Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sorta Sewing Stuff

I love to sew and quilt. But sometimes, I'm distracted by something a little different but still within the needle and thread crafty category.

First a sorta quilt reveal. A sneaky peek of the Row project I'm working on for the local quilt shop, Calico Gals.

Row by Row Experience, the annual summer time shop-to-shop pattern collection contest begins June 21st! Shops across the country, in Canada, and in Europe are getting ready for your visit! This year the theme is Sew Musical. . .and the rows can be different shapes.

I'm writing the pattern for only one row this year (My FLOCK is calling me for attention!) And that pattern is for the Home of Row by Row Experience right here in Syracuse, New York. We know it's musical, but will it be the classic 9x36 row shape or one of the new shapes? The subject matter? I'll give you a little hint, it's inspired by a very special person well-known to this area. I'll leave the rest of the reveal to the gals at Calico Gals.

Moving on, over the long weekend, Dave and I jumped into the car headed for Rochester. We get the food for our birds at a shop in Webster (near Rochester), and while there, Dave and I both have some extra stops we like to make. 

On one of the cruises earlier this year, my friend Lynn introduced me to some of her beaded creations. I was totally swept in, and had to learn more.

I'm not very good at this beading thing, because I'm really just starting with this fun craft. (I don't even know how to finish the bracelet pictured above.) Yes, I know I can look up some tutorials on YouTube, but after spending lots of time on the computer each day, I'd much rather seek out some face to face instruction.

While in Rochester, I visited my favorite bead store, Let's Bead, and added to my delicas bead selection. Do you see any resemblance to quilting? As in, color, more color, and even more color - gotta have me some beads!

And then I have this bright thread collection. Some of it perle cotton, some of it 6-strand embroidery floss in really wild neon colors. They deserve something fun. . .

 . . A while back I found this book, Teach Yourself to Make Biscornu - I don't even remember where I found it - probably on one of my decorative box runs to Michaels. Biscornu are small, pin-cushon puffs with lots of corners. They are typically made with aida cloth or linen and thread - not necessarily counted cross stitch, but similar - the perfect small project for some bright and fun color combos.

In that same shopping area with the bead store in East Rochester, Golden Thread Needlearts offers lots of different linens for cross stitch. I treated myself to some fun colors.

I'm addicted to these biscornu puffs! I spent a good portion of my relax time on Sunday making the biscornu shown below, left. And I can't wait to get back to that one on the right with the neon orange thread. Wildly detailed little critters!

So, you see, I'm easily distracted but not all that unpredictably. Needle, thread, color, are all present in these "sorta sewing" projects that have distracted me from all quilting all the time.

And it's quite fun. Do you find yourself distracted by sorts sewing stuff, too? Oooh, do share!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Roses and Rainbows

Portland, Oregon is known as the City of Roses, and man-o-man do I ever know why!

From the moment I stepped off he plane in Portland last week for Quilt Market, the twice-annual quilt industry trade show, it was nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing beautiful roses in full bloom.

Portland's rose-scented reputation dates all the way back to the late 1800s. Portland's first annual Rose Festival was held in 1907 and continues today.

Although I stopped to smell the flowers along my five-block route between my hotel and the Oregon Convention Center, my Quilt Market home-away-from-home for the next few days, sadly, I wasn't able to experience a whole lot more of this lovely city surrounded by rivers and abundant foot trucks. 

The evening before the market floor opens, Sample Spree is well attended by shop owners hoping to make some early wholesale purchases. The long lines start forming at the entrance a few hours before Sample Spree opens for business.

I didn't have a table at Sample Spree, but did go in and wander about for a short while after my booth was set up. It was sure crowded - as busy as I've ever seen a Sample Spree event! 

No big purchases for me, but I did manage to find a little bird in all that chaos. This needle keeper came home with me for my hoops-and-hand-stitching projects. I know, a bird, right? You know I had to have it!

My booth was pretty basic. My main focus was making Your Nest™ Organizers available for broad distribution to Quilt Shops throughout the country. That stack of Your Nest packages on the table was gone within an hour or two of the show opening. Shoulda brought more!

(After I took this photo, I noticed that my bright yellow rain coat on the back of the chair grabbed all attention from anything else in the booth. I tucked it away after that!)

Each day before the show opened, I wandered around a bit. If I noticed any sort of 'trend' it was COLOR! . . . Big BOLD color. . . All the colors of the rainbow! (Allison Glass booth)

Little bitty flashes of color. . . (Granny's Legacy Booth)

Colorful birds . .

(I didn't grab the booth id on this one, sorry!)

Even color hanging from the sky! Booth: Valori Wells

Whimsical color, too!

Booth: QT Fabrics

Since I was there promoting Your Nest™ Organizers, it was fun to see them sprinkled about the convention center in various booths!

At CutterPillar, for example.

