Sunday, October 16, 2005

Quilt Festival Frenzy

I am home after three days devoted to quilts, viewing, making, and otherwise being immersed in, at PIQF in Santa Clara. One of the great things for me about this is that it takes place about 20 minutes from my parents' house. So, I stay with them and then get to enjoy the show for a few days. PIQF is so huge, with such great things to see, that I'd hate to try to do it in one day. As it is, I get overwhelmed seeing this many amazing quilts in one place.

There were scads of gorgeous quilts. I quickly became overwhelmed and didn't take as many pictures as I probably should have. Plus there were wonderful quilts that just always had people crowded around them, so I never did get a clear shot.

Here is one of the ones I consider among my most favorites:

I find that I am drawn to different sorts of quilts each year. I admire, but tend not to look at closely or take pictures of of the traditional or big applique quilts. Baltimore Album quilts leave me cold, although I am awed by the time and patience that making one displays. I'm also, at present, sick and tired of the heavy surface design know, things stamped and printed and layered with fabric bits and organza on top of that and then layered more with stitching and different thread work and beads and other stuff attached. I know those techniques are probably fun to do and the look is trendy right now, but I find most of those very jumbly and not very interesting. There was a fair amount of that sort of work this show, and I didn't see any one piece that struck me really terrific. (But that's just me, and hey, I know my quilts aren't fine art either.)

By the way, I also noticed that heavy, heavy quilting is IN. I can't believe how many quilts I saw that were so heavily quilted that you noticed the quilting before you noticed the quilt itself. It made me admire all the more the quilts that used the threadwork and quilting to compliment but not overwhelm the quilt content. Anyway. I don't mean to sound nit-picky. There were lots and lots of gorgeous quilts.

This time, I just wandered around and looked at the stuff that caught my eye for whatever reason. Mostly, the factor that pulls me in is color. That, more than technique or content, is usually what gets my attention and causes me to look more closely. I did find myself drawn to the animal quilts, for some reason...Not for realistic portrayals of animals...This dog one was so colorful and full of detail (not to mention amazing applique) that it warranted a lot of close looking.

This dog quilt also captured my attention. I love how it is about the dog, but it is so colorful and has so much to look at in it. Very whimsical. I recall that it was made for a "blue" challenge...and I suspect that this dog was/is either a blue heeler breed or named Blue. (You can tell I pay way more attention to the quilt than the information on the card.)

Here are more favorites, for no other reason than I found them exceptional. I'm afraid that I didn't notice who made them, so my apologies. I guess being happily overwhelmed by the artistry of the quilt is my excuse.

Oh! Look at this! A group of quilt artists took a picture of Paris, cut it into strips, and made this panel of strips. Apparently there was one fabric that each artist had to use. My friends and I were guessing that it was one of the terra cotta colored bits which most of them used somewhere in the bridge stonework. I was especially amazed at this, as most of these group projects that I've seen turn out ugly and disjointed looking. I thought this was surprisingly cohesive.

I took this picture for Caroline. I will never make this sort of horse quilt, but I can admire it.

For some reason, I found myself noticing interesting and unusual borders. This was a pretty, but not wildly interesting, broderie perse type quilt. But I love this border, with the black buttonhole stitching highlighting the pieced edges.

Another intesting quilt and border treatment. You can just tell that this is a Japanese quilt, can't you? The detail was really amazing.

I also was interested in the border treatment on this. I thought this edge treatment really made a good (but not great) quilt into something much more interesting.

One of the special exhibits was a collection of small quilts (all about 18 or 20" square) by a group of artists from New York State. There were lots of interesting small works in that assortment and I spent a long time enjoying them. Here's one of my favorites. I loved how these narrow strings (each maybe 1/4 inch wide or less) made such great texture.

I have much more to say about PIQF, but of course I can't close this first entry without showing you how my first day ended: with margaritas with Melody Johnson and Gerrie Congdon at El Torito. After a long day of walking around on concrete floors (resulting in "Disneyland Feet" as my family refers to that tired leg/sore feet feeling), nothing is as reviving as a comfy booth, laughter with friends, and of course a large margarita on the rocks!

Our waiter kindly took this shot (notice how Melody is gazing at him with interest?). I'm still figuring out how to smile in just doesn't feel normal yet. But it was a very enjoyable dinner!

Oh, I have to add one more thing. I walked through the show on Thursday and Friday. Starting Saturday, the convention center was hosting other activities besides the quilt show. In the halls adjacent to the quilt show area was the "Bay Area UFO Convention." I'm not kidding! It was totally entertaining to sit (to enjoy a rejuvenating cup of coffee and rest the Disneyland Feet) and watch the folks coming in and going out. I actually saw one very serious fellow with a rather large wad of aluminum foil on his head. Seriously, I did.

I bet that the thought of a quilt convention was just as odd to them as the UFO convention was to me.

Can't you just see THAT as a quilt? "Quilt and UFO Convention"?


  1. Diane, thanks for sharing the quilts you loved. The one with the trees made me gasp for air. It is outstanding how well they captured that perspective.

    And an evening with Gerrie and Melody and Margarita! WoW Wow and Wow!

  2. Love seeing all the pictures. Thanks for sharing and thanks to all the artist for making them. My lobster dinner with Melody here in Maine back in May was a delight. She really knows how to smile! And we laughed loud too!

  3. Thanks for sharing the pics. It's nice that you shared so many. (for all of us unfortunate folks who couldn't go)

  4. I so agree with you about the large amount of overdone quilting! Especially in the faces! Like the pieces you picked out to share!

  5. I had such a great time with you and was hoping that you would have these pics up, and now I can link you again to these.

    I never took one picture of the quilts, shame on me.

  6. Beautiful quilts (love the pick up sticks one and the up shot of the treetops and the one with the crazy border treatment), great company and a friendly waiter...a splendiferous time for all. Thanks for all the pictures. It's so heart warming to see all the work that is being produced everywhere. It makes the world seem so much larger than I think of it everyday.

  7. Enjoyed seeing all the pictures. Looks like you gals had a great time!

  8. Anonymous8:21 AM

    I am having a *duh* moment because I do know who made the tree quilt and just can't retrieve the info right now.

    Speaking of Margaritas, Al Roker is on *Martha* right now making a Margarita pie that looks darned good.....

    Oh, the dog in *Blue* is a Dobie....and I agree about the over-done work. If you want to see some work that is an absolute marvel in simplicity and beauty...go to: She was working on a piece with just 2 fabrics this weekend and it so grabbed me I bought it before it was even done....


  9. I loved the Japanese quilt and the treetops one. I'm not into overdone work either right now. Thanks for sharing the quilt photos!

  10. Diane, those pics were yummy. I missed going to PIQF this year. I really love the treetops one. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Anonymous12:56 AM

    I just discovered this blogging spot - I always use livejournal. But here are a bunch of quilters who were at PIQF, maybe passed me at Cherrywood fabrics, or the African booth. And we saw different quilts! Except I do remember the funny one with all the dogs. =)