Tag Archives: Award Winning Quilts

Road 2017 Best Use of Color Winning Quilt

It took Andrea about 6 months to create Blue Anemone. One week to create the pattern, then one month to hand paint the whole cloth design and finally 4 1/2  months to quilt and finish. The quilting was done on her Innova Stationary Longarm and Janome Horizon 8200 Sewing machine.

The biggest challenge of this quilt for Andrea was creating the subtle nuances of the color changes with the lights and shadows within the flower.

What inspired Andrea’s winning design? “I always loved the deep colors of blue anemone poppies and I knew that one day I would create one in fabric. I was visiting my mom in Oregon and one day we went to one of her favorite nurseries. They had some of the most beautiful red, orange and blue anemones growing. This quilt is based on one of those photographs.”

Andrea has been sewing since she was a child and had created a number of other needle crafts projects over the years. Her quilting journey began when she moved to Texas and joined a stitching group as a way to meet people with similar interests. One of the women in the group was a quilter and she convinced everyone to make a round robin style picnic quilt.  After that project, Andrea wanted to make an applique quilt. She taught herself the technique from an applique book. When she finished that quilt,  Andrea felt she had officially “caught the quilting bug” and has been creating in fabric ever since.

Blue Anemone was awarded $1,500.00 for Best Use of Color by sponsor, Carriage Country Quilts. With her prize money, Andrea took her husband out to dinner, bought some fabric and put the rest in the bank.

Andrea hopes to continue her journey to create realistic botanical imagery with fabric, thread and paint. She says that “with each quilt I make, I try to challenge myself to hone my artistic voice.” Andrea also looks forward to teaching her techniques at quilt shows, retreat style workshops, and at local quilt guilds.

To learn more about Andrea, you can follow her on her personal and business Facebook Pages.

International Quilter A Big Winner

Hiroko Miyama creates beautiful, award winning quilts from her home in Tokyo, Japan.

She says that she was a “born handicraft maker.” When her younger son entered elementary school, Hiroko thought it was a good time to start something new. At that time, hand quilting was just getting popular in Japan and she thought, this was it! After she began hand quilting, she stopped doing her other handicrafts like knitting, dress making and embroidering.

Hiroko confesses that she has been “addicted to machine quilting for 8 years.” Most of Hiroko’s designs are her interpretations of beautiful scenery around Nagano, Japan, and of flowers and fairy tales. Recently, her husband Mosanobu Miyama, has collaborated on some of her designs.

At Road 2017, Hiroko won first place in the Art Human Image category for her quilt, Lily. Hiroko received $1,000 from sponsor, Maywood Studio/EE Schenck Company for her winning entry.

For this piece, Hiroko wanted to depict her granddaughter Natsumi as an elegant lady when she came to visit her cottage. Hiroko remarked that the resulting snow tanned face on Natsumi was not her original intention but that it didn’t hinder the results.

It took 4 months (or about 800 hours) for Hiroko to make and quilt Lily. This project challenged Hiroko to harmonize the quilt with her original machine embroidery. She designs, “punches,” (creates the embroidery data) and then does the actual embroidery. Hiroko reported that “300 hours were required for embroidery only.”

When she heard she had won, “I and my husband celebrated by drinking a couple of mug of beer.” They travelled from Japan to see the quilt at Road 2017. “I really enjoyed the show.”

What did Hiroko do with her prize money? “I bought fabrics and threads, of course!”

For the near future, Hiroko plans on having Lily displayed at AQS Quiltweek in Grand Rapid and then on to Fall Paducah.

Congratulations, Hiroko, on another winning design.

 

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt- Excellence in Hand Quilting

Linda Roy won $1,500 for Aztec Sunset from Sponsor, World of Quilt Travel

Linda Roy’s quilting journey began in 1988 when her husband had a job transfer from Southern California to Conway, Arkansas.  Shortly after moving, Linda saw a program on television on vintage and newer quilts that introduced her to quilting. Then, a little while later, Linda met one of her new neighbors, Irma Gail Hatcher, who just happened to be an award-winning quilter. Irma invited Linda to join a small group that met monthly at her home and then to the Arkansas Quilt Guild. Linda said, “It was a pleasure to spend time with woman of all ages coming together for the pleasure of creating something beautiful.”

Linda made her first quilt when her youngest son was three. She found that she could keep an eye on her son while he played and do her hand work at the same time.  She was hooked on hand quilting with that first original quilt and now hand quilting is her passion.

