Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mini Market Recap

Last week, I mentioned that I would be attending Quilt Market, the quilt industry trade show in Pittsburgh, PA, but that I wouldn't be exhibiting. By now, I'm sure you've seen tons of pictures on social media outlets--of the booths, new products, samples, and the excitement from the trade show floor. So here's a few more--just a few--to add to the collection.

The bird's eye view is unique to the Pittsburgh Convention Center. Before Market opens, you can watch the activity develop from above, like having a balcony seat at a live performance while watching the audience gather before the curtain is raised. Or like watching the activity on an anthill.

A good friend and truly sweet person, Carolyn Friedlander received top recognition for her booth!

As an exhibitor, you have to corral all the activities of a booth in a packed and busy schedule--you rarely get to see the rest of the show, including the quilt display. Fall Market boasts a huge quilt display, and Spring Market has a smaller quilt show, too. Before I left Pittsburgh on Sunday, I took advantage of my 'boothcation' freedom and snapped a few pictures of some of my favorite quilts from the show.

Indian Summer Sunset by Shirley, Gisi, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Gathering Hearty Roses. This large quilt was a collaboration between four women in Setagaya, Japan. The quilt was hand appliqued and hand quilted. It includes a wish by the four stitchers that they can continue to work together forever. 

Here's a closer look.

Not all the beautiful quilts were appliqued! The color radiated on these pieced blocks! Mass Maples by Timna Tarr in Shadley, Massachusetts.

This amazing piece isn't larger than a yardstick in any direction. The project was completed over five years and can be viewed from both sides. The design is stitched into two layers of fabric, then batting is stuffed between the layers to enhance the details. To get the batting between the layers, the fabric is gently pulled apart to allow for the stuffing to be inserted between the threads. Then the threads are carefully moved back into position. Jaw-dropping. It's called Boutis with a Vase of Flowers by Marie Christine Floucard.

In Flanders Fields by Robin Gausebeck of Rockford, Illinois. Seems appropriate, as Memorial Day approaches, to conclude with a quilt that celebrates the poppy of remembrance and pays tribute to the poem by the same name written by John McCrae.

Exquisite detail of the machine applique and machine quilting on this fabulous quilt which is only about 18" square.

Whenever I travel, I like to find inspiration. Even if I pick up one little idea that I hadn't considered before, take a moment to take in the sights, or stop to take a quilty stitch or two, the trip is worthwhile. How about you? Do you take time to look for that one golden nugget in the quilty events you visit?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

That's Me All Over!

This weekend, the whole quilty world seems to be descending on Pittsburgh for the big wholesale show, Quilt Market. Buyers like your favorite quilt shop owners are flocking into the River City to see all the newest quilty stuff so they can stock their shelves with projects for you to enjoy.

Because of my crazy schedule this Spring--lots of travel and deadlines for Book #3 from The Taunton Press--I decided that I'm going to put all my energy into my booth at Fall Market and Festival in October. But with Pittsburgh only a hop, skip, and a jump from Syracuse, I just couldn't keep away. So, I'm driving out on Friday to walk and talk and meet and greet for the weekend.

However, part of me is already in Pittsburgh!

Last night (Wednesday) was the FabShop Pre-Market Dinner. (FabShop is the same organization that sponsors the online search for the bunny!) The dinner is the first official Quilt Market event. To welcome the shop owners attending the dinner, my able assistant, Marcia created treat bags for twenty lucky attendees.

The treat bags are filled with, among other things, the book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!, a Mini Mug Mat Six Pack, and a finished sample of a Mini Mug Mat, featuring Mini Series fabrics from Timeless Treasures and Presencia Perle cotton embellishment. Fun!

Have you heard of the Row by Row Experience? Janet Lutz, a local quilt shop owner here in Syracuse started the concept of a summer shop hop-like experience that is happening this summer in the United States and Ontario Canada. You should check it out! The website will have maps and all kinds of fun stuff for you to plan accordingly! Anyway, Janet is presenting a Schoolhouse session (it's a lot like a live infomercial) later today (Thursday) to relay some details to the 1000+ shops who are participating.

The Sew a Season fabric line by Debra Gabel for Timeless Treasures was created just for the Row by Row Experience this summer! It's very cute and works beautifully with itty bitty scrap projects like - you guessed it--the Mini Mug Mats! I created some more Mini Mug Mats (MMM's) using the Sew a Season fabrics. Janet has them with her for the schoolhouse session.

After the Schoolhouse session, the MMM's will be available to see in the Checker Distributors booth. Also Presencia (Colonial Needle), Quiltsmart, and Innovative Craft Products will have samples in their booths, too. So, you see I'm spread all over the place, like the Scarecrow after the attack of the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz!

In my 'spare time' I have been working on several row patterns for shops to give out for free to visitors to their store during the Row by Row event this summer. I created a row pattern for a shop in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, and Michigan! If you're at market, you might even find the row I created for Janet's store in the Timeless Treasures booth. I'll tell you more about the specific row designs I created and the shops featuring them as the summer travel season gets closer.

