Quilters delight with artistry in fabric
From tiny slivers of material and even tinier stitches to bright swaths of color and photos reproduced on fabric, the 65 entries in the 30th annual Kachemak Bay Quilters Quilt Show provided a fascinating event for Mother’s Day.
Taking “best of show” was Patrice Krant’s “Eagle Watching You,” an appliquéd wallhanging.
“I worked on cutout out and fusing the 120-plus pieces of the eagle’s head during December and January and then quilted the raw-edge appliquéd top at this year’s quilting retreat in Homer in February, while four real eagles hunt out outside the window,” said Krant, who lives in Fairbanks and Homer.
Inspiration for the time-consuming, detailed, precise work comes from a “desire to make something that appeals to people. And there’s comfort, the warmth you get from the cloth. And some of it is just fun,” said Margaret Lau of Kachemak Bay Quilters. Lau, who has been quilting for about 20 years, also recognized the activity’s social benefit. “ Some of it is just a way for people to get together.”
Pat Melone’s “Snowflakes Keep Falling On My Bed,” second-place winner in the large bed quilt category, provided an example of the detail possible by color combination and numerous pieces of fabric. Varying shades of blues, from light to dark, were reminiscent of a chilly wintry night that could only be warmed by being wrapped in a quilt such as Melone’s. Using a paper-piece technique, her scattering of snowflakes individually required hundreds of pieces.
“One of the snowflakes has 300 pieces, one has 240 and the other two only 150 each,” Melone said of the pattern.
When she began making the quilt, Melone intended to sell it. However, as it turned out, she liked it so much she not only kept it, but redecorated her bedroom to match.
In addition to sharp eyes and steady fingers, working with such tiny pieces of material is done with the aid of specific sewing machine attachments, according to Lau.
Subtle color differences and their placement added to the three-dimensional effect on quilts such as Charlene Ditton’s “Polar Bear,” first place winner in quilted wall art, and Ditton’s “Alaska’s wild Heart,” winner of the large bed quilt category.
In addition, Ditton’s quilt offered an example of quilters’ awareness of the value of their creations.
“My grandchildren are no longer allowed to jump on my bed unless they take the quilt off first,” Ditton said.
Some entries looked dramatically different, such as Ditton’s “Fireweed,” second-place winner in the wall art category, and Kathy Pancratz’s “Cattails,” third place winner in the same cagetory, but were based on the same pattern.
“That shows the very, very different effect because of colors,” said Lau. “And artistry.”
In addition to reflecting creativity, the personal stories stitched into many of the quilts offered glimpses inside the crafters’ hearts. Cheryl Reynolds’ quilt of hearts and bows made for her granddaughter, Hazel, was one example. The soft pastels in each block perfectly captured the warmth with which it was pieced together.
“This is a little girl quilt for love and happiness,” said Reynolds.
Cinda Martin’s quilt of family photos printed on fabric and made as a Christmas gift for her son, Jake was another example.
Linda Wagner’s “Stairway to Cat Heaven,” second-place winner in small quilts, was made for Wagner’s sister, Melody.
“She does not know I made it, so she will be surprised at the quilt show today,” said Wagner.
Receiving the most visitor votes in the “other” category was Enid Keyes “Azure Riches.”
“This is such an easy pattern to make and of course I could not resist adding a machine embroidered center and metallic gold quilting accents,” Keyes said about her piece.
Her choice of colors, fabrics, trim and stitching made it look anything but easy.
Entries in the annual quilt show represented the work of about 25 quilters, most of them from the Homer area.
Kachemak Bay Quilters meets at Kachemak Community Center from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Thursday. For more information, contact Lau at 235-6973.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.
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