The design and color for Aztec Sunset was inspired by Mayan Ruins. Linda designed her quilt using graph paper. Since Linda made this quilt for herself, she felt that she had total freedom to make it “outside the box.”

Two of her favorite large tomato red scraps were utilized in the quilt along with other fabrics in her stash creating a four-block design with a spiraling border.  Each quadrant has different but similar fabrics. The tea dyed muslin and stripes are the unifying fabrics. 

All the triangles are hand appliqued along with the bias bars.  Linda feels that the additional hand embroidery on the quilt gives a little more importance to the hand appliqued triangle shapes.

Aztec Sunset took approximately one year to complete. A hoop was used for the hand quilting, working on one piece at a time.  Linda remarked that after deciding on the design and color, “hand quilting is my favorite part of the quilt… (it is) very relaxing.”

Learning about her award, Linda said she “truly couldn’t believe I had won such a prestigious award.  Stunned would be a good word to describe how I felt and still feel.” She plans on using her prize money to replenish her fabric, thread, batting and various quilting needs not to mention that the “worn out chair I sit in to sew could use being replaced too!”

Linda’s thoughts on her experience in creating a winning quilt is motivational for other quilters as well: “This award encourages me to follow my heart without fear of the quilting police.  Sometimes it can work out!”

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Traditional Quilt

From The Bride’s Trousseau made and quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn won $5,000 from sponsor Janome for Outstanding Traditional Quilt at Road 2017

Margaret Solomon Gunn is a talented quilter. She won not one but two prizes at Road to California 2017!!!

Margaret won Best of Show for The Twisted Sister

and Outstanding Traditional Quilt for From The Bride’s Trousseau.  

What inspired Margaret to make this winning design? In 2011, she designed and quilted a 40” whole cloth.  This was her first attempt at the design process.  Of that experience, Margaret says, “To this day, it is unbound!”  The design for From the Bride’s Trousseau originated with this first quilt’s design.  It underwent at least a dozen modifications to reach the final form that was quilted for the 2015 finished quilt.

The current design is larger, and more complicated.  From the Bride’s Trousseau is a 1/8 symmetrical whole cloth quilt, meaning that it was designed on a 22.5-degree wedge, then copied and mirrored to create the pattern.  It is quilted in silk threads.  Margaret’s favorite areas of the quilt are the Sashiko-inspired fills.  They are quilted with a marked grid and give the quilt a very traditional feeling.

It took Margaret about a year to finish the quilt. What did she learn along the way? Says Margaret, “I have this ability to make simple tasks take WAY longer than they should!  This is mostly because I don’t just work on one quilt at a time.  I frequently have at least 3 quilts in various stages of construction, quilting or finishing at any given time. I learned that quilting with colored thread creates a beautiful effect, but it’s challenging.  I also learned that I appreciate taking the time to make a quilt double-sided (and it helps identify those pesky little areas that need fixing before a judge finds them!).

Margaret was “surprised” to know that this quilt had also won a prestigious award at Road 2017.  She related that From the Bride’s Trousseau “had been out and to several shows the last 2 years.  Sometimes it does nothing, and other times, it surprises me.  During the quilting journey, I have just learned to appreciate when the quilts do win, as nothing is ever certain.  I do the best I can do, and then it is out of my hands.  It is wonderful when judges recognize my efforts.”

After winning two awards, Margaret is certainly not resting on her accomplishments. She recently finished a book with AQS, along with two other self-published books. She teaches at select quilting shows and writes for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine.  In her “spare time,” she even still quilts for clients (one of her client’s quilts was also entered in Road 2017). And of course, she is working on the coming year’s show quilts. All in all, Margaret says, “It’s a fun life!”

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: Outstanding Modern Quilt

Z is for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt at Road to California 2017. Sponsor Riley Blake Designs awarded $5,000 to maker, Mary Kerr and quilter, Karen McTavish.

Family and quilting goes hand in hand for Mary Kerr. She grew up in a family of quilters and her latest winning quilt, Z is for Zoey, was made for her granddaughter, Zoey Rose, Mary’s “very own mini-me.”

A Road 2016 faculty member and curator of the special exhibit, Quilt As Desired, Mary has a special affection for vintage designs. She wanted this piece to reflect the convergence of the past….her love of vintage with the excitement of the future….Zoey’s place in the modern world.