And if you're craving a sneaky peek of something that I've been working on that isn't available yet, but will be coming soon to a shopping cart near you . . . How about this cute little pin cushion? I'm not sure yet, but I think this one is going to be named the TSC Pin Cushion pattern (can you figure out what TSC stands for?) I made it from leftovers from the Sew a Season Mini Mug Mats--You know that the Scrap Therapist can't waste a thing!

So, you see, I'm at Quilt Market, but I'm not . . . yet!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sew, Sweet

On Saturday, I headed to Penn Yan, New York, at the northern tip of Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, in New York State. Keuka Lake actually has two northern tips--the lake is shaped a little like a tuning fork, Penn Yan is the northern-most tip of the lake.

The town swells in the summer, and there is the sense that this small community is just waking up for the busy season. One year-round staple for locals and visitors is the Flour Shop.

Located right on Main Street, the former FLOWER shop, now bakery is perhaps best known for the cinnamon buns.

Not one to shrink from local tradition, I had to have a try. This mixed-berry variation certainly satisfied my sweet tooth. Accompany it with Spiced Apple Chai Tea, and this quilty instructor experienced a bit of heaven on earth--along with a serious sugar rush! Yum!

Fortified by the bakery fix, a cozy group of the Keuka Quilters Guild got right down to business with the project of the day. The Common Sense Pillow--a workshop-sized version of the Common Sense quilt. Diana, Madam-president-elect of the guild seemed pretty pleased with her progress!

By the end of the workshop, most everyone had the center of the pillow assembled.

And in time for the guild meeting on Monday night, mission accomplished! These ladies were part of the ScrapTherapy trunk show for the guild's regular meeting.

On the drive home from Penn Yan, a quick break to recharge at the Thruway stop found the building practically empty. During the busy travel season, and during daylight hours, this place is usually bustling with travelers stopping for a quick snack or meal. As many times as I've made this stop in this particular location myself, I never noticed this whimsical sculpture in the dining area. Two separate sculptures, really. A fisherman and his pole and a very tropical looking googly-eyed bass (or some such species!).

After a snap of the camera and a fuel fill-up, I was back on the road, headed home--for a little while.

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

History Lessons

This past weekend, my husband, Dave and I left behind cloudy skies in central New York to head south to visit two important American Civil War Battlefields.

On Saturday, our first stop was Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, Maryland. On September 17, 1862, this quiet community in rural Maryland witnessed the bloodiest single day in American history. North and South converged and engaged in battle. Nearly 23,000 troops from both sides were killed, wounded, or captured at Antietam. Shortly after, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

We were guests amongst a group of students from Empire State College. For the students in the group, this trip was the culmination of a semester of studying the Civil War in American History. At significant stops along the battlefield, the group paused and listened as each student presented his or her capstone paper for the course. Our fearless and entertaining leader was Dr. Greg Edwards (a fellow Syracuse University alum!).

The contrast of the Dunker Church, the tree blossoms, and the cannons is both jarring and sobering. The Dunkers are a religious group with many practices similar to the Amish. The irony that this significant battle took place at this particular location is striking: the white-washed church of a peaceful people standing then and now as a stark and noticeable landmark and witness to the events of September, 1862.

An Antietam monument at mid-morning.

The Poffenberger Farm. This setting became an ad hoc hospital where Clara Barton, arriving at Antietam in anticipation of the need for her services, administered to many wounded soldiers. Nearby, the heaviest casualties took place in Miller's cornfield.

The battlefield looks very similar to how it would have looked in 1862.

Civil War re-enactors prepare for a shooting demonstration.

At Burnside's Bridge, the 160 year old sycamore tree stands witness both then and now. On September 17, 1862 this tree was about 15 years old.

On Sunday, we traveled on to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Another blue-sky day to greet us! Fast forward in history about 10 months to July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. General Lee enters Pennsylvania seeking a victory in the north at Gettysburg.

Peach blossoms in the Peach Orchard, where Gen. Dan Sickles famously claimed the higher ground, exposing the Union line on the second day of the battle.

Over the years, the peach trees that grew in the orchard were removed. The National Park Service is in the process of re-establishing the plants on the Gettysburg Battlefield so that the landscape is similar to how it looked at the time of the Gettysburg battle in 1863.

Little Round Top, at the southern tip of the battlefield, overlooks the area. You can see why this was coveted ground by both North and South for its view.

Union forces led by General Meade prevailed at Gettysburg, but the Civil War continued another two years before Lee's surrender at Appomattix Court House, Virginia in April 1865.

A view of the Peach Orchard, Gettysburg.

Hope you enjoyed a little American History lesson! 

And of course, at the end of the day, you have to include the requisite group shot! Everybody say "chEEEEEse!" - -  At Burnside's Bridge, Antietam.

Dave and I enjoyed our tour and it was encouraging and enlightening to listen to the students' presentations!

Happy Stitching!