Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming up... September Opportunity Quilts and Shows !

A bevy of beautiful opportunity quilts are on deck this September in the US and Canada. Follow the links below for complete information on the quilts and guilds, and for even more September shows!


Row 1, L-R: Kansas Capital Quilters Guild (Sept 18-19),  Prairie Piecemakers Quilters Guild (Saskatchewan, Sept 25-26), Herring Run Quilt Guild (Massachusetts, Sept 18-19), Sandhills Quilters Guild (North Carolina, Sept 24-25). Row 2 : Mississippi Valley Quilters Guild  (Iowa, Sept 24-25), Coastal Quilters Guild, Inc. (California, Sept 24-25), Napa Valley Quilters Guild (California, Sept 19), Vereins Quilt Guild (Texas, Sept 3-5). Row 3: Kaw Valley Quilters Guild (Kansas, September 20 raffle drawing), Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Guild (Missouri, Sept 23-25), Austin Area Quilt Guild (Texas, Sept 17-19), South Valley Quilt Association (California, Sept 25-26), . Row 4: Cabarrus Quilters Guild (North Carolina, Sept 24-25), Sierra Quilt Guild (California, Sept 18-19), Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild  (South Carolina, Sept 17-18), Quilt Fest in Jacksonville (Florida, Sept 23-25)

More notable showsWisconsin Quilt Expo (Sept 9-11); Hells Canyon Mule Days 8th Annual Quilt Show (Oregon, Sept 10-12); Sully Historic Site Annual Quilt Show (Virginia, Sept 12);  Trinity Valley Quilters Guild Show (Texas, Sept 17-19); Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza (Sept 16-19), Heritage Quilters Guild (Illinois, Sept 25-26),  Quilting in the Garden (California, Sept 25-26), Bennington Quilt Fest (Vermont, Sept 18-19), Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild (Georgia, Sept 18-19), Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Cadbury-at-Lewes Quilt and Art Festival (Delaware, Sept 10-11), Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Fibrefest (Ontario, Canada, Sept 11-12), Gems of the Prairie Quilt Guild (Illinois, Sept 25-26), Quilters Guild of North Dakota (Sept 24-26), Country Quilters Guild (New York, Sept 25-26), The Northwest Quilting Expo (Oregon, Sept 23-25); San Diego Quilt Show (California, Sept 16-18)

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Best of Cat Quilts! Part Three

Here we go... Part Three (and the grand finale) of The Best of Cat Quilts !  As we mentioned in Part One, we "previewed" over 150 cat quilts in order to select the best for this series. Some of the quilts we showed last week make us feel as if the cats could jump right off the page! Today we're including some more contemporary styles:  silhouettes, pieced cats, abstract cats, and some cool tessellations. Read on for The Best of Cat Quilts - Part Three (and a request to readers: we'd love to see any outstanding quilts that we missed !)

Stairway to Cat Heaven, 52 x 52, by Marty Mason, at Marty's Fiber Musings


Marty Mason is a fiber artist who creates original art quilts and thread paintings, along with a selection of classic quilts.  Her striking "Stairway To Cat Heaven"  is a beautiful rendition of the popular quilt which first appeared in 1997 (links to the pattern can be found at the bottom of this post.)  The quilt shown above has been sold, but you can read about it on Marty Mason's blog, where you can also see Kitty Cat Charm.   Marty Mason's original fiber art works can be found at Marty's Fiber Musings on Etsy, including one of our favorites, the abstract art quilt known as  Architect's Dream #2. We can't help but mention that we are smitten with Marty's original thread paintings of pretty ladies in smart hats; check out her fabulous recent works !

Cat Nap, by Cynthia England, at England Design


Cynthia England is an internationally known quilting instructor and pattern designer, who is best known for the stunning quilts she makes with Picture Piecing. Cynthia's innovative technique breaks the design down into pieces that can be sewn using straight seams. Her elegant Cat Nap quilt pattern, above, is one of our favorites: it features a serene gray cat reclining on a red-and-ivory quilt. You have only to look at the amazing detail of the cat's face, shown below, to appreciate the piecework.


