Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Golden Triangle Quilters of Beaumont, TX!

It was a whirlwind tour to Southeast Texas, but we crammed it full of everything any quilter could want! Mona picked me up at the airport, meeting me down at baggage claim, waving a "bricks and stepping stones" quilt top she had made out of recycled clothing as her FLAG to get my attention. The woman is a trooper! She even brought a collapsible cart thing so we could load up the big duffels of quilts and get everything to her car. I tell you what, the first time we stepped OUT of the airport and into the parking garage, I knew what HOT really meant!

The heat from the previous week in Kansas City did little to "acclimate" me!

With the A/C in the car on full blast, she said "There is a quilt shop 3 miles from here, do you want to go?!" Well.....YES! of course!

I was looking for more english paper piecing hexagons. I was also looking for more roxanne quilting needles, size 9, and the shop had neither :c( But I did find some more YLI quilting thread, this time in PINK! And I snatched that up for my quilting thread collection. What can I say...I might never use that color, but it's good to have on hand?

I did end up a couple nights later just getting online and ordering both the needles and the paper hexagons and I'm set. They should be here in a couple days.

We tipped the scales at the noon guild meeting, pulling people in from Louisiana and Houston....I think the count was something like 141+ but I might be off a bit. All I know is that we had standing room only until more chairs were brought out. This made me one nervous nelly!! But there is one thing I've learned...when you feel like you are going to have a nervous breakdown...talk about the quilts...show them the quilts..get them to ask questions, and it all goes okay :c)

Thursday was the busy day as we also had an evening meeting. Even the evening meeting was busier than usual, and that made me feel really great that so many people came out to support the guild!

One of the fun things I did.....I had gone through my collection of old magazines recently as DH had put me up some new shelves. Not sure what I was looking for, but I came upon THIS:

This was a June 1983 issue of QUILT magazine! I brought this issue with me, and showed it to the ladies, saying "You've come a long way, baby!" And asked if there was anyone in the room who was in this picture? One of the gals in the front row where I was standing said "WE ARE THOSE LADIES!!" This was 27 years later. And they are still active in the guild, still beautiful as ever. WHAT FUN to pass that issue around and have them remember some who have passed on, some who've moved away, and those who are still here.

This is what I mean about quilting being a lifestyle choice. Not just a hobby. Our lives are woven through our quilts and our relationships with each other are so important. I can't imagine any place I'd rather be than surrounded by quilters who "Get me".

Of course, the highlight of my trip was to get to spend time with Bonnie Minor of Naptime News. She has always been such a great email friend, I knew she would just be fabulous in person, and she did not disappoint! I feel like we've been friends forever, and her positive upbeat spirit is just infectious!

Friday, we packed the classroom for a Crumbs workshop! It is so hilarious, to see people come with their scraps all organized into nice little containers, and by the time we've sewn for an hour, they have scrap salad EVERYWHERE! Lots of stretching and growing and out of the box! Look at Denise Green's adorable little project! She had this all together by the end of the day!

And I might be wrong on the name, but I think this is Chris...oh please correct me if I am wrong! I get good with faces, but names don't stick so well when you go from town to town to town like a vagrant the way I do!

These were Winnie's blocks. I just love how she mixed the brights with that very traditional brown floral! FUN!!

Saturday we filled up the day with a My Blue Heaven workshop! of course, we had some batik heavens, and red heavens, and green heavens, and plaid heavens. It was just heaven all the way around! I really like this class because I get to teach how I use the easy angle ruler and the companion angle ruler in all my scrap quilting.

It's really hard to get a good pic when you are talking...and the faces I'm making are less than attractive! LOL!!! and you can see I had my sweater over my sleeveless blouse...the A/C was running overtime!

Now you see them now you don't...fastest hands in Texas! *LOL*!!

My thanks to Bonnie Minor who said I could steal any of the pics she uploaded to her facebook :c) I couldn't have posted these without her! And my thanks to the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild for inviting me to come play! I hope it isn't too long until we cross paths again!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Morning...

....and I am HOME......ALONE!! I returned home from Beaumont yesterday afternoon, and promptly crawled into bed for a 2.5 hour nap.

