25 April 2016

Quilts Japan at the New England Quilt Museum

Kumiko Funaki, Rising Sun, detail.

From January 6 through May 1 the New England Quilt Museum played host to 32 quilts from the 12th Quilts Japan, or Quilt Nihon, international competition. These quilts, curated by Pamela Weeks, displayed outstanding technical mastery and brilliant design skills.

Kumiko Fumaki, Rising Sun.

Rising Sun, detail.

Admiring a quilt.

One show-stopper after another.

Hiroko Nakagama, Swan Song.

Swan Song, detail.

Kiyomi Shimada, Ebb Tide.

Kimiyo Inoue, Recollection.

Recollection, detail.

Yuko Eguchi, Red and Black.

Red and Black, detail.

Junko Nakatsugawa, Night with a Hazy Moon.

Night with a Hazy Moon, detail.

Miwako Mogami, Towards Space.

Towards Space, detail.

Yukiko Nakao, Flowers in the Night Sky.

Flowers in the Night Sky.

Variations on the medallion quilt theme.

Masae Komori, Looking forward to Spring.

Looking forward to Spring, detail.

Yoko Masuda, Happiness in Full Bloom "Pear Flower".

Happiness in Full Bloom "Pear Flower", detail.

Mineko Inoue, Wild Chrysanthemums in Baskets.

Wild Chrysanthemums in Baskets, detail.

Miki Yakita, My Baltimore Album IV.

My Baltimore Album IV, detail.

Hatsumi Satou, Dandelion.

Dandelion, detail.

Kazue Takao, Lake Surface.

Lake Surface, detail.

Lake Surface, detail.

Harue Konishi, Syo #66

Syo #66, detail.

Kinue Ishigame, matrix.

matrix, detail.

Jnatsu Kikuchi, Hasagi in Winter II.

Hasagi in Winter II, detail.

For the most part I decided to let the quilts speak for themselves. However, a word of explanation for the last quilt - in certain areas of Japan, harvested rice stalks are tied to specially pruned trees, called hasagi, to facilitate the drying of the rice. Rice is central to Japanese culture, so it seemed right to end my blog post with this quilt image.

15 April 2016

Knitty City - getting worsted in New York

A cuddly menagerie of knitted toys.

First, I apologize for the horrible pun in this post's title. Forgive me.

Although I am loyal to my local yarn store, Puttin' on the Knitz, in the interest of research I investigate the local fiber offerings when I travel too.  During a recent trip to Manhattan, I discovered yarn emporium Knitty City, on the Upper West Side at 208 West 79th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. Thoughtfully, proprietor Pearl Chin offers extended retail hours, until 8 pm, on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Look for the orange banner.

We happened by on Wednesday evening, when a men's group meets. Real men do knit.  The store is compact, but features a good selection of yarn weights and fibers - wool, but also cotton, linen, silk, alpaca and even bamboo.

Wall of yarn - tactile delight!

Long, narrow space packed with goodies and nice people.

Comfy corner for browsing books and patterns.

The store was quite busy - it's obviously a community hub - but I never felt jostled or rushed as I engaged in what is for me the most difficult part of knitting:  selecting yarn.  This store has a swift, or ball winder, which converts skeins into balls of yarn, sparing my husband the chore of sitting on the couch  windmillling his arms around while trying to keep an unruly mass of yarn from tangling. Wish every yarn shop would provide this service.  In addition to yarn, this well-stocked shop offers patterns, notions, and a great selection of buttons for those cardigans. 

Guys' knitting group.

Winding my yarn purchase.

Selection of drawstring bags with words to live by.

02 April 2016

Quinobequin Guild Quilt Show

Elinor Nelson, Diamond Rainbow.

The always-fabulous bi-annual Quinobequin Quilters' show opened its two-day run on Friday, April 1.  As befits April Fool's Day, some of the quilts feature light-hearted subject matter (see giraffe, below).  All the quilts were a delight; those featured in this blog will give an idea of the variety of artwork on display.

Marlene Thurston, Love from Above, based on a design by Charley Harper.

Enjoying the quilts.

Evy Megerman, Johanna's Joyous Jungle.

Evy Megerman made the animal-themed quilt above for a 4-year-old granddaughter - lucky girl!  Although the quilt label did not discuss technique, I think the blocks were created using the paper piecing technique.  Another quilter employed this method, which ensures very accurate assembly, in the quilt below, which was machine-quilted by Mary Ann Zonnenshine.

Jane Evans, Amanda's Quilt, "Tumbler" pattern by Four Paws Quilting.

Amanda's Quilt, detail.

Other wonderful pieced quilts just glowed with color.  Kaffe Fassett's striped fabrics were cut and sewn to make the "handkerchief corner" blocks of the quilt below.

Winnie Wong, Around the Corners with 30 Strips 2.

Marleen Kroll, Tula Pink meets Paula Nadelstern.

Fabrics designed by quilting world royalty, Tula Pink and Paula Nadelstern, were used to great affect in the quilt above, machine quilted by Concessa Shearer.  It's hard to see in my image, but the grayish sashing fabric is metallic, and makes a wonderful contrast with the black borders of each square block.

It's tempting, of course, to touch artwork which has so much tactile appeal, but the friendly white-glove hostesses are there to show off the backs of the quilts - often as fun as the front - and keep the quilts in pristine condition. 

A reminder.

CharAnn Brown, Vintage Timing.

 It was hard to resist touching the quilt above, made from a pattern by Jen Kingwall, "Steampunk".  There's a lot to see in this artwork, and a real sense of motion and energy.

Vintage Timing, detail.

Red, white and blue never goes out of style, and the patriotic quilt is a time-honored tradition. The quilt below is a Minick and Simpson pattern, "Birmingham Stripe", #1304, and was machine quilted by Concessa Shearer.

Carol Miller, Strips.

Great quilts come in all sizes.

In honor of the spring season, the last two images feature floral themes, both done with applique but very different in flavor.

Charlotte Surgenor, My Whimsical Quilt Garden, details.

Linda Evans, Bud Garden, detail. From a pattern by Lisa Bongean.