Friday, July 1, 2011

Quilt National report 11 -- my vote for best in show

My favorite quilt in Quilt National wasn't exactly in the show.  It was made by Eleanor McCain, who happened to be one of the three jurors, and thus got to hang her work as a courtesy.  But had things been different and she had entered the quilt, I have no doubt that it would have sailed through the jury process.  It's simply a stunning example of traditional quilt patterning and construction, but with a totally contemporary flavor. 

Eleanor McCain, 9 Patch Color Study 7

Considering that I have been whining for months about how physically demanding it is to machine quilt huge pieces on a home sewing machine, I am embarrassed to report that Eleanor's piece is much huger than anything I've ever done -- 110 x 109 inches.  And she quilted it on her home machine.

She rolls the quilt very tightly, then drapes it over her shoulder and feeds it through the machine with a walking foot.  And then turns the quilt 90 degrees and does it again in the other direction.  And changes thread color many times. 

I am chastened, and envious.  I even changed my ways after coming home from the show -- I had a large quilt top that I was planning to finish in two panels, then hang side-by-side in some fashion, perhaps hand-stitched together, perhaps not.  But I realized it would look so much better finished in one piece, and decided that it Eleanor could do hers that way I could too.  And did. 

Thanks, Eleanor, for a beautiful quilt and setting a great example for the rest of us.

OK folks, that's all I have to say about Quilt National, except that I thought it was a strong show, better than two years ago, and well worth a detour to check it out.  Although the show will tour for two years, your only chance to see the whole thing is at the Dairy Barn, where it will be through September 5.  At subsequent venues you'll see only part of the collection.  So rack your brain and try to find some excuse to visit Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Kentucky this summer, then come home via Athens, OH.


  1. Kathy, thank you for your reports on QN. I found them very interesting, and as multifaceted as the show seems to be.
    As I willn't be able to see the show, i've just ordered the catalog. If it is anything near your reports, i'll enjoy reading it, looking at the pictures.
    Again, thanks for sharing your impressions, and not just sharing, but structuring them and showing them from different point of views.
    Beata Keller-Kerchner

  2. Beata -- I'm so glad you're finding these helpful. Thanks for reading!

  3. I too would like to add my thanks for your QN reports. Your insightful commentary has helped me to look and see more.