Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Gloving at Mancuso Quilt Fest of NJ VII

I have never been a :"white glove" volunteer at a quilt show before, but I had a good time doing it, and I'll probably volunteer again in the future, because you get to touch the quilts!  The Garden State Quilters had a booth at the Mancuso show this weekend, and I volunteered for a white glove shift.

I got there a couple of hours early so I could see the show and do a little shopping. I now know where to get in-person fabrics - there was one vendor there with their entire fabric store, but their cutting line was 30 people long (I am not kidding) and I didn't have time to peruse their "on the bolt" selection, but a lot of it looked very yummy, let me tell you.

I did not take pictures of every quilt, or even every quilt that I really liked. Some of the highlights were seeing the 2010 US Hoffman Challenge exhibit (I would have loved if they included the UK winners as well.), and the blue ribbon winners from some other Mancuso competitions.

There was a black and white (and orange) quilt that was just beautiful, which was basically a double-sided quilt. When I was doing my "rour" of the space, I couldn't locate a white gloves person to show me the back of the quilt, so when I got my gloves on, the first thing I did was look at the back of that quilt. I thought I took photos, but I guess I didn't. All I can say is that it pays to read the story cards for the quilts because otherwise, you'll miss details like that. I did spend some time surprising other visitors who were examining that quilt by showing them the back.

The colors in this quilt are not "my style" but it's very well executed and very pleasing to look at. The quilting is also really REALLY well done.

I had been walking past it for a couple of hours before I really took a close look at the story card and realized the entire quilt was hand-quilted.  That cross-hatching is maybe 1/4-inch square. Her stitches are so even and tiny that you think it's machine-quilted when you take a passing look at it. Click the photo above to see a close up of this work. Amazing!

One of the show attendees had me pull the quilt back so she could show some of her friends (or students?) the label for this quilt. She wanted to show them that quilt labels can be quite decorative and become an integral part of the quilt design, and encouraged them to move beyond a simple muslin square.

This quilt was one of my favorites, mostly because of the subject. I was even more impressed when I read on the story card that the quilter hand-dyed the fabric used for the calico patterning. What you can't see too well in either of my (mediocre) snapshots is the fabulous red feathers quilted in the dark portions of the quilt.

This quilt had a lot of Savorski crystal bling on it - especially in the center of the flowers. Most of the quilting was done with metallic threads. A woman had me show her the back of this quilt, and under the appliqued flower blossoms on the front were quilted completely different flowers on the back (these were covered by the applique on the front). The flowers on the back were highlighted with some metallic fabric paint to make them show up a little more. The woman then spent the next 10 or so minutes deconstructing the quilt for her friend (and me), which I found very informative. This quilt also featured pieced prairie points, some awesome applique and some very meticulous and exacting machine quilting.

I had a great time looking at all the eye candy and being allowed to fondle the quilts. It was a bit humbling, seeing all these magnificent pieces of fiber art on display, but I'm not discouraged. I am inspired. It makes me not want to work on the project I have to do this month, since I've already done one of these quilts before, but I have a niece getting married in May...

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