QuiltCon 2016!

by Christine Barnes

Two weeks ago today I was in heaven, taking it all in at the Modern Quilt Show in Pasadena, CA. It’s been fascinating to watch the modern quilt movement evolve over the last decade, and having a quilt in the show gave me the perfect excuse to go. So Kari Hannickel and I packed up her Prius and headed south. It rained hard going down, but we awoke the next day to blue-blue skies and light breezes. Delightful!

Before I get to the quilts, I have an admission: I took a photo of each quilt, then another photo of the maker’s statement so I could include the name of the quilter with the quilt. Well, I must have been really tired when I downloaded the quilt photos because when I went back to download the info photos, they were were deleted. (I did have some names in my notes.) It’s VERY bad manners not to credit the quilter, and I hope you’ll forgive me.

So, on with the show . . . There were a number of categories: minimalist, use of negative space, modern traditionalism, hand work, appliqué, etc. The first group, minimalist, included quilts like the one below. What caught my eye is the suggestion of a third dimension in the two values of blue-green. And the use of light and dark orange, approximate complements of blue-green.

IMG_0474Lots of white space, solid colors, and neutrals typify the modern quilt movement, and this quilt has all of those characteristics:IMG_0491The quilt below does the reverse—mostly gray, with light-value accents. It’s also one of  my favorite color-wheel combinations: a split complement of red, yellow-green, and blue-green. (The pink/red-violet is a bonus.) IMG_0498This is “Eichler Houses” by Mickey Beebe. (I rode my bike past lots of Eichler Houses when I lived in Palo Alto and worked at Sunset.) I love the gradual increase in negative space as your eye moves upward. IMG_0515Analogous combinations are colors side-by-side on the color wheel, here blue and blue-green. The beige and taupe-gray fabrics gives it a more organic quality.IMG_0531If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I love plaid, so of course I had to take a pic of a plaid quilt. Notice the elements of transparency where colors intersect.IMG_0536I was clearly drawn to quilts that have wedding-ring and pickle-dish designs. “Segment quilts” I call them. Here the warm yellows and greens are balanced by cool blue-green. The blue-gray print makes it more interesting.IMG_0547I tend to like quilts that have different “species” of fabric, but this one is just dandy made of fabrics from one designer, Alison Glass. This “Melon Wedding Ring” is by Karen Jordan.IMG_0560My first thought when I saw this quilt was “fifties”! I like the simplicity of the design and the ratio of the blue-green to white background.IMG_0571“Double Wedding Ring” by Tara Faughnan. A mix of warm-and-cool, light-and-dark color comes together into one cohesive but very lively pattern. I want to make this quilt today! See her website for more of her delightful work. Double Wedding Ring by Tara Faughnan“Geometric Text” by Nicole Daksiewicz, clicks with me because of the variety of values and colors. The “grout lines” give it a crispness, and I love the split color in some of the hexies. You can check out Nicole’s amazing work at modernhandcraft.com.Geometric Text by Nicole DaksiewiczWhat a celebration of black, gray, and bright color! The dark-value neutrals make the brilliant colors seem more intense. I especially like the handful of prints mixed in with the solids.IMG_0593

When Kari and I were talking about the quilts we liked, we described this one as “beads and big stitches.” It was beautifully made, a minimal, elegant design.IMG_0601

I was happy to see a number of quilts with transparency, and this one is a good example of layered transparency. I wish my students from last year’s retreat had entered their transparency quilts. They had some fabulous things going on.IMG_0609

Of course there were hundreds of quilts, and I suggest you google QuiltCon 2016 to find other blogs by quilters who went. So much to see . . . !

Below are a few images from the vendor aisles. Would you have guessed that this is the Hoffman booth? They have a line of small-scale geometric batiks and ikat weaves.  Hoffman boothThe Grunge Bar from Moda was a popular hangout. The glass jars in the background were filled with 2-inch squares of all the Grunge colors. Yum!Grunge BarKari warms up her credit card at the Sulky booth. We saw (and bought) some of their variegated 12-weight cotton threads. Another yum.Kari at SulkyDo you recognize the gal and her quilt below? It was so much fun to be in the show, and Kari and I were both inspired and excited by the quilts we saw. Having so many modern fabrics in one exhibition hall made the trip even more worthwhile, not to mention fun. Me, looking smug!Where do I see the movement going? Some of the edginess of a few years ago has softened, and more modern quilts have traditional elements. I think these have lasting appeal because they’re symbols of what we’ve known all our lives in quilting. And for the young quilters, everything is new and shiny. Likewise, traditional quilting has been greatly influenced by modern quilting. Modern fabrics designed by quilting luminaries are more open and more graphic. Each year, it just gets better!

But that’s enough about QuiltCon. I’ll end with another of my super-skinny swizzle-stick blocks that we’ll be doing in my workshop. They are super addictive.14 green block @ 8Oh, before I leave you . . . . Next year, QuiltCon is in Savannah. Anyone want to go?!

A Tale of Two Quilts (and a bit of transparency)

by Christine Barnes

New fabricsThe image above has nothing to do with this post, but I just had to drop it in because I LOVE these fabrics by Marcia Derse, Alison Glass, and Kaffe Fassett. You’ll see some of them again in a future quilt or garment.

Now, to the business at hand: Have you ever worked on a quilt that wasn’t quite “working,” yet you continued because you hoped it would get better? That’s what happened when I started my quilt Urban Ombrés. It began with the block below. I cut the center rectangle from a lighter ombré, and the surrounding strips from darker areas of other ombrés, all from Caryl Bryer Fallert. (The black-and-white is by Kim Schaefer and isn’t available, even on the Internet.) I thought the block was lovely, very ethereal and serene.

1 single block, all ombre Ah, but sometimes more is actually less. I made a total of sixteen different blocks and joined them to make the quilt top below. I knew long before I finished that it lacked punch, but I kept going. Sound familiar?2 quilt with all ombres“It needs pattern,” I thought. I looked on my shelf of recent acquisitions, where I keep new favorites. Nothing. Then I saw a pile of Marcia Derse fabrics, like the ones below, and thought, what if?

MD FQsI grabbed a scrap and laid it over the center of the top left block. What a difference this one fabric made!3 single block, with MD printSuddenly the block had visual weight, and the center unit looked cohesive. I kept going, making 16 blocks with the same colored ombrés in the same positions as in the first quilt top. (There are a few exceptions.)

5 quilt with MD centersI’ve never had the first top quilted, but I’m glad I took photos so I could show the impact value, hue, and pattern have on the look of a quilt. As I have said before, “Lesson learned!”

Changing gears a bit, below is an example of layered transparency. In the first mock-block I combined four medium-to-dark colors. These fabrics are from Michael Miller’s “Painter’s Canvas” line, and they are still available. In fact they’re coming out with new colors next month. Good!6a painter palette AThen, from my embarrassing stash of MM fabrics, I laid four lighter-value versions of the same colors over the original fabrics:

6a painter palette FNow there is the illusion of a transparent plane of lighter color. Very simple, very graphic,  and really very easy. If you’ve signed up for my workshop, you’ll get a chance to make this and other transparency studies, one of which you’ll turn into a quilt.

Today is Friday the 13th, but I feel lucky in so many ways. Just having a light-filled studio with an abundance of delicious fabric makes my day, every day. Happy Spring!


p.s. I have a few Urban Ombrés kits consisting of the Marcia Derse prints, colored ombrés, gray ombré, and quilt pattern. (Both black-and-white fabrics are sadly gone.) Email me if you’re interested.