Tag Archives: Outstanding Traditional Quilt

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? Road 2016 Best Traditional Quilt

The Paisley Peacock was made and quilted by Bethanne Nemesh. Bethanne won $5,000 for Outstanding Traditional Quilt from Janome.Best Tradtional Quilt

While both of Bethanne Nemesh’s grandmothers made quilts, quilting for Bethanne was largely a process of self-discovery.  Her mother didn’t quilt, but she did sew and Bethanne remembers “truly hat(ing) the fabrics from my youth.  The late 1970’s and 1980’s calicos did not do much to inspire a young artist.”  It was when Bethanne went to college and met a fiber artist who did hand dying and printmaking that she realized she didn’t have to tolerate what the stores had to offer. Later, when she moved to Pennsylvania with the rich quilting culture there, Bethanne really took off with her quilting.Bethanne Nemesh headshot 2016

Paisley Peacock was inspired by a henna tattoo that Bethanne got at the beach one summer; the tattoo had swirling paisley designs. She was also inspired by a rich ribbon edged sari fabric from India.

The quilt took close to 200 quilting hours, but that only tells a part of the story.  The design time for the quilt was also significant, but most of her work was with the edge treatment.  Bethanne is known for doing specialty edges on her quilts. The handmade edge for Paisley Peacock is a combination of beads enclosed in a sleeve of fabric and individually made tabs placed carefully around the quilt.  The edge itself took an additional 150 hours to complete.Best Tradtional Quilt

Bethanne was “quite surprised” that Paisley Peacock won one of the top prizes at Road 2016.  Winning Outstanding Traditional Quilt was an enormous honor for her, “especially since a huge number of entries at the show were traditional.”

What did Bethanne do with her prize money? In August 2016, Bethanne sustained a hip injury that required extensive surgery. She is still not fully recovered and so trying to maintain her 2,500 square foot front yard garden of perennials has been challenging. Winning this prize allowed her to hire a professional landscaper to design and execute a drastic –yet still beautiful– scaled down version of her front garden.

After achieving this honor, Bethanne  hopes to continue to push herself creatively making meaningful show quilts.  She is currently working on two quilts that she really feels strongly about. Bethanne also hopes to travel and teach at a west coast show in the near future.