Shipshewana Quilt Festival 1 – Fangirling

Last Friday, three friends and I went to the Shipshewana Quilt Festival. This was the second time that Carolyn and I have gone down for the day. Amy and Stephanie joined us this year and a good time was had by all. There will be a few posts on this trip over the next couple of days.

Today I am playing the fangirl. Before I get to that, however, allow me to mention one of the biggest highlights of this trip. I got to meet Kathy Mathews of  Quilting, Sewing, Creating fame. We’ve known each other online for several years now, but this was our first in person meeting. I had asked the Twitter Facebook group whether anyone would be at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival because I was going on Friday. Kathy had replied that she usually goes on Saturday, so I didn’t expect to see her there. Near the end of our quilt show time, just prior to food, I heard a voice call my name and looked up to see Kathy. It was just like running into a friend I haven’t seen in a long time and I can’t wait to see her again sometime. I was sooooo excited! Can you tell from the picture? (I’m the short one.)

Now on to some quilts. Since I’m calling this part fangirling, we will start with some quilts by one of my favorite quilters, Margaret Solomon Gunn. You remember that I reviewed her book earlier, right? And how much I adore her quilting? Well, she had entered three quilts in the show. The first was Twisted Sister, which took first place in the Machine Quilted category.

Yes, those are hexagons that she made by hand. I’m sorry the zebra print around the outside of the hexagon flowers doesn’t really show up well, but you’ll just have to go see this for yourself someday. I did take some close-ups of the amazing quilting.

This quilting is amazing. Want to see it a little closer? Note, the clusters in between those feathers are hexagons, not circles.

Now that you’ve seen the borders, here is a bit of a look at the area between the hexagons. And some of the outsides of the hexagons too. Here it is!

This next quilt is one that I saw at the AQS Grand Rapids show last August. It is Ode to Spring, also by Margaret Solomon Gunn. It took First Place in the Mixed Media Large Category. 

And here is a little closeup of the quilting. I’m sorry it is a bit blurry. 

And the final Margaret Solomon Gunn quilt is Illuminations which took first place in the Pieced, Large category. This is the quilt in front of which Kathy and I are standing. And a couple of closeups of the quilting:

I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I did.

One last fangirl quilt for this post, and then I’ll end this for now. I’m a fan of Claudia Pfeil’s quilts ever since the special exhibit of her quilts at the Grand Rapids AQS show a couple of years ago. She had one here this year. This is Fractal, an honorable mention in the Mixed Media Large category. They don’t show up well here, but there are 30,000 (yes, I said 30,000) Swarovski crystals along with all of the other embellishments. I have a feeling this quilt is very heavy. It is also very gorgeous.

I’ll post a few more quilts in a future post. In the meantime,

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Design Inspirations

Welcome back to Books on Monday. Today we are looking at Design Inspirations by Margaret Solomon Gunn.(Yes, in a few minutes I will go all fangirl, but first we’ll get the basics out of the way. Yes, that is an Amazon link which will help support this blog.

If you are interested in learning about the design process of an award-winning quilter (or anyone who isn’t you), then this is the book for you. In this book, Margaret Solomon Gunn tells the reader about herself and her quilts and how she made them. The book includes patterns for three of her award-winning quilts including quilting suggestions. (Who does that?) It also includes a gallery of many of her quilts, and information about how she got started.

If you have been to a major show in the last few years, you have probably seen a quilt by Margaret Solomon Gunn. You’ve probably seen one with a ribbon on it. I know I’ve seen two of the three quilts that are patterned in this book in person (Zen Garden more than once). Her quilts are gorgeous and so is the quilting. I’ve been following her blog for quite some time and have seen enough of her quilting that when I saw a quilt at the Shipshewana show last June that was not made by her, I looked at the quilting and thought, “That looks like some of Margaret Solomon Gunn’s quilting.) When I looked closely at the identification card, sure enough she had quilted it.

Will I use this book to make a quilt just like Zen Garden? Nope. At least I think I can say that pretty definitely. Will I learn to quilt as beautifully and intricately as Margaret Solomon Gunn? No. But I appreciate the look at how it is done, and I may happily use elements from some of the quilts in future quilts of my own. (I admit to having my eye on the pointy flowers from Zen Garden.)

The patterns in the book are presented differently from patterns in books that are straight up project books. First, there is an introduction to the quilt, including the process she went through to design it and showing some alternate ideas she tried along the way. (For example, she admits to thinking that the tan background for Zen Garden is ugly and covering up as much as possible with appliqué.) She also includes how she decided on some of the quilting in this section. The section ends with a list of the awards which that quilt has one.

Next, she gives you the pattern for the quilt itself. The pattern looks a little different from other patterns and includes quite a bit of annotation about the best ways to do things. That is followed by a section on the quilting motifs she used and how to do them or something close to them. There are gorgeous close up shots of the quilting too. She does this for each of the three quilts. Forty pages of the book cover the pattern for Zen Garden, if you want an idea of how detailed this is.

Here’s what the table of contents looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Quilts of Margaret Solomon Gunn
  • Zen Garden
  • Autumn’s Splendor
  • Bouquet Royale
  • Preparing Turned Edge Appliqué
  • A Few Words from Margaret

I haven’t fangirled too much have I? Check out her blog too! She educates and shares there also.

Quilt on!