Can I tell you how blissful this feels? Yes, even Jeff is off to classes at the community college this morning. I am really hoping this is the year he buckles down and gets his GED so he can move on with his life. I love my son, I want him to find some motivation for his life, to find what makes him happy, for him to set some goals and work toward them...and become independent!

I know all kids mature at their own rate. I know this. I am living this. But it is so hard to encourage a kid who has no motivation. :c|

So what am I going to do today? The options are many! I feel the need to do simple things like wash and change bedding. To sweep some, and dust some, and mop some, and maybe even (MAYBE) cook something! I'm feeling the need to "Nest" just a bit. I'm home for a week!

The only thing I have firmly set my sights on is a bee meeting tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing the girls and filling the evening with stitches and laughter!

And I have a choice on which handwork project I can bring...either the Dreamsicles quilt that still needs the binding stitched down, or the baby quilt for my new-to-be-nephew who is due to arrive in a couple weeks (Still unnamed, can't finish the label until I know his name!) OR...

I can attach THESE units

To the mother ship:

And watch it come together! I've got almost..ALMOST....5 of the 6 diamond units done, can you see how they fill in between the star points?

And look at what I did to organize my pieces!

I bought this travel organizer many years ago, and it has been stuck back in a cupboard. It works PERFECT for the hexagons in progress! 3 clear compartments with zippers, one big compartment on the end with a zipper, and there is even a zipper you can't see on the back of the organizer. I've got my hexagon map in there to keep it close :c)

It all rolls up nicely into a little bundle and is held by a velcro strap. It was perfect for traveling with this project....it lays in my lap with everything right where I need it! Perfect for a couch, a guild meeting, an airport or plane seat.

I probably over stuffed it with too many hexagons, but you know how it is when I start to cut! It is all about variety, and heaven forbid I fall short in that category! I just kept cutting! LOL

I have pics to share from my visit to Texas, but I don't want to do this all in one post..besides..this is the second time I'm writing this post, when i went to publish it, blogger freaked out and asked for my login, my login failed! (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!) and I lost the post. Anyone else have that going on?

Be watching for more about Texas tomorrow....that is if I can get THIS POST to post today! (and always click SAVE first just in case it doesn't go!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Greater Kansas City Quilters....

Last week I had the privilege of visiting SEVERAL groups in the Kansas City area. It just so happens that the only workshops were hosted by the Greater Kansas City Quilters! The other guilds were able to join in on the classes, so we've got members from Olathe and Lee's Summit included as well. I just don't know everyone well enough to know where everyone came from or which guild they belong to, but it doesn't matter, because we all had so much FUN!

Of course, this pic is from the Pineapple blossom workshop......the fabrics and colors were great! And you should have seen the yummy salad bar that was set up for lunch with all the fixins....It was a GREAT day! That was the day we had a morning guild presentation, a half day workshop, and then drive over to Olathe to meet with that guild for dinner, and then do THEIR guild meeting...talk about zombie making, but it was SO fun.

We were back the next morning with the Greater Kansas City Quilters for a full day Cathedral Stars workshop. The fabric choices were terrific, and getting to know the ladies better was the best part for me. It's hard to do that with a half day class and the kind of schedule we'd had the day before, but a full day class allows us to slow down a bit and enjoy each other.

Considering how HOT HOT HOT it was outside, it was cool as a cucumber inside and we were happy to be sewing!

I have to confess...everything EVERYTHING they tell you about Kansas City BBQ is absolutely TRUE! Just look at these ribs! (And they were all mine! *LOL*) Actually we could have fed an army...and finger-licking-good really should have been a rib slogan, not a fried chicken one. YUM!! Yes, it is true, there was no starving going on anywhere!

After the Cathedral Stars workshop, we took a little detour....turns out Margaret ended up having surgery when what she really wanted to do was come to the lecture and workshop. So....since she couldn't come to US, we came to HER! It made my day to see her excitement. I know she will be up and getting around soon. From what I hear, she already feels better than she did BEFORE the hip surgery. It was so great meeting you Margaret, you are a terrific lady!

