Linda Hahn: New York Beauty Expert (from Florida)

Linda Hahn is best know for her simplified method of making the New York Beauty block, one of quilting’s more elaborate and spectacular-looking designs.  She describes her New York Beauty method as, “one pin, no puckers, no cussing, and they come out perfect.”  Gotta love that!

Linda’s First New York Beauty Book

Linda also has a number of lovely individual patterns, including some that have nothing to do with New York Beauty. (Her patterns are available through QuiltWoman.com)  I have enjoyed making and teaching her Bermuda Sunrise pattern, so I looked her up while at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, and she graciously agreed to an interview.

Bermuda Sunrise, one of Linda’s earlier designs that I enjoyed making and teaching

Linda’s workshops now focus mostly on her New York Beauty techniques, since this is a challenging block that many quilters would like to make.  Currently her most popular workshop is called “Feeling Crabby”.

Linda has written multiple books published by AQS. Her latest, New York Beauty Electrified, is due out this month.

When I interviewed her, Linda took the unusual step of leaving the room for a few minutes so I could ask students in her workshop to give their honest opinions!  They were enthusiastic about her teaching and seemed to be enjoying “Feeling Crabby”.  They described Linda as an even-tempered instructor who “lets you do it your way but comes right away if you need help.”

Image from Linda’s iquilt class

Linda teaches all over the country as well as on cruises, but if you want her workshop and can’t find a convenient location, I noticed her New York Beauty instruction is also available through iquilt, the AQS online class site.

Now that I’ve seen more of her beautiful work and met her, I want to take a New York Beauty class with Linda.  I went to her site, and she really, really, does have classes in a variety of locations!  You can find her schedule on her website.  I have enjoyed her patterns (yes, I’ve made more than just the Bermuda Sunrise!) and look forward to trying those elaborate spiky blocks.

Have you made New York Beauty blocks yet?

Review: Karen Combs Teaching Tumbling Blocks

Karen Combs‘ Tumbling Blocks class, which I took at AQS-Chattanooga in September, was one of the best quilt classes I’ve ever taken. Of course, “tumbling blocks” is a traditional design, but I always like a challenge.

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks, made in class with Karen Combs

Karen is so well organized and clear that I had 4 blocks made by the end of class and had started on the background! Her method for the Y-seams was so well explained that there is no need to even consider the “cheater” tumbling blocks made with half square triangles.

One of the “secrets” to making this block easy is to buy ombre fabric that varies from dark to light in the same color, so you don’t have to hunt down 3 values of the same color individually!  Of particular note, Karen showed us how to use a standard quilting ruler to cut the blocks–NO SPECIAL RULER REQUIRED!  I think this is notable in a field where so many teachers are selling their own rulers, which are then needed for the way they teach a class.Karen Combs class review

Karen’s class sample is a table runner, which probably does show off the blocks a little better than placemats. But I have more table runners than I can use, so placemats it is.

The quilting is done to emphasize the 3-dimensional aspect of the blocks, so I imitated what Karen had done.  The background is quilted with random loops.Quilting Tumbling Blocks

I’m pleased with this project, and I certainly recommend you take Karen’s class if you have the chance!

12 Favorites: Chattanooga Quilt Week

I was lucky enough to attend the AQS show in Chattanooga last week, so I’m sharing some of my favorites with you.  These are not meant to be representative of the show and they certainly do not represent the award-winners much.  They are my personal choices.

But first, I must tell you that before I even went to the show I stopped at Spool, a great quilt shop in Chattanooga, to get my “Where’s the Penis?” button to wear to the show.  This is to protest recent AQS censorship.  I won’t repeat the ridiculous tale; if you don’t know about it you can read about it here, and read an even better analysis of the situation here.

The show was in the Chattanooga Trade Center, a nice facility with a carpet that would have been a good quilt design.  Click on the photos to see bigger images.

In the show itself, I was struck by the dearth of truly traditional quilts. This traditional design was one of my favorites, but it is a small art quilt done as part of a challenge to make something in the spirit of the artist Grandma Moses.

Quilt by Yuko Miyashita of Japan, in response to a challenge to represent Grandma Moses

Quilt by Yuko Miyashita of Japan, in response to a challenge to represent the work of Grandma Moses

The great majority of the quilts were what I would classify as “art quilts” in that they had almost no possible function beyond the decorative. Sure, you COULD use that 18 inch square quilt as a table topper, but it seems unlikely.

The SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association) had an exhibit, as usual, and I admired many of their quilts, including this one:

Towers of Babble, by Pam RuBert

Towers of Babble, by Pam RuBert

Another exhibit of art quilts included this one by Laura Wasilowski, whose work I admire:

Lacking Gravity, by Laura Wasilowski

Lacking Gravity, by Laura Wasilowski

This quilt, from the same display of art quilts, also caught my eye:

Hot Flash 2, by Nancy Woods

Hot Flash 2 by Nancy Woods

There were a number of fun quilts displayed as the result of a challenge to use nontraditional materials, but this was my favorite.

Noth your Grandmother's Drunkard's Path, by Barbara Barber

Not your Grandmother’s Drunkard’s Path, by Barbara Barber

Note how she has used tufts of batting to represent foam:

Detail of Not Your Grandmother's Drunkard's Path by Barbara Barber

Detail of Not Your Grandmother’s Drunkard’s Path by Barbara Barber

Here are some of my favorites from various categories in the main contest.

Between the Lines by Wilma Moss

Between the Lines by Wilma Moss

Detail of Between the Lines by Wilma Moss

Detail of Between the Lines by Wilma Moss

Modern Wedding Rings by Gabrielle Paquin (of France)

Modern Wedding Rings by Gabrielle Paquin (of France)

Mid-Century Modern by Jerriann Massey

Mid-Century Modern by Jerriann Massey

Rockslide by Karen Duling

Rockslide by Karen Duling

Autumn Gold by Lori Schloesser

Autumn Gold by Lori Schloesser

Carpathian Mountain Sunset by Cathy Geier

Carpathian Mountain Sunset by Cathy Geier

And finally, a quilt that was so popular at the Vermont Quilt Festival that I had trouble getting a picture of it.  It is still spectacular, but didn’t even get an Honorable Mention in Chattanooga.

Judgment of Osiris by Georgia Spalding Pierce

Judgment of Osiris by Georgia Spalding Pierce

This last quilt is bed size, though not especially traditional.  So where were the traditional quilts?

There were a few beautifully done whole cloth quilts, but otherwise I though even the bed-sized quilts often showed the influence of the modern aesthetic.  I know very well that there are many fine traditional quilters still working, but I suspect they have given up on AQS shows.  What do you think?  Do you ever enter AQS shows?

Save

More Inspiration

I bought two of Gwen Marston’s books some time ago…

and have been channeling her in my designs for over a year (you can click on the pictures below to see their captions):

Recently I saw that the (relatively) new iQuilt platform had two video classes taught by Gwen Marston.  The class I chose was quite short–a little over 2 hours–and I decided to watch the class over a weekend and make several little quilts using her techniques.

I’d already made a refrigerator quilt in Gwen’s style for an upcoming guild challenge,

art quilt, gwen marston

Refrigerator quilt inspired by Gwen Marston. Bev Manus came up with the idea for refrigerator quilts.

so I decided to make the new quilts 12″ x 12″ as well.  This is a great size for trying new things because there isn’t too much commitment of time or materials.

The first quilt was composed of half square triangle blocks, so I was able to try out the (fairly expensive) Loc Bloc ruler I recently bought to make trimming these blocks to size easier.  The ruler worked great with just a little practice, and I got to practice my machine quilting on the finished quilt.

refrigerator quilt

Quilt Front

Gwen’s instruction was to pair the triangles up into squares just as you picked them up, with the caveat that the pairs should have contrast between the fabrics.  Then the squares were to be sewn together into rows just as they were picked up.  She did allow that it would be OK to lay the rows out and look at them before sewing them together, but advised against spending a lot of time fussing over the exact layout.

Refrigerator Quilt

Quilt Back

I was pleased with this result.  The class doesn’t really cover anything that isn’t in her books, but I was happier watching a little and sewing a little than I am to just sit down and read a book.  I made a couple of other quilts, too, and I’ll show them next week.

 

Only as Good as Your Last Quilt?

There’s a cynical phrase, common in professional sports, that is used often in other arenas as well: You’re only as good as your last game. It’s a commentary on public opinion. Unfortunately, there’s a corollary in our everyday judgments of ourselves.

Michael Miller Challenge 2013

This little quilt, “Packet of Posy Seeds”, did NOT win anything.

