Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tale of a Dog

In 2005, I entered the Innovations fabric challenge. Innovations is a machine quilting conference held in Tacoma, Washington every fall. It is organized by Longarm University, Cindy Roth. The fabric that year was specially hand dyed by Kimberly Darwin of Batting a Thousand Quilting Company. I had no idea what the fabric looked like until I opened the package that arrived in the mail. It was a very muddy hand dye, and immediately reminded me of grass stains and mud on colorful children's clothes after romping with the dog in the yard and orchard. The creative juices began to flow and after a couple months of staring at that fabric, this is the design I came up with. A poem and a song came to mind, thinking of my mother who used to play "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window" on the piano, and the Gingham Cat and Calico Dog. I chose the Snail's Trail block set in an Attic Window block to produce a three dimensional picture. The challenge fabric was cut into strips and subcut into sections for sashing according to color. I chose different batiks to match the assorted dyed sections of these pieces and arranged them together. As you can see, the snail's trails became the hind quarters of dogs, twisting around with a shadow play in black. I used practically all of the dyed fabric in sashing and border. For the quilting, I drew and digitized what looks like a room, complete with window, wallpaper, rug, and the doggy in the corner. I drew paw prints to track in the sashing, and border, and inserted some dog bones here and there. The sleeping puppy is lying in the corners and center top and bottom. I handguided meandering lines in a colorful variegated thread around the paw prints, the wallpaper in the blocks, and the stippling around the dog bones.

For more information go to their website where you can read about this fabric challenge and the entire quilt show at Innovations. Most of the quilts entered in the show are quilted on longarm or shortarm quilting machines and are quilted by professional quilters. Four years ago, most "regular" quilt judges had little knowledge about how a longarm works and what its capabilities are. As professional quilters we know the capabilities and limits of quilting machines and what better judge for a show like this than our peers. That's why I felt so honored to receive second place in this contest. I was just a newbie professional and most of those attending thought my quilt was deserving of a ribbon.

I also entered this quilt in the Sandy Historical Society Quilt Show in July, 2006, which won a blue ribbon in the large wall pieced category.

It has many memories embedded in it, and hangs in my studio for sentimental reasons.

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I am Bonnie Russell, owner and quilter, and my business is making beautiful quilts and making quilts beautiful. NABQC came about as a partnership between the love of sewing and hazelnut farming. That's how the name was chosen. My husband, Fred, is the nut farmer, and I do the sewing using many bolts of fabulous fabric. My studio is located in Dundee, Oregon, the beautiful Willamette Valley, in the center of a hazelnut orchard. Experience came with 42 years of dress making, 40 years of marriage to my wonderful, loving, supportive husband (34 years of nut farming), 25 years of raising three daughters, and now we have seven grandchildren to mentor in Future Quilters of America!

With a Statler Stitcher and Gammill Optimum Plus longarm quilting machine, a 14 foot table, and the drawing program AutoSketch, no project is too big or too small. Anything from hand guided meandering to custom digitized designs can be applied to a project to complete that labor of love.

This blog is to temporarily serve as a source of information until a website is produced. It contains pricing, products, helpful hints, pictures, inspirations, and who knows what else will show up. Thank you for reading and I hope you will find it helpful.

Tale of a Dog