Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gab, gab, gab . . .

Greetings from Houston!

I'm getting ready for Quilt Market, the big semi annual quilting industry trade show.

When the exhibitors get together at Quilt Market, we are so excited to see each other. The excitement is sometimes hard to contain, and you can get lost in small talk and chatter. When I saw this video, I couldn't help but make the connection to the excitement on the show floor at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival - or any time old friends get together to catch up . . . see if you agree!

Happy stitching (and gossiping)! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Here, There, and Everywhere

Last Wednesday, I headed north to Plattsburgh, New York for a trunk show and workshop at the local quilt guild.

Once I arrived in Plattsburgh, I made a quick stop at Loose Threads Quilt Shop to find gobs and gobs of Snap Sack patterns and samples,


and ScrapTherapy patterns and samples,

AND an amazing group of women!

These ladies know how to have fun! I was floored by the talent and extremely flattered by the support for all the Hummingbird Highway products!

After an energetic trunk show at the Champlain Valley Quilters--and a couple of hours fussing with an ill-fated email--Plattsburgh sparkled the next morning with a bright sunshine-y day. Twenty-some quilters enjoyed focused sewing time constructing the elements for the Common Sense Quilt. Look at all the wonderfully scrappy blocks and happy quilters!

Next I traveled to Barrie, Ontario (about an hour north of Toronto) for a quick nap (also known as a short night's sleep!), and an early wake-up alarm to head to Toronto for Creativ Festival. I was guest speaker and demonstrator in the Country Concessions Quilt Shop booth for the weekend. Shop owners Shannon and Cynthia were full of smiles all weekend long!

I had my first taste of Poutine, a north-of-the-border treat that consists of French fried potatoes, cheese curds, and gravy. It's not part of any weight loss program, and doesn't sound very good, but is actually quite tasty!

Country Concessions Quilt Shop, a charming destination shop in Cookstown, Ontario, is chock-full of wonderful quilty treats!


Next up: Uxbridge and Port Perry, Ontario for a visit with the Port Perry Patchers. A lively trunk show, a quick stop at Quilter's Cupboard Quilt Shop, with owner Sue Carmichael,

(love the peek-a-boo window built into the upper floor - it offers a birds-eye view of the activity below - Hi Sue!)

and a day-long workshop at the guild.

Wow! We got a lot done on the Magic Carpet table runner project!

What a fantastic journey! I arrived back home in Syracuse completely pooped-out, but energized by all the smiles and laughs enjoyed along the way.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

GREAT Summer, GREAT Challenge, GREAT Results!

As, September 22, the autumnal equinox, approached, I began receiving quite a few really terrific entries for the GREAT Summer Orphan Block Challenge!
Every single entry was wonderful in its own right. Let me share a few.
Deb started with some half-square triangles leftover from a quilt made from her mom's stash.
She made this adorable wall hanging of pieced spool blocks. The larger half-square triangles became the spool centers, and the smaller ones contributed to the border. Lovely!
Paula needed a quick birthday gift, so the orphan challenge was a good excuse to 'kill two birds with one stone,' so to speak. She found some four-patch blocks in her stash, added some more fabrics and whipped up a really cute table topper, perfectly suited for a special birthday gift! Love it when things come together like that!

Susan found some Bird in the Air orphan blocks in her stash.
With Christmas in mind, she gathered some additional fabrics that coordinated well, and represented a connection to the gift recipient. The result, a sweet table topper, ready for gift wrapping! (Hope I didn't spoil the surprise!)
Not everyone had gift-giving in mind, Lottie Dottie is Jo's quilt entry. She found some leftover orphan rail fence blocks that just had to be turned into a quilt.
I think Jo really likes dots. I really like her project! What do you think?
Jay selected a Winding Ways blocks and used it as inspiration for "Shades of Gray" The trapunto cone flowers create a stunning surprise in her quilted wall-hanging.
Have I properly built the suspense? Would you like to know about the winner?
Our Mystery Judge has spoken:
I was very impressed with the entries in the GREAT Summer Orphan Block Challenge. Everyone had such a fun time, and I loved reading the stories behind the finished pieces.
I saw two criteria for judging: innovation and pleasing. It was very hard to pick a winner as each entry was innovative for the maker. And, I loved that everyone found a challenge beyond just using the orphan blocks.
Drum roll, the winner is Emily. I particularly liked how she learned two new techniques, and the original blocks are still recognizable. Plus I'm a sucker for green!
Congratulations, Emily!
Here's Emily's story.
A new quilter, I joined a Block of the Month group at a local fabric shop to learn piecing techniques and color blending. Some blocks were more successful than others. And a couple color combinations were clearly not working with the rest of the pack.
Since they were already “learning experiences,” I decided to let them stretch me further with two more techniques I wanted to learn: faux chenille and a piped pillow. I cut one block into 4 squares for the chenille-testing coasters, and left the other whole for the pillow. For the chenille, I layered black, olive green, and purple flannel under the quilt blocks to blend the colors and tone down the acid yellow; then stitched and slashed in what I thought might be interesting patterns. I left the center pinwheel on the pillow intact. For my pillow border, piping, and backing I used fabric from the BOM collection. Now, my once abandoned blocks are waiting for the rest of the family to become a quilt and join them on the couch!
Her orphans:
And her winning project:
Emily lives in the Boston area and will be receiving a Prize Package loaded with quilty goodies very soon!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the GREAT Summer Orphan Block Challenge, including everyone who made a project (or just thought about it!), our wonderful prize sponsors, and a big thanks to our mystery judge!
In my mind, everyone who made something from his or her stash this summer is a winner! You now have something this fall that wasn't anything this past spring. So add those last few stitches, and fix yourself a favorite beverage, relax, and reflect over a sip or two. You've earned it!
Oh, and if you are feeling a little guilty that you wanted to make something, but you didn't quite get it pulled together, well, you are not alone! Remember these blocks?
I had big plans for them. Fall is here and they are still orphans. Eh, well. There's always next time! Who knows, maybe we'll do another challenge next summer. What do you say?
Happy Stitching!