One of the modern guilds I belong to had an interesting discussion last meeting about which quilts are selected for QuiltCon, and why.  We pretty much all agreed that the show is used to further the MQG’s own definition of modern quilting rather than to reveal the depth and breadth of the modern quilt movement.

modern quilt

This little quilt was published, along with an article I wrote

So, am I a good quilter because my quilt was juried into an AQS show? Or a poor quilter because SEVERAL quilts were rejected for a QuiltCon show? A good quilter because I’ve designed quilts that were published?  Or a bad quilter because every magazine doesn’t love every one of my proposals?  There’s a temptation to feel great when a quilt wins a prize and to feel a bit down when one is rejected.  But does that make sense?

modern quilt

Happy Squares, designed and made by me. I love it, but nobody wants to publish the pattern.

Of course there are some “competitive quilters”, but most of us quilt because we enjoy it. My quilts are made to please myself, not to please other people.  Even when I make a quilt for a challenge or show, I make it the way I want it, and I expect that is true for most people.  I doubt that quilting is a road to fame and fortune for most of us, and that’s fine.

Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine

Zippy Star quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited. I won a contest with this design.

So, if QuiltCon didn’t accept my quilt, it is NOT a personal judgment about me, it is a programmatic judgment about where the MQG folks want the definition of modern quilting to go. And if some of my quilts are published or win prizes, that’s dandy, but I still made them to suit myself.

improvisationally pieced quilt

“In Fairyland” has been in 2 shows but won no prizes.

So much of life involves following other people’s rules, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not.  Although I’m a serious quilter, I want to do it by my own rules.  I’ll still submit to shows because I like to see my quilts displayed.  But really, the quilt is an end in itself.

Spring Sun, a design by me, using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern!

I designed Spring Sun using blocks paper pieced from a totally different Judy Niemeyer pattern. It was juried into an AQS show.

My friend Melanie has written a couple of posts on why we quilt.  You might enjoy them:

Make Good Art

Saturation Point

Connie Brown, A North Carolina Quilter

Connie Brown quilter

Connie Brown 

Connie Brown and I met at the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville.  She has been juried into membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild, a prestigious organization promoting fine Southern Appalachian crafts.  I thought you would enjoy meeting her.

Give us the quick tour of your quilting career.  How did you get started?

My husband, son, and I moved to Asheville in 1989.  I knew no one in the area, so I signed up for a quilting class at Asheville-Biltmore Technical College.  The instructor, Mary Field, was the best.  Along with quilting basics, she taught me many sewing skills and shared her knowledge and love of antique quilts and quilt history.  By the end of the class she had encouraged me to join the Asheville Quilt Guild and a weekly bee. The first few meetings I attended featured presentations by quilt historians.  I really enjoyed quilt history, so I started studying antique quilts.

When/how did you decide to “go pro” by studying quilt history and appraisal, judging shows, and joining the Southern Highland Craft Guild (SHCG)?

Connie Brown, hand quilting

Connie demonstrates quilting at a Southern Highland Craft Guild event

After a few years of making quilts and entering them in both local and national shows, I put a couple in a gallery exhibit.  To my surprise, one sold and visitors were interested in my other quilts.  I knew about the SHCG, with its shops, marketing, and educational opportunities.  After selling that quilt in the art gallery, I decided to apply for membership and was juried in during 2000.  I have my quilts in their shops and participate in several of their events, including Fiber Day and Heritage Day (where I share my beekeeping), as well as others.

When people started calling me about the value of antique quilts, or what value to place on a quilt they were entering in a show, I saw a need for a local certified quilt appraiser.  I put my years of studying quilt history and my knowledge of local quilt sales to use and focused on becoming a certified quilt appraiser.  In 2009, I was certified by the AQS (American Quilters Society) as an Appraiser of Quilted Textiles.

What is your favorite of the quilts you have made?

I love making circles and Drunkard’s Path units!  My 3 favorite quilts so far are:

Connie Brown quilter

Color Cascade

“Color Cascade aka Prints Charming”  includes more than 500 scraps.  The pattern for this quilt is in the September 2012 issue of American Quilter Magazine.  This is machine pieced and machine quilted.

Connie Brown quilt“V-Spot Target Attack” is also made entirely by machine.

Finally, “Tiffilippa” was inspired by a Tiffany lampshade.  I couldn’t throw away the trimmed off “waste”, so I used it as a border.

How much time do you spend quilting?  How do you have time to quilt, participate in guilds, keep bees, substitute teach, and still eat and sleep?

