Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quilt Market Rewind

For the last few Quilt Markets, I've been an exhibitor, which means I've set up a display at the show. With a booth, I have a home base, so I can visit with shop owners, other buyers, and lots of quilt industry biggies. But you can't get out of the booth much to see what else is happening on the show floor. This time, I decided to take a 'booth-cation' and walked the floor. I made lots of new contacts and connected with good friends. Here's a short photo-journal of my experience.

For starters, the weather was picture-perfect in Houston. Back home in Syracuse, New York, we had our first hard frost. But in Houston flowers are still showing off summer splendor.

Wowsers! This huge centerpiece in the Fairfield booth was covered with all kinds of batting formed into all kinds of textures. Pretty spectacular!

Chickens! And pigs! And all kinds of barn animals made from cuddle-soft polyester plus fabrics from Shannon Fabrics. For my money, this booth should have won the best multiple booth award!

Batiks by Mirah had this enormous swan in their display.

Quilty celebrities are everywhere! Here's Susan Emory from Swirly Girls.

Of course, Eleanor Burns is showing off some fast-piecing techniques.

Carolyn Friedlander has a fabulous new fabric line with Robert Kaufman. And she's a really nice person, too.

Brenda Miller of Among Brenda's Quilts and Bags flew in from Ontario, Canada.

All the 'meeting and greeting' can make a quilter hungry. Fortunately a few blocks from the Convention Center, the Phoenician grocery store offers an eclectic selection of foods from all over the world. And the baklava is to die for!

This booth grabbed my attention! Frances Newcombe from Art Gallery Fabrics was showing off a new line, but darted out of the picture before I could snap a photo of her with her art. Her display was very creative!

Heather Bailey won best single booth award. Her booth featured her new fabric line with Free Spirit Fabrics.

You meet all kinds of characters in the booths. Here Kelly Ann Richardson from Kelly Ann's Quilting and Susan Cleveland of Pieces Be With You share some smiles with 'Dave' the minion.

And quilter's with a sweet tooth might like the kits in the Luminaris booth. Yummy wools for yummy treats!

Sometimes it's hard to steal away some time to see the quilts on display in the exhibit hall right next to the show. I managed to take some time to walk through and see some amazing work. "Mediterranean Colors and Perfumes" by Sonia Bardella is made from tons and tons of tiny pieces--in the 1/2" finished size range!

Here's a close-up detail. Oh my!

This three-quilt display, "Shangri-La" made by Barb Forrester has exquisite three-dimensional detail.

My hand jiggled a bit when I took this photograph. Even a clear shot would not do this quilt justice. The hummingbirds have detailed thread painting that makes them shine. The quilt is named  "Milkweed and Hummingbirds" made by Sara Sharp.

I do like bird-themed projects (can you tell?). This one is called "Did you Wash Your Beak" by David Taylor

The best part of this quilt (besides the quilt itself) is its name, "Does He Make My Butt Look Big?" by Kristen Bryson.

Whether I'm walking the floor or settled into a home base with a booth. Quilt Market is always an energizing experience!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Moose is Loose!

Last Wednesday, I headed north and east . . . way north. My destination was Rangeley, Maine to be the guest instructor for Fall Quilt Camp, hosted by Threads Galore Quilt Shop, owned by Carol and Dan Perkins.

On my way from New York to Maine, I passed through Vermont. While in Vermont, I couldn't help stopping at the Vermont Country Store, famous for hard-to-find vintage products and their mail order catalog business.

Hmm. This is interesting. Although I'm not sure a 'soak' would be enough for this tired old a--!

I remember these! The Charlie Chip guy used to deliver to our house every week!

While I was still planning my trip, Carol suggested that I should try to complete the drive in daylight. The moose were making their presence known on the roads around Rangeley. Moose? Seriously?! Well, I took Carol's advice and planned my time on the road accordingly. However, I have to admit, I really didn't expect to encounter any moose!