Z is for Zoey was inspired by a a single long strip from the 1930s. Tongues of fabric had been hand appliquéd with black thread on both sides of a muslin strip. It was never incorporated into a quilt and at one point someone even cut out one of the fabrics to reuse. The quilt married Mary’s “love of vintage textiles with the freshness of the Modern quilt aesthetic.”

Mary thought long and hard about the design. Once she decided how to create the “Z,” the top came together in just a couple of days. Then, according to Mary, Karen McTavish “added the perfect background with her distinctive lace quilting.”

While both Karen and Mary were “very pleased” that Z for Zoey won Outstanding Modern Quilt, Mary says, “My Zoey takes full credit for the win!”

For the near future, Mary plans to continue to teach, write books and hopefully inspire others to work with vintage fabrics.

You can learn more about Mary on her website.

So You Want to Make a Winning Quilt-  Outstanding Innovative Quilt

REBORN was the 2017 Road to California Outstanding Innovative Quilt winner.   Made and quilted by Molly Y Hamilton-McNally, Molly received $5,000 from sponsor, SewBatik.

Molly Y Hamilton-McNally is a familiar winner at Road to California. In 2012, she won Best of Show for Everlasting Bouquet, a quilt she made and that was quilted by Cindy Seitz-Krug.

Fear, loneliness and deep depression brought Molly to quilting in 2000 when she was diagnosed with cancer and later her mother and husband passed away. Molly realized that she had to find some way to bring her back to the light. An acquaintance encouraged Molly to take a class in basic quilting. Unexpectedly, she found herself developing a passion for this art form.

Now remarried, life is bright again for Molly. Reborn depicts the rising of the ancient phoenix and represents Molly’s rebirth as well. 

It took Molly roughly 1-½ years (the equivalent of 1600 hours) to make Reborn. Molly enjoyed the opportunity to continue to improve her abilities using her favorite technique, needle-turn reverse applique.

What was Mollie’s reaction when she heard she had won Outstanding Innovative Quilt? She says she was appreciative and happy. Also, she was pleased to have been honored by Road to California and gratified that her hard work had paid off. She plans to use part of her prize money to help pay off her longarm machine.

What does Molly’s quilting future hold for her? Molly wants to continue designing large, award winning quilts as well as small quilts which she will use to teach others her techniques.  To learn more about Molly, please visit her website.

Meet Road’s Display Manager Debby Bennett

Road 2017 began a new era for displaying quilts accepted in to Road’s annual quilt contest.

Continuing the tradition of a family owned and operated  quilt show, Debby Bennett, mother-in-law to Road’s Show Manager Matt Reese, was hired to freshen up the displays located throughout the main Exhibit Hall.

Work began in mid-December, 2016, to plan out the exhibits. Debby reported that her goal for the displays was to organize the quilts by category. Within each category, Debby worked with size, colors and themes to highlight each quilt.

At that time, all Debby had to work with were the pictures and dimensions of all the quilts accepted for the contest. It took Debby and her daughter, Jennifer (Matt’s wife), approximately 30 hours to organize and map out the 255 contest quilts. This was all just preliminary work until the winning quilts were chosen (the day before Preview Night) and adjustments would have to be made to the original plans.

During the judging, Debby was present so that she could have access to each winner’s information. When the judging was completed on Tuesday, Debby re-mapped the winners’ booths and fine-tuned the rest of the booths.  

Because maps of the display areas were prepared earlier, Debby felt the hanging process went by more quickly and efficiently than in the past. It took Debby and her team of 15 volunteers approximately 10 hours to hang all the quilts.  

When her job was done, Debby became a regular guest at the show, shopping and enjoying the quilts. She also was able to have a fun evening with her family at Party Time.

What did Debby think about her first experience as display manager? “I had so much fun.” Debby was able to use her organizational skills as well as her creativity to create quilt displays that she was “very proud of.” Debby added, “The group of volunteers that hung the quilts were so welcoming to the ‘newcomer’ and receptive to my new ways. I couldn’t have done it without their quilt hanging expertise. It was truly a team effort.”

Debby is looking forward to continuing her position at Road 2018. However, she is going to make sure that she has her own tool box next time around, something she wished she had had last January!!

What was your favorite winning quilt on display?

 

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt: 1st Place Innovative, Wall, Pieced Road 2016

Beth Markel won 1st Place: Innovative, Wall, Pieced for Spring Storm at Road 2016. She received $1,000 from sponsor, Artistic Creative Products.1st-place-innovative-wall-pieced

Beth Markel’s interest in quilting began when as a little girl, threading needles for her Grandmother Broyles, who lived with her family.  Grandma Broyles was always cutting a quilt, sewing a quilt, and quilting a quilt – 3 quilts in 3 different stages.  Heaven for young Beth was sitting under the quilt frame her father built for her grandmother, practicing her spelling words.

