Friday, February 19, 2016

Highlights of the 2016 AQS QuiltWeek / 2

The 2016 AQS QuiltWeek in Phoenix, Arizona was one of the best shows ever!  With hundreds of quilts and some very special exhibits by renowned quilters, it was an incredible show. Each of these quilts has a fascinating story... here are some of our favorites!
Please note: We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter ! Check us out @quiltinspire. 

Captain Kimo, 49 x 53", by Nancy Sterett Martin (Owensboro, Kentucky)

This was a stunning piece that started with a whole-cloth quilt.  Silk painter Karen Sistek, who is a friend of Nancy Sterett Martin, found a photo of a heron by photographer Kim Seng, whose website is CaptainKimo. With permission from Mr. Seng, Karen hand painted the heron on silk. After steam-setting the dyes, she mailed the project to Nancy to quilt.

With a magnifying glass, Karen studied the detail of the feathers in the original photograph and decided to "quilt it like she saw it." She then cut white silk bias strips and sewed them onto the belly of the Heron to make it look like feathers blowing in the wind.  We love the effect.

Captain Kimo has won numerous awards including Best Wall Quilt - Home Machine Quilting at the 2015 American Quilters Society show in Paducah, KY and Third Place at the show in Phoenix.  For more information and a gallery of work by Nancy Sterett Martin, please visit her website at Quilt Patches.

Reborn, 51 x 65", by Molly Hamilton-McNally (Tehachapi, California)

Reborn won a blue ribbon for Best Original Design.  Molly Hamilton-McNally was born in Beijing, worked as a financial consultant, and moved to the U.S. in 1989.  After her late husband passed away in 2000, and looking for a hobby to occupy her time and to help in the healing process, she began to study the art of quilting. About Reborn, Molly says, "At times we all face periods of darkness and depression, and must find our way back to the light.  Molly found her path to happiness through an unexpected passion, the art of quilting.  Just as the Phoenix rose again - this quilt represents her rebirth."  

Molly specializes in the hand-turned, reverse stained-glass appliqué, and her mastery of the technique shows up in this flower.  Some of the applique motifs were echoed in the quilting, as shown below.  For more information and photos of her work see her website, Quilt with Molly.

Carpathian Mountain Sunset, 46 x 41", by Cathy Geier (Waukesha, Wisconsin)

Winner of Honorable Mention - Wall Quilts - Landscape at this show, Carpathian Mountain Sunset was inspired by the beautiful colors in a photograph called Pink Azaleas in the Carpathian Mountains, by Ukrainian photographer Leonid Tit.  You can read the story and see the original photograph at Cathy Geier's blog.  She made this quilt with strips of fabric. The sun's rays were made with yellow and white tulle and stitched with yellow and light threads.

On her blog, Cathy Geier explains,"I like straight lines and straight rows in this kind of pieced landscape. The straight lines lend a formality and a linear quality to them making my landscapes look crisp and sharp. Because of this, I use a tear-away foundation to piece." Her process is described in her 2014 book, Lovely Landscape Quilts: Using Strings and Scraps to Piece and Applique Scenic Quilts.

High Country Colors, 60 x 43", by Kathy McNeil (Tulalip, Washington)

Hand appliqueing thousands of little scraps of fabric together, Kathy McNeil creates stunning quilts that look like paintings.  She says, "High Country Colors was inspired while hiking through the North Cascade Mountains to Lake Ann.  The colors in the high meadows during the fall are truly spectacular!" 

The close-up photos reveal some of the fabrics Kathy used to create the trees and mountains in this landscape.

You can see more of her original art quilts along with quilting supplies and patterns at Kathy's website: Kathy McNeil Quilts.

Summer Lake Sandhills, 60 x 40", by Joanne Baeth (Bonanza, Oregon)

Summer Lake Sandhills received the award for Best Wall Quilt.  Joanne says, "This quilt features a refuge scene in Summer Lake, Oregon... Huge flocks of sandhill cranes migrate through the area in the spring and fall." Joanne's award-winning quilts incorporate a variety of techniques including thread painting, fabric painting, and machine quilting, which creates incredible texture.  Here are some of the beautiful details....

The bushes along the waterway are depicted with loose embroidery-type stitches.  You can even see that the bushes are reflected in the water (below):

To show that this intricate detail was applied to a very small bird, here is a closeup with my friend's finger next to one of the cranes (not touching).

For more information about Joanne's work please visit Joanne Baeth Fiber Arts.

Fern Rising, 79 x 84", by Claudia Pfeil (Krefeld, Germany)

We've seen Claudia Pfeil's work on the web, but it is even more stunning in person. Fern Rising was awarded 1st place - Large Quilts - Longarm Machine Quilted.  It is resplendent with color, swirls, circles, quilting and thousands of Swarovski crystals.  By appliqueing black fabric alongside the "ferns", she created shadows and a three-dimensional appearance.   In addition to quilting, the edges of many of the shapes are couched with metallic yarn and/or thread.

Other shapes were created with translucent fabrics that reveal the patchwork background of the quilt.

In addition to creating her own works of art, Claudia owns a quiltshop in Krefeld, Germany, runs an APQS Showroom, and teaches longarm quilting worldwide.  You can find more information about her projects and teaching schedule at her page on Facebook.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


  1. That High Country Colors is really amazing!! What a quilt!!

  2. The quilts are just stunning - absolutely works of art!

    1. Thanks for the link - WOW, what gorgeous quilts!

  3. That heron quilt is amazing! So detailed and so life-like! Thank you for posting!


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