2013 The Year in Quilts

As a farewell to 2013, I thought I would share my year in quilts.

2012 was a much more productive year–I made 25 quilts that year!  It is much easier to make quilts when you are not also making oven mitts, and sweaters, AND trying to blog about it. In 2013, I made 50 mitts, about 25-30 sweaters, and 11 quilts. I also traveled to San Fransico, Kansas City, San Antonio, Houston, and to the Crow Barn for two weeks. And lets not forget about those three boys that I am responsible for the care and feeding of.

It is kind of a wacky, hodgepodge collection of pieces this year. I guess that makes sense–it is an honest reflection of what was going on in my quilting life.

Three of the quilts were created as teaching samples and primarily serve as examples of what you can do with a particular technique. These first two quilts are about working with left-overs. Stitching scraps together can result in beautiful compositions. Here I pieced printed scraps into long strips and than floated them on a solid background.

Birch Stand

Birch StandBirch Wood StandNext is a quilt made of scraps from the backings of my quilts. I particularly like the quilting on this one. If you would like to make a quilt like this one you can by reading this blog post here.

Lines + Triangles = Squares AKA The Procrastination Quilt

Lines + Triangles = Squares by Maria ShellLines + Triangles = Squares by Maria ShellWhile my personal quilts are almost always pieced, all of my community quilts use fusible appliqué. I do this because it is a way for individuals who do not know how to piece to create quilt blocks. I often encourage these new quilters to use images in the fabric to help them create their quilt block. It really is my take on broderie perse. I thought it would be fun to teach this technique. So here is the sample.

Flowers in a Vase

Flowers in a Vase by Maria ShellFlowers in a Vase by Maria ShellThe next quilt is for the lovely Eleena Jackson. For those of you who are waiting for me to finish baby quilts, please know Eleena will start kindergarden this year! When my friend Tina was pregnant with Eleena we made quilt blocks at her baby shower.  A couple of years later, Tina decided she wanted to learn how to quilt. Yeah me. I had an assistant! Tina is a super fast learner and we spent two marathon days stitching together.  This fall, I finally quilted it. Although I have made dozens of these community baby quilts–I really have no idea how many–this is the first one I have had professionally photographed.

Eleena’s Baby Quilt

Eleena's Baby QuiltEleena's Baby Quilt by Maria ShellEleena's Baby Quilt by Maria ShellTwo summers ago,  the community of McCarthy, Alaska gathered together on a rainy August day to make quilt blocks with me. The next year, I pieced the top. And finally, this summer, I spent hours and hours on my long arm quilting machine stitching all three layers together.  This quilt, thanks in part to the Art Acquisition Fund and the Rasmuson Foundation, is now part of the McCarthy-Kennicott Historical Museum’s permanent collection. If you go to McCarthy this summer, swing by the museum and take a look. I love this quilt. It truly is a community stitched together in fabric and thread.

McCarthy Solstice

McCarthy Solstice by Maria Shell and the community of McCarthy, AlaskaMcCarthy Solstice by Maria Shell and the community of McCarthy, AlaskaMcCarthy Solstice by Maria Shell and the community of McCarthy, AlaskaMcCarthy Solstice by Maria Shell and the community of McCarthy, AlaskaAnother favorite of the year is this Kitchen Sink Quilt. I pieced this quilt entirely with solar power. Thank you to the Sustainable Arts Foundation for funding my solar powered stitching.  You can read about the making of this quilt here.

Solar Blue

Solar Blue by Maria ShellSolar Blue by Maria ShellWhile I was making all of those fun projects, I really should have been making Color Grids. I did manage to finish five. Technotronic was actually one of the first Color Grids I ever started, but it waited in the queue a very long time. I wrote about that story here.

This Quilt is Technotronic by Maria ShellThis Quilt is Technotronic by Maria ShellTrance is a personal favorite. I am surprised at how much I like making black and white Color Grids. I suppose it has something to do with the it hi-lights the prints in the fabrics.

Trance by Maria ShellTrance by Maria ShellThis is my 2012 election quilt. I made Colors Unfurled in celebration of the 2008 election, and I wanted to continue the tradition. I guess I better start my 2016 election quilt now  if there is to be any hope of my finishing it on time. This quilt features prints from the last century.  The Vote fabric is from when Jimmy Carter won in 1976.  While I love Jimmy Carter, the Jimi this quilt is named after has the last name of Hendrix.

Jimi Makes a Quilt

Jimi Makes a Quilt by Maria ShellJimi Makes a Quilt by Maria ShellI realize the visual noise level on this quilt is quite high. Sometimes I forget the virtues of neutrals. This was one of those quilts. Sometimes I just get carried away and before you know it, I’ve made something really loud. This piece just came back from Innovations in Fiber Art VI at the Sebastopol Center for Arts.


SHAZAM! by Maria ShellSHAZAM! by Maria ShellThe last quilt I’d like to share on this final day of 2013 evokes the bounty of summer harvest. While I was piecing this quilt, I was listening to a TED talk by Ron Finley aka the Gangster Gardener who is working to populate South Central Los Angeles with edible gardens. Basically, he is saying it’s a good and powerful thing to know how to grow your own food. I named this quilt after my favorite gardener–who lives in rural McCarthy, Alaska but has a very similar life mission.

Mark’s Garden

Mark's Garden by Maria ShellMark's Garden by Maria ShellHappy New Year to All.

May we strive to be kind to each other and do good works in the year ahead.

PS- I shared this post on Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays. Visit her blog to find out what all kinds of fiber artists have been doing this week.

This entry was published on December 31, 2013 at 12:56 PM. It’s filed under News And Events, Quilt Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “2013 The Year in Quilts

  1. Thanks Maria. What a great show, and I am charmed by your reasons for making and by the names you give your quilts.

  2. Maria,

    Hope to see you in Boulder CO this summer at Micah and Nicole’s. Please leave some time in your busy schedule so Jerry and I might meet the boys and you at what will turn out to be a family reunion. It won’t be the same without you and Skip and fellows. Carole

  3. Linda Lohse on said:

    FUN!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Sue Tague on said:

    Happy New Year to you and the boys! I really enjoyed this post.Don’t know how you manage to get so much done! I hope you can manage the Boulder trip. Would love to see you all.

  5. Beautiful work!

  6. Tina Jackson on said:

    I love your work…..and Eleena’s quilt is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can not thank you enough! I love all the photo’s and now that I dabble I am always really looking to see how the quilts are pieced. When I go to the fabric store I always look for the “Maria” ones….2 or 3 colors without black or white, in a good design. Great work. Amazing work….

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: