International Quilt Festival 2017 – Two Special Exhibits

Good Golly, machine pieced and quilted

There is always a wonderful, varied collection of quilt exhibits at the International Quilt Festival and Market in Houston every fall. This year two in particular were among my favorites and really spoke to me.

Yoko Saito is a Japanese master quilter with the expert ability to combine subtle taupe textures and prints into gorgeous quilts. Her exhibit—Yoko Saito Through the Years – My Quilt Journey—showcased several of her unique creations. Several of us got to meet her at a reception sponsored by Lecien.

Karen Johnson (Martingale), Yoko Saito, Jean Nolte, Carolyn Beam, Ruth DeBoer and Lori Baker

Karen Johnson (Martingale), Yoko Saito, Jean Nolte, Carolyn Beam, Ruth DeBoer and Lori Baker

Here are a few quilts from her exhibit:

Sampler Quilt, hand pieced and quilted, machine pieced

Sampler Quilt, hand pieced and quilted, machine pieced

Yoko Saito has spent time studying the traditional blocks and patterns found in American quilts. This sampler quilt contains fifty-five traditional blocks set within a pieced border in a warm color palette.

Poinsettia, hand appliqued, quilted and embroidered

Poinsettia, hand appliqued, quilted and embroidered

This quilt was inspired by a trip to Sweden. The diamonds represent the petals of the poinsettias and the blue and gray color palette reflect Yoko Saito’s impressions of colors seen in nature in northern Europe.

Mystery Quilt, hand pieced, appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

Mystery Quilt, hand pieced, appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

These six blocks were designed by Yoko Saito for Quiltmania’s 2012 mystery quilt series. She included cats, dogs, streetlights and trees along with houses and buildings set within random staircases in the border.

The Chatter of Houses, hand pieced, appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

The Chatter of Houses, hand pieced, appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

Yoko Saito used the sewing of houses to demonstrate at a handicraft festival
how various quilting tools and notions were used. By the end of the festival she had enough houses to make an entire quilt. The quilt center has seven rows of seven houses each set within two borders of appliqued houses and buildings.

The second exhibit that I especially enjoyed was of quilts by the late Sue Garman. Sue was a very talented quilter who made more than 300 quilts over 40 years and was probably best known for her detailed applique and intricately pieced quilts. Her exhibit – “Remembering Sue Garman: Traditional Talent Extraordinaire” – featured 75 of her best works. Here are a few from the exhibit:

Night Before Christmas, hand appliqued, embroidered and embellished, machine pieced and quilted.

Night Before Christmas, hand appliqued, embroidered and embellished, machine pieced and quilted.

Sue loved Christmas. These blocks are based on Clement Moore’s poem.

Ancient Stars, hand quilted, machine pieced

Ancient Stars, hand quilted, machine pieced

Sue saw a vintage quilt with lots of stars at a quilt show. It brought to mind memories of previous generations.

Ladies of the Sea, hand appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

Ladies of the Sea, hand appliqued, quilted and embroidered, machine pieced

Each of the 16 appliqued ships from around the world is surrounded by vines, branches or flowers from the ship’s native land. The borders incorporate all of the flowers and leaves from the blocks.

Target Practice, hand appliqued, machine pieced and quilted

Target Practice, hand appliqued, machine pieced and quilted

Sue designed this block at a retreat she was teaching at after discovering she didn’t have her own project to work on. The block was originally made in red and green prints and was included in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, volume 9.

Good Golly, machine pieced and quilted

Good Golly, machine pieced and quilted

Sue didn’t think precision piecing was her strong suit and relied on paper foundation piecing for accurate results. This quilt has forty-eight blocks sashed with strips of different sizes and surrounded by multiple borders.

Sarah’s Revival, hand appliqued and quilted

Sarah’s Revival, hand appliqued and quilted

Using a quilt she saw made by Sarah Holcomb in Pennsylvania in 1847 as inspiration, Sue made this tribute to Sarah with her own unique and original blocks.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into two of the exhibits at Quilts: A World of Beauty sponsored by the International Quilt Association in Houston this year. You can see the winning quilts from this year’s exhibit here.

Leave a Reply