Cynthia England's most recognized art quilt, Piece and Quiet, was chosen as one of the "The Twentieth Century's Best American Quilts" in 2000. Piece and Quiet has over 8000 pieces and it is so realistic that it appears to be a photograph!  Don't be intimidated, though: Cynthia has made her techniques easy to learn with a book and with free videos, and two free patterns so that quilters can try the technique.  Also check out Quilter's Kitty, and the many gorgeous patterns in Cynthia England's landscape and nature galleries.

Porcelain Cat, 26 x 31, by Jane Spolar, at Quilt Poetry


Jane Spolar's quilts and fabrics exemplify her distinctive, lyrical style. Porcelain Cat dreams the dream of life and chasing, naps and frolic, flowers, a garden, and a friendly lap.  Another lovely cat quilt, Contented, bears the description: "Contented as a cat in the flowers". Also, if you are seeking bliss, take a look at Bliss, Jane Spolar's luscious fabric line for Northcott Silk.

Kitty Corner Cats, 35 x 35, by Ruth Powers, at Ruth Powers Art Quilts


Since taking up the art of quilting in 1989, Ruth Powers has gained national recognition for her award-winning quilts. Her works hang in private collections from coast to coast.  "Kitty Corner Cats" is another classic, with its combination of playful cats and "catty-wampus pieced blocks". (What an apt description... cattywampus really sums it up !) The pattern can be obtained on the Kitty Corner Cats page; also you can browse Fat Cat Dreaming, and Ruth Powers' many other inspiring patterns and recent works.

Garden Patch Cats, about 18 x 18 each, by Helene Knott, as seen at StoryQuilts


Helene Knott is a designer and teacher whose quilts have received worldwide acclaim. We adore her stylish Garden Patch Cats, and are showing six of our favorites: Pumpkat, Gourdo Gato, Eggplant Purr-mesan, Boscat, Walla Walla Kitty, and Kitt'ney Bean. A total of fourteen cats are available as of this writing, and Helene reportedly has drawings for many more !  StoryQuilts also carries Helene's marvelous Postcards from Japan and other designs. Helene's brochure includes all of her workshops, along with images of many of her spectacular quilts.

Sawtooth Cats, 64.5 x 80, by Janet Miller, at the City Stitcher


Janet Miller has been quilting since she was 12 years old; her many bestselling designs can be found at The City Stitcher, which she founded.   The charming "Sawtooth Cats" is one of our favorite pieced cat quilts. The curved backs and tails of the cats, and the borders, are made with paper foundation piecing in a sawtooth pattern. This quilt is perfect for scrap fabrics.

Kitty Memories, 60.5 x 62, designed by Dawn Navarro Ericson, quilted by Pamela Dransfeldt, and published by McCalls Quilting


Dawn Navarro Ericson is an artist and illustrator, whose original designs include the very clever Copy Cat Quilts. One of Dawn's ingenious tessellation quilts is Kitty Memories, published by McCalls Quilting. If Kitty Memories is turned upside down, the dark cats appear, and if you click to enlarge the above image you can see the embellishments, which include dimensional cat collars and tags.  The McCall's web bonus includes photos of additional cat faces and a line drawing of the assembled quilt. 

Copy Cat Quilt, designed by Dawn Navarro Ericson, quilted by Pamela Dransfeldt, and published by Martingale and Company®


Finally, we're so pleased to be able to show you the ultra-cool quilt that  graces the cover of Copy Cat Quilts.  First published in the 1980's, this award-winning pattern has been updated with contemporary quilting techniques... it is a perennial favorite, and a definite Best of Cat Quilt !

And now (drum roll, please....) a request !   In  compiling The Best of Cat Quilts we previewed 150 quilts, and then selected the best 15 quilts to showcase in this series.  We're pretty sure there are some exceptional quilts we haven't seen, and we would love to know about them !  Please leave a link in the Comments below (et merci !)

