Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What a Day!

Faculty check-in continues and only about a dozen of the 135 teachers have still to arrive.  The office was a beehive of activity as we handled lectures, the luncheon, locking and unlocking hundreds of doors, and tallying all the evaluations for all the classes.   Very busy!

At noon I was able to join the luncheon and hear the top winners speak a little bit about their quilts.  At the end of the day we had a light supper for our faculty, the only chance many of them have all week to meet and greet one another.

Then it was shopping time--preview night!  I met up with one of my best friends, Judy, who is not a quilter.  Her sister is and has the happy joy of having a quilter friend who lives in Houston.  Judy and her sister flew down from Philadelphia to see my quilt and the rest of the show.  She was overwhelmed after just a few hours looking at just some of the quilts.  They have 2 more days here but I probably won't get time to see them much again.

There is more very happy news I can't share just yet, but stay tuned, I'll have a big announcement soon!

Let's quilt!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Traditional Quilts in Houston!

If you love traditional quilts as I do, this is the year to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  The red and white quilt exhibits are breathtaking--contemporary quilts made since 1974, vintage and antique pre-1974, and a stunning exhibit of miniature red and quilts.

The 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit includes 260 from this brand new book.  There are famous quilts you know that have won major awards and there are two of mine.  I had 20 minutes yesterday to run through there but will be back later to really absorb this incredible collection of artwork.  No photography is permitted in this exhibit--BUY the book--the perfect Quilter's gift!

Today the changes start from Market to Festvial.  The award winning quilts will be moved to the Ballroom open the 3rd floor for tonight's exciting and dramatic reveal of the winners.  I continue with Faculty check-in.  How fun it is to meet and greet old friends.

Let's quilt!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Festival Faculty Fun

Since 1999 I have had the fun job of Faculty Check-in at International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Starting at 1:00 today, more than 130 quilt teachers from around the world will begin to arrive to present classes to more than 5000 students, also from around the world.

While being a traveling quilt teacher may sound like a glamorous gig, it's hard work, travel is not as fun as it once was, and they are away from home for longer than you might want to be.  They ship boxes of supplies weeks in advance and worry they will arrive on time. The boxes arrive but still there is the worry until I am able to point them out in the office, sorted alphabetically.

We try our best to take good care of our faculty because happy teachers make for happy students.  And, after all, it's the students we do this for.  As a quilt teacher myself, I know the joy of seeing the light bulb come on for a student who has mastered a new skill or improved on basic skills or found a completely new way of being a quiltmaker.  A great teacher makes it look easy, and we have great teachers.

Some of them have become personal friends, some are Facebook Friends, and some are friends I haven't met yet.  Each will be greeted by name, and met with a warm smile, a packet of paperwork, and a goodie bag with gifts they are sure to love.  AND the by now infamous RED totebag I will be thrilled to put in each of  their hands.

For the next 4 days I will rarely leave my desk, but come on, dear Faculty, I'm ready for you!

I love my job!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

How Are You?

That's a question often asked here as people meet up again after a year apart.  My answer is "I'm Great!"  If they know about my quilt, they get it; if they don't know, they quickly get it when someone tells them the Red and White quilt is mine.

This is a special moment in time in my life and I am trying to absorb it, feel it, appreciate it, and know this will never happen to me again.  When it is over, it's over.  But for now, I feel like the belle of the ball and all the sincere congratulations will go with me forever.  And when I get home, I'll still have it cook dinner, do the laundry, and mow the grass.  In Houston, this year, I get to feel like a rock star!

My lifelong motto is my high school quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson: "I am a part of all that I have met".  This experience brings this home to me again.  Along with joining the Marine Corps at 20, marrying my husband (who asked me to marry him on our first date), and giving birth to two tremendous boys who are fantastic men, this is about as happy a time as I could imagine.  

Here are a few more shots.  The group is the team who came to help with Market.  Eleven more of the team will arrive tomorrow.  I hope you can tell that the entrance to the show is breathtaking, not just my quilt but all the red and white quilts, the antique ones, contemporary ones, and the miniatures.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Here's what I've been seeing:

 AND today I saw the tote bag--oh my, be still my heart, I am over the moon!  Photos of it tomorrow when the Market show opens.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teacher Freight

We have more than 130 teachers coming to International Quilt Festival from all over the world.  They ship class supplies a couple weeks in advance so they will be here waiting when they arrive.

Today we had more than 20 pallets delivered to the Education Office at 7 a.m. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Finish and A Start

I finally finished hand quilting a small quilt with Big Stitch.  I started this baby 2 years ago and dug it out from the bottom of a pile a couple weeks ago to get it finished.  Now it's done:

This project came from Carolyn Forster's book Utility Quilting.   There are several quilts in that book I like and it has great info on finishing quilts as well as instructions for fast hand quilting with Big Stitch.

I needed a quick project to work on this morning so I got back to these sweet little X Blocks.  They are made the same way as the X Block swap blocks I wrote about here. 

