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Archive for July, 2012

Yesterday I was finally able to attend the Long Beach International Quilt Festival. Usually our annual trips home occur in the fall but this one is timed for my 40th high school class reunion and our son’s 30th birthday. So I was extra excited when I realized we’d be here for the quilt show weekend and made plans to spend a few hours there on its last day.

I didn’t come away with as many pictures as I normally take at shows because disappointingly, a good half or more of the exhibits were marked “no photography.” Make sure you scroll to the bottom if you don’t read this whole thing to see the exciting part.

The first one in our abbreviated tour of the show is one I documented as inspiration for combining family history with quilting. Read the explanation of how this came about and the source of the text. What a wonderful family heirloom to have. My descendants will have this blog LOL.

Ethel's Diary

Ethel's Diary

Ethel’s Diary by Eileen Campbell

Ethel's DiaryEthel's DiaryEthel's Diary

I love whimsy:

For the Love of Bugs

For the Love of Bugs

For the Love of Bugs by Bonita Ware

I have a new appreciation for embellishments, so pieces with beads and buttons caught my eye:

Starring Beads

Starring Beads

Starring Beads by Ellen Yamaguchi

Starring Beads

Bright colors on a black background are another favorite:

Funky Reef

Funky Reef

Funky Reef by Anna Faustino

The unusual look of the next one is due to the woven fabrics. It is stunning in person.

Empire Star

Empire Star by Anna Faustino

Empire Star by Anna Faustino

Empire Star

This aerial view of Central Park was very imaginative. The “buildings” stand in relief. They are fabric-covered styrofoam. There was a lot of conversation wondering how it was shipped.
Central Park

Central Park

Central Park by Kathy York

Central Park by Kathy York

There was a table with these whimsical houses of all sorts.  This one is “so” Laura Wasilowski:

Whimsical house by Laura Wasilowski

Whimsical house by Laura Wasilowski

And to prove that quilts are not just for beds (if there was any doubt):

Hoffman Challenge-"Hoffman Chair" by Beatrice Gilbert

Hoffman Chair by Beatrice Gilbert

Hoffman Chair by Beatrice Gilbert

And the award for the most imaginative use of pipe cleaners goes to:

Passion Flower by Mary  Ann Vaca-Lambert

Passion Flower by Mary  Ann Vaca-Lambert

Passion Flower by Mary Ann Vaca-Lambert

Passion Flower by Mary  Ann Vaca-LambertPassion Flower by Mary  Ann Vaca-Lambert

Let me take a minute to interject this story: Still being on eastern time, I woke very early Sunday morning and decided to use that time while everyone else was sleeping to catch up on a video at The Quilt Show. The episode I watched featured Tom Russell whose claim to fame is buttons, beads, sequins, etc. While at the show later in the day I turned a corner and found myself standing right in front of one of the pieces featured on that show. Photography was not allowed in this exhibit, but it’s this one: Just Sing…Sing a Song.

I tell you this because I think the next quilter took a class with Mr. Russell, the styles are very similar:

Flower Garden by Lynn H. Woll

Flower Garden by Lynn H. Woll

Flower Garden by Lynn H. Woll

Flower Garden by Lynn H. Woll

I was surprised to see an entry by someone local to me, a name I’ve seen many times at the Richmond Guild Quilt Shows but we’ve not met. I snapped these pictures only to realize this piece was marked “no photography.” Oopsie!

Contours IV - Islands by Julia E. Pfaff

Contours IV - Islands by Julia E. Pfaff

Contours IV – Islands by Julia E. Pfaff

Contours IV - Islands by Julia E. Pfaff

In the close-up see if you can tell how she stitched around the little jelly bean pieces. Hand or machine?

Contours IV - Islands by Julia E. Pfaff

The quilt policeman caught me snapping this label but I swore to him I didn’t photograph the quilt (I didn’t), he let me off with a warning. I loved the sentence: “Our main desire as citizens is to not end up in the Police Log.”

Town News by

You can see this quilt here: Town News by Linda MacDonald.

And now for the excitement. Quilt celebrities! You don’t see them at the Mid-Atlantic show, at least I haven’t. I’ve never been to Houston and I’m sure celebrity sightings are very common there.

I’ve been a fan of Pam Holland’s photography and her 1776 quilt and here she was, just roaming around, taking pictures. We had a nice chat and she got a friend to take our picture:

Robin Kaspar and Pam Holland

Pam Holland

I follow Kay MacKenzie’s blog, SewCalGal and when I saw her sitting alone in her booth, I stopped to introduce myself as the idiot who emailed her to say I couldn’t find a link she’d posted about only to discover after she responded that I was clicking on the wrong thing. We had a nice chat and another picture was taken:

Robin Kaspar and Kay MacKenzie

Kay MacKenzie

Anyone who goes to quilt shows knows that as important as the exhibits are, the vendors are equally so, if not more! I try to go with a set wish list and this time I bought a thread cone holder from Superior Threads (and met Bob), Kay MacKenzie’s new book on Scrappy Applique, a small package of MistyFuse and would have bought a Martelli rotary cutter except that they’d run out. At least I got to try it. If you’re thinking of buying anything from Martelli, the saleslady gave me this tip: don’t buy from the website, call them and order over the phone. Supposedly they give better prices. Would like to know if that’s true. They have a product she calls a strip ruler but it’s nothing like that. It has slots for running the cutter through and has markings at the most popular strip sizes. She says it’s $80 on the website but they were selling it for $40 at the show. It was pretty impressive in demonstration but I don’t know that I’d pay $40 for it. I definitely wouldn’t be able to pay $80. I reserve the right to change my mind.