Image credits and additional links: Images are shown with the generous permission of the artists. Stairway to Cat Heaven: Fabric requirements and applique templates are available at McCalls Quilting, and the complete pattern can be purchased from the Quilt and Sew ShopFeline-friendly blogs:  SewCalGal has just wrapped up her Pets On Quilts Show, with some wonderful photos of real pets on real quilts ! Also check out these blogs: Felines and Fibre Arts, Cats and Quilts, Cats On My Quilts, Cats Who Quilt, and Quilt Tales and Cat Tails.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Best of Cat Quilts! Part Two

One of the things that has been so exciting about this Best of Cat Quilts series is the amazing range of  techniques and styles that these artists have brought to their works. We think that today's artists will knock your socks off with their sublime creations. All we can say is: Life (in quilting) is good! We hope you enjoy The Best of Cat Quilts - Part Two.

My Cats Garden, 52 x 50, by Maggie Walker, at Maggie Walker Design


"My Cats Garden", by Maggie Walker, is a wonder to behold. This dreamy album quilt features exotic cats and tropical orchids, set against a luminous backdrop. The quilt includes a striking Burmese, Birman Blue Point, American Tabby, Persian, Abyssinian, Maine Coon, British Tabby, and an Egyptian Mau (wow! Did you know that the Egyptian Mau is the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat? You can "spot" him in the lower left of the quilt.) The center medallion, shown below, features a Bombay and Siamese Lilac Point cat frolicking in an idyllic garden.


Many talented quilters have fallen in love with My Cats Garden: take a look at one fabulous rendition here (the related post is here.) For more information and the complete pattern, visit the My Cats Garden page. Cat fanciers and quilters should also look at Maggie's delightful House Cats. We're enthusiastic about so many of Maggie Walker's quilts that we could go on and on... instead, we'll simply invite you to browse all of the designs at Maggie Walker Design.

Jamie and Jessie, by Grace J. Errea, at Amazing Quilts by Grace



Amazing quilts by Grace....it's not only the name of a website, but an accurate description of the quilts of Grace J. Errea.  A contemporary fiber artist, designer and quilter (and cat owner), Grace J. Errea began quilting in 2000. Her exceptional work illustrates and has been recognized for its primary use of values, and secondary use of color. Her focus on value is fundamental to her inspiring botanicals, landscape scenes and portraits... you can clearly see how this approach works in practice by looking at this fascinating before-and-after picture of the cat shown above, from Grace's photo-inspired art quilt workshop (you'll be amazed !)  Also take a look at her brilliant - and fierce - Eagle.  You can see an entire list of inspiring classes on her workshop page. For a visual treat, visit Grace J. Errea's online galleries.

Kitty Corner, 89.5 x 89.5, by Janet Fogg, at Janet Fogg Quilts


We've admired Janet Fogg's quilts for a long time, and it perhaps goes without saying that Kitty Corner is magnificent. It is no surprise that this quilt has won three Viewers Choice awards, four first place awards, and one best of show award in the competitive quilt arena (for the entire list of awards, click on the above link). We can only imagine just how impressive this Kitty must be, considering the grand scale of this quilt (89.5" square) !  If you have not yet seen Janet Fogg's gallery, we promise that you will be mesmerized by her original, artistic creations (cat lovers and quilters: be sure to take a look at the regal kitty named Neferkiti). Recently, Janet announced the opening of her quilting design studio, which is housed in a restored 1917 colonial near Portland, Oregon; you can read about her studio and workshops on her design studio page.

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of the artists; we sincerely thank them for their inspiring works.

Stay tuned! On Friday we'll post the third and final installment of The Best of Cat Quilts, featuring some very cool cats with a contemporary flair. As a friend of ours would say: Be there, or be !

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Best of Cat Quilts! Part One

Every cat owner knows that cats love quilts... and we love cats. Thus it makes purr-fect sense that the cat is one of the most popular motifs in all of quilting.  In order to seek out the best cat quilts from around the world, we "previewed" over 150 Cat Quilts (and we are not making that up). We are so excited to show you our very favorites, in three parts, with our thanks to all of the artists for their inspiring work. Stay tuned... you won't want to miss any of 'em !

