Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring is in the air: Contra Costa Quilt Show

Here's the second part of our visit to the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County, in Concord, California. This is not a large guild, but their talented members do some exceptional work! Today, we are showing some quilts whose bright colors and themes of  renewal serve to remind us that spring is in the air.

Recall The Journey - The Middle Passage by Helen Anderson. 1st Place Artful - Combined Techniques

Helen Anderson says,  "The Sankofa Bird - go back and fetch it - reminds us to call upon the insight, courage, and determination of our ancestors and to apply their wisdom to our present situation. A healing took place as I worked on the blue blocks which represent the ocean voyage that the Africans were forced to endure after having been abducted from their homeland, brought to the "new world" and sold into human bondage. I no longer feel the hatred, anger, or shame I initially felt as a result of these atrocities. Thankfully.......I have been able to attain peace within myself...without the strong, visceral reactions I suffered previously. Donna Baker and I machine quilted this quilt." We found this quilt to be both very emotionally very moving and artistically very impressive.

Close-up, Recall The Journey - The Middle Passage by Helen Anderson

The thread painting of the center bird was breathtaking.  We were especially awed by the intricate threadwork on the tailfeathers. Helen writes, "Theresa Littleton and I did the seed stitching (around the outside of the bird) in December 2011. "

Cindy's Iris Garden by Cindy Greco. 1st Place Traditional - Combined Techniques

Cindy writes, "I have always loved irises, and when I saw this pattern while going through a friend's old quilting books, I knew I had to try it. I had recently used Cherrywood Fabrics for another quilt and decided the sueded cotton would be a good choice for this one........  I enjoyed putting the colors together to make my hand appliqued iris garden and have most of the colors I used [in this quilt] in live irises in my yard. It took me nearly two years to hand quilt this queen size quilt..... It was all I could do to complete this quilt for the 2012 show. I had to machine quilt around and through the irises because of the many layers- too many to hand quilt. This was my biggest hand quilting endeavor to date, and I don't think I will try another queen size quilt in the near future !"

Close-up, Cindy's Iris Garden by Cindy Greco

The very careful and accurate hand quilting that you see here is perfect for showcasing the arrangement of leaves and petals of the irises.

Birds of a Feather by Susan B. Terry. 2nd Place Appliqué - Machine Quilted

Susan Terry writes, "This quilt is owned by Leslie Finta. The bird pattern I designed from memory from a friend's quilt; the background, leaves, and critters are my own design."  We loved the use of complementary grape purple and yellow, along with the very lively effect of the scrap-pieced sashing.

Close-up, Birds of a Feather by Susan B. Terry

Susan has expertly used both print and solid color fabrics in a way which creates energy and visual interest. This little bird displays such personality as he emerges from his house and bursts into song.

Whimsical Garden by Kathryn Kluever. 1st Place Appliqué - Combined Techniques

Kathryn's description is short and sweet. She says, "I saw this quilt pattern in a shop. I made it into a "happy quilt". It was fun to do." We'd like to add that we love Kathryn's use of 1930's retro colors of bubble-gum pink, sage green, and French blue to create these captivating flowers and the wide-eyed birds who live among them. The pattern is from the book, My Whimsical Quilt Garden: 20 Bird & Flower Blocks to Applique, by Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmith at Piece O'Cake Designs.

Close-up, Whimsical Garden by Kathryn Kluever

You can almost hear the music as the "bluebird of happiness" opens his mouth in song. The polka-dot and candy-cane striped fabric of the flowers really helps them to "pop" off the machine-quilted block's background.

Wild Flowers by Valeria Furtado

Here's a beautiful and colorful tribute to the time-honored tradition of English paper-piecing. This "Grandma's Flower Garden" hexagonal pattern is a well-loved design of so many quilters. Here's it seems as if the viewer is flying over fields of wildflowers who turn their faces to the sun in a happy array of both warm and cool hues.


  1. They are all beautiful - especially Birds of a Feather - I would love to see that one in person! It is cute without being cutesy. So much visual interest but not overdone. Thanks for sharing all these marvelous quilts!

  2. Thanks for showing the detail.
    I love the hand quilting on the iris quilt.

  3. Beautiful quilts but I have to say I love Whimsical Garden, it's so bright and cheerful looking. I have just purchased the book. Thanks for sharing :)


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