Thursday, January 23, 2014

Current and Upcoming Exhibits

If you haven't been to Government House yet to see the Fiber Artists exhibit, your time is running out - you only have two more days - tomorrow (Friday) and Monday. I hope to get there tomorrow to take some photos and if that happens, I'll add some here. This is always a wonderful exhibit of very high calibre work so I urge you to visit Government House to see it for yourself. Admission is free.

If you missed our meeting on Tuesday evening, you will want to make your way to Memorial Hall on UNB campus during February to see the exhibit The Secret Codes: Contemporary African Nova Scotian Narrative and Picture Quilts as well as selections from King's Landing's Leek-Taylor collection. The official opening of the exhibit will be next Friday Jan. 31st at 5p.m. "This exhibit features 25 quilts by members of the Vale Quiltmakers Association from the New Glasgow area of Nova Scotia. The quiltmakers explored this medium as a vehicle for story-telling, using the drawings of  artist, writer and curator David Woods, as well as their own designs to create a series of quilts that capture community history. "The Secret Codes" refers to the use of quilts as a subversive medium to guide escaping slaves to the Underground Railroad." An email has gone out to members with info on the other events being held in conjunction with this exhibit. See below.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

More Black and White

Here are a few more photos from the Black and White Challenge done by the Martin Co. Quilter's Guild of Stuart, Florida. I have already shown, in the previous post, the two Challenge entries by Sandi MacMillan, both ribbon winners. Here are some more of the entries by her fellow Guild members in MCQG. They were all interesting, and this show got lots of attention as it was hung just outside the only entrance into the main Show hall, a prime spot!
The pieces had to be done in black and white, but there was the option of adding up to two more colors, providing they did not make up more than 25% of the surface of the quilt. The lighting was poor (worse in some areas than others) and therefore a real challenge for photography. Despite trying every setting on my camera, I could not get a true white  and true black in some photos, so I apologize now for those which appear yellowish- the yellow really should be white. I have added some of the photos here and others on my personal blog which you can see by clicking here. 

Compromise by Joan Carman tells the story of black and white in opposition to each other. She placed a red square in the middle, with an embroidered cherry blossom, to soften the animosity of black and white to each other.
The cherry blossom and the quilting are in the Japanese Sashiko style. The quilting on the upper left is called "tasuki" - crossed cords, and on the lower right -"tate-waku" -rising steam.
The ribbon is for "Best - Traditional".

In Search of Inner Peace  by Sylvia Montgomery. "My inspiration was that a labyrinth, one path with many turns, leads to a center. When the mind is ready, the path provides a spiritual journey.
Hand appliquéd, longarm quilted, includes silk ribbon embroidery.

Has Anybody Here Seen...?  by Joey Mettley.
"In memory of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The event that changed America, ended our innocence, and all that followed, known as the 60's. It won an Honorable Mention ribbon for Embellishment.

Zippers in my Garden by Eyvonne Smith.
"I learned to make zipper flowers at a demo and thought they would add just the right touch to my challenge. I think it did, and I had fun in the process."
The Butterfly by M.N. Feemster.
"This quilt was inspired by a photo of a white butterfly I once saw. I used coral and lime colors that pop and give the quilt a little zing."
The ribbon is for Best Machine Appliqué.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Karen Marchetti.
"This Zentangle is my own design and was specifically drawn for this challenge. The "inking" used Pentel gel pens and took over 80 hours to do. My longarm quilting completed it."
The ribbon is for Best Machine Quilting.

Detail shot of  Down the Rabbit Hole so you can appreciate Karen's amazing longarm quilting.

EDIT: I have just found Karen Marchetti's blog.
Click here to read the story of the creation of this incredible Zentangle quilt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello from Florida!

Hello from sunny warm Florida!! Sorry this has taken longer than I expected... We have been putting in long days, and then I've had some camera problems so preparing this post has been a bit of a challenge. I am so lucky (and thankful) to be visiting Sandi MacMillan at her home in Florida. We have just spent three full (and I DO mean full) days at the World Quilt Show in West Palm Beach. As well as the World Show, there were 17 other concurrent shows! (and yes, we did every one of them!) Two of those shows were by the two guilds here in Stuart that Sandi belongs to: Martin Co. QG and Gone to Pieces. Both of these two Guilds put in an exhibit of their 2013 Challenge quilts.

The Martin Co. Guild's Challenge was "Black and White". Members were to make a black and white piece, with the option of adding up to two other colors, as long as their combined total did not exceed 25% of the surface of the quilt. Sandi entered two challenge pieces, did not add any additional color on either, and won ribbons on both of them! Is This my Best Side? done in white bridal satin and black leather, won Best of Show in the Challenge.

Sandi machine quilted it, and upon close inspection you can identify creatures in the quilting- an elephant, a hyena, flamingoes and antelope. The hand painted glass eye was very realistic! Great work Sandi!! (The lighting at the Show left a lot to be desired, and all pieces were hung on black drape; I apologize for the quality of these photos. Exposure was a real challenge!)

Her other piece, It Makes No Difference - Black or White won Honorable Mention for Machine Appliqué. Sandi created the vertical striped fabric by strip-piecing, cut the figures and machine appliquéd them. It is her statement on the blending of cultures.

