I attended a local quilt show yesterday and again I was again disappointed! The show consisted of pretty quilts and plenty of old quilts that were showcased in order to have an adequate number of quilts to show to the public. I had attended the Dallas Quilt Show this year for the first time which was a very EXPENSIVE trip and a show that I have no desire to return to. There were some beautiful quilts that were totally ignored by the Judges only to award a Modern quilt the Best of Show. For some reason entering quilts in show is no longer desired by traditional quilters because of the bias Judges, not interested in competition, or there are fewer quilters that want to participate in a Guild. I am also very concerned that the Vendors participating in the Quilt Shows will become extinct because it is difficult for them to financially break even at shows due to having to complete with On-Line Quilt Shops. This is the way the world is going and I guess we must all adjust to change – whether we like it or not. I happen to be a “shopper” and if I can save some $ and buy more fabric or tools for my quilting projects, I will. We have all seen some of our favorite quilt shops closing because of the low volume of sales. It is sad to see these changes. But when we are having to pay $12 – $13 a yard for our fabrics, paying less means more for the customer.
NOW, having said all of this, do not take my opinion as a negative because it is just a fact of life for Traditional Quilters like myself. We are old relics to the quilt world, we do not understand the “Modern” quilt, do not understand why a quilt has to be quilted by a long arm machine that leaves little of the craftsmanship covered up and why hand work is no longer valued! I do not want my quilts to be so stiff with quilting that they can stand up by themselves! I say that there should be a Modern Quilt Show and a Quilt Show that showcases REAL quilting! Keep them separate and do not continue trying to eliminate all traditional quilts. Young quilters need to learn the basics of quilting, then branch out into the field that intrigues them the most! Just like learning the history of our country first, then move on to current times!
We quilters who love to enter Quilt Shows wonder lately, “what were those Judges thinking”? Well wonder no more. It is important to read the bio of each Judge to see what quilts will be winners. Here in South Texas, a Reproduction quilt does not have a chance in winning, nor does the traditional needle turn applique quilts. If it is not an Artisan quilt, a machine embroidery quilt, or a long arm “heavily” quilted with feathers and other “fill in all spaces” quilting, there will be no ribbons for your quilt. I began to see this change in judging in 2012. The machine work is more valued than the hand work. The Long Arm business is booming, but the shows are really suffering because those who are the traditionalists are not going to participate in a show where it is well-known that the judges are biased toward machine work only.
In my opinion, Modern quilts are quilts that are made by quilters who want to make a quilt a week without having to think, enjoy math, or dive into a challenging quilt pattern. Kits are another way to circumvent the joy of selecting the fabrics, feeling the quality, cutting the fabric, and then sewing it together. Accuquilt machines might be great for some but is robbing the young quilters of the basics of quilting. Modern quilts are in the abstract, and to me they have not reason or logic in the pattern or selection of fabric. AGAIN, I am not being critical of anyone who prefers the Modern quilts. It is just my opinion of the Modern quilt world.
I have only been quilting since 2003 and in 2006 I began to enter my quilts in the local quilt shows for the sole purpose of helping me become a more precise quilter. Yes, I am retired and have a lot of time (LOL – not this past 5 months though) to quilt each day. I still enjoy the challenge in the entire processes involved in making a quilt. I had entertained the idea of one of those Go Cutters, but quickly realized that I would never be being able to make a quilt that would turn out 100% square. For a show quilt it is one of the most important rules when a quilt is judged! It took me a couple of times to really think this through, but when making a quilt, I always add 1/8″ to the cutting directions. To be held to a definite 2 1/2″ strip would be devastating to me. One can only do so much with a scant seam line to make up the difference when squaring each HST, etc.
In 2003 I attended the Houston show for the first time. By then I was very familiar with the Designers at that time and the fabric lines. It was also a time when “Contemporary” versus “Traditional” quilts was a very popular discussion. Neither a Contemporary or Traditional quilter understood the other! Artisans became involved in our little “traditional” quilt world with their loud splashy colors. It took me some time to make a quilt using Kaffe Fassett fabric and I have not made another, although I did purchase some fat quarters in the last year for a specific quilt and will probably never buy anymore.
There are so many wonderful techniques to learn in the making of a quilt. When the Reproduction Era started I was slow in buying in to that, but now that is all I want to make along with my beloved Batiks. I just knew that Batiks were a “fad” fabric when they came into the quilting world, but I started working with them and fell in love. I only subscribe to Quiltmania magazine and purchase a lot of books from the Australian quilters/designers. The quilts are mostly based on reproduction quilts and are very unique and highly challenging. The regular US magazines became too “easy” and “no challenges” in making them. The bottom line to this ranting post is to bring to light the path that the Quilt Shows and Guilds are heading and it is not a pretty one at the end. Maybe in 2076 there will be another revival of quilts like 1976! Think So.
Now on to the positives of the show yesterday. I purchased some background fabric from Moda for $8.50 a yard and happy with that purchase. I believe it is from E. Sitar’s Snow collection.
Next I purchased some new stamp pads from By Kate (a dear vendor friend) and have one of her new patterns that supports the Millefiori book pattern, La Passacaglia. I have decided to play with a block and let Kate know if there are any problems. This is Kate’s 28th year in the quilt world, by providing an alternative to paper piecing. She uses rubber stamps that stamp the design on the back side of the fabric and then hand sew the block. Please check out the web site – she has a link to show her technique. She is one of my favorites. Of course, I did not have the Millifiori Book 1, 2, or 3, so I went to Paper Pieces and purchased Book 1. I like the pattern, but not so many different colors that are in the original quilt. There is nothing to draw the eye to the quilt – the fabrics are just too busy for me.
I visited Memories By the Yard quilt booth and they were showcasing the CutterPillarGlow – LED light pad for Crafters. This is a new product and I ended up purchasing one! Take a minute and look at the video – I did not purchase the one that can be run on a battery because there is not a way to change the battery if it dies! Neat product. I also ordered the glass cutting mat that will be sent to me in a week or so.
All in all, I visited with Kate, Rosie , and J. Michelle Watts all of whom I have supported throughout my quilting years! Great ladies! Michelle designs the most wonderful Southwest patterns, Rosie carries so many beautiful Redwork patterns and Presensia embroidery thread, and of course Kate does some fantastic things with her stamp technique. Hoping to see them all next year at the New Braunfels and Austin Shows.
AND by the way – I have no more hands to be operated on! My plan is to be back to the serious quilting no later than the first or second week of October. I call this time the “Beginning of my New Year”. Well, it is the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2017, so I am a few quarters off who cares! We will see what I can accomplish with two hands again. All Unforeseen Requirements since May are resolved and the path is open to a “no stress” remainder of 2017!