At the MistyFuse booth, I saw a stack of business cards from my friend Vicki Welsh. I mentioned that to the lady and she said “I love Vicki Welsh!” They were using Vicki’s hand-dyed fabrics for their demonstrations.

After 3 hours, I was pooped and hungry! It was a nice show except for the photography ban. But lucky for you, without it this post would be 10 times longer.

Thanks for taking this tour with me.

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What Was I Thinking?

I had such high hopes for this wallhanging. I designed it myself, and I don’t do much of that. It’s about 24″ square and the crazy part of this are those corner stars, they are 2″. TWO INCHES. They’re nothing but seam allowances.

This project has been languishing around in my studio because it has problems. 1) It’s out of square. The corner squares are so bulky, there’s no flexibility in the fabric. The border diamonds are all bias-y and despite being careful of that, they stretched. I think I paper-pieced those units, but I don’t remember. So that’s a lot of wonkiness. And I thought that was the worst of the problems. 2) It’s a quilting nightmare. I’ve been back and forth over quilting designs. I threw out the idea of a straight line grid because of the square issue. I figured a grid would just draw attention to that. So I decided to do circles. And then I decided to do spirals. I even went to the trouble of using the mark-on-tulle-and-then-transfer-to-quilt-with-chalk method. Once I got it marked, I hated it. I thought they’d be randomly spaced, but somehow that didn’t work out. I did try to sew one, but I’m not good with free-motion quilting and the walking foot didn’t work well. I ripped that out. I called my longarmer and discussed it with her. She agreed to try it. But the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to pay her for a job that was certain to frustrate her and probably not end well. So as a last resort I decided to stitch-in-the-ditch (SITD) and just be done with it.

For crying out loud, as my dad would say, what a disaster! I stitched and then ripped a couple of seams. I have a personal policy that I’ll only rip and re-do something 2 times and even if it’s still not good, the 3rd try is the last one. That’s what I ended up with. A mess of a quilting job (but at least it didn’t cost me anything). The seam allowances made some of the stitches jump out of the ditch and they’re visible. Even with my walking foot, it didn’t want to feed evenly and the tension of the thread on the back is atrocious! It’s a piece of crap but the quilting is done.

I’m determined to finish it, but I don’t know what I’ll do with it. My solution to the out-of-squareness is to trim it as square as possible, and go out and buy fabric for new binding and sew a VERY wide binding on it, whatever it takes to cover the exposed batting around the edges. I don’t know what that will look like but who cares at this point? I have this recurring dream (nightmare) that someday all my worldly possessions will end up in a junk estate sale after I’m dead and gone and someone will find this monstrosity in a drawer and put a price tag on it. I’d better put an explanatory label on it lest this be the quality I’m remembered for. Or maybe I should put somebody else’s name on it. But then a Google search in 30 years will bring up this post and my descendants will be scandalized.

.

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Mmmm, Donuts!

South of the James Farmers Market

Last Saturday, I decided to check out the South of the James Farmers Market. It had just rained and we saw some people walking to their cars absolutely soaked. I think it was a surprise shower.

I came more for the fresh donuts I’d heard about than the produce. I did buy a cantaloupe that was ripe but blah and a handful of green beans that we had with our dinner that night.

Mrs. Yoder’s Donuts

They’re not kidding when they say “Made Fresh While You Wait.” I’ve never held a donut that hot!

Oh yeah, they were that good!

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I brought home  a couple of the projects I’m working on for Stitchers, a couple of Chinese Coin baby quilts.

This group has an enormous fabric stash and I’ll have to go shopping in it to finish the blue and tan one. I don’t have any more of the blue for the borders.

The scrappy one started out as a kit that someone had already cut up. On my first day, it seemed easier to work on that while I was getting my feet wet with this group. I’d never made a Chinese coin before but no pattern is required. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I haven’t had anything on my design wall for so long because I’ve been busy (cough, cough) for the last year or so finishing up my own UFOs. I really should be done with those by now. I’m almost there, just a couple left to go.

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Stitchers

I’ve joined a group of volunteers who sew for charity once a month. The group also gets together every Thursday but work has a tendency to get in the way of that so the Sunday once-a-month sessions work better for me.

Margaret

Ellen

I work with Margaret and she recruited me. Ellen is her friend, now my new friend. They just started a business that you should check out: Baby Sew What.

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