Every day I do something quilt related, whether it’s making quilts, studying, visiting an exhibit, or writing appraisals.  I always carry something to work on in my down time when I substitute teach.

How far do you travel with your quilt activities?  And what do you have coming up?

I’ll be at the Folk Art Center (on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville) for National Quilting Day (March 19, 2016).  I’ll be hosting a quilt sharing day with an exhibition of 4 or 5 antique quilts, and people are invited to bring older quilts they have questions about.  I won’t be doing appraisals that day, but it’s a free event and a good opportunity for people who may have quilts they wonder about.  It can help them decide whether the quilt needs a formal appraisal.

This year I will be offering appraisals at the AQS shows in Paducah and Chattanooga as well as in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina during the Cobblestone Quilt Show.  My fees for written appraisals are $75 per quilt, but during these events the charge is $50 per quilt. Each appraisal takes a minimum of 2 hours, including meeting with the client, travel, research and preparation, and typing the report.

To see more of Connie’s quilts, visit her webpage at southernhighlandguild.org/conniebrown

You may email Connie at mail2thebrowns@juno.com

Sandi Suggs: Finding Her Way to Modern

Sandi’s work was featured in a special display at AQS-Chattanooga, and I was lucky enough to get to interview her. I took some pictures, and if you want to see more of her work, check the links at the bottom of this post.

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi designed this nontraditional arrangement of split 9-patch blocks

While I was waiting to interview Sandi, I heard her tell someone, “Any time I make a quilt, I do it to learn something.” My sentiments exactly!

modern quilt, Sandi Suggs

Sandi made this quilt from a pattern, adding modern colors to the design

Sandi started quilting over 25 years ago, using cereal box templates because rotary cutters weren’t yet used for quilting. She still uses templates when appropriate, but a lot of things have changed!  For one thing, she now uses freezer paper when she needs templates so she can cut several layers of fabric at once.

Quilt as You Go quilt

Sandi designed and made this quilt using her own quilt-as-you-go technique

Sandi teaches several classes, including her own version of Quilt As You Go. (I’m going to keep an eye on her website because I’d like to take that class if she teaches it anywhere near me 🙂 )

The AQS exhibit included both quilts Sandi designed herself and quilts she has made from designs by others.  This was a round robin quilt; Sandi made the final arrangement of sections and did the quilting:

modern quilt

Round Robin quilt by Sandi Suggs and friends.  Look at Sandi’s quilting!

A couple of hints from Sandi: she likes to use the multi-stitch zigzag (stitch #4 on Bernina machines) in her quilting.  She starches all her fabrics before cutting to make them smoother and less likely to fray.  She says starching also equalizes the weight of the various fabrics.  She likes to wash her quilts after they are finished to achieve a crinkly look that emphasizes the quilting.

Sandi Suggs modern quilt

Sandi does her own quilting on her home machine. This quilt is called “Roy G. Biv”

Sandi also has her own way to successfully select fabrics for a mystery quilt!  I’ve only done one mystery quilt and was unhappy with the result, so I asked her about it.  She showed the quilt below, designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr as a mystery quilt, and told me how she selected her fabrics.

Sandy Suggs

Mystery quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr demonstrates Sandi’s successful fabric selection

Sandi looked at the fabric requirements for the quilt and figured the largest fabric requirement was for the background.  Once she had chosen gray for the background, she decided she would need bright fabrics to contrast with it.  I think her decisions were very successful!

You can find Sandi’s blog at: www.FrogPondStudio.blogspot.com

She has many more pictures of her quilts there, including these five posts that show all her quilts from the AQS exhibit:

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice, Two

Finding My Voice, Three

Finding My Voice, Four

Finding My Voice, Final

 

10 From Chattanooga Quilt Week

Despite a change in plans, a friend and I got in a quick trip to Quilt Week in Chattanooga to see the quilt show. No time for classes this year, but we had a great time. I was especially happy that there was a large section of modern quilts. Here are 10 of my favorites.

modern quilt

Celebrate, by Jean Larson of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild

Modern quilt

A Slice of Pi, by Connie Griner. This quilt has the numerical value of pi quilted into the border to umpteen decimal places!

Modern quilt show

Love in the Digital Age, by Kristin Shields

modern quilt

Motik, by Mary Ramsey Keasler of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild

modern quilt show

Tiki Dilemma, by Jodi Robinson.  She says her “quilting designs were chosen to add interest without overwhelming the overall design of the quilt”.  I like that!

modern quilt show

Door Into Summer, by Joni Morgan

I see that gray backgrounds are still very popular!  (You KNOW who I’m talking to!)

modern quilt

Forgotten Chicago, by M. A. Cramer. She asks whether the object shown here is rising or falling!

modern quilt

Pink Flamingos with Lemonade, by Connie Brown of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

modern quilt show

Through the Open Window, by Amy Anderson of the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville

modern quilt

Initial Inspiration, by Vista Scruggs Mahan of Rising Fawn, Georgia (just outside Chattanooga)

Of course, we had a little time for chocolate as well, but what’s done at Quilt Week stays at Quilt week 😉

Later on, I’ll have an interview with Sandi Suggs, whose quilts were a special exhibit at Chattanooga Quilt Week.

Anniversary!

Zippy Quilts is now two years old! I’m still having fun, so I’m signing up for another two years.
Here are a few pictures of projects from the past two years and links to popular posts:

Rising star art quilt

Rising Star, made for the Quilt Alliance TWENTY contest in 2013

This is “Rising Star”, a quilt I made for the Quilt Alliance “Twenty” contest back in 2013.  It’s still one of my favorite quilts, which is why it’s still featured on the blog’s header.

Here is a quilt I made for Modern Quilts Unlimited, where they did especially beautiful photos of it.

quilt photo

Zippy Star Quilt and Pillow as shown in Modern Quilts Unlimited, Summer 2014

Readers seem especially to have enjoyed posts with pictures from various quilt shows, and I know I appreciate those posts when others do them for shows I can’t attend.  Here are links to a few of those:

Here’s a picture from the post on QuiltCon Fashionistas, which was popular:

QuiltCon Fashionista

Julia of the Houston MQG

And here’s one from the post on AQS Charlotte, where I found the talented Jean Larson and her tessellation quilts:

modern quilt AQS

This quilt by Jean Larson won the Original Design award at AQS-Charlotte

Finally, here’s one from the post on the Vermont Quilt Festival, one of my all-time favorite shows:

pieced quilt

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca–my FAVORITE!

In the coming year, I’m planning to update the blog, of course.  I’ll first revise my “About” page, then get to work on adding a gallery.  Please stay tuned!  I appreciate your comments.

9 Quilts from AQS Paducah

Many quilters consider the AQS (American Quilters Society) annual show in Paducah, Kentucky the top of the heap among quilt shows.  So, I just had to go see for myself this year.

AQS Paducah

For Tanya, by Emily and Miriam Coffey, won first place in the Modern Wall Quilt category

Here are some of my favorite quilts from the show.  If some of them look a little wonky, it’s because they hang the quilts in 3-sided booths and then don’t let you into the booth!  The result is that, unless the quilt you want to photograph is directly at the back of the booth, you can’t get a straight shot of it.  Enjoy the pictures anyway!

modern quilts AQS Paducah

Flowers and Gears, by Robbi Joy Eklow, won a ribbon in the Longarm Quilted Small Wall Quilt category

I had a great time in Paducah, because I had a friend with me and we found COOKIES!  Luckily my friend knew where to find good food and a good place to stay 🙂

AQS Paducah modern quilts

It Takes the Case, by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz, won a ribbon in the category of Large Wall Quilts–Pictorial

I have pictures of a few of my favorite quilts here, but on the whole this show had fewer quilts that I really loved than any show I’ve attended in the past year.  Probably because of the emphasis on “show quilts”.

AQS Paducah

In the Marsh #2, by Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry

However, there were some outstanding quilts like the ones above and below.  I suppose they are “show quilts” too, but they are not so heavily quilted that they appear 3-dimensional, and they don’t have rhinestones!

AQS Paducah

Canola Fields, by Leah Gravells, was made of 199 strips 3/4 inch wide–and she got them all straight!

One of the reasons I go to shows is to be inspired, and these quilts certainly were inspiring!

AQS Paducah improvisational quilt

Boardwalks of Asilomar, byt Jody H. Rusconi, was one of the few improvisational quilts in the show

improv quilt AQS Paducah

Playing It, by Pam Beal, was another nice improvisational quilt

quilt photo AQS Paducah

Windows #1-Antigua, by Brenda S. Wall

AQS Paducah

Rainbow Play by Brenda S. Roach

AQS Paducah

Rhythmic, by Karen Neary