Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everything Old is NewAgain

We’ve been chatting with Pat Holly, maker of the prizewinning Paisley Peacock. Our discussion turned to sources of inspiration.

TQL: Where did you come up with the idea of embroidering your background fabric before you stitch the appliqué?
PH: The first time I used this idea was in 2000 on a small quilt. As usual, I was looking through some of my world textile books and I noticed something about many of the fabrics. Often there was something subtle happening in the background (maybe behind the embroidery). I also had just bought a new, fancy sewing machine with lots of decorative stitches. I wanted to use this feature of my machine, but whatever I did needed to have a purpose. I didn’t just want to add fancy stitches; I wanted them to have a reason to be there. So, looking at those old textiles gave me the idea to use the decorative stitches to create a background with texture. This has opened up a whole world of ideas – using different threads, different colors, different stitches (from a simple straight stitch or a small zigzag up to lovely complex designs) – there are so many variations possible. Try it –you create your own unique fabric!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pat picks COLOR!

We’re talking to Pat Holly, whose fabulous quilt Paisley Peacock not only graced the TQL centerfold in June but also won best in show in Paducah.
TQL: Pat, how do you choose colors for a quilt?
PH: When I am designing, next to the actual motifs and elements, color is the most important part of the process. I usually work in solid fabrics, spread out a large, mixed-up “palette” and see what new combination jumps out. While at art school, I loved the color theory class. We used colored paper to create our studies and I still have fun with paper. The class was based on the color theory of Josef Albers. His concept of “seeing” color really resonates with me – I think it is all about experimenting and seeing what colors work together. My latest quilts are made with silk fabric, which has an incredible depth of color and richness that I love!
TQL: Let’s try that!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feeling the Paisley Connection

We’re talking to Pat Holly, who, either solo or part of a dynamic duo with sister Sue Nickels, is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Pat’s biggest win for a solo effort to date is best in show in Paducah with Paisley Peacock. PP just happens to be the centerfold of the June TQL.

TQL: Paisley Peacock is so exotic! What inspired the design?
PH: I have a large collection of books, starting with quilt technique books, and then adding any books with pictures of antique quilts. At some point I started looking at books with textiles from around the world (this includes weaving, embroidery and garments) and I was amazed. Now, most of my new books are world textiles and right now I am fascinated with textiles from India. I was in Scotland in 2008 and took photos of Suzani embroideries at the Burrell Collection. This photo is not the greatest, but maybe you can get the idea of how I was influenced. I was lucky enough to visit India last year and my mind is still whirling with ideas. The most important part of all this (and this relates directly to Paisley Peacock) is I love feeling that connection with textile creators from all over the world, past and present. By using these images as inspiration, it allows me to talk about and share what I have learned about different cultures. Many people have never heard of Suzani embroideries—from central Asia —and I want quilters to be exposed to these beautiful textiles.
TQL: Pat, it’s amazing! You’ve managed to capture the richness of the Suzani textiles in a design that feels so fresh and original. Let’s talk about your color choices next time!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Prizewinning Covergirl

Have you seen Pat Holly’s amazing Paisley Peacock, the June TQL centerfold? This quilt won best of show in Paducah last week, and we were thrilled for her, of course. When we first saw Pat’s 60" x 72" masterpiece, we knew we had to get to know her better! Here’s part of our conversation:

TQL: Why did you mostly make miniature quilts for a while? Why do you like that scale?
PH: I started making miniature quilts about eleven years ago. I have always loved creating little things. I learned to knit when I was about ten, and I found patterns to make sweaters and dresses for my Barbie doll. These were made on size one needles with “fingering” yarn. I learned all about knitting making these tiny garments and was happy as a clam. I also made doll clothes on my mom’s sewing machine. When I started making quilts (over 30 years ago), I made them in all sizes (bed size, wall size). I always loved looking at the miniature quilts at shows and decided to try my hand. I think the first show I entered was in 2000. I kept entering shows and finally won a ribbon in 2006 (2nd place, both AQS and IQA) with my quilt Tapestree. I was really excited because my quilts are mostly machine appliqued, and this was a technique not usually recognized with awards. In the miniature category, all techniques are accepted and judged together (hand, machine, pieced, appliqued).
Working on this tiny scale fascinates me. I love the idea of drawing the viewer in closer and closer. I also have a grand time seeing how small I can make the elements. Of course, there is a limit! And, although people don’t believe me, it really doesn’t take a long time to make a miniature. When you stitch around a circle that is ¼˝ in diameter, there are not that many stitches to make compared to a 3˝ circle.
More next time!

Monday, May 2, 2011

TQL wins "10 Best New Magazines of 2010" honor

Big news here!! TQL has been selected one of the 10 best new magazines of 2010!! Here's what Library Journal had to say when it announced its list of 10 best new magazines of last year. "...brave entrepreneurs continue to produce excellent new periodicals. Here is this year’s fine crop of new magazines worth considering for your library." 

Library Journal in its newest issue released online and in print today, says it reviewed 193 new publications last year before making its picks. You knew you liked TQL, and now you know you're in good company!