Look Out for Scout, 35 x 39, by Penny Sander


When we came across "Look Out for Scout", by Penny Sander, the word that came to mind was: breathtaking. The quilt won first prize for wall quilts in 2009 at the Rising Star Quilt Show. Scout's face contains 16 colors and over 1000 one-inch rectangles. In a word: Wow. The quilt will also be shown this November at the 2010 International Quilt Festival in Houston (if you're going, you can look for it there!) The quilt featuring Scout is not the first of Penny Sander's award-winning quilts: she also created the fabulous Where's Buddy as part of a 2006 quilt challenge (black and white with one accent color). "Where's Buddy" used over 2000 one-inch rectangles to depict the cat in pictorial form; that quilt won first prize for Challenge Quilts at the 2006 RSQ show (if you click on the link, you can read about "Where's Buddy" and ogle all of the winning quilts). Also note that the 2010 Rising Star Quilt show is coming up soon: October 16-17 in Lexington, MA !

In His Dreams, 30 x 34, by Sharon Malec, at Malec Designs


Sharon Malec is a contemporary quilter who creates original art quilts, and a line of patterns, under her eponymous site: Malec Designs. Sharon is best known for her realistic depictions of dogs and other animals. Her highly regarded books include The Dog Lady Speaks and The Dog Lady Goes Wild. However, do not be deceived by the unassuming moniker of "The Dog Lady"... among her achievements, one of her quilts -"Barking up the Wrong Tree" - is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah. Sharon Malec's designs even include a lion, tiger, and bear. One of her recent creations is the magnificent "In His Dreams", shown above (click on the image to enlarge it and view the exquisite detail). Additional designs in the cat kingdom include a lifelike tabby cat and the dignified black and white cat shown below.

Black and White Cat, 25 x 11, by Sharon Malec, at Malec Designs


Finally, here is something truly wonderful: you can put your own pet into a quilt. Sharon will draft a personalized pet quilt pattern for you, starting with a photo ! This would also make a fantastic gift for any pet lover.  For more inspiration, visit Sharon Malec's online gallery and her animal collection.

Morning Mews, by McKenna Ryan, at Pine Needles



Many of McKenna Ryan’s wildly popular designs include wild animals, but "Morning Mews" is a three-quilt series that features felines of the domestic kind, from left to right: Dora, Clifford, and Chip. Each individual quilt is approximately 17" x 22", and each one is a miniature work of art. Clifford, the curious black-and-white cat shown above, is framed by the colorful leaves of a tree and by majestic mountains in the distance. Alongside Clifford, two yellow birds risk their lives (er, enliven the scene!) These picturesque quilts use McKenna’s own line of fabrics from Hoffman California. For more information, visit the Morning Mews page at Pine Needles, the home of McKenna Ryan Designs. Also take note of the e-postcards on each page, which you can send to friends and family!

Catching the View, 33.5 x 39.5, by Janet Wickell, at About.com


The three silhouetted cats are the stars of "Catching the View", but the attic windows provide the perfect setting. In typical cat fashion, the cats are perched in the windows, staring at the scenery, which includes little butterflies that dart in and out of the windows. The rectangular windows are each pieced with 12 floral squares in the watercolor style, then surrounded by the sky-blue mitered frames. Note that the frames are on all sides of the windows, unlike an attic windows quilt that has frames on two adjacent sides. This pattern was developed by Janet Wickell as one of her "quick little quilt" projects. We admire this quilt because of its combination of beauty with simplicity (which is no mean feat!) For more information, visit Janet Wickell's site on About.com.

Next week:  Stay tuned for Part Two and Part Three of "The Best Of Cat Quilts"... we have some amazing applique and contemporary quilts to show you !

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making Waves: the Adventures of a Surf Quilter...

It's the title of a book, and a description of the adventures of the very talented Rob Appell. Rob is a textile artist and designer who takes "a manly approach to quilt making and love for the ocean". It all started a few years ago, when Rob landed a job in his mother's quilt shop, The Cotton Ball, in beautiful Morro Bay, California. Rob now blends his love for the ocean with his work as a designer under his eponymous site, Rob Appell Designs. Read on to see some absolutely gorgeous quilts, and a one-on-one interview with Rob !