More book signings! Sharon also had cookbooks for her guild for sale....300 of the best to die for recipes. I even bought a book myself. Not that I will cook anything soon....but one can dream, can't one? LOL! Oh, and the project in the hoop? That's Sharon's. She is doing some amazing work on it, and I hope she will show it on her blog when it is done. By this time I had already finished the quilting on Dreamsicles-Creamsicles (I don't know which one it is!!!)and had turned donned my new cape asw "hex-girl".

Sharon's hubby K caught this pic of us before we left for the airport. Can you read what the frame says? "Eat, Sleep, Quilt!" (And not always in that order...;c)) I just love it! This little car put on HUNDREDS of miles driving me to and from everywhere.

If you haven't seen what I travel with....here's a good shot for you! Two 50lb military duffel bags of quilts as checked luggage, my clothes in a carry on, and a laptop bag on my shoulder (which also holds that handwork project) It's quite a load!

Thanks for the warm (and HOT HOT HOT, AFRICA HOT) welcome, KC! I hope it isn't too long until I am able to come back for another visit!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quilting With Machines!

I have two friends involved in pulling this event together, and I am so proud of them and the work they do!

First off, let me apologize to them for being a bit neglectful >_< I had said I would make this post in JULY...and somehow, well Kathy's card got in my sewing stuff from that trip and I didn't uncover it til yesterday, which reminded me that I was delinquent on this post, so I hope she will forgive me. AND...I think I'm still in time!

Have you heard of Quilting With Machines??

Let me tell you, if you are ANYWHERE near Ohio at the end of September (Sept 22-25) of 2010, you NEED to go. You need to check out the website now, you need to find out if there is still availability in classes...and definitely go for the show and the vendors!

It's not just for long arm machines. It's ANY kind of machine. That even means treadle, handcrank, domestic electric, whatever!

The location? Sawmill Creek Resort and Convention Center, 400 Sawmill Creek Dr. W, Huron, OH 44839, phone: 800-729-6455

As I said, two of the ladies deeply involved in this I consider dear friends: Janice Kiser and Kathy McCarty are both phenomenal quilters and wonderful gals all around!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In A Bind....

First Off....my photo shoot on Friday with the folks from Kansas City Star was FABULOUS!! I had the best time and it was so great to get to know the people involved on that end of pulling these books together. You know, as they say....it TAKES A VILLAGE! (And that would make me the village idiot, but that's a topic for another time..)

It took most of the day, at least 6 hours or perhaps maybe a bit more to get 5 quilts staged for "Glamor Shots", the pics where they are draped artistically in a living situation be it on a wall, over a sofa, on the bed with pillows and decor...

The homes we used were VERY contemporary, and it was so fun to see my traditional quilts playing a part in the eclectic surroundings. I want my quilts to appeal to traditional AND modern quilters. It's all about color and geometric design, and any quilt can be "updated" or "toned down" by fabric choices.

I'm not so "into" this whole modern quilt guild rage....truth be told. I love geometry and small pieces, and graphic impact. I just want it "ALL". I don't want to have to pigeon hole myself under one description because sometimes I like working bright, bold and funky, and the other times, I'm perfectly happy to be stitching my 3/4" hexagons in a very traditional manner. I want to piece for the joy of piecing...and that means not all projects will be rushed through. I've made SO many quilts in my life that sewing big gigantic squares of designer fabric together for something that is done in a day just does not interest me.

It just seems to me that being a quilter should be all-accepting in a way, and all appreciative. I've had this thought that if I showed up to a modern quilt guild, and showed one of my quilts for show and tell, they'd show me the door because it wasn't "modern" enough. But then, take any pattern, make it out of "modern" fabrics, and it qualifies. It's a weird conundrum. I also feel that if I were to be trendy and making things out of strictly "new" "modern" fabric lines, that over time I'm going to end up with a quilt that looks very dated and kitted. I'd have to always be running and chasing after the newest release of something so I don't get caught with "last season's" colors or fabrics or designers.

I get uncomfortable when groups form an "us" vs "them" kind of category. I don't want to have to quilt by someone else's guide lines as to what is modern and what is not. It's a funny thing, because I enjoy looking at all kinds of quilts and appreciating them for what went into them and the stories behind them....

And I'm rambling on, not where I wanted to go, but this is flow of consciousness writing at its best at 6:43am!

Yesterday was a BINDING day for me! (Hence the title for this post!)

