My name is Holice Turnbow, a quilter since the early 1970’s. However, I really can’t say my quilting adventure started in the 70’s, since as a young child in Texas visiting grandparents and aunts who lived on the farm, I was always around quilters. I helped stretch quilts in the frame and played under the quilt as a young boy.
Since then I have had many experiences in a wide range of quilting activities. I have been a quilt consultant for fabric companies as well as other quilt product manufacturers and suppliers. I have been a National Quilting Association certified judge since the beginning of the program and a Certified Teacher since the early 1990’s. During this time I have judged for local county fairs all the way up to national quilting conventions. I have taught various types of quilt making in local quilt shops, for quilt guilds and at large quilt conventions.
While my experience has been broad, my basic passion for quilt making has always been helping new and experienced quilt makers to produce the best work possible.
A special concentration has also been on the quilting design or motif whether it is applied by hand or machine. My motto is “back to the basics and on to the future” with techniques that are less stressful and more satisfying in whatever style being used.
In this blog I will be dealing with the basics of good quilt making. I hope to express my opinions of those activities and trends currently found in the wide world of quilt making. Hopefully, you will find these thoughts and comments helpful in achieving your own quilt making goals.
To begin this blog I would like to introduce myself in another way by showing an overview of the work I have accomplished over the past thirty years.
I don’t mean the one who serves you at your favorite restaurant but the one who sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear “wait, wait”.
I have been in the process of modifying a whole cloth design. Redesign of certain parts might be a better word. I sketched out a new design section over the old one and started to duplicate this on to other sections of the overall design but something said “wait, it might not be what you want”, so I went on to other sections of the design where there was no need to redesign.
Wait can sometime be our best friend in quilt design. The first thought might not be the best. There might be other possibilities that come to you as you progress in the project. Wait until the Waiter whispers in your ear “that’s it”.
I had the opportunity recently to attend both Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. This is an annual event sponsored by Quilts, Inc, also in Houston, to give focus to Quilting, Fiber and Textile manufacturers, businesses, educational and related subjects.
I especially wanted to attend the Market portion as it was their 35th year and I was there 35 years ago for the first. . What started in a small conference space in the Houston hotel has grown into filling an entire convention center in downtown Houston has now grown into a $3.76 billion dollar industry. This is according to a study released at the event. The study also reports that one out of every 20 Americans quilt.
That first event hardly filled one large meeting room in a Houston hotel – a far cry from the hundreds of vendors at the 35th show. I was able to reminisce with friends and acquaintances from far back as well as new contacts.
I also took the time to look at the merchandise and equipment and tools being shown. The Market is always a time to know what is new and will be seen in our quilts shops in coming months. My impressions were:
More long-arm quilting machines are entering the market.
Fabric designs keep changing. At the Spring Market earlier this year, we saw an abundance of fabric designs in what was called “the modern ascetic”. The designs were more graphic and larger floral in soft almost pastel colors. Samples shown in the booths reflected the mood given off by these colors and designs. It was interesting at the Fall Market that we saw the same designs but were merged into our more traditional quilt designs/patterns.
Handwork was very visible. There was a lot of embroidery much in the style of Red Work from many years ago. (Remember Penny Squares). Well you might not actually remember when Penny Squares were available, but am sure you have seen the designs in vintage quilts. Many vendors showed patterns for these designs.
Wool was everywhere and not always in the more primitive design quilts and accessories.
A surprise to me was the number of fabric companies from outside the USA. Australia was much in evidence with more from Japan and even Brazil. Very exciting designs were shown by these vendors.
Pre-cuts were in every fabric manufacturer’s booth. Pre-cuts are definitely a major part of their distribution. This trend is reflected in books giving suggestions for the best and most economical use of these packages.
The exhibit of quilts was, as usual, mind boggling. Since the 35th anniversary color is ruby, the special exhibit of red/white quilts was most appropriate to the event.
Renewing friendships and meeting new quilters, eating good food (a favorite is the Fried Avocado from the Adobe Cafe) all made for a memorable time. What do the next few years have in store for us? Who knows?
Warning – IMO
I feel it necessary to begin these blogs with a Warning to those reading. I love acronyms. It seems everyone is using this new cyber shorthand. However, I must admit that I have to go to the Acronym Dictionary to find out what the poster is talking about. I do know one and will use it loud and clear in these blogs.
You ask what the acronym is. It is IMO. For those who might not know what IMO means – it means in my opinion. (Note that I didn’t say IMHO which means in my humble opinion). IMHO always sounds like one is giving a half hearted apology for their statement or embarrassed to give the opinion or perhaps unworthy to give the opinion. This will not be the case in these blogs.
I have arrived at the stage in life and craft career that I can have an opinion. You might not always agree with me but it is my opinion. I will tell you though, that when I express my opinion it will be backed up with experience, facts and other references.
So here goes quilting folks and others who may be interested in reading IMO’s.
Google is the Quilter’s Best Friend (or is it?)
There was a new TV series during the fall season with the title “Librarians”. It was about a highly secret facility (library) which housed all the famous mythical items we only read about in books. It was supervised by a traditional, you might say “old school” Librarian who knew and respected the value of books. A new team was recruited to help protect the collections. I never understood what talents and skills the three had to be selected but nevertheless, they were chosen. When they were introduced to the Librarian his first comment was, “oh, a child of the annoying digital age”.
Regardless of our chronological ages we have all become children of the digital age. Digital is all around us and whether or not we asked for it or want it; it controls our lives in ways we never imagined. Dick Tracy’s wrist watch is no longer the technology of the future.
For quilters the digital age in the form of the Internet has changed the way we learn quilting. However, as with any new technology it is both good and not so good and should be used with caution, respect and a little bit of suspicion. I don’t doubt that the Internet has introduced more to quilting than any other form in our history. Thousands of videos, blogs and chat rooms are available with the tap of a finger. The caution is somewhat like the Biblical Tower of Babel where the one language of the people was confused into many languages. The somewhat seemingly conflicting information raises questions in all our minds. Which are correct? For example: there was a recent posting on one of the Facebook sites by a quilter asking where to find a certain animal design fabric. A quick Google search turned up 12 different sources. On the other hand another recent search for information about a certain quilting technique resulted in four totally different answers. These are just a two simple examples of good results and some not so good leading to questions and possible confusion.
What is one to do to successfully maneuvering through the digital library of information?
A few thoughts might be:
Do the research in order to gain basic information. Use Google and other search sites.
When asking the question, give sufficient details to get informed answers.
Make the effort to learn be it Internet, neighbor quilter, books, TV etc.
Ask specific questions. No more general questions like “I purchased some fabric and want to make quilt, what I do now?” This was an actual posting.
Give feedback when asked for with additional information or explanations.
Tell me whether it worked.
This has been another IMO from the mind of a Vintage Quilter.