MQX Quilt Festival New England 2014 - Our flagship New England show in April has some innovative classes, great faculty and fun events. Class schedules will likely go live online on the 15th of November. The online Flipping Catalog and the printed catalog will follow shortly after and all of our 2013 students will receive a copy by mail.
MQX Quilt Festival - New England, Manchester, NH April 9-12, 2014
Make your hotel reservations soon, it won't be long before the Radisson Hotel is sold out. We are will have a room block at the Hilton Garden Inn and one other property to make sure that there's plenty of lodging! Full information is on the Travel and Information page.
Today the New England quilt competition rules and online entry form are now available. So what quilt will you be entering?
LATEST NEWS! Be on the lookout for the February/March issue of Quilter's Newsletter (available in January) to see several of the MQX Pacific Northwest show's winners. This photo spread will have stunning quilts from Bethanne Nemesh, Linda Thielfoldt, Andrea Brokenshire, Kathy Wylie, Lisa Calle, Judith Phelps, Mary Olson and Peggy Kragnes.
Don't forget that we have an active Facebook page - MQX Quilt Festivals
In this blog, we would like to showcase one of the winners at last month's Portland show.
Since all of us have a story of how we came to quilting, we asked Mary to tell us her story. MQX Quilt Festivals is pleased to present....
Mary Olson, of Aumsville, Oregon won Viewer's Choice at MQX Pacific Northwest. The winner of
Viewer's Choice is announced at the Friday night dinner and sometimes the winner isn't at the show or has possibly chosen to not attend the dinner. Mary had been in the convention center almost all day but her family had joined her and they were all going out for dinner elsewhere. So what to do? Well, when all else fails, tell a white lie. Since Mary's husband does all the design work on her quilts, I (Janet-Lee) pulled her aside and told her that Garry had won a design award that would be announced at the dinner and could she bring him there? Needless to say, Mary was a bit shocked when I announced that SHE was the Viewer's Choice winner.
We all go through a journey in life, with joys, trials and tribulations. My story is no different; at 22 years of age, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer and was given the gift of seeing my own mortality. It has now been almost 20 years since that diagnosis and I am very blessed; I was given the chance to see my daughter grow up and become the beautiful woman she is today. I met and married my amazing husband 16 years ago who is my biggest cheerleader. I graduated from college seven years ago while managing a demanding career. So you might be thinking, what does this all have to do with quilting?
As I was wrapping up college, I let my husband know that I wanted a sewing machine for Christmas. I was intrigued and wanted to learn how to make a quilt. The look on his face was priceless; you would have thought I fell off the turnip wagon. However, being the amazingly supportive husband that he is guess what was under my tree? A sewing machine, the starter edition at Costco, you know the one I am talking about. I used this machine to make my first quilt using a block of the month pattern from the fabric store. Needless to say the Internet became my friend as I started my journey into the quilting world and came across phrases like “stitch in the ditch”. Over the next few years I played with some traditional pieced quilts with my husband cheering me on from the sidelines.
My husband and my quilt collaboration began when I found a book “William Morris in Appliqué” by Michelle Hill. I fell in love with the beauty of the quilts and the wonder of the arts and crafts movement. True to form, I jumped in with both feet and decided not only am I going to make my first appliqué quilt, but that I need the quilt to be larger so it would fit on our bed. So I enlist my husband’s help, an art major, to help design some additional blocks, modify existing ones, and create an entirely new center panel. I will never forget he was helping iron a piece of fabric and I looked at him and said, “Are you quilting?” He got this look on his face and said, “I don’t quilt; I am a designer not a quilter.” I still chuckle at that to this day. Before finishing this quilt, we both knew that we wanted to design and create our own quilts.
Since this time we have worked collaboratively (and at times not so collaboratively) to create two appliqué quilts from the ground up. To find inspiration for the first quilt design, “Acanthus with a Twist”, I went online and purchased every book I could find on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. After a few days of pouring over the books, my husband inspired by a wallpaper design began free hand drawing the design for this quilt. The interesting thing about pencil drawing and fabric is they do not always come across the same. For example, we had a flower that looked great on paper, however when I created the flower from fabric it resembled a crab. Therefore, my husband went back to the drawing board and we worked together until the fabric flower design looked right.
In any relationship, you have to have boundaries and making a quilt is no different. My husband has no desire to quilt, but he loves the design process. When working on the center panel of this quilt my husband mentions he wanted to use a marker to add shading and depth. I told him absolutely not. So I continue working on my quilt then notice he had gone through the border and added shading to many of the flowers. I was not happy; in fact, I was so upset that I threw the quilt top in the garbage and left the house. When I got home, he had dug the quilt out of the garbage and I then spent several weeks removing the blanket stitching and redoing the flowers. The lesson here, is if I say not just no, but heck no, listen. It took me around nine months and 1,300 hours to take his design into this completed quilt. I am thrilled to say we are still married and that we have been blessed to have it recognized at every competition it has been entered into.
After completing “Acanthus with a Twist”, we decided to create a quilt with more dramatic colors so we headed out to our favorite fabric store and purchased the blue background that we used in our second competition quilt, “Midnight at the Celtic Garden”. My husband drew the overall design concept for this quilt. He asked me for my thoughts; I looked at him and said, “How in the world am I supposed to make that into a quilt?” He let me know that if we did not do the Celtic border with the four points his design would be compromised and he was not budging. Well the good news is I am very tenacious and mulled it over in my head for a few days until I figured out a solution. Like all major challenges in life, I have learned to tackle them one-step at a time. This quilt took me around eighteen months and over 2,000 hours to complete. We both feel incredibly honored to have received the Viewer’s Choice Award at the MQX Quilt Festival – Pacific Northwest 2013 show.
In many ways, quilting like life is a journey, we experience joys, trials, and tribulations, but with perseverance, we have the ability to overcome challenges and create beautiful works of art that are an extension of ourselves. My personal mission statement is “God does not grant me tomorrow, so appreciate the joys and sorrows; knowing when my time has come, that I have touched the lives of others”. The greatest joy for my husband and me is seeing the reaction that people have to our quilts. I am truly blessed.
Today's Inside Tip is provided by Mary Olson.
Ziplock bags are your friend. When dealing with cutting so many pieces of appliqué fabric it is easy to get confused. A great way to save time and frustration is to label every piece of fabric (a, b, c, etc.) on the design that is used in a flower. When tracing the shape of the design on fusible web, write the corresponding letter on the back. When creating mirror images of a flower, add a letter x with the corresponding letter on the back. So for example, to make 32 flowers with each flower containing 5 pieces of fabric. place all the 32 pieces for each part of the flower in its own Ziploc bag. So if the flower has five pieces of fabric and there are mirror images, there will be ten Ziploc bags; five will be labeled (a to e) the other five will be labeled (xa to xe). This way when creating the flower, just pull out one piece of fabric from each of the labeled bags!
Janet-Lee & Mary, Founders
MQX Qult Festivals
New England - April 9-12, 2014 - Manchester, NH
Midwest - September 24-27, 2014, Springfield, IL