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A New World

In a short week, the world around us has changed. Events have cancelled, restaurants and bars are shuttered and people are staying home from work. Who would have thought that a virus outbreak half way around the world would find us sheltering in place, stocking up on food and practicing social distancing?

I have been spending this time checking in with friends by phone, catching up on my reading and quilt projects. At least for creative people we can keep our hands busy and our minds off the evolving events for a few moments. We are lucky we have social media like Facebook to post pictures of our projects and share other distractions while we wait things out.

Heather Givens, owner of Crimson Tate, said this in an email: “Looks like we need to reinvent how we work in the moment.” I give her credit for taking this bull by the horns and keeping her business alive. The quilt store is available for on-line orders and offered curb-side pickup. I hope other stores will take her lead and do the same.

Before everything shut down, I was in Bloomington for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show. It was the first time I was able to attend since I was always in the middle of tax season years past. Retirement has freed up my time, so Maureen Weflen and I took a road trip and signed up for classes on Thursday and Friday.

Along the way we stopped in Spencer to visit Unraveled, a quilt store that I’ve heard about but never been to before. It is located in the heart of town but you can easily drive past in since it’s located in a brick building with other business surrounding it. The owner, Lisa Stantz, made us feel welcome as we looked around the store. She has a wide variety of goods and a large space including classrooms. She told us Rob Appell was scheduled to present a trunk show on April 4th and they planning other events.

After the quilt shop, we traveled on to Bloomington and stopped at a museum to check out an exhibit of quilts called the Migrant Quilts of Southern Arizona Borderlands. The Project is a collaborative effort of artists, quiltmakers and activists to show the impact of immigration policies. Much of the materials used to create the quilts where taken from clothing, backpacks and other materials left behind in the desert by people migrating to the US to find a better life. The quilts focused on the names (if known) of those who died on their journey. The exhibit was very moving and will be traveling around the country for another year. If you have a chance to see it, it is worth the visit.

Maureen and I took a class together from Karen Combs called “Patchwork Illusions.” Karen is an excellent teacher and if you ever have a chance to take a class, I highly recommend her. She started the class talking about color and value, both of which are very important in her work. The illusion is created by making 9-patch baby blocks using a light, medium and dark side. She also had some great tips on constructing 60 degree diamonds and getting everything to line up perfectly. Most of her work is done from fabric that reads like a solid and it is stunning. She had a quilt on display and spent part of the afternoon different ways of setting the clock to create different perspective.

On Friday, I took a collage class with Emily Taylor. I’ve never done collage before, so it was a fun exercise to make a new art. Emily spent the first part of the class also talking about color and value since she creates dimension and realism paying attention to these important considerations. We were given a panel that Emily had printed on a white fabric background with the image we would be creating. This class was a cactus pattern. After taking time to affix Steam a Seam 2 to the back of our fabrics (we could also use glue if we preferred), we began cutting small snippets to paste onto the background pattern. This was lots of fun and could easily been done while sitting in front of the TV watching movies. Emily rotated around the class helping anyone who needed it and telling us funny stories while we worked. I would recommend her classes as well!

Each day, we had a couple of hours for lunch and touring the show which is upstairs in the convention center. The show attracts quilters from all over the United States and Germany. Best of Show was won by Janet Stone for a quilt called “Garden Variety Sampler.” She does beautiful work and I believe she won at Shipshewana last year for a different quilt. Several themes in her work are that she loves old fashion samplers, letters and sheep. Her quilts are mostly applique and her work is flawless. I wonder if she teaches?

Several QGI members were represented and won ribbons. Judy Pleiss receive a third place for her Modern Quilts entitles “Crossing New Lines. Claudia lash got an honorable mention in the Challenge Quilts for her quilt called “Subirdia.” Leigh Layton won an honorable mention in Art/Innovations Quilts for her quilt called “Lily.” Congratulations to all!

I end this with a concern for all of you and the hope that you stay well and busy. Stay in touch with your friends and family and keep creating!

Mary Ellen Straughn, 2020 QGI President

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