I was going to use an orange binding for Dreamsicles, but you know what? It didn't want orange! It didn't want lime, or turquoise...but it did want...PURPLE! Here I am squaring the corners and straightening the edges before applying the binding. I know some like to trim after. I like the straight edge that I get by applying a straight edge binding to a straight edge quilt.

It never ceases to amaze me how LIGHT a hand quilted quilt feels compared to a machine quilted one. I wish this quilt were big enough to really snuggle under. The combination of the hand quilting and the wool batting really do create a wonderful drape and feel. It takes two rulers to square my quilts, even my big ones. I use the big 15" square for the corners, and a long straight edge ruler for the sides....

See those stitches? That red thread played so well through this whole quilt! I just love the texture. You can see the purple binding being applied here.

And while I was at it, I put the scrappy blue binding on my Sister's baby quilt..I'm due with a nephew in September! I don't know what his name will be yet, but I've had this top made out of left over Blue Ridge Beauty blocks for years...only the last few babies have all been GIRLS so it hadn't been gifted away from Auntie Bonnie yet. The label is on, just waiting to be signed with a name as soon as I find out what that is. Oh...baby anticipation!

Last Night while watching "The Closer" and "Rizzoli and Isles" on TNT, I finished the hand stitching on THIS binding....I'm glad to have it done, it's a king sized ginormous thing, and is being sent off to Australia to be featured in an upcoming magazine....Anyone know the best way to get something there "Slow Boat" so it doesn't have to cost so much? It doesn't need to be there til November.....so if I send it now....(Or maybe it's safer just to send it airmail and eat the $$?)

I'm off to Texas tomorrow! Whoot! So that means today is filled with things like mail order, updating my calendar, tackling paperwork and laundry simultaneously, and repacking the trunkshow to include the samples I need for the crumbs workshop in Beaumont!

It also means I need some more hexagons for this trip! I was running short on neutrals, so I started cutting those. That lead to pulling out some 2.5" strips of greens and reds to supplement what was already cut in those colors, and I'm pressing the strips and hope to get time to cut some more variety today. I love how portable this project is, that is until it gets time to add the little satellite units to the "Mother Ship"....and it's growing! All the 6 large star points are on now, and I've got to piece 6 of these other diamond shapes to go in between the star points. And on it grows...

Since it does feel like fall is coming soon, it doesn't feel so bad to be working on a red/green/neutral thing. Most of the year, I can't make myself work in these colors, but this feels okay somehow, especially since this is now a 10 year old UFO and I need to see it THROUGH to DONE! I've thrown double pinks in with the reds in hopes that it looks just more "vintage" and less "Christmas".....but I'm not sure I've convinced myself. I had one lady at the last class ask me if I was making a "Tree Skirt" >_< well no, not exactly. I'm not cutting a hole in the center of this thing to put it around a tree....

Okay..enough rambling....gotta get this day moving!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot, Hot, Africa Hot!!

Quiltgranny Sharon and I were trying to figure out who it was/where it was that this phrase came into our lingo. It's Hot Hot, Africa Hot goes way back into when we first knew each other about 15 years ago. Either it was part of Interquilt, or when we were both part of a group called Electric Threads. Either way, let me tell you, I have found out what Hot Hot Africa Hot really feels like!

Yesterday morning (Since we didn't have to visit the night time needlers for a guild program til last night..which gave us most of the day OFF!) I thought I could beat it by going out for a long walk/jog at 7am. It was already hot....I did 5.25 miles, saw lots of cool things on the way, that were also turning Hot Hot Africa hot!

Partway down the road I crossed an overpass with this little brook running by. It looked so lush down in there I just had to snap a pic!

I kept running in the way that i do.....run a little, walk a little, run a little (okay mostly the down hills) walk a little, and I came upon these two fellas, and they followed me from one end of the fence to the other!

Well of course, we all know the best grass is on the OTHER side of the fence. They were so cute and friendly I couldn't help but rest a bit and give them both some rubs and ear tickles :cD

Isn't this so pretty? AND HILLY!? Just a beautiful morning for a long ribbon of country road.

But within a couple of hours, the heat sensor on the outside of the car read 108!! CAN YOU SEE IT?!? Yep, definitely a cause for HOT HOT AFRICA HOT!!

