Quilt Design Star 2011 Finalist - Diana Bluestein
I've been quilting since… I have been quilting for approximately 8 years.
I began quilting because… I just happened to stop in a quilt shop, not because it was a ‘quilt’ shop, but because it was a shop that sold fabric. I was making an outfit to wear and wanted to find a unique, quality fabric not offered in discount sewing stores. Sewing for me at that time was a utilitarian skill. Then I saw this magnificent strippy quilt, a blended quilt with colors and shapes all merging into each other. It was hanging on the wall with a sign “class offered”. It was a work of art. I could not take my eyes off it. That defining moment drew me into the world of quilting. The rest is history. I was hooked. There was nothing about quilting that I did not like. The color, the designs, how they interacted, I loved it all. Only now do I realize that quilting had its origins in utilitarian skills.
I learned to quilt… I learned to sew from my grandmother on a treadle machine at the tender age of 7. I was a farm girl. Sewing was a necessary skill. It was all about making clothes, darning socks and repairing blue jeans and making do with what you had to work with. I have embraced sewing ever since. Being comfortable behind a sewing machine made learning the art and techniques of quilting easy to pick up. That first quilt class was more an introduction to another form of sewing, one that embraced my natural artistic talent.
My quilting style is… Eclectic, I have yet to settle into one style. I doubt that I will ever get ‘stuck in a rut’, because there are so many avenues to explore. Traditional block shapes appeal to me the most. I am always finding new ways to reshape and reconnect.
A person who inspired me… My high school art teacher encouraged me to pursue art as a career. She claimed I had a natural flair for color and composition. My parents did not approve of 'art' as a career so my creativity never received a proper education, but the juices still flowed in my veins. The admiration of that art teacher has always been with me. She believed in my talent. Forty years later, here I am taking a chance, believing in myself, and entering my first quilt contest.
My imagination is sparked by… Gardening magazines and catalogs are great for composition and color study. Mother nature never seems to get the combination wrong. And then there is the Colorado countryside. I believe I live in the most visually stimulating place on earth.
My favorite techniques… I like to piece. Sometimes paper piecing or foundations make it easier depending on the project, but those are my fallback methods. It is why I like learning and applying new skills. Sometimes there just has to be an easier way to execute a pattern. I have only dabbled in applique, discovering that there are times when applique will give the added dimension that I need to give a quilt that ‘snap’.
Certain colors or fabrics I'm attracted to... The word ‘certain’ is so limiting, but I will admit bold color is more exciting than soft pastels, but there is a place for both. I find myself usually starting a project with a red and evolving from there. Of course, red may or may not even be an integral part of the finished product. As for fabric, batiks are wonderful to work with because of the tight weave. It is a wonderful stable material. But if a bold cotton print catches my eye, then I am not shy about adding it to my project or my stash. My latest project incorporates both batiks and cotton prints.
My fabric stash... My husband says my stash rivals fabric stores, and is probably visible from space. There are lots of batiks and some traditional civil war prints. I love the soft Victorian floral prints. There are small amounts of vintage feedsack prints, some oriental prints and a whole tote of assorted cat fabrics. There are blenders, florals, and a few geometric prints. I try to keep a selection of light, medium, and dark values of all the colors. No matter what my current idea is, I usually have a fabric piece in just the right color or pattern to get me started.
My quilting community… Between family life and building a house, I have found little time left over to be part of a guild or quilt group. I have actually only taken 3 or 4 classes. With the exception of my first introductory quilt class, a class must teach me a new skill or technique to get my attention.
My additional hobbies/interests… Did I mention my husband and I are building a home in the Colorado mountains. Talk about inspiration. You should see the view out my front window. The two of us have hammered every nail and screwed every screw ourselves. A greenhouse, which has yet to be built, is one hobby that could compete with my quilting. I love digging in the dirt. Flowers or vegetables, trees or bushes, it does not matter. I guess that my farming roots will always be with me.
I entered Quilt Design Star™ 2011 because... What fun!! I am hoping to find challenging guidelines that make me create outside my usual box. And yes, ‘no’ guidelines is as challenging as guidelines. I am broadening my horizons beyond the next baby quilt or family bed quilt. I think I may have something to offer to other quilters who need help overcoming color fear or are afraid of block difficulty.
Links... No, I still live in the technology dark ages. My husband gets me through the technical hurdles so that all I have to do is quilt.
What you should know about me… Quilt retreats are the ultimate vacation fun spot. Cats are excellent quilt buddies. In case of fire, save the cats and the sewing machine, in that order. I am very enthusiastic about sharing my quilt skills with whoever is in need. I do not like malls. Grocery stores are a necessary evil, and quilt shops are heaven on earth. Last, but not least, I have the worlds most loving husband. He indulges my quilting needs.
An Apple A Day (below) is Diana's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 entry quilt.
Pansies In My Garden (below) is Diana's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 1 quilt
(below) is Diana's Quilt Design Star™ 2011 Challenge 2 quilt
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