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Houston was a Blast!

by Sandra | November 7th, 2012


I just returned from Houston and I had waaaay too much fun. I can honestly say, this was the first time I was not ready to return home after a week traveling. Sorry dear husband, but it’s the truth.

It has a lot to do with a very quiet hotel room, so many friends and new friends, lots of alcohol and late nights laughing until I swear I had damaged some internal organ or two. I had no quilt in the show (a good thing) and I was there to be one of thousands of quilters from all over the world to kick back, spend money and have way too much fun misbehaving.

Our third partner in crime (Hi Jody!) came from the Hurricane zone but hung in there and after the storm had passed, joined us on a the first available flight out since her original Monday flight was cancelled for obvious reasons. Quilters really do have twisted priorities.

The winning show quilts. I will now put on my self appointed judging hat and make some personal corrections as we all tend to do when we walk a show. I would have judged the show VERY differently and I am still totally confused. But enough said about that.


My Best of Show:



Another stunner from Ted Storm of the Netherlands. Hand quilted, hand appliqued and hand embroidered. The technical and artistic level needed to pull off this quilt was way above any other in the show. Although it does lack a strong focal point in the center, the quilt would still rise to the top given its competition.

She had used a color palette that was an extremely difficult sell and then throw a brown plaid into the mix?  Not so sure by the overall shot? well let me enlighten you with the details…….



I guess if she had scattered a million crystals over it she would have placed higher since that seems to be the bar to rise to these days. Need I say that Ted is a very nice humble woman too? She is no stranger to a Houston Best of Show and in my never so humble opinion, she did it again with this all hand made quilt.


A Large Award

Baltimore in the Provence by ELLEN HECK of SOMIS, CALIFORNIA


If I were one or both of the Founders and picking the Founder’s award, or the World of Beauty Award (both $7,500) then Ellen Heck’s Quilt would be my choice:

Sorry for the lousy overall shot but there were ALWAYS people in front of it. I excused the lady on the right who popped her head in right as I took the shot. The quilt was so amazing you forget yourself. I did not have another clear shot to re-take.

Again, this is a quilt that is all hand done and exquisitely hand quilted. This level of expertise is missing so much of the time that when you get the pleasure of seeing it done how it should be done? Your heart melts and you suddenly realize how much you had been missing this quality of a quilt in all of the big shows.

The delicacy and restraint is what makes this design work. Sometimes it is not all about filling every square inch of space with design, but rather, knowing WHEN TO STOP! This quilt is truly beautiful in its restraint and misleading simplicity.



I know it seems to look like I favor hand, hand, hand, but that is not always so. I favor exquisite workmanship and design in whatever form/technique it takes. Like anything else our culture values, hand always seems to jump to first in line most of the time.


My Other Large Award

The Twelve Days of Christmas by OSAMI GONOHE  of AOMORI-SHI, AOMORI-KEN, JAPAN


Another big favorite of mine and this definitely would have received a big ribbon from me. Many times the Japanese just create the same thing as the next Japanese quilter under a particular instructors tutelage. This is due to the quilt learning system they have in Japan. As a result, I tend to move past the umpteenth version of their instructor’s design.



However, this one was more unique! This was fun, imaginative and one of my favorites…so many details to discover within the design. This was a labor of love and was always surrounded by a crowd too.


There were so many of these details everywhere.


There are more quilts I took pictures of but I still am getting organized from my return. These quilts are the ones that stuck with me and the ones I was so eager to share with you.

I hope you enjoyed my favorites from Festival.



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16 Responses to “Houston was a Blast!”

  1. Joan Coats says:

    Sandra, I have awaited your take on the show. I consider your opinion as the number one word. I guess I am a groupie!!! I have written you a few emails in the past few months. I commented on your teaching at the Des Moines show. I wanted you to know how much I regretted not attending your class. And seeing your quilt displayed with Diane’s was heartwarming!!!! Joan Coats

  2. Pati Beck says:

    Thank you for showing us your favorites….not getting to attend this year and missing all the lovely quilts but appreciate when those that did attend share….

  3. Those were stunning! They would have been my picks also. I missed going this year – I went last in 2010. Thank you so much for sharing as I don’t think they will come to Long Beach.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful quilts and even more so your thoughts. I wish I could have been at the show but I am delighted to see these and I agree these ones are spectacular!

  5. Hi Sandra…. It sounds like your trip was fabulous! Thank you for posting such beautiful quilt photos on the blog. I have long been a fan of Ellen Heck’s lovely work… what a treat to see her exquisite quilt and the two other works of art. I’m sure you brought back lots of goodies from the vendors… hope you will tell us about your favorite finds! Best regards…..

  6. Great commentary!
    Enjoyed reading it.

    And I felt the same way about the crystals 😉

  7. I can’t compare your choices to others there, but the three you picked are incredible. I’m not a fan of all the “bling” on everything now.

  8. Thank you, Sandra. I wish I could have gone this year.

  9. I do love the Twelve days of christmas and the fabrics. I have bought some for my stash and plan on making a quilt this year, using them.


  10. Thank you for your selection-those quilts are jaw droppingly wonderful!
    Thank you also for the pictures for those of us not able to go to Houston! Sounds as if you had a great time. :o)

  11. Thank you for sharing the spectacular quilts of the show. I’m so pleased to see more all hand worked quilts!

  12. Hi Sandra,
    I was at the Houston show too and so agree with your best of show selection. I have a couple of additional pictures that I will email you. One has Ms Storm in it and the other is the back side with quilt label. What is interesting in this last picture is a band of danish blue-white fabric. This was evidently the inspiration reference for the florals. I had a blast at the show too…spent two days around a quilting frame–hand quilting in Amish Quilting 1 & 2. It was so relaxing just learning to stitch every which way and visiting with those around the frame! My handstitching really improved too!I’m always drawn to the hand quilted and/or hand applique quilts!

  13. Thanks for sharing these beautiful quilts. I look forward to more from your Houston visit. Your expertise and insight into design and applique is greatly appreciated.

  14. I hope you do get to judge at some shows, I know we all have a different ‘eye’ but I trust yours!

  15. Janet Atkins says:

    Thanks for the close up shot of Ted Storm’s quilt – I have been curious about it ever since I saw her name on the finalist list. I love her work!

  16. Christine Olah/upnitestx says:

    Sandra you verbalized my thoughts exactly about the’ should be’ top quilt. I LOVEDthe Ted Storm quilt and the top prize winner was technically well done but I thought the crystals obscured the work. The next 2 choices also were my tops but II would have to put the Christmas quilt 1st. I think I could spend months digesting all the wonderful moments in it. I particularily loved the ladder on the side with the Santa’s climbing and the nun directing the carolers, and oh the tiny embroidered snowflakes!!!! Am I gushing? I am curious-do you know who the judges were?
    I was tickled to see you and am so glad you had a good time. Come back next year, okay?



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