I did do some shopping damage while out yesterday. The red was 50% off. I needed a big piece for setting some blocks, and this is perfect! The oranges were gifted to me by Sharon and may end up as the binding on Creamsicles. The turquoise and limes? 50% off remnants at Joann's yesterday. I'm such a big spender..lol!

A while later, a nap and a lovely cool pasta salad dinner, made by Sharon's terrific hubby K was just what we needed to hit the road again to visit the Night Time Needlers guild. Look at this sign that saved us the BEST parking spot by the door! This just tickled me. I've never had a designated parking spot before :c)

By the time we were done....it was way past 10pm. Put the car on autopilot home, kick off the shoes, head to bed. Life really has been non stop since I arrived on Sunday!

Today is the BIG DAY for me. I'm being picked up in the next 15 minutes by my editor, Jenifer...and we are going to go do the Photo Shoot for the next book! Still Hot hot Africa Hot.....it's going to be INDOORS! Thank you very much! At least with this heat and humidity it will be easy to get the creases out of the quilts from shipping!

And tomorrow....Dorothy is clicking her heels and saying "There's No Place Like Home!" I'm back to NC by Dinner time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's Hot hot hot in KC, MO!

I arrived on Sunday at around 11am, this is after I was SUPPOSED to catch a 6am flight out of Greensboro, arriving at the airport at 4:45am (YAWN!) to be where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there.......only to find that the flight had been delayed Two HOURS!! Oh I could have used that two hours sleep!!

It actually worked out okay though, my connections were closer than originally planned and I got into Kansas City only 45 minutes later than I would have other wise.

I had one really neat experience on the flight. I was sitting in economy plus, in the bulkhead row. This plane was too small for real first class in other words, and the gentleman next to me asked if there were any service men on board. Just about this time a guy in army fatigues comes through the plane door and starts heading down the aisle to his place in the back. The man next to me told the stewardess to tell that man that he wanted to change places with him. He wanted to give him his economy plus seat. I was just really touched. It was the nicest gesture.

Yesterday we met with the Lee's Summit guild for a lecture/trunkshow and we sure had a great time. you should have SEEN the show and tell these ladies brought...I felt like I could just pack up my bags and go home, their work was FABULOUS! I just love that. It inspires me. It's great to be in a room with people who are as compelled to quilt as you are!

last night I finished quilting the Creamsicles quilt! We were watching a murder mystery and I put in the last stitches! WHooT! This has been compeltely stitched while on the road, and it has just been a joy to tell everyone who asks about the blocks and where they came from. It is a happy quilt and I love how I feel when I run my fingers across all the blocks! I'll get it bound when I get home. Sharon has gifted me some perfect orange fabrics that are going to finish it off just PERFECT!

So now..we are on to:

The more than 10 year old hexagon thing I started when still living in Idaho! I had needed a project to travel to Arizona to visit my grandmother in the hospital, not knowing it would soon travel with me to Minnesota for her funeral. I worked on it intermittently because it was always a good travel project, but in between moves and everything else, I really don't think I've touched it in 5 years >_< And it's time!

The "Mother Ship" has 4 of the 6 large points stitched on, The 5th one is ready to add, the last point needs one corner section, and then I'm off and doing some more motifs. I don't know if you can see this or not, but this is the graphpaper I taped together (LONG AGO!) and colored in how I thought I wanted the design to go:

And this looks like a dizzy kitty pic, but I caught Clyde as he was just deciding to get OFF the quilt...he had to come and inspect it too!

Today is going to be a longie...we have a guild meeting this morning and a half day afternoon workshop with the Greater Kansas City Guild, followed by another lecture/trunkshow at another guild in Olathe! Just color me tired by the end of this day. It's the longest one of the week.

Tomorrow I'll be with the Greater Kansas City quilters again for a full day Cathedral Stars workshop.

Thursday it's a lecture Trunkshow with the Night Time Needlers in North Kansas City.

FRIDAY IS MY PHOTO SHOOT FOR THE NEXT BOOK!! (I can so not wait! It's going to be a long hot day for sure) and Saturday I go home.

So if you don' get much from me over the next few days you'll know why!