Brown Pelican, 44 x 34, an Endangered Species Pattern by Rob Appell


Green Sea Turtle, 27 x 38, an Endangered Species Pattern by Rob Appell



One of Rob Appell's newest and most exciting adventures is an endangered species line of art quilt patterns, in collaboration with Michael Miller Fabrics. A portion of the proceeds from the pattern sales will be donated by Rob to an endangered species charity, and each donation will be matched by Michael Miller Fabrics. What a fantastic cause!  Two of our favorites are the incredibly realistic Brown Pelican and Green Sea Turtle, shown above.  These designs are bigger than life (literally): take a look at the photos of Rob's students showing their finished pieces.  You can see all the species that are featured - including the polar bear and bengal tiger - on the endangered species page at Rob's website, and read about the partnership in the interview below. 

In addition to his patterns, Rob designs ocean-inspired textiles. "Paradise Reef", below, is striking aquarium quilt that is easy and simple to make with the fabric panels designed by Rob for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Paradise Reef, 55 x 48, by Rob Appell for Michael Miller Fabrics


For information on the simple construction of Paradise Reef, see the pattern download at Michael Miller Fabrics.  Complete kits for the quilt top are available at Rob's site (get 'em while you can !)

Beyond the Tides

"Beyond the Tides", above, resembles a vibrant seascape painting, but it is made entirely with pieced and appliqued fabrics. This spectacular quilt was recently featured on an episode of Simply Quilts on HGTV.

Under Watercolor Quilts


Rob's gorgeous underwater fantasy quilts - with complete patterns - are all included in his book, Making Waves... the Adventures of a Surf Quilter. The under watercolor quilt, above, has scenes that cover the known universe: from the depths of the ocean, all the way up to the planets in the night sky. The book also contains patterns for Beyond the Tides, The Dolphin Dance, Underwater Color Quilts, Quick Fuse Seascapes (take a peek at the fantastic Scuba Time)... plus 48 full color images... plus a ton of other info on appliques, free motion machine quilting... and "life lived a bit less seriously." Speaking of which, we were fortunate to have the chance to interview Rob Appell about his own inspiration and aspirations:

Quilt Inspiration: Did you always think you would be a textile designer and art quilter? Or, did this "career" take you by surprise?

Rob Appell: A total surprise. I have always loved to create art, but never knew much about textiles. I love to draw and thought of graphic design, but was afraid to connect a career to it. I did not want to lose my art and income due to stress. I moved home after a few years of traveling around, and started helping out around my Mom’s quilt shop, The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay, CA. It took a few years for the quilt pox to catch, but I could not be happier today doing what I do.

Q.I.  How and when did the idea come about for the Endangered Species Project?

Rob Appell: The idea was a group effort between Michael Miller Fabrics and myself and started back in March of 2009. I was challenged with creating a line of quilts that would be easy to do, and able to keep in the cycle much longer. My seascapes are more fabric specific, and when the fabrics ran out, the seascapes became harder to do. I chose Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost line, it has close to a hundred different colors to choose from, and it will be around for along time. The other goal was to create a project line that allowed quilters to feel like they were “making a difference” through their love of quilting. Many of the Michael Miller Team and I hold the Endangered Animals close to our hearts. After a surf trip in Costa Rica, I was overwhelmed with the ideas and could not wait to get started.

Q.I. Your quilts include applique (e.g. Endangered Species), pieced designs (watercolor quilts), and combinations of the two methods, as in Paradise Reef. Do you have a favorite technique or style that you prefer to work in, or one just comes naturally to you?

Rob Appell: I really do enjoy the free motion machine quilting, so anything I can quilt on is a favorite. I do love to design through raw-edge appliqué using Heat ‘n Bond lite (FYI Heat n’ Bond is coming out with feather lite – and it is awesome) and I do not like to have to work too hard, so I create backgrounds as either pieced or a single color of fabric that lend to the design. On the Endangered Species, one of the Fairy Frost fabrics is the back ground and shows through where the appliqués are not placed. It makes the need for precision much less, which is a lead into my next answer too.

Q.I. You mentioned that your book includes advice on "taking life less seriously" and yet you are a very productive designer, which seems like a potential contradiction in real life. Can you explain your philosophy on life, and how you mesh your priorities?

