Jenbenbry's Blog

Quilting in the Windy City

Chicago International Quilt Show 2010 April 17, 2010

Filed under: inspiration — jenbenbry @ 1:00 pm
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Wow!  I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Chicago Quilt Show yesterday.  The quilt show runs through Sunday April 18th at the Rosemont Expo Center just outside of Chicago.  It was amazing, humongous, inspiring, crowded (even though I purposefully went Friday instead of Saturday or Sunday to avoid crowds), and humbling.  I’d say about a quarter of the expo space was devoted to the quilt show and about three quarters to vendors.  I’d prefer something closer to half and half.  There were  vendors for everything from sewing machines, long arm machines, buttons, ribbons, patterns, fabrics, tools, books, thread, hand creams, back massagers, sewing tables, and so much more.  I picked up some really cool vintage Czech glass buttons, some great fabric deals, the tools to try painting on fabrics, and the newest Kaffe Fassett book – which I had signed by the authors!   How cool 🙂

But the quilts, oh the quilts, they were incredible.  By the way – if you want to see more detail on any of these quilts, just click on the image and it will enlarge.

These first few quilts are antiques – all over 100 years old, and some closer to 200 years old.

This quilt, Petal Palette created by Jean Smith in Florida, was my favorite of the more modern quilts at the show.  I’ve included a shot of the detailed embroidery in one of the petals below.


Crocus by Maggie Weiss of Evanston, IL. I love the contrasting greens and purples in this modern design.  I need to look up more of her work, she’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Grape Hyacinth and Tiny Dancer both by Margo Fiddes of Edmonton, Alberta. These are lovely, bright, and bold while impressionistically portraying the flowers.

Grid Growth by Margie Davidson of Edmonton, Alberta – (second image is closeup).  I really like the juxtaposition of the organic leaves in this quilt with the structured grids.  The embroidery work on the leaves is beautiful.

The next quilt was created by a group of twenty quilters in Canada.  They chose a painting by a Canadian artist, Anne Savage’s Saint Sauveur, and cut it up in to twenty pieces which they created independently.  Then they rejoined all of the pieces in to the quilt below – and it turned out so amazingly lovely!

Seven Steps to… By Laura Libigs Colby of Holiday Island, AK.  This quilt is more realistic than a lot of the modern quilts I liked at the show, but I love the colors used and how the leaves feel so three dimensional on the quilt.

Five Pebbles by Dianne Firth of Turner Canberra, Australia.  Ms. Firth describes her quilt as embodying the character and quality of water flowing around pebbles in a stream.  The embroidery work is just amazing.

Evening Dandies-Lions, that is!  By Leighton Taylor of Indianapolis, Indiana.  What a creative and artistic quilt!  I was pleasantly surprised by the lions’ faces in the dandelions!

Autumn Rainbow by Debbie Cimaglio of Gurnee, IL

Bridging the Gap by Robin Robboy of Decatur, GA

Focal Point by Sylvain Bergeron of Oswego, IL.  This quilt just blew me away.  It won third prize in computer aided machine embroidery.  The quilt uses five waves of color – four that start in the corners and one that starts in the middle.  You can see the different colors and how they interact in the close up images.

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Re-Discovering Quilting March 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenbenbry @ 12:34 pm
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My first foray in to the world of quilting was a beginner’s quilting class I took with a girlfriend in 2005.  We made basic quilts alternating squares with nine patches squares with one whole piece.  At the time, I firmly subscribed to the notion that quilts should be both beautiful and useful, and began with the ambitious goal of creating a queen size quilt.  I quickly got discouraged when piecing the top took the entire quilting class period and I was only about halfway to my goal.  I never even learned to do the actual quilting!  I set the project aside and didn’t pick it up again until November 2009.

I used a red fabric for the backing and the binding.

Over Christmas break, my mother in law, JoAnn (who is an expert, long time quilter) showed me some of her amazing quilts and I was inspired to both finish up the class quilt and attempt a baby quilt for a newborn coming in to the family.  The class quilt ended up being around  60 inches square, not even close to a queen, but much more useful as a finished quilt than it would have been as a pieced top in the closet!  And now I’m off and running, with a frequent customer card to JoAnn’s fabrics!