The Gone to Pieces Guild is much smaller, and they exhibited their 2013 Challenge "Curve Appeal". The pieces ranged from modern takes on Drunkards Path, Bargello  and a variety of other designs with curved lines. Sandi's "take" on curves was original as she designed this voluptuous lady, under the careful scrutiny of her husband who took great interest in making sure she got the curves "just right"... It seems our Sandi never takes the easy road, this piece was done with bridal satin and silver lamé appliquéd on a background of satin brocade fabric. Again, an awesome piece of work. This Guild does not do awards or ribbons, but take my word for it, this piece is worthy of a ribbon!!

I will be posting again with more pics from this show, and many of the others, but not until I'm home (midweek). Until then, Sandi and I are waving hello from Florida....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!!! Perfect quilting weather!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all safe and warm and spending some time with your sewing machine when it's too cold to be outside. Haven't we been getting some incredible winter weather?!! For those who ski or do other outdoor winter sports, I guess all this snow is great.. for the rest of us, it provides a good excuse to stay inside and sew/quilt!!
I am off tomorrow on a little "jaunt" - I won't tell you where, I'll keep you guessing, but watch here later this week for some photos... I'll be seeing a Guild member who has several pieces in a BIG Quilt Show... complete with ribbons!!! Hopefully I'll have a few photos to post, so check back here on the weekend...
Until then, here is another in the Thread Series from Bob Purcell at Superior Threads, reprinted with permission from the Education portion of their newsletter.  This article explains all about their King Tut thread....

As far as I can tell, we are the only thread company that can honestly say our cotton threads (King Tut and MasterPiece) are extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. Dozens of other thread companies label their cotton threads as 'Egyptian cotton, made in China,' or 'Egyptian cotton, made in India,' or other countries.  That is dishonest. True Egyptian-grown cotton accounts for less than 1% of the world’s cotton, so it is not possible that all the threads, clothing, bed sheets, and towels that claim to be "Egyptian cotton" are really Egyptian cotton.  King Tut and MasterPiece are certified extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. This is why we guarantee every spool or cone we sell.  It really is the best available. 

King Tut is an extremely low-lint #40/3 extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton thread. It is different from all other cotton quilting threads because the high-quality nature of the raw products and the special processing it undergoes. Below are points which detail why King Tut is nature’s finest thread.

Perfect Growing Conditions
The best cotton in the world is grown in the Nile Delta region of Egypt. Because this geographic area has an excellent combination of weather and nutrient-rich soil from the Nile River, the cotton produced here is premium. Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton is the highest-quality cotton thread available.

Extremely Low Lint
When cotton thread comes into contact with a machine, needle, or fabric, some lint will rub off.  Lint buildup is not good, as it can cause problems inside the bobbin case, tension area, and clogging the thread path which results in poor stitch quality.  King Tut is an extremely low-lint thread due to the nature of extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton and the special processing it undergoes.

Increased Twist
Although it is never printed on labels, thread twist is measured by the number of twists applied per meter.  Why is this important? A loosely twisted thread requires less total fiber, unravels easily, and is less expensive to manufacture.  Regular cotton thread may have as few as 150 twists per meter (think of a budget thread that can easily be untwisted by rubbing it between your fingers.)  King Tut has almost seven times as many twists per meter, resulting in a smooth, consistent surface.

Mercerized Cotton
Although the main difference in cotton quality is determined by the staple length, processing also contributes to the quality of thread.  Most cotton threads are mercerized whether it is stated on the label or not.  Mercerizing is the process of treating cotton thread in a special solution, which causes the fibers to swell. This allows dye to better penetrate the fibers, resulting in even coloration and strengthened fibers.  King Tut thread is mercerized.

Extra-Long Staple
The overall strength and quality of cotton thread is often measured by the length of the staple. Staples are the individual fibers from a cotton boll. King Tut is certified as Egyptian-grown,  EXTRA-LONG  staple cotton.  This is the highest grade cotton in the world and is one reason why King Tut thread is smooth, strong, and has extremely low lint.

Precision Dyeing
Variegated King Tut colors are precision-dyed with uniform one-inch color change intervals. The benefits of precision-dyeing are consistent color flow, even color distribution, and uniform appearance.  You know how the thread will appear in any part of your quilt.

Gassed Cotton
ng Tut undergoes a special process called gassing.  Gassing refers to passing a cotton thread at a high speed though flame, which burns off excess fuzz and lint. This process gives threads a brighter and smoother appearance.  You can tell whether or not a cotton thread is gassed by the length of fuzz on a strand of cotton thread. If the fuzz has very little variation and appears uniformly short in length, it has been gassed. A non-gassed thread will have a combination of short, medium, and long fuzz in an irregular pattern. Reduced fuzz means less lint displaced inside your machine.  King Tut thread is gassed.  We don’t have room on the label to print all the details such as Mercerized and Gassed, but I’ve seen some labels advertising their thread as “Double Mercerized” and “Double Gassed.” I asked our factory technicians about this and their response was, “If it were done properly the first time, there would never be a reason do double mercerize or double gas the thread.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let's hope 2014 is full of good health, happiness and prosperity for all. Oh yes, let's not forget LOTS of time for quilting!! Did you get a new quilting gadget or book for Christmas that you'd like to tell us all about? If so, let me know...

And in case you didn't already know, both our local shops have sales on these next few days... (just in case Santa forgot something that was on your Wish List.....)

Our January meeting date is Jan. 21st.. Until then, stay warm! I'm coping with all this snow and cold weather by spending some time in my sewing room- are you doing the same?