These finish at 3" so it's a little quilt.  I started with 5" Charm squares where the large blocks start with Layer cakes, 10" squares.  I plan to make one more set of 6 to provide a little more variety.  I am linking up with Patchwork Times.

Tomorrow I head off to Houston for the 35th anniversary of Quilt Market and the 40th anniversary of International Quilt Festival.  It is sure to be a great two-week trip--I'm really looking forward to all the folks I'll get to see there.  A few special friends are making the trip this year and that will make it an even more exciting event.  I'll post a blog or two as time permits.  First, comes the work I am going there to do, then the fun stuff.

Let's Quilt!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt --the Introduction

Bonnie Hunter has posted the fabric requirements for her upcoming Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion.  The colors were inspired by the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  While I have absolutely no time to start a new project in the foreseeable future, my favorite thing to do is select a palette of fabrics for one.  So here is what I chose:

Thousands of quilters will start this quilt, or at the very least gather fabrics and print the instructions.   Me, too.    Bonnie provided paint chip numbers for those who want to make their quilt exactly like hers.  My fabrics are a little darker/brighter than the chips, but I like them an that's what counts.

Note:  Instructions will be posted on Bonnie's blog beginning November 28.  This is just "gather in the fabrics" time.

Let's Quilt!


New Projects Yet Again

I decided to make one more garment for our Ruby Jubilee Festival when I had access to more of the great French General fabric, Rue Indienne for Moda.  After seeing this line at Spring Market in Pittsburgh I asked my local quilt shop, Patches & Stitches, to order some of it.  Two weeks ago it came in, right after I completed my less than successful linen jacket and switched to making a simple vest--see that story here.   They also ordered the great linen in a red paisley--that will be another outdoor-type jacket after I get home from Houston--I'm running out of time for any new starts.

Here is the replacement jacket--cotton, not linen, but it will work as a "working" tunic:

I added a Runaround bag, too, a little purse that makes it easy to carry my phone and just a few essentials when I leave the office on an errand or assignment.
Other projects ongoing:

A cute baby quilt called "Little Letters" from Temecula Quilt Co.   I started this a couple months ago for a "someday" grandchild.  They post 2 letters/blocks a week and they are quick to cut out and sew. 

Our quilt show committee had a meeting recently and I showed them what I am doing with the swap blocks they are making for me:

Most of the folks in the swap have their blocks done or will soon.  String blocks are very fast and easy for utility quilts.  Here is more info on string swap blocks.

The most important thing I did in the last week was decide on what quilts I want to have ready for our next quilt show--that helps me focus on what needs to get done next.  Two are to be hand-quilted so that has to get started soon.  The show is a year off but time seems to fly by!

That's it for now.  Check out Judy's blog to see what others are doing.

Let's quilt!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Searching For My Mojo

For the past week I've been trying to wrap my head around what quilts I want to work on now, what direction I want to go with my quilting, what I really want to be doing/creating.  Thinking about what I should post for my Design Wall status had me just going around in circles. 

So I thought it funny and comforting that several other bloggers had a similar message yesterday--and photos of their design wall with more than one, in fact with many, projects in process.  Here is mine:

Yes, I dolled it up by sticking up lots of stuff that was just laying near the wall.  Some of the tops are done and just need quilting.  Some of these are leader/ender projects that go on forever.  Some are projects I really want to get back to, like the Ruffled Roses quilt directly below the Gee's Bend inspired top.  It is more than half done. I just need to get back to it.    The red/white/blue pineapple is intended as a Quilt of Valor, just needs to be larger. 

My interests are eclectic and I'm easily distracted by the next "great" project that comes along.  After cleaning out my closet last July, and finding more than a few Works in Progress, I've gotten rid of a couple, restarted a couple and finished one top.  Progress, in teeny, tiny steps.

The problem, as best I can come to terms with it is:  I often have deadlines that have to be met, like class samples, the Simple WhatNot Club quilts, gifts, garments for Houston, etc.  Everything else gets put aside while those are completed.  By the time I have cleared the decks, a few more "new" projects have caught my eye. 

Add to that, being co-chair of our next quilt show, preparing for committee meetings for that, and this week I prepared the special slideshow that will be featured in Houston at our Ruby Jubilee luncheon.  These are all wonderful/challenging/fun things I love to do but:  Something has to give. 

So my plan for the rest of this week is to settle on:

1.  Two leader/ender projects at a time, no more
2.  Decide what quilts  I plan to enter in our guild show October 2015, focus on those
3.  Decide What quilt top gets finished next
4.  Concentrate on hand quilting at night--there are at least 2 quilts basted and ready for that
5.  Finish Big Stitch hand quilting a large throw that is 75% done--I plan to have it done by this weekend.

So, there's my plan for the very near future--I feel better already!

Check out Judy L's blog, to see what productive people have gotten done.

Let's quilt!