Sunday, April 13, 2008

Notes from the International Quilt Festival, Chicago, April 2008

Walking through the miles of the vendor marketplace is intense, and can be overwhelming. When I need a break, it's a good time to walk through the quilts on display. There's more space, and places for eyes to rest, and usually fewer people. It's cooler, too. I saw lots of beautiful quilts and got lots of inspiration. I'm more interested in the art quilts than the traditional pieced quilts. I took many pictures for my own study. However, I am reluctant to post someone else's work without their permission for copyright reasons.

I'm still intrigued by the journal quilts and the larger "Page from my Book" exhibit. These are meant to be experimental pieces, where the artist tries a new technique or medium. I still haven't mustered the discipline (or time) to consistently do a monthly journal quilt.

They published a book about the Journal Quilt Project called Creative Quilting :


  • Saw a lecture from Deb Caffery where she gave a great tip on borders. She suggested cutting borders parallel to the salvege edge of the border fabric. This is a great way to keep the borders from warping.
  • Saw a demo for marbled dye patterns with shaving cream at one vendor stand. They made it fast, clean and easy compared to my mess-making last summer. They used Tsukineko inks dribbled on and "mixed" with toothpicks. The fabric is pressed on top of the shaving cream pallet, and lifted off. The cream is scraped off, and the color stays on the fabric. It can then be heat set.
  • Lois Jarvis, the Rust-Tex Lady suggested tavelling with a Paint Sticks kit (mini-paint sticks, baby wipes, sip-lock bags, paper towels and masking tape) and a silk scarf. Then, at least once a day, take rubbings of textures of where you are --- metal grates, bathroom floors, textured tiles, etc. At the end of your trip, you'll have a nice memento ...

My original plan for attending this show was to test-drive the many long-arm quilting machines on display there--under one roof. I have since given up on that idea for the moment (though the one on my wishlist is the Tin Lizzie 18LS). Here's why this is not the right time :
  • I don't have space for the frame
  • I don't produce enough quilt tops / year to justify the $8K price tag
  • I don't plan on making it a business (I need health insurance)
  • I'm not independently wealthy
At the same time, trying to quilt a bed-size quilt on a small home sewing machine has been a real struggle for me. Having a frame and a "mobile" machine would make that task a whole lot easier ...

I was hoping to convince my mom and my aunt to go in on it with me. We'd be co-owners and keep it at my mom's house (she has the space). They haven't gone for it yet ... So for now, I'll keep quilting, and dreaming, and saving my pennies ...

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