For years I kept journals -- in composition, spiral bound, and French graph paper books. This blog is an attempt to get back to writing and documenting the world around me using photos, newspaper headlines, and other articles.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Vermont Quilt Festival

I hadn't planned on taking a couple of days off work and driving to Vermont to attend VQF.  But Monday after Selim's last day of school, a plan came together that allowed me to go.  I left home on Thursday morning at 4:33am (only 3 minutes past my ETD) and drove west, into the fog.

Fog rising off the lake

Bird flying at sunrise.

I made decent time and arrived at the Vermont Technical College in Williston, VT, with 22 minutes to spare before class.  I had signed up for Amy Garro's classes on Paper Piecing Design.  I had gotten inspired by her trunk show and was pleasantly surprised that there were spaces available in her classes.  The class (in 2 parts, beginning and advanced) was right up my alley.  We used graph paper, pencils and lots of erasers.  I've done a few blocks bases on foundation paper piecing and learning the fundamentals of design was great.  During the class, I made two patterns that I plan on sewing up.  One is based on simple lines technique and the other I made during the 2nd half of the class that was a bit more advanced.

After class I checked into the hotel and took a brief nap.  By 4:30 I was back in the car, this  time heading to Essex Junction and the VQF festival site.  The Opening and Awards Ceremony started at 6:30.  I sat by myself, in a sea of quilters, and absorbed all the chatter.  There were families dressed up in what I would call their Sunday best.  And there were groups of women who came from all over the US to attend the event and sat in packs.  Every now and then there would be someone flying solo like me.

The cutest thing was when the kids who entered quilts in the youth category all went up on stage and collected a goodie bag of fabric.  But then an even bigger surprise, one of the sponsors gave each of the children a sewing machine.  One family had three kids up there.  When they sat back down, the dad had three sewing machines at his feet.  I hope the family car was parked in the closest lot and now way out in the back 40!

I enjoyed listening to the chatter when the names of the ribbon winners were announced.  My friend, Megan, won a blue ribbon for her entry!  As it happened, I ran into her on my way out and was able to congratulate her.

Megan with her rose and ribbon!

I opted not to stay for the champagne and chocolate reception afterwards.  Suddenly, my early start and long drive caught up to me and I needed to get back to the hotel.  The next morning, feeling refreshed, I headed back to see the quilts.  There was a lot to take in.

First up was Megan's quilt, Esfahan.  There were so many people around it, that I couldn't get the whole thing without getting someone's back.  Just imagine that the left hand side isn't cropped out.  I saw this quilt pretty early on in the process, in the summer of 2014, I think.  To see it now in all its glory was amazing.  This is all hand sewn -- thousands of hours of handwork.

Esfahan by Megan Farkas as seen at VQF

There were others that I liked at well.  A Mosaic Sampler by Nick Williams caught my eye.  May be its because I'm working on a sampler now myself, but there were aspects of this that I found pleasing.  I loved the border.

A Mosaic Sampler by Nick Williams as displayed at VQF

The Peony Reproduction made by Theresa Tiburzi, won the Founder's Award.

The Peony Reproduction by Theresa Tiburzi, VQF

I really enjoyed June Blooms at Shelburne Farms by the Mountain Art Quilters.  The eight-panel group quilt is based on a photograph.  Each member was given a slice of the photo and a specific panel size and from there, could interpret it however they chose.

June Blooms at Shelburne Farmbs by Mountain Art Quilters, displayed at VQF

I love this idea.  It sparked an idea for my project of using my photographs of  London buildings and other architectural motifs and turning them into quilts.  I've struggled with size and form and I think this idea could be the solution I have been looking for.  I wish I had measured the size of the panels.  But I think they might have been around 1 foot wide by 3 feet long?  In my mind, I can see eight separate buildings all in a row, almost like a skyline.  It just might work.

My favorite of the small modern quilts was Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute pose) by Lynne McLandsborough.  I loved the color and since I have seen other work based on this design, I admired the way she played with it.