While Beth is a 5th generation quilter, for a while it didn’t look like she would be a part of her family’s tradition.  She got discouraged with sewing when her 7th-grade Home Economics teacher commented to Beth, “Stick to cooking, because you can’t sew worth a darn.”  It wasn’t until Beth was 36 years old that she decided to attempt quilting and made her first 9-patch. She has been hooked ever since.

Beth and Sophie

Beth and Sophie

The inspiration for Beth’s winning design came from an experience she had after graduating from college and starting her first job in Boston. She had to travel often to New York City and one sunny morning when she was at a farmer’s flower market, a spring storm roared through.  Beth recalls, “Literally, one minute there were purple iris and golden daffodils and crocus, and the next there were purple and yellow petals spinning and whirling through the air.” That impression has stayed with her to this day.

Spring Storm is the first in a series of four seasonal quilts Beth is designing. Beth believes “there are seasons in our lives.  Spring happens when we’re young, a little wild, tempestuous, naïve, and turbulent…the beginning of growth.  Evolution.  Storms.  Setbacks.  More growth.  Beauty.  So stand back.  No, literally, stand back!  The only way to see the twister is to stand back a way, then be slowly drawn into the joy that is every single decision, every single choice, and every single piece that together, tell a story.”

It took Beth almost 14 months to make and quilt Spring Storm partly because  the piecing got so tiny (less than ¼” x ¼”) and all the seams were ¼.”  The quilt has a lot of “stitch in the ditch” as well as quilting in individual squares.  All of the threads were tied-off and hidden because she used her regular sewing machine, a Bernina 300, to do the quilting.  Because of the basis of the piece, Beth wanted to give voice to each individual piece of the pattern.  And while her choice was “tedious and wildly time-consuming,” Beth says it was “worth the effort in the end.”

Persistence is what Beth says she learned the most from Spring Storm.  When she decided to start the 4-Seasons series based on her life, she knew she had something specific to say.  Her youth was fairly wild, and she was constantly straining against where others wanted to pigeon-hole her.  Beth has realized that growth begins “when we’re honest with ourselves, regardless of what anybody else thinks about us.”  Spring Storm actually began as a 9-patch and then a 16-patch, hearkening back to her first quilt – with determination to say something new.

When Beth heard she had won first place, she was “speechless surprised.” She used some of her prize money to enroll in a writing class to help her with her blog. The rest of her winnings was spent on more fabric.

Where does Beth go from here? She is currently working on her second piece of her series, a summer themed design, which is up to 5,000 small pieces at this point. She has a “fun & interesting” trunk show which she presents to quilt guilds, as well as teaches 1, 3 and 5-day workshops. Two of her quilts are currently hanging in the National Quilt Museum as part of the book, “Art Quilts of the Midwest” by Linzee McCray.

Thumbs InVinoVeritas by Beth Markel

Thumbs InVinoVeritas by Beth Markel

Another two of her quilts are part of the exhibit, “Circular Abstractions:  Bull’s Eye Quilts” curated by Nancy Crow, which opened in August, 2016  at the Muskegon Museum of Art.  She continues to write on her blog, discussing everything from long-arm quilting to what happens when a quilter passes away with unfinished projects.

Beth’s quilting interests are many, varying from applique, fabric painting, indigo, and fabric dying to thread painting and using Shiva sticks. Whatever she is working on, Beth remains steady with her “persistence in fine-tuning her voice, breaking down walls between groups of artists, and making textiles relevant to people who only see “quilts” as worn-out bedspreads their grandmothers made…grateful & joyfully!”

To learn more about Beth Markel and her work, please visit her website.

 

So You Want To Make A Winning Quilt? 2016 Excellence In Hand Quilting

Elegance was made and quilted by Elsie M. Campbell. She received $1,500 from sponsor, World of Quilts Travel.Elegance-Excellance in Hand Quilting

“Quite pleased,” was Elsie’s reaction when she found out she had won the prize for Excellence in Hand Quilting.

Elsie Campbell’s love for quilting is in her genes; from her mother, grandmothers, aunts…… and even back several more generations.

