Friday, July 20, 2012

Seeing Threads on Vacation

Whilst visiting Mom in Montana, along with having a grand time sightseeing, hiking, horseback riding and all the other wonderfully fun things to do in western Montana, I saw that there was a quilt show sponsored by the Sapphire Quilt Club which is based out of Stevensville. Stevensville is a lovely little town located at the halfway point between Missoula and Hamilton nestled in the Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot Range is to the west, and the Sapphire Mountains are to the east. And yes, there really are sapphires in some of those mountains ... I've plucked a few of my own a few years ago from Gem Mountain. The Bitterroots get all the attention because of their awesome snow-capped granite peaks cut from glaciation, but the Sapphires have their own charm and allure. If you ever find yourself in that neck of the US woods, you will have an afternoon of fun washing gravel and finding gems.

Of course I would have to attend the quilt show! I mean, what quilter wouldn't take in a show when travelling, when possible? So Mom and I put on our comfortable shoes and headed into Stevesville. We had no idea where the high school was located, but it's a small town so we figured we would find it even if we had to drive all over the town. Fortunately, the club had signs out on Main Street and along the route to the venue.

All my experience of quilt shows has been here in my area of Texas. Dallas puts on a grand display, Plano does a great job too. I worked at the Mesquite quilt show last year when I was working for BERNINA Sewing Center of Garland. I was curious to see how a small town handled their quilt show ... and I was not disappointed. Of course, it was on a much smaller scale that what I am used to, and the vendors were rather few, but some of the few were quite interesting. They had 200 quilts on display, again small in comparison to here, but art is art no matter how big or small the town. I found some beauties and here are pictures of my favorites. I neglected to make note of the quilter, which is something I will make sure to do the next time I cover a quilt show. Anyhow ... here's a sample of Rocky Mountain fiber art:

This is a real beauty! I love the attention to detail this quilter exhibits.

I loved the colors in this one. A nice traditional quilt with a bit of a twist, and very good use of the neutral color palette. Sometimes neutrals can make the quilt appear washed-out, but this quilter did a great job with contrast and tone variations.

I'm a sucker for bargellos! Or is it bargelloes?? Some rules of spelling English escape me.

Anyhow, this caught my eye as bargello usually does. I love the colors. But what really fascinated me was the quilting ...

The quilter used a circle quilting pattern on the lights and leaves, feathers and swirls on the darker portions.

I fell in love with this one instantly. Dutch-styled embroidery done in cross-stitch with various blues on a cream-colored background fabric and expertly quilted.

Here's a closer look at the motif detail.

This one is my favorite! Why it didn't get "Best of Show" I have no idea. I did not take a photo of the Best of Show because, frankly, it didn't float my boat. I doubt I'd make a good judge at a quilt show! My criteria is simple ... does the quilt take my breath away? This one did.

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