Rob Appell: I love this question, and yes I am becoming a filthy liar (in that aspect). I work around the clock to be a good designer, Quilt Shop owner, Sewing machine technician and educator. I hardly rest, but I am trying not to let it make me panic. The life less seriously is more to the tune that my quilts are not perfect, my stitches are not even and my patterns do not have to be done with accuracy. What I pray is that I am able to be seen as a Blessing and Creative inspiration to all that I come in contact with. That I may uplift people with my smile, and help them achieve their creative goals. I want folks to not worry so much about all the little details in their work, and see the beautiful work that they are creating. I like to make people laugh, but the harder I work to support the animals the more changes I see needing be made in my own life.

Q.I.: What are your goals and aspirations for Rob Appell Designs... where would you like to be in 5 or 10 years?

Rob Appell: In five years, to be able to start slowing down the drive, and push for more patterns and be more involved in creating quilts that will be one of a kind. Also, I am just now taking over my Mom’s shop and I would like to see it be able to run itself so that I may create more, and play more. I am blessed to have a very busy career today, but I have two children that need to go camping and swimming, play dolls and legos, and see the world.

In ten years, I will be getting ready to watch my oldest graduate from high school and learn to drive, I hope my Quilt shop and career will still be booming, but I want to live off the grid, and be able to do what I do from anywhere so that my family and I can benefit from my years of hard work. Plus, I will only be in my mid forties, which is comforting.

Q.I. Do you have some new projects and ideas on the near horizon, and can you tell us about them?

Rob Appell: Always! I have three more animals to create before Houston Market in October and then I would love to start travailing with the whole line of quilts to places folks would not expect to see a quilts showing: Zoos, Animal Parks, Earth Day Festivals, raise money for more awareness, and promote using art to better our environment.

Q.I.: Rob, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us... we're so excited about your projects and designs, and we are look forward to following your ventures- and adventures - in the years to come!

p.s.  Congratulations to Deb, who correctly answered our two quiz questions on Monday, including "what - or who - is a surf quilter" (Rob Appell !)  For the answer to the question "In quilting, what is a sushi roll ?" see Deb's comment at the bottom of Monday's post.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aquarium quilts and seascapes

This week, we're going positively aquatic! Today's quilts will make you feel that you can dive right in to the underwater scenery. The quilts we're showing include fish, turtles, and other sea-dwelling creatures, in settings that evoke the color and movement of the sea. Plus, we're providing all the links to patterns which you can use to create your own underwater fantasy. What a way to keep (your) cool ! (note: at the bottom of the post there are two quiz questions... if you know either of the answers, please leave a comment.)

Koi, 40 x 68 (or miniature Koi, 11 x 13), by Lydia Russell Albers and Carol Morrissey, at O Carol Designs


Carol Morrissey is renowned for her vibrant, artistic designs. We love the classic "Koi", above, by Lydia Russell Albers and Carol Morrissey, with its orange and red fish cavorting among stylized blue waves. The miniature version (11 x 13) features a single koi, which would make a beautiful motif within an Asian-inspired quilt.   Another stunning aquatic quilt is "Follow Me", below, which measures 40" x 50". The giant green sea turtles are so realistic...the turtle in the foreground appears to be swimming right towards us!



For more fabulous aquatic designs by Carol Morrissey, check out Swim PartyClown School (with a school of clownfish, of course), and Standing Room Only, to mention just a few ... we're particularly fond of  The Toad ( formerly known as Prince) (!)  This spring we also featured some of Carol's glorious flower quilts in an article called In Full Bloom... take a peek at that article to see her luscious orange poppies. The patterns can all be found on the patterns page at O Carol Designs. 

Seascape I and Seascape II,  by Marjan Kluepfel




Marjan Kluepfel is a fabric artist whose work has been shown in galleries around the world.  The inspiration for her magnificent seascape quilts comes from her scuba diving trips on reefs around the Hawaiian islands, and Australia. Seascape I is in a private collection, but Marjan offers a pattern for the dreamy Seascape II, which is shown above. The brightly colored hand-dyed fabric, which blends from blue-green up to yellow,  creates the impression of the sun penetrating the ocean depths; and the textural embellishments really bring the reef to life.   Marjan teaches some wonderful workshops, including a workshop devoted just to seascapes!  Her work can be viewed in her online galleries where you can feast your eyes on all of her extraordinary art quilts.  