Inspiration for Elegance came when her son took Elsie in September, 2007 to an exhibit of antique quilts from the Henry duPont collection at Winterthur, duPont’s childhood home. The collection had been opened to the public more than 60 years ago as a museum. There were some exquisite boutis (trapunto or stuffed work) quilts that fascinated Elsie. She decided that if women from the 18th and 19th century could do this form of quilting, “I surely could, too.”

Work on Elegance began soon after Elsie returned from the exhibit and continued until September of 2015 – a total of 8 years to complete. During those 8 years, Elsie also made 50+ other quilts AND wrote 2 books ALONG with her traveling schedule, teaching quilt making techniques to others across the nation. Elsie said she never doubted that she would complete Elegance. She would stitch when  she had a few moments here and there, usually in hotel rooms while she was on the road and at other odd times. Says Elsie, “A little bit of time here and there really will allow you to accomplish something significant. Just keep at it. If you enjoy the process (and I do!) it doesn’t matter how long it takes to make something of lasting beauty.”

Close up of Elsie's work

Close up of Elsie’s work

Elsie also makes heirloom machine quilted quilts, quilting them on a domestic sewing machine. While she loves to do all kinds of quilt making techniques, she started off quilting everything by hand and still loves taking the time to hand quilt.

What is Elsie working on next?   Elsie is a new iquilt.com instructor. Her online workshop is based on another award-winning quilt, Aunt MiMi’s Flower Garden quilt. The first version of that quilt won the Judge’s Special Merit at Road to California in 2009, and the second version won Best Traditional Quilt in 2014, and several top awards at the AQS Shows.

Aunt Mimi's Flower Garden II - 2014

Aunt Mimi’s Flower Garden II – 2014

The workshop features 7 online lessons, complete with patterns and professionally produced instructional videos.  Elsie still travels to teach quilting to guilds and at quilt shops and national quilt shows across the USA, delivering programs, and workshops, and generally enjoying herself. She sums it up by saying, “I love it ALL!”

To learn more about Elsie, please visit her website.

 

Meet Kathy McNeil: Road 2016 Director’s Choice Winner and Road 2017 Teacher

Kathy McNeil of Tulalip, Washington, won $5,000 for Song of the Sea, from sponsor Moore’s Sewing Center.Director's Award

Before Kathy McNeil became an award winning quilter, she was a hospital nurse for over 35 years. During that time, she loved the community quilts that guilds made for her patients. When Kathy’s daughter asked her mother to make her a quilt for her dorm room, Kathy vowed to try. They went to the quilt store to buy fabric and that is where Kathy saw her first pictorial quilt. As Kathy remembered, “It was like being hit by a lightning bolt of excitement. I still wake up surprised and excited that I have found this passion that makes me so incredibly happy.”Kathy McNeil

Kathy got the idea for Song of the Sea from a trip to the Seattle Aquarium with her grandchildren.  The octopus came out and literally danced across the glass in front of them. Kathy thought the octopus, “was so incredibly, a real diva of the deep.”  Kathy wanted to capture the octopus’ playful, intelligent spirit. The word “diva” that Kathy used to describe her encounter with the octopus inspired the unusual setting of the quilt. As Kathy says, “What better to show off a diva than an Art Nouveau setting?”Judy- picture from Seattle Aquatium

It took Kathy about 400 hours of turned edges using the Apliquick technique to make the quilt. Kathy is a US distributor of those tools and loves watching students gain confidence in turning the smallest little shapes so quickly.  Kathy shared her progress with the quilt in her monthly newsletter.Ophelia the octopus It was her readers that chose the name of the octopus—Ophelia.  The biggest challenge for Judy was figuring out how to make the suckers for the 8 octopus legs. She finally came up with making 321 tiny silk organza yo- yo’s to fit the visual look and texture that she wanted.

When Kathy heard she had won the Director’s Choice at Road 2016, she said, “I leaped, I twirled, I danced, I sang and shouted with joy….. Thank you, thank you for falling in love with my crazy octopus.” Ophelia has been loved by so many people as she has traveled to different shows. She has won two “Best Original Design” Awards and an international art collector has purchased her to be part of a collection of “sea creature art.”

Winning the Director’s Choice was such an unexpected gift that Kathy and her husband decided to use her winnings to make some awesome family memories. They took their daughter and her family on a cruise to the Panama Canal while Kathy was teaching.Kathy's family

What is on the horizon for Kathy and her quilting? “A wonderful balance of teaching trips, time with Mother Nature for inspiration and taking the summer off to write a new book on borders. I wake up every day feeling very blessed to be part of the quilting community.”

To learn more about Kathy McNeil, please visit her website.