Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Visit to the MQX Quilt Festival - New England

Last weekend a family wedding north of Boston coincided with the MQX Quilt Festival in Manchester, New Hampshire.  My oldest daughter and I made a mini vacation of it.  We took two days to drive over from Northeast Ohio allowing us time to visit the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in upstate New York for some birding and An Unlikely Story, the bookstore of children's author, Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) in Plainville, Massachusetts.
The birding was good (30 species and good looks at migrating ducks) and the bookstore is delightful! 
The Ohio cousins all met up in Boston on Friday and did the "pub crawl" method of the history trail.  That left me free to spend a long morning at the MQX Quilt Festival.  It was my first visit to the show and very enjoyable.
The main target for me was to see an exhibit of Victoria Findlay Wolfe's double wedding ring quilts!
I have the book but to see them in person is always the best!
It's so interesting to know the back story of each quilt.
Do you follow her on Instagram?  I enjoy the sunny little videos she posts every so often so what a delight to turn a corner and there she was, in the booth, on her lunch break from teaching.
So of course, I went into the booth for a closer look at some of her current work and to purchase the pattern for that big star in the background!
I even left my wallet in the booth, so she had to come find me!!
(Sought out by VFW!!)
The judged quilts were stunning!  All machine quilted of course and divided into 14 categories including "emerging entrants" -- I like that category option!
This is the Best of Show by Margaret Solomon Gunn.  She was also on the faculty for the weekend.
Every detail was perfect.
This piece by Molly Hamilton-McNally was just around the corner.  The applique on this one was the standout aspect! 
Until I saw the back -- if you look at the lower left section, you'll notice that she used a gold thread in the bobbin for the large feathered motif which made it stand out on the back. 
I really enjoyed that many of the quilts were hung so that the back could also be seen.
I don't do this sort of detailed quilting -- no patience, but it's stunning to see! 
These next three were my favorites in the show.  I loved the color palette and print style of this piece by Sheila Dameron who was inspired by the natural color palette of Sedona, Arizona -- right up my alley! 
This close-up of a rhododendron blossom was a stunning combination of applique and stitching. 
I forgot to take a photo of the tag so don't know the maker's name. 
I loved this little piece by Libby Williamson who was inspired by the "for sale" notices on community bulletin boards.  Her attention to detail (look at the left edge where the "paper" was torn out of a notebook).  Of course it's really fabric and whimsy! 
One of the elements of the show I appreciated was that all the pieces were hanging in "their category" so this is the view down the row of "edge-to-edge, hand guided".  This is the first, second, and third and it must have been a challenging category for the judging.
One of the details that caught my eye on the middle quilt by Linda Thielfoldt was the slightly wavy binding!!
There was lots of machine quilting inspiration and I was paying attention to simpler motifs that I might be able to modify (make simpler) in my own work.
Here's a little gallery of my favorites.
Using bubbles (but not too many) as filler
and to add some interest in spots.
I was struck by this blend of a motif and the use of the slightly wonky parallel lines. 
It's good to see this dense easy way to create dimension -- I always shy away from it fearing that I'll "ruin" what I've already done.
Just a cute motif here 
and here! 
And maybe saving this picture will remind me that an "empty" space can be dressed up a bit!
Another area where I'm always shy. 
I'm quite fascinated by simple and large circular quilting -- this works so well but it's so hard for me to visualize therefore I never just try it! 
Must just try it!! 
And finally, it was so much fun to stumble onto quilts that I recognized from my Instagram world!
Those spiders and the bats are from @lillyellasworld -- I was on the testing team for the spiders and you can buy it HERE!
And here's a New Hexagon piece based on Katja Marek's book and follow-along she did in 2015 via Facebook -- pieced and quilted by Arvilla Mederios -- love her name for the quilt -- Never Say Never! 
I'm a little disappointed that I didn't take a picture of the front of this quilt, Sanderson's Apprentice by Karen Terrens of Australia (this is the back) -- it's a reproduction of an English pre-marked Sanderson quilt from the late 1800's.  I've seen some of the original ones on the Facebook page of Antique Textiles in London, England -- lots of antique quilt eye candy there so expect to be distracted! 
Soon it was time to get down to the business of the trip -- the wedding! 
And a mini reunion with my two sisters -- me on the left, mother of the bride on the right,
and my crew -- younger daughter on the left, only son, older daughter on the right. 
Sunday morning saw all of us saying farewell until the next wedding. 
Good to be back home and back in the studio!
If you're celebrating Easter or Passover this weekend, hope it's a good one!!



  1. Thanks for all the detailed photos of the actual quilting used! Beautiful!!!

  2. I like some of VFW's fabrics and quilts. The top one you picture is especially lovely.
    How clever is the torn notebook page quilt. Perforations and everything!
    Weddings are always good excuses for family get-togethers. I hope you are having fun.

  3. Wow! What a great trip and so many beautiful photos. I really appreciate VFW's no rules style. No wonder she is so fast!

  4. Wonderful post, Mary. Thanks! It was nice to see you with family.

  5. Hello Mary
    Lovely to find an image of the back of my quilt on your Blog - I am glad you enjoyed MQX - would have loved to have been there. Let me know if you would like an image of the front.