Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sue Nickels

Last Saturday I had the privilege of taking a class taught by Sue Nickels at Maine Quilts 2010. It was an all day class on machine quilting the applique quilt. Sue and her sister Pat Holly made "The Beatles Quilt" which won best of show in 1998 at Paducah and now is part of the collection of the Museum of American Quilters at Paducah, Kentucky. Sue and Pat made a smaller version of this quilt called "All You Need is Love", which was at Maine Quilts this year. Did you see it? It was very dear; only 43x43 and made with the same vibrant colors of the larger quilt.

I'm just going to show photos I took at the class in this post. I'll tell you more about the class in the next post. (DD and I are going to the Rockland Lobsterfest in just a bit!) Can you believe I do not have a full picture of this quilt? I remember seeing it on the Quilt Show. It is called "The Anniversary Quilt" and was made by Sue and her sister Pat to hang next to The Beatles Quilt at Paducah for a special exhibit. Quite a contrast to The Beatles Quilt.

The machine quilting on this quilt is so fine. Sue explained how she progresses through the blocks to complete the quilting. She always works so that she is moving the bulk of the quilt away from the quilt. In other words, she is moving the quilt "package" further away from the arm of the machine, so there is less and less bulk under the arm. Yes, all of her quilts are quilted on a domestic machine. She encouraged us to sew without rotating the quilt.

I forgot to ask, but I think this pink quilt is "Blue Tulips on Pink Skies" and is the quilt on the cover of her machine quilting book. I just love her color sense, such a modern twist to traditional applique.

Le Panier de Fleurs is another stunning quilt. The navy blue fabric is not a solid navy, but you wouldn't exactly call it a texture fabric either. Maybe it is hand dyed, anyway the variation within the solid color adds a richness to this quilt that is not evident in the photos. Isn't that true with so many quilts? Going to a quilt show, actually seeing quilts is such a thrill, isn't it? Always more to discover.

"Tea at Tenby", another multi-award winning quilt by Sue and Pat. Green and pink, one of my favorite color combinations. Exquisite quilting. See the little block pinned on the quilt? It says touch me, not the quilt. Sue passed this little sample around the class. Tiny tiny stitches. You know she can not have quilted this all in one go, but you cannot tell any difference in the quality of quilting. Sue said she always does a practice swatch first, probably before she sits down to quilt each time, that way there are no surprises.

Seeing such high quality work is an inspiration to me. Maine Quilts is a wonderful opportunity to see what can be achieved in quilting. I'm motivated to improve my own work when I see such lovely examples of our art. Let's quilt!

p.s. Sue was one of the judges at the show this year. She said she was very pleased to see how much machine quilting has improved over the years. She also wanted to emphasize that her quilts are done on a domestic machine and to show others that they can use their domestic machines successfully, too.


Denise said...

Thanks for sharing, so maybe there is hope for me to learn basic machine quilting on my machine! I would love to have a long arm, but can't justify the cost.

Enjoy the Lobster fest, have a nice buttery bite for me!

SueR said...

Sue Nickels and Pat Holly are amazingly talented. Their applique is all done by machine too. Completely machine made quilts, and they win tons of awards.

Margo in Maine said...

Thanks for this beautiful show stopper!!! Amazing work...