Saturday, August 25, 2012

AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids

Today I zipped up to Grand Rapids for the AQS's first show there. I knew I wouldn't have time for classes, etc., as I did when I went to the show in Des Moines, but I thought it would be worth a trip just for the exhibit hall.

There were a lot of quilts to be seen. I can't show you any of them. Photography is allowed, but putting them online is not. So if you want to see them, you'll have to visit me and ask.

Besides the usual stunners in the usual categories, they also had a show by tent makers of Cairo. The quilts were unbelievable works of precision applique. Most of the quilts looked like big works of mosaic tile designs, a lot in blues and whites. They were incredible. One thing that surprised me was how far apart their applique stitches were. Makes me think the rule I've heard of a 1/4" is too demanding. Maybe I'll relax it on whatever I might next applique!

I also really enjoyed an exhibit of quilts from 50 award winning Japanese quilters. I am quite enthralled by the Japanese aesthetic. I don't find it easy to incorporate into my own work, but I love to look at it and study it.

In addition to seeing the exhibited quilts, I went to a lecture by Sue Nickels where she talked about her collaboration with her sister, Pat Holly. They have worked on a number of wonderful quilts, including probably their most well known, the Beatles quilt. As if the front of the quilt wasn't enough, they hand wrote the lyrics to every Beatles song on the back of the quilt!

My version of the Hawaiian Star (still waiting for quilting).
Oh, one more thing before I go on to things I can show you pictures of. I was very interested to see versions of Judy Neimeyer's pattern that I have done, the Hawaiian Star, and her similar Dragon Star pattern hanging at the show. A version of the Hawaiian Star was at the Des Moines show as well, which was the same year I did the quilt. Apparently it is still a popular pattern to do.

The one in the Grand Rapids show played with the colours so that there was more unity to the quilt. (Although I changed what colours were used, I positioned them exactly as prescribed by the pattern.)

Ok, so what can I show you? What I bought, of course!

First some fat quarters:
Nothing too exciting there, except the red ones on the right will be going to my sister who is doing a "sister's choice" quilt (wall hanging, I believe). She has asked all four of us to send her two fabrics which she will use in blocks with fabrics she has picked out. It will be fun to see what comes of it! I have no plans for the other two fabrics; they were nice and finished out the "4 for $" price.

Second, I bought an Asian or Asian inspired fabric.
The price was good; I loved the orange; and I think it may go well with the Asian wall hanging I am thinking about. If not on the front, then as a backing.

Lastly, I stopped at a quilt store on the way home. We saw the billboard from the highway on the way home from the cottage but did not stop. (No way I'm making an 7-hour drive longer.) But today I decided to go for it. The shop was nice and I found this Kaffe Fasset fabric (on sale, no less):
Yup, it's small scale, very busy and pretty bright. I am thinking it will be the perfect binding for the quilt made with these fabrics (which I bought last time I was in Missouri):
I tried to buy a Fassett book they had on quilts as well, but their only copy had a torn dust jacket. When they said that was the only copy, they offered a discount of 10% ($3.50). I don't think so. Don't you think a damaged dust cover is worth more than that? It was a big noticeable rip. Anyway, I'll go look on half.com or something. (But LYS owners should realize, I tried!)

Then the side trip took a worse turn as I tried to get back on the highway. There was construction and a bridge was closed and I ended up driving circles in town looking for the detour. (GPS, which I deigned to take along, was no help as it kept telling me to turn where the road was now a sand pile.) The detour took me east (away from the highway), then north (when I wanted to go south), then back to the highway. That's when I learned that there was only a north-bound ramp and no access to the highway south bound!! The detour continued further west (away from the highway on the other side now), then south again, and then finally back to the highway. I was beginning to regret my little spontaneous adventure!

And what was I knitting through the day, as I had a chance? I've been working on a scarf in brioche stitch, something I haven't tried before. It looks like a loose ribbing and acts like a double-sided fabric. Let's see if you can see in it the following two samples (ignoring the top few inches for now):
Look closely at the two pictures and you can see that the two sides are not identical. Follow the bottom green stripe on one, and you can see that the same area is blue on the other. There are two things to note: not only is the fabric reversible and different on the two sides, the brioche stitch also causes the colours of a variegated yarn to fall in such a way that you get these long wavy stripes.

Compare the two colour patterns in the picture below:
The bottom is the brioche stitch with the long full-width stripes. But the couple of inches just below the needle is regular rib. You can see that the colours sort of start a pattern, but the stripes of green or blue are relatively short and the colours are spread out in smaller chunks. I can't say exactly why Brioche brings more of a colour together at once, but I sure like the effect.

In the big picture, however, I am going to have to tear this all out. It's been a good practice at brioche stitch, but the part I had done took about 25 grams, and I only have about 125 in total. That would make for a very short scarf! (Brioche does tend to soak up the yarn as it's thicker (front to back) than most other stitches.) There's no more of this yarn at the store (I can't even remember exactly what it is), so I am thinking of getting a second colour. Then I would knit a two-colour brioche and you would get this colour on one side and the new colour on the other. I'm excited to try it.

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