Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's supposed to be inspiring, not depressing

This is the weekend of the Mukwonago Crazy Quilters' annual quilt show. While the guild is local to Mukwonago, entries come from all over Wisconsin, Illinois, and this year, at least one from Arkansas. Well over one hundred quilts and soft goods fill the gym. There is a separate room where, for a fee, you have a quilt appraised. Most popular of all is the vendor mall - a huge room full of tempting fabrics, patterns, books and do-dads related to quilting. Or, for that matter, simply printed with a quilt motif (Did I mention I own a wonderful glass cutting board for the kitchen with a darling quilt design on it? Yes, we are that obsessive.)

The Best of Show, Best Hand Quilting ribbon winning quilt hung close to the door. It was a gorgeous broderie perse quilt in a medallion style. Each of the flower motifs were cut out of one fabric, then appliqued to the base. The first border was a line of elongated orange peel blocks - absolutely exquisite. In addition to the applique, there was embroiderie and beading - beautiful embellishment. To top the whole thing off - it was handquilted (a rarity these days) in teeny, tiny, even stitches that perfectly complemented the pattern of the quilt as a whole.

Just shoot me. I will never have the time (or the patience) to do something that gorgeous. If nothing else, I do know my limitations. That doesn't keep me from lusting after the kind of talent to produce a masterpiece like that.

The most memorable quilt at the show for me is memorable mostly because the maker was standing nearby when I first saw it - and "Oh, my goodness!" spontaneously burst forth from my mouth. The quilt was a large cathedral windows quilt. That style is done mostly by hand, and is a royal pain to do. The "windows" were much smaller than the ones in the linked picture. The maker was a woman in her 80's. She and her daughter were standing nearby when we saw the quilt, and started to laugh at my outburst. This woman has made only one quilt - this one. She had been working on it off and on for over twenty years. The judges had the good sense to put a red ribbon on it in one of the hand work categories.

Oh - and working on a quilt for twenty years? Not unusual. I have a top I pieced sometime in the 1980's that I didn't quilt. I rediscovered it a month or so ago, and may layer and quilt it this spring.

Inspiring, yes. But also depressing. There are roughly 17 quilts in the queue already - some started, some just fabric and a hand-drawn sketch. Maybe after those are done, I'll be able to spend some time playing with new techniques and designs. No one I know is allowed to get married or have a baby until I finish those 17 quilts; I don't have the time to do any more!

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