Yesterday, I was able to attend the Lowell Quilt Festival. Until a client of mine entered a quilt there a year ago, I didn't even know about it. It is not a huge show, having about 80 competing quilts. The caliber of the quilts, however, is generally high. In addition to the judged quilts, there were a couple of special exhibits - one by the wonderful Pat Delaney, a MA-based machine quilter. She brought about a dozen of her show quilts, most of which have a bucket of ribbons.
The main part of this show is at the Lowell Memorial Auditoriom. While it is a pretty venue for the show, it has dismal lighting and very limited space for vendors. What Lowell that does do that is unique is that they have 6-8 other locations throughout the town that have quilts on display as well, including the New England Quilt Museum. A free shuttle bus can take you around to the various venues.
I learned early in the week how my quilts did. It was hard not blasting it to the world, but I went to the show again with my mother and wanted to preserve a small surprise. I was aware that Rainbow Nouveau had made their "big stage", but was delighted to see that Sea Glass was there too. It is just SO much prettier with the better lighting, that only the stage has. Here's a glimpse at the show's winners as seen from the stage...
Patricia Washburn's quilt (with a very long name!...My Mind: All Skewed Up Without Zentangle Meditation, a overall workmanship award), Space Crystal by Alice Means (HM), my Sea Glass (3rd Mixed Wall quilts)
Standiford Star by Herbert Menzel who repeated an 1800's quilt design received both 1st place in the Pieced Bed quilt category and exemplary piecing awards. The next one is Redbud Ramble by none other than Linda Roy. She earned 2nd in the Mixed Bed quilt category and the Exemplary Applique award. More on this in a moment.
The next one I have seen before in magazines. Megan Farkas' Sakura I: Hanaogi Views the Cherry Blossoms took first in the Mixed wall category. It's a lovely hand done quilt. I have a closeup in a moment. You all recognize the next one. Yup, my Rainbow Nouveau..my naughty stepchild from earlier this summer. Good news, this one has learned to behave, and rather nicely I should add. Completely to my utter surprise, this baby took 1st in it's Mixed Bed quilt category as well as Best of Show. Flabergasted! Seeing it hanging on the stage, it is starting to grow on me.
Now, how about some close up...
This quilt is truly gorgeous, from the background that softly grades from green to purple, to the delicate detailing on the applique. It is hand appliqued (and if you know me, you know that that's my preference). It is also hand quilted, which I also love.
Every applique piece is outlined with black embroidery thread, giving them exceptional visibility. It's a trick I will have to stick into my bag of tricks to use someday. The background quilting, though it is all the same for the entire 60"x90" piece, is period appropriate and effective.
Linda Roy's quilts never disappoint. I have seen 3-4 other quilts of her's in the past couple years, and am always amazed. They are often appliqued, heavily, and hand quilted to the heavens and back. Last year, she took Best of Show with her Vintage Button Bouquet. And if I were a judge, this probably would have won this year. Guess it's a good thing for me that I haven't been appointed a judge yet!
Like myself, she likes stitching circles (a LOT!) - there must be 750 of the little pink buggers on this!
The one thing that still gives me the shivvers, and has since the list of show winners was published Wednesday is that my quilt scored higher than this quilt. How in the Earth? What didn't she do, that I must have done? I am so in awe of what this woman creates. She's such a masterful artist. I just wish the judges comments could tell me what the fine dividing line between her's and mine was. I will forever be elated and grateful for what Rainbow Nouveau is accomplishing and earning, but deep inside me, I need to understand. I know...I am nuts. I operate on being rational and logical, and having the understanding helps me to do the right things on future quilts.
A few last closeups...
If you're within a few hours of Lowell, this is a nice show (despite picking up my quilts just after the monsoon rains started!)