Quilt Show Time–NW Quilt Expo

A great annual event almost in my back yard here in Portland, OR. I hadn’t entered any quilts this year, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying what was entered!

I focused on art quilts, prize winners, and dense quilting this year. Or at least those were the items that pulled my camera out of its case.

SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) had its Bridges exhibition hanging. I’d seen it before in Beaverton, but some that I remembered weren’t here and there were some I’d not remembered. So I’m guessing both exhibits were partial. (No possibility of memory failure, of course.) While I enjoyed them all, only one brought the camera out.

A-Linking Europe to Asia

Linking Europe to Asia Anne Doughaty

Some of the quilts were, like this one, bridges over water; other meanings were also represented: bridge, the card game, bridges supporting strings in musical instrument, and from the Beaverton show I remember one of the bridge of the nose.

I think I remember this one was in small quilts, but I thought it should have been in art quilts. (If that isn’t true of this one, there were several I thought could have been better placed, but I think the quilter makes that decision.)

A-Dashes and Dots

Dashes and Dots Tami Graeber

Besides the visual impact, this one sported dense quilting design.

A-Dashes and dots detail

This next one was among the Art, non-representational category.

A-The Value of Value

The Value of Value Sheila Staers

The above one interested me visually, but also because I think value doesn’t get enough attention, generally.

I carefully photographed ribbons so I’d remember which prize a quilt won; however, the print didn’t show up on the photo for most of them. I’ll try harder next year. I did remember a couple. This one took first place in Art, non-representational.

A-Klimt in Blue

Klimpt in Blue Penny Hanscom

I’ll have to go check out Klimpt paintings to understand the inspiration noted in the title.

Next, the best of show.

A-My Secret Garden

My Secret Garden Margaret Solomon Gunn

I don’t always agree with the judges, but this year I did. I liked the design, the color choice, the workmanship in the applique and the quilting. Here’s a sample.

A-My Secret Garden detail

This next first was, I think, in the large quilt category.

A-Colorful Colorado Medallion

Colorful Colorado Medallion Sharon Engel

Not only do I love medallion quilts, but the color progression appealed to me as did the tiny triangles. And the quilting.

A-Colorful Colorado Medallion detail

I think I’d better stop and eat lunch; I’ll post a few more photos in a couple days.

What is your focus when you go to quilt shows?  Is it always the same or does it vary with the show?



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Time passes. It hasn’t been a quilting slump, but a reading frenzy. Starting with last month’s book group book, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I didn’t expect to like this one (don’t like football or war stories), but it ended up more about marketing war and personality interaction, so proved interesting. I don’t always make it, but I do try to finish books for a group.  This month’s book was Parts Per Million. The title sounds like there will be large focus on environmental activists, but it turns out mostly about protests to the second Iraq war.  Another book with interesting character interaction–and set in Portland.  It is always fun to recognize landmarks.

I had been sent a review copy of Aging: An Apprenticeship, a collection of essays grouped by the ages of the writers. I’ve learned that collections of essays are best read separately, so finishing this one took a while, but it has been read and reviewed now (here).

This is my stack of owned books that I intend to read “someday.”


They keep getting set aside for library books on hold that come available, some of which have other holds on them so that I cannot renew. So my book reading priorities keep shifting. Occasionally several holds come available at once in spite of my trying to pace them by how many holds ahead of me.  For example I am currently 600th in line for Woodward’s Fear, and I’m guessing that will be about 4 months (there are 100 copies). I have skipped the other “tell all” books, but Woodward is a different matter.

After hearing an interview with Yossi Klein Halevi, I had to read At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden.  I recommend it to anyone interested in interfaith dialogue. Of course as the author admits, it is about encounters with selected, not necessarily typical, members of Islam and Christian communities. All were those interested in dialogue.