Blue Lagoon, 41 x 41, and Sandhill Cranes, 67 x 63, by Louisa L. Smith, at Quilt Escapes LLC



Louisa L. Smith is a fabric artist, designer, and teacher, whose innovative work has been described as "painting with fabric".  The radiant Blue Lagoon is an example of a "creative nine-patch" quilt, while Sandhill Cranes uses a special curved diamond template; these are just two of the projects in the One Patch Plus book by Louisa L. Smith and Lisa Harris. In these gorgeous quilts, a few dramatic elements are appliqued on top of pieced backgrounds that evoke the sea and sky. As in all of Louisa L. Smith's art quilts, the colors and values of the fabrics are expertly blended to create a sense of depth and movement (witness the beautiful blue Cycloid II).  If you would like to learn more, check out her classes and lectures, which include such subjects as "The Wonderful Art of Stripping"!

Beach Walk, 59 x 73,  including Whale Watch, by McKenna Ryan, at Pine Needles



NEW!  Beach Walk is McKenna Ryan's brand new series quilt, and we're so pleased to have the opportunity to showcase this design. We especially like the Water Ballet (jellyfish) and the Whale Watch block, shown above...okay, we like 'em all.  The kits for Beach Walk will be released this month, and you can get all the details at the Pine Needles website - the home of McKenna Ryan Designs.  Another delightful aquatic series by McKenna Ryan is Sea Breeze, which includes a cute pufferfish (Koo Koo Puff) and other denizens of the deep.  And here is something fun about the Pine Needles site:  you can send a free electronic postcard of any quilt block to a friend (how cool is that?)  Check it out by clicking on any of the above links, or click on the exquisite LOVE quilt block (it's on our sidebar this week).  (p.s. If you happen to know someone who is snooty, you might want to send her The Snooty Sisters e-card... be sure to type in "just kidding" in the message line!)

Aquarium Art Quilts: For even more inspiration,  take a quick peek at a few quilts by these outstanding quilters (you'll be so glad you did): Janice Potter's Lion of the Sea;  Jean Baardsen's Raffle Reef and her aquarium quilts;  Mary Butler's  Into the Deep;   Betty Busby's aquarium quilts at bbusbyarts;  Debra Harry's aquarium and mermaid quilts; and Stacy West's underwater gallery.

Fish samplers: Hmmm, a fish sampler sounds like something on a sushi menu (sashimi, anyone?) But of course we're talking about fish sampler quilts. Check out the Tropical Fish Paradise sampler by Leslie Kane, and the Under The Sea series by Barbara Bieraugel, who lives in Hawaii (lucky devil). Now someone just has to design a sushi sampler quilt so we know what to order at the sushi bar!

Quiz Question 1:  In quilting, what is a "sushi roll"?
Quiz Question 2: What, or who, is a "surf quilter"?

If you know the answers to either of our quiz questions, leave us a comment below, and stay tuned... the correct answers will be posted later this week!

Image credits and links:  Images are shown with the generous permission of the artists.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Winners of the August Giveaway !


It's that time again ! It's time for Greg (the husband of Daryl), to reach into the hat and draw out 5 random names from those who entered the giveaway this month. Here are the August Giveaway winners !

1.The winner of the first piece of the blue-violet with pink tropical flowers Hoffman Fabric is Carole. This first prize is exactly the same size as the second prize.

2. The winner of the second piece of blue-violet with pink tropical flowers from Hoffman Fabric is Paul and Julia. (That is the name of one entrant).

3. The winner of Thimbleberries New Collection of Classic Quilts by Lynette Jensen is Diane.

4. The winner of the Peppermint Stix pattern and the Little Charmers II Tablerunners pattern is Marcia.

5.The winner of the current issue, August 2010 of American Patchwork and Quilting, and Quilter's World Magazine is Doreen (fondly known on the internet as Aunt Reen).

If you did not win a prize this month, please don't give up hope ! There will be a big Autumn Giveaway coming along sooner than you think. We hope that everyone will enter the Giveaway again next time.

Congratulations, winners, and please send us your address right away by e-mailing: quiltinspiration@gmail.com. We'll send your prize to you, postage paid.
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