In Deb Tucker's booth, Studio 180 Designs. And in the BlocLoc booth. You know I love these tools!

In the Olfa booth - have you seen the new pink splash rotary cutters, and bright blue and pink cutting mats? Perfect companions for Your Nest Organizers!

And in Sue Pelland's booth. She has exactly seven curvy rulers, and exactly seven places to store them on Your Nest! Talk about perfect match!

And, of course, there were quilts. Unlike Fall Quilt Market's huge Quilt Show adjacent to the exhibit hall, the quilt display in Portland was much smaller, but still very impressive!

The hand work on this one (Marchen (Fairy Tale) by Kayoko Hibino) was stunning. Take a close look at that border! Aside from the beautiful stitching, the border fabric is wrong side out! You can see in the close up shot below, a touch of the same fabric used for the binding has a more distinct polka dot. By placing the border fabric wrong side out, the dot pattern added a subtle texture to the highly textured quilting pattern.

I hope you enjoyed my short and sweet Quilt Market travel diary!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Another Boat Ride

It's pretty unusual that I'm scheduled to teach on two quilt cruises within a month or two of each other. About six weeks ago, I reported on my quilt cruise with Quilt Retreat at Sea, and now this! This time I headed out with Stitchin' Heaven.

As you enter the pier terminal, the Royal Caribbean marketing gets it right! At the beginning of any new endeavor - a vacation or any other new experience, there's always that excitement for what's to come.

Who will you meet?

What new adventures will you have?

Will it be fun?

Um, Yeah!!

The Players

Once we are all registered, the three teachers for the cruise wait for our turn to board. . .from left to right Darlene Zimmerman, me, next photo, me again but smaller, Nancy Mahoney, and Erin our fearless and fabulous Stitchin' Heaven Coordinator Extraordinaire!

At Sea

Our first day at sea, and work on the projects begins. Each of the quilt instructors heads the activities in three different rooms. Our group - including 97 quilters on this trip - take over the entire conference center on the ship for the entire week.

Choices, choices. Below, Hanna (facing us in the pink) and Aaron (in the foreground with her back to us) are two sisters who started their first quilt project on board. They were a bit tentative at first, but I think, maybe, they might be hooked - do you remember that special feeling that came with your very first seam and your very first quilt block?

In fact, everyone seemed ready to have a great time.

Before too long, blocks start to emerge from quarter inch seams and scrappy fabric selections. For this cruise all three quilts are scrappy. My project was Moody Blue from The Versatile Nine Patch.

In Port

After just one day in the sewing room, we are in port for three days in a row. No quilt classes while in port, but folks can sew if they like.

Cozumel, Mexico was our first stop. For this trip, I had a bit of work to do online, so I opted out of any of the shore excursions, but made a point to take a break to walk around, soak in the sun, and enjoy a little retail therapy! So very relaxing!

Our second port was Grand Cayman, one of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Look at that blue water! The ships are not quite in port- for Grand Cayman, they tender a bit off-shore to preserve the natural sea habitats along the shoreline, and the cruise guests shuttle to the island by smaller boat.

I'm a big fan of the Caymans, known for many things, including the natural iguana population, Cayman parrots, caymanite (a semi-precious gemstone that features layers of various shades of brown), stingrays, favorable banking regulations for the rich and famous, and the location of Joan and Dave Ford's honeymoon vacation a few years (a-hem) back!.

Our third port was Falmouth, Jamaica. Before heading ashore for some more shopping therapy (there were a couple of bottles of rum cream with my name on them!), I witnessed a lifeboat drill.

Several alarms sounded on the ship, after which the crew lowered a handful of the lifeboats and floated around for a little bit. I'm sure it's much more stressful in a for-real emergency, but it kinda looked like fun!

And then I proceeded on to the island of Jamaica. Our beautiful ship, Liberty of the Seas seemingly watches over the activity in port.

Back on board, dinner awaited us daily, served in the dining room by our two entertaining servers, Nishank, our head waiter from India, and Jarbson, our assistant waiter from Brazil, who kept the wine flowing and who entertained us with some outrageous hats that suited his fun personality. You can see many of the quilters, all having a wonderful time at dinner in the background.

With just a few more days to sew, progress started to heat up. Rows, then quilt centers, then quilt tops came together, even as the tables and sewing machines started to get packed away.

In the end, the adventure was a huge success, but it was time to say good-bye to all our new friends, as well as our cabin-towel-critters. BUT the good-byes aren't the end. . .

A big fat welcome to those from the cruise joining this edition of Good Migrations. So nice to have you here!

And, . . . with just a few days left before the Pudgie Parrot banner has to be ready for Quilt Market, I'm happy to report that it's in pretty good shape.

I managed to steal away a few minutes here and there on board the ship to do some of the hand quilting.

Do you think it'll get done in time? (Oh, yeah!)

Happy Stitching!