I’ve read mostly fiction lately: Map of Salt and Stars, an interesting mix of ancient myth of a mapmaker and Syrian refugees who follow similar travel routes. I enjoy books that intersperse then relate stories of past and present. Lavinia. I had to read that one after learning that Ursula Le Guin took a character that Virgil had named, but left silent, in the Aeneid and created a whole life and story for her. Because I had liked The English Patient, I had to read Warlight when it came out. I was not as impressed.  On first reading, it seemed the 14-year-old section was too long. I was losing interest about halfway through it, but kept on because the blurb promised adult reflections on it for the second part, and it did seem better in the second half.  Of course that kind of book makes me want to go back and reread the first part for cues I’d missed on first reading. And I may do that, but not now. And I reread Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.  On first reading, when it came out, I’d been so enthralled with the (then unknown to me) history of Rivera/Kahlo/Trotsky that that was all I had remembered. It was like a first reading for the rest of the novel. And that provided an amazing look at how facts could be distorted in the McCarthy era.

And tucked among the more serious books were mysteries by Louise Penny.  I am curently reading the next to the last, so I hope she has another coming out soon.

It’s been a good month and a half.


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Shaggy, Baggy Elephant Finished

The baby quilt started last week (here) is finished. I went to the post office confident of it getting to its destination in time, thinking of the old 2-day service. It is no more. Choice is 3-day or 1-day. Well, since 3-day would get it there a day after the shower, I took a deep breath and sprang for 1-day. It seemed important enough. Had I known the options, I would have tried harder to finish it by Wednesday. But this way I could pick up the books and add them to the package. It seemed the story should go along with it. There was an original Little Golden Book version and a board book. Seemed good to have both.

2 saggy bound

40 x 60 inches

Up close the peach blends better as there are peach strips on the tug boat and orange flowers. But from a distance, not so much. The border is more thematically related than color related.

And though I had enough fabric that I didn’t need to piece the back, what else would I do with the panels that were to be the covers had I made a book? I’d intended the panels to be less centered, but by the time I trimmed, they had edged middlewise.

2 saggy back

The back fabric had 17 color dots!  I think that is the most I have seen on a print, though there are usually more than colors I have noticed in a print.

I quilted it in a simple, big meander.

I’ll like with the Friday finish sites (buttons in sidebar).



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Group Project: 9 Cuts

It all started with Thomas Knauer‘s Quilt Design Coloring Workbook. The small group in my modern quilt guild that focuses on design was working on some of the starters. One in the ‘Chance and Intuition in Modern Art’ suggested seeing how many shapes we could make by drawing 9 lines. One member made a block using 9 cuts of random fabrics.

From that the idea morphed to make a group quilt.  Each would have two fat quarters of the same fabric, one a background color and one a print. Each would add a third coordinating fat quarter of their choice. Basically we would make a cut, then shift top fabric to bottom on one piece, then either cut again or seam. Eight times.  We saved the 9th for when we would get together.  Here are my three blocks.

We had a sew day yesterday.  I wish I had thought to get a photo of each person’s blocks; however, we were too into next step planning. We set aside one of each set to keep whole, then piled two stacks of three and one of four and made the 9th cut, shifted one piece and added small insert strips of accent colors. We did this to better distribute the colors.

Next we had a discussion of whether to trim to standard squares the size of the longest possible edge on the smallest block or to trim each block’s four sides to the largest they could be. We did the latter.

Here is an early layout.

2 early layout

Of course much rearranging followed. And since the blocks were not all the same size, much measuring as well. We added varying amounts of blue on the sides of each block and  blue wherever it was needed to get to a straight seam across.

And here is the top, all but the final border to get it to twin size.

2 top sans bordr

It was quite fun. If you plan to try something similar, be forewarned that it took a lot of time. We started at 10ish, took a lunch break, and packed up  a little after 6.  Early on we had two sewing machines, then three. But often we had to wait to see a row before making final decisions on the next row. Or a third seam couldn’t be sewn till we got a piece back from its second seam. We used some of the waiting time for math but some was just waiting.

I’ll be linking with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters and Tuesday Colour Linky Party (buttons in sidebar).


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Baby Quilt and Little Golden Books

As a kid, I loved Little Golden Books. So I was tickled when I saw fabric based on them. I snatched it up because I knew it wouldn’t be around long. Twice. Then I didn’t see it again. I can’t imagine it didn’t sell. Maybe Quilting Treasures stopped after two? Anyway, I got Pokey Little Puppy (made up rather quickly, a very long time ago–here) and The Shaggy, Baggy Elephant (has been in waiting).

