Over the Top

Size: 36” wide x 36 – 48” long

The phrase go over the top originated in WWI, when it referred to troops in the trenches charging over the breastwork to attack the enemy. Today, we use it when something goes beyond the expected, normal or appropriate. From flying over the top of a volcano to eclipsing a goal, exploring the intricate detail of a flower, embellishing a surface, or watching stars in space, this overused phrase’s many aspects were the focus of TAVA members’ inquiry.  

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Elephant in Silk Ties
by Melissa Barnhart


I remembered the image of an elephant in a coloring book and combined that idea with the silk ties in my stash.  Our granddaughter, Gracie Opazo, sketched freehand the elephant on Freezer Paper and her mother drew the flirty eyelashes.  A three generation rending of a magnificent elephant.

Cotton thread and fabric, silk ties, and Steam-A-Seam fusible adhesive web.  Machine quilted and finished by Paula Golden.

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Dancing in the Rain
By Sue Davis


When my adolescent daughter was struggling with self-identity and finding her path in the world, I cross-stitched a frog in a tutu and the words: 


Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, 

It’s about learning to dance in the rain. 

-- Vivian Greene 


I had no idea it meant becoming an U.S. Army officer. This quilt celebrates women in traditionally male roles who go Over the Top by Dancing in the Rain. 


Mama, We Can Still Hear You
By Tina Freudenberger


Our rescued mini donkeys, Rosalita and Lucy, are so inquisitive and beautiful.  Donkeys are affectionately known as long ears. This quilt captures those long ears peeking Over the Top of the fence rail listening to me. These girls give us so much joy and love as do all of our animals. I guess you could say our menagerie of 42 animals is also Over the Top.  

The quilt is raw edged applique using some hand dyed fabric for the sky and landscape with free motion quilting. 


Over the Top 
By Gwen Goepel



As majestic pelicans glide past our family beach house (my happy place) I am reminded of the wonder of it all . . . counting my blessings for an Over the Top LIFE!

Machine applique, thread painting, embroidery, free-motion machine quilting.

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Belle of the Ball
By Paula Golden


The white linen table cloth had seen much in its lifetime: family reunions, wedding celebrations, Christenings feasts, Thanksgiving dinners, and at last a funeral reception. Each gathering had left behind spots and holes scattered all Over the Top.


No longer white and beautiful the tablecloth found itself dropped off at the thrift store. An artist gave it new life with a rust bath; layered it with cotton batting, added thread and intricate embroidery. Being again the “Belle of the Ball” the tablecloth watches life go by from its special place on the wall.


By Judy Madigan


Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, the most hazardous volcano in America, erupted on April 30, 2018.


This was the starting point for the volcano’s month’s long activities. It produced an enormous amount of lava that transformed the landscape and ultimately destroyed 700 homes. News of the violence of nature drew me in. The lava flowing Over the Top was extremely hot and produced steam vents all the way down the volcano.  

Multiple small pieces of black and grey material were fused to the background. Pieces of different tulle and free-motion quilting define the steam.  

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Over the Top -- Emotions of Love
Dee Ann Mims


Inspired by the paintings of Marc Chagall, this quilt illustrates the emotions of love Over the Top in intensity. The quilt shows falling in love, the marriage ceremony; and the creation of family and children.  The negative powerful emotions from love are also portrayed: unrequited love, divorce, death, and the ending of love.  We use flowers in these times to express our response to these Over the Top emotions. 

The quilt makes use of the techniques of collage and thread painting.  Free motion quilting surrounds the icons.

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By Carol Monti



The sunflower is Over the Top in a myriad of ways. From the sheer size of the flower and vast number of individual parts to the amount of food it supplies to the vital honeybee, the sunflower is an amazing work of art and design. This quilt explores the complexity and intricate detail each flower contains as well as serves as a reminder of the importance of the honeybee.  

The techniques of raw edge applique, hand dyeing fabric, embroidery and free motion quilting are combined to represent this impressive flower.


Over the Top: Space Ex
By Anne Panella


This strip-pieced quilt is built of half-square triangles, with color gradations that resulted in blocks that resemble colorful starbursts. Each block is accentuated by a quilting pattern that boosted the effect of exploding stars. What could be more Over the Top than stars in space? This work provided many learning opportunities, as well as interesting color combinations and bright visual appeal. 

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Swinging out Over the Top 
By Shirley Sellers


My tree swing hangs from a branch of a hickory tree which is bright and golden in autumn. Swinging out as high as I can gives me the exhilarating feeling of being flung out Over the Top of my world. My quilt is completed in raw edge technique with frayed edges in order to capture and reflect this feeling of freedom and Over the Top.

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Crazy for Embellishments
By Kathy Sevebeck


Crazy quilts are an Over the Top assortment of fabrics, embroidery and embellishments in a random design. To give my quilt some order, I used hexagon patterns from Foolproof Crazy Quilting. Some fabrics and trims have sentimental value-- the satin from my daughter’s wedding gown, grandma’s hankie, a swatch from my granddaughter’s jacket. With silk ribbon flowers I stitched my initials in three hexagons. Some embroidery and beading was inspired by Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts. 


Each hexagon is machine pieced. The remaining stitching and assembly is hand-done.

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Glories' Garden
By Gloria Smith


This is my first art quilt after 30 years as traditional quilter. My husband says that I am obsessed with quilting – if I am not actually piecing and quilting then I am thinking about it.  I am also inspired by the beauty of nature and decided to create “Glories’ Garden” using as many of my favorite techniques and materials as I could. This quilt makes me think of a warm, sunny day and makes me happy.  


Background hand dyed and painted by artist.  Cotton, wool, velvet, ribbon, variety of threads, machine and hand quilting, embellished with embroidery, beads, and buttons 

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The Biggest House in the World
By Karin Tauber


A little orange snail, unhappy about her tiny house, soon finds a way to enlarge, adorn, and color it. She discovers too late that her big house prevents her to move to the next cabbage plant. Sadly she fades away and soon her majestic house crumbles. Many years later a wise snail tells the story to a small, purple snail to convince her that a compact, easy-to-carry shell might be better suited than the biggest house in the world for a life of adventure and exploration.


Hand applique, free-motion quilting, and beading