Sure enough, as I was approaching the end of the drive, I crested a small hill and there she was! I slowed down to a stop in the middle of the road and watched her cross right in front of me. She then sauntered down this dirt path. I pulled up the car, rolled down the window and frantically grabbed my phone. I HAD to get a picture or no one would believe me (including me!)! Fortunately, "Molly" (that's what I named her) turned and flashed a moose-y smile before she wandered off into the woods. It's not a great picture, but it's a moose alright! I have to say, I was floored at her size! So big!! Memorable!

I settled in at the Country Club Inn with my moose-tale ready for anyone who might listen! In the morning, this was the view from the sewing room! Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort in the distance to one side. . . .

 . . .  and a whole lot of pretty to the other side. It's hard to imagine how anyone could concentrate on their sewing project with a view this incredible!

But we did! Twenty campers arrived and started sewing on Thursday. Everyone worked on one of two projects for the weekend. Star Gazing or Stained Glass.

Both projects involved a lot of chain-piecing. Here's Lucy showing off her garland of Star Gazing parts.

Our sewing space at the inn was the center of activity.

Before long, pieces turn into blocks and blocks started to look like quilts! Here's Karen and her project. She looks happy with things so far . . .

Time for a 'field trip into town, about five minutes away by car. Across the street from the shop, Rangeley Lake, with one or two boats out on an unseasonably pleasant weekend day.

There's the quilt shop!

Inside, it's cozy with lots of choices to complete the project.

As the weekend progressed, several quilts started surfacing. Zig was one of the first to finish her center.

Sue created a striped fabric for the sashing by sewing colorful strips together, alternated with white.

Jill finished her top on Sunday morning, made with six blocks instead of four or nine.

And the whole group with their accomplishments for the weekend. Amazing!!

As I headed back home, I was sad to leave all the serene beauty of northern Maine behind.

But, at least I can say, "Been there! Done that! Saw a MOOSE! And got the fat quarter (thanks, Betsey!)!!

Until next time . . .
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall In!

An October wander around the yard reminds me that Fall brings a whole different world of plants and animals that put forth their last bits of energy before frost paints an entirely different landscape.


Happy Fall . . .

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

George & Martha's Place

Earlier this week I headed south from Syracuse, through Pennsylvania and into Maryland for a visit with the Friendship Star Quilters Guild, a fun group of quilters from Gaithersburg, Maryland. On Sunday, despite a late-season heatwave outside, we filled the conference room at a local hotel to work on Bloomin' Steps, a super-scrappy quilt project from the book ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps!

This quilt involves a fair amount of piecing, but the result is so worthwhile!

Everyone in the Sunday workshop seemed to enjoy the day.

With some time to kick back before the guild meeting and trunk show on Monday evening, the guild treated me to a few of the local sites. Many thanks to Laurie, my guild hostess for the day! While she drove along the Potomac River, I snapped this photo from the passenger seat. Washington DC is close by, but many of the sites along the mall were closed due to the government shut-down. Here, the Jefferson Memorial looks lovely from a distance, despite overcast skies.

Privately-owned attractions are not affected by politics, so our destination was Mount Vernon, the estate of our first president and his family.

The estate and grounds are managed as they would have been in George and Martha's time, between 1754 to 1799. Several heritage animal breeds are maintained on the property. These sheep greeted us at the entrance to the visitors center.

Look! An Orientation Center just for me! Wonder where everyone else will go . . .

A short walk from the orientation center. The mansion is as impressive as I imagine it ever was!

The gate leading to the mansion has some interesting shapes, I thought. Curves and spikes send a mixed message.

A closer view of the mansion.

The opposite side of the mansion has huge columns and overlooks the Potomac. Not bad on a cloudy day, but I can only imagine the dreamy landscape in nicer weather.

Gardens surrounding the estate are beautifully maintained. Flowers, fruits and vegetables are grown on the grounds, giving tourists like me a real sense of what life must have been like on this farm in the mid 18th century.

The rain set in and spoiled the day for more walking outdoors. Fortunately, we were able to visit the museum filled with artifacts from George Washington's life, interactive exhibits, and videos which explained George Washington's role in American history.

I've said it before, every good tour should end with a visit to the gift shop! I found some gotta-have, gotta-make stitchery!

Happy Stitching!