1 detail

Its day has come–a shower for my great-niece. (It’s okay, she doesn’t read my blog.)

I’ll have to trim the blocks. They were made to be a book, so not precise squares. Hence, when I cut 1/2 inch beyond the white, the “squares” came out crooked.  So I’ll make it so that no brown edge shows. Might look better than edging anyway. (Looks like that is what I did the first time too.)

I started out thinking blue or green sashing, but noticed the peach in most of the “pages.” I rather liked it and then thought to the cornerstones.  Again I started out thinking green, but it got too bright against the peach. So I went to a warm brown (that I will use for binding too).

1 plain

Ah, but there in the pile of batiks to be put away was this brown with green splotches.

1 green spot

I thought it might draw too much attention to itself, but it doesn’t seem to. So I’ll use it.

I’ll make a narrow border of the binding brown then use this print for final borders.

1 border

It almost looks like the intent had been to make all those stories. Or maybe they did, and I found the fabric only near the end of the series. I think this piece was in with a batch of fabric someone gave me. The quilt back will be from companion fabric I bought that is more like the inner cover of the books.

1 back

ETA: The date on each of the three selvages is 2009.

A couple intense sewing days are in my future. Deadlines do help progress.

Linking with the Clever Chamelion’s color linky party.



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Door Prize

As do most guilds,  the Portland Modern Quilt Guild offers door prizes at meetings.  I’d say theirs are a couple notches above the quality of other door prizes I’ve experienced.  There are usually three or so, and we can put our ticket into the jar by the one we want.

Well, my mind was drifting because I rarely win when suddenly I realized my name had, in fact, been called.

door prise

Lots of stuff: patterns, fat quarters, thread, buttons . . .  The book is the one the guild is using to inspire rainbow quilts for next summer’s area at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

The packets of mini-charms will become doll quilts, as I have done before.  The charms will become Mendota blocks.

What’s a Mendota block? I’m so glad you asked. When Sunshine Online Guild has a retreat, we all make blocks to an assigned pattern; the pattern becomes known by the town of the retreat (like my recent Tahoe quilt finish from the retreat at Lake Tahoe). The Mendota block is an off-center framed square. Retreat is coming up in 2019–we plan ahead.

I’ll pet the fat quarters until they tell me what they want to become.

Our speaker was Chawne Kimber.  If you don’t know her work, it’s worth a look. The link goes to her general gallery; you will also see a tab “NSFW.” I had to look up “NSFW”; from listening to the quilts’ stories, I knew what to expect, but I didn’t know the abbreviation. In case you need to know too, it means “not safe for work,” an alert for language without bleeps or asterisks.) If you weren’t going to click, I’ll bet you are now.

Chawne is one of my inspirations for political quilts.


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Lan Su Chinese Garden and Rose Parade

It’s been a couple years since I last visited the Chinese Garden.  Out of town guests prompted me to renew my membership. As is my usual custom, we did the tour (I always learn something new) and sipped tea in the tea room.

I’ve always appreciated the carved panels. Previous guides have mentioned that each of the four represented historic philosophers’ gardens in China.

ls wood panel

This guide pointed out that this panel showed the garden that the design of Lan Su was mostly based upon, noting the tea room (top), pagoda, and zigzag bridge. And here is the bridge in the garden.

ls zigzag bridge distant

Previously I’d heard the lore that the zigzag made it more difficult for evil spirits to cross; this time the explanation was more mundane.  It delayed passage, slowing people down, giving the experience of a larger garden. For a real philosopher’s garden would also be a small space in a busy city, made to look/represent large. As in the “mountain” and waterfall.

ls waterfall

Sometimes the idea is all that is needed.

Then to the tea room.

ls View

This time we were seated upstairs where we got an overview of the garden.

And tea.

ls tea in tearoom

Each kind of tea has its own kind of pot and cup. I especially liked this delicate flowerlike cup for the Black tea with rose petals (timely because of the rose parade).

Here is the Lan Su float for the rose parade.

ls float front

Yes, I was a wimp and viewed from inside on a chair! But floats were on the street later for close-up looks.


I have more float photos; maybe another day.






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