Urdhva Hastasana by Lynne McLandsborough, shown at VQF

I had seen Twelve Dozen by Timna Tarr as she worked on it and posted photos on social media.  It was so fun to see it in person and really enjoy all those small bits of fabric up close and personal.  Whimsical and made me smile.

Twelve Dozen by Timna Tarr, displayed at VQF

On the right hand side, or maybe it was the back, each instructor had a quilt on display.  These were awesome.  Maybe some year I will sign up on time to take class from Katie Pasquini Masopust.  I have admired her landscapes and then I saw this hanging up:

Pizzicato by Katie Pasquini Masopust, displayed at VQF

Just to be able to think like she does, even for a moment, would be exhilarating.   I think taking a class from her would take me so far outside my comfort zone.  What a stretch it would be!  I loved that each segment got a different quilting treatment.  The whole thing -- fabulous!


Amy Garro displayed her Icy Waters quilt.

Amy Garro, Icy Waters, displayed at VQF

I'm often drawn to art quilts that are representational, like the fabric interpretation of Monet by Melinda Bula.

Monet in Pasadena by Melinda Bula, displayed at VQF

So I was in for the biggest treat when I went into the other exhibition space and took in the work of Ruth McDowell.  She had 62 quilts on display.  I didn't save enough time in my day to really study them and enjoy.  I walked through the whole exhibit and took notes on the works I wanted to go back and revisit.  Then I went back through and focused on the ones that wowed me and made me feel.

Hobblebush was my favorite, partly due to the color, I'm sure.  I kept walking back to it, circling it like a homing pigeon.

It wasn't too hard to understand why I loved her Sap Buckets.  It brought me back to my childhood and going out in the snow and tapping the trees.  I could hear the pins sounds of the sap hitting the bottoms of the metal buckets.

Electric Chard - looks like plants that grew out of my garden, only prettier.  I didn't need a title to know what she had quilted.

The fabric selection for Reflections was amazing.  You will have to take my word that School of Dories, and A Rash of Flamingoes were just as fabulous as all the others.

After concentrating a second time on the works that I loved the most, I went back to the table where they were selling her books.  My favorite was a landscape book, in French.  I stood next to another woman who was looking at the same book.  "Too bad I don't read French."  I said to her.  "It's in French?  I hadn't noticed!" And we both chuckled.  One of the women behind the table said, "If you go to my web site, you can order the book on demand in English."

It took me a few seconds and clicks of the brain to process that she had said "my" website.  I looked up, gave a quick glance at her name tag and realized that yes, she was indeed, Ruth McDowell!  We had a nice conversation and I expressed my admiration for her work and her use of color and fabric placement.  What a great way to end my first VQF experience.

I left with a couple of important realizations.  Number one is that I could have a quilt in that show next year if I paid attention to deadlines.  My work is as good as some of the quilts on display.  I'm not sure that I would win a ribbon, but my use of color and fabric is as refined as least half of the quilts on display made by regular folks.

The second was that I should pay more attention to classes in my area.  I learned so much in the six hours that I spent in that classroom on Thursday.  I learned a new skill and I'm sure I will be able to put them to use.

The third was that this quilting journey that I have been on now for a while is really important to my overall happiness.  It was a good thing that I used up 16 hours of annual leave to have that 2-day adventure.  I need to find a balance or be able to juggle the things that really are important.  Playing with fabric and color are important to me.

Just as important is expanding my quilting tribe.  I did that this trip.  At the second half of the class on Thursday a woman walked in and I recognized her from the class I took in February.  We talked about our projects since then and she encouraged me to finish my quilt that I started in that class.  And she said I should enter it in a show.  Talk about a confidence boost!  I saw her again on Friday morning and we exchanged contact information.  I have a feeling that I will see her again, at some other quilting venue.

Lastly, I want to learn how to quilt my projects.  I think that is the next step in my development.  I'm working on beginning pattern design and I need to know how to finish off my projects.  I bought a book at one of the vending tables.  And my quilt guild is hosting a quilting teacher in October.  I hope I can be a part of that class.

I can't wait to get back home and attack my projects with new attention and enthusiasm.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness - I can see why you left there so inspired! I clicked on the links -- those are all artistic masterpieces!!