AQS-Charlotte were by Jean Larson, I knew I had to meet her. Luckily, while I was trying to figure out how to contact her, she contacted me! Jean has lived in Chattanooga since the early 1970s, so we met at AQS-Chattanooga.

First, as a refresher, here are the two quilts that attracted my attention at AQS-Charlotte:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award in the Modern Quilt Challenge!  The Modern Quilt Challenge exhibit was on display at AQS Charlotte as well as other shows during the year.

modern quilt, AQS Charlotte

The Market is Up, another quilt by Jean Larson

Jean entered a different, and maybe even more interesting, quilt in AQS-Chattanooga:

quilt AQS Chattanooga

Jean (right) and I pose in front of her quilt, “Barbed Wire” at AQS-Chattanooga

There are so many things to see in this simple quilt!  First, the design is tessellated!  Jean is a mathematician by training, so she explained it to me, but I’m going to have to ask her to write a guest post to explain it to you.  More on that later.

Second, those variations in yellow are for real, not just trouble with exposure on my camera 😉  The two yellows add complexity to the quilt.  And finally, although I couldn’t see it until she pointed it out, this quilt is actually a grid of squares in alternating colors:

Look at the quilting, too!

So, here’s a little bit about Jean:

She’s had several starts at quilting.  Her first quilt, in 1976, was a traditional log cabin made with the quilt-as-you-go method and using poly-cotton fabrics, which were about all that was available at the time.  Her second, in 1984, was an orange and turquoise quilt that she worked on while potty training her two adopted boys!  She began quilting seriously in the late ’90s.  In 2012 she discovered modern quilting through a neighbor, and she hasn’t looked back since.  She’s an active member of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild and apparently knows everybody–numerous people stopped to chat with her while we were talking about quilts at the AQS show.  She had a quilt accepted for the first QuiltCon in 2013, and it has been published several places as an example of good use of negative space.  Here it is:

modern quilt

Lanterns, by Jean Larson, was accepted for Quilt Con 2013

Jean says she likes simplicity and alternative grid work in quilts.  She is inspired by geometric shapes and by fabrics–especially stripes.  She loves the mathematics of tessellations and plans to make more tessellated quilts.  I look forward to seeing them!

And I’m going to beg her to write a guest article on tessellations for my next design-your-own-quilt post.  If you know Jean, encourage her to do it!

24-Step Dying to Quilt

Have you ever admired the rainbow of subtle colors offered in hand-dyed fabrics?

Cindy Lohbeck

Cindy Lohbeck

But they are expensive, so, while at AQS in Chattanooga, I took a 24-step hand dye class with Cindy Lohbeck.

Cindy is an excellent teacher.  She has her process down to very precise steps, well explained, that make it difficult for students to make a mistake.

I had NO IDEA how much was involved in fiber-reactive dying!  After 3-1/2 hours in class, we had 24 bins of fat quarters (FQs) in dye to take home and finish.

fabric dying

Part of the fat quarter bins, now at home in my laundry room

It took another 6 hours of work at home, though part of that time was spent waiting for the fixative to work, or waiting for the washer and dryer.  There was a LOT of rinsing by hand in HOT water to get all the extra dye out before the fabric was put in the washer and dryer.

fabric dying

Thank goodness for a deep sink for rinsing!

Cindy’s instructions continued to be thorough and complete, so I had no trouble.  (I think she should write a book and call it “Dying to Quilt” 🙂 )  She provided all the materials needed for the project, including 24 fat quarters of PFD (prepared for dying) cotton fabric, dyes and reagents, measuring equipment, and even the special detergent for washing the final product!

Finally, after drying and ironing the fat quarters, I had a glorious array of colors!

hand dyed fabric

24 steps of color, plus 2 extras

There are 2 multi-color FQs made with fabric I brought to class to use up the “extra” dye produced in each step.  Can you see them?

Now what in the world am I going to do with this fabric?  Suggestions?

12 Bright Quilts from AQS Chattanooga

There were lots of good quilts, so I’m choosing to show bright ones!  Later this month, I’ll have an interview with a modern quilter from Chattanooga.  Meanwhile, I hope you find these quilts as inspiring as I did.

modern quilt

Sherbert at the Beach, by Stacey Day

art quilt

Art DeCOW, by Connie Donaldson

pieced quilt

Winter Jewels, by Michelle Renee Hiatt and Barbara Bregman

modern quilt

Sunset, by Leanne Chahley

Philippine quilt

Quilt by Gina Abayan, part of a display of beautiful quilts from the Philippines

modern quilt

Freeze Frame in Motion, by Judy Holahan

modern quilt, art quilt

Delaneyville, by Fran Stinson

modern quilt

Red Rectangle, by Judy Mercer Tescher

modern quilt

Rainbow Bright, by Jennifer Hynes

modern quilt

3 Sisters, by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

modern quilt

Fall Migration, by Tamara Watts-McPhail

modern quilt

A Feather Runs Through It, by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

Your Inner Designer 6: Copy Somebody Good!

Truly original ideas in design are really, really rare  More often good designs are inspired by other good designs, and most designers start by copying other people.  There’s nothing wrong with that–just give credit!

Door with art glass window

Glass window, designer unknown

For example, here’s a door I admire in a friend’s house.  It got me thinking that it would be nice to make her a table runner with a design similar to the glass in the door, especially since the dining table is right by the door.  I may start out by copying the design, but my table runner won’t be an exact copy.  I want it to be obviously inspired by the door, but I probably couldn’t make an exact copy even if I wanted to.  And I’m not going to sell it as my own “original” design without reference to the door, either.

Here’s the first attempt:Craftsman inspired table runnerThat may be obviously inspired by the door, though in fact both are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Craftsman styles of design. If you don’t know much about those styles of design, Google them.  There are many similar designs to be found, so I can make LOTS of designs of this style without copying any of them.  Here’s the second try:Craftsman style table runner

This one has a little more detail.  Another master of this style, popular in the early years of the 20th Century, was Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  William Morris textile and wallpaper designs were the same historical period, and you may have seen Moda’s extensive line of William Morris-inspired fabrics.

One last try:table runner

So go look at some books on the history of design (the history of advertising works too) and make some designs inspired by what you see.  It’s a good starting place when you think you don’t have any ideas, and you’ll eventually come up with something your really like.  Then it’s time to make a quilt!

Here are the first 5 posts in this series:

Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette!

Quilt Design 4: Choosing Your Color Scheme

Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

Your Inner Designer 2: Many Block Arrangements

Find Your Inner Designer, Part 1