Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Faithful Circle Quilters of Downer's Grove, IL

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Faithful Circle Quilters outside Chicago. They are celebrating their 45th anniversary and it was easy to see why--happy people, active guild  with both charitable and quilt-related activities to keep everyone engaged.

As I didn't get any photos of the people I snagged this one from their Facebook page:

Flights up and back were easy and uneventful, the best thing you can hope for with travel. I was met at O'Hare by the delightful Annabelle J and Mary Lee S, who have been my contacts for more than a year.

After getting checked in to the hotel and changing clothes for the evening lecture, we headed out to a great quilt shop before dinner:

Good thing I don't live here, I did a little retail therapy.

After a fun and delicious dinner at Pierce Tavern, we headed off to the meeting location. Once my PowerPoint was loaded and working perfectly, all was well and I could relax. The lecture "Time Management for Quilters" was very well-received--let's just say we laugh a lot as we learn. 

After a good night's sleep under the workshop quilt it was back to the same location for class:

The Antique Rose Star workshop is one of my favorites to teach. 20 terrific quilters of all levels and ages had a good day. Here are a few photos:

Repros on a Featherweight

Such happy fabrics

Not a black and white photo--the fabrics are neutrals

Playing with Magic Mirrors

Diane came from Wisconsin more than 2 hours north to join the fun
This class is the rare one that can also easily be hand pieced. We had one woman who decide to "slow sew" her block:

Occasionally, a student has the coolest thing. How about your own personal cutting table, able to be taken to workshops/retreats. Gail has a handy husband who made this for her:

 Parts are easily purchased at Lowe's or Home Depot, select the size legs that raise the table to your perfect height. Remove them quickly for transport:

Too soon the day was done. Dinner was calling--I can also recommend Cozymel's for great Mexican food. Back to the hotel for one more night. The next morning my friends Annabelle and Mary Lee picked me up early for the trip back to O'Hare.

We had traveling mercies and made it in less than half the time we allowed; TSA Security was quick too so I was at the gate with two hours to spare, just the way I like it. Made it home by early afternoon.

While a quick trip, it was a great one and I truly enjoyed my time with this guild and my wonderful "assistants". If you are in the area, look up the Faithful Circle Quilters--you will be made welcome.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Cranberry Chutney Time of Year

If this is Thanksgiving Week, I am making Cranberry Chutney. A double batch gets us from Thanksgiving to Christmas, with some to send home with those who want some for their leftovers.

I have made this every year for 43 years. The recipe is often shared so it can become part of other families' holiday tradition.

Here is the recipe, in case you want to try it:


The kitchen smells SO good while making this, yum.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Antique Rose Stars

Today I head to the Chicago area to visit the Faithful Circle Quilters.

Tonight is the lecture: "Time Management for Quilters", a topic that always gets good reviews. Find just a few of my top time management tips HERE.

Tomorrow we spend the day making Antique Rose Star blocks, one of my favorite workshops to teach:

I have written about this workshop a few times before, here is one of those posts:

Needle Chasers Guild of Iuka, MS

In case you think all a quilt teacher does is show up to teach a class, here are some to the things I did recently to prepare for this job:

1. Revised the multi-page Handout
2. Had the Handout printed
3. Made half of a 2" sample block
4. Reviewed all the steps in the instructions to be prepared
5. Packed everything needed for the class along with my supplies for demos--this includes the template sets students get--they had to be ordered weeks ago
6. Reviewed the PowerPoint, updated a few photos
7. Selected a variety of quilts to show during the lecture
8. Got excited to be able to present both this particular lecture, which I know helps quilters, and this fun class I love to teach

I am certainly not complaining--I love my job. There is just so much behind the scenes work that people don't see or think about. This contract was booked more than a year ago and since that time airplane tickets were bought and a hotel booked. A detailed Supply List was prepared and sent more than 6 months ago along with a couple sample blocks I made so they could see the actual block.

Here is the half block I made to test the small template:

Some prior student work:

Anna G

Celia J

Jodie L

Catherine B

Cathy R
Look for some great quilts from the Faithful Quilters.

Let's Quilt.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Art Gallery Fabrics Garments

I've been asked about the Education Show Team Garments.

Each year, we are provided fabrics from one or two manufacturers to make garments we wear at Market and Festival. We can make whatever we like, and we select up to 5 yards of the fabric lines that are offered.

This started many years ago. I remember telling Judy Murrah after my first year on the team that planning my wardrobe was the hardest part of the job. We are expected to look professional--no jeans, no exercise clothes, etc., but have to be comfortable since our jobs involve a lot of physical activity.

Judy came up with the idea to have fabrics donated to the team. It's been more than 20 years and this is still the way it works.

This year we asked Art Gallery Fabrics to be one the wonderful companies that support us in this way. Their collection "Indie Folk" by designer Pat Bravo, really caught our attention at Spring Market. Happily, they agreed.

I sent out information to the 21 members of our Education Show team and they selected up to 5 yards from the line. After double-checking their selections for accuracy, I sent the order to the company and they sent the fabrics to each person. Each person told me how excited they were about this collection!

The fabrics I selected with the pattern I planned to use:

Here are a few closeups:

The Market Team, Mechelle and Barbara C are missing
Sheryl and Cassie

Anne and Sue B

Sue H

Tanya and Cassie, caught studying the Schedule board

Tanya and Cassie, face front

Each year it is fun to see what our folks make. We wear specific garments on specific days. While we look similar, we are not the same. The garments help make us identifiable as "staff" and planning our wardrobes is easier.  I bring several pair of black slacks, a variety of knit tops and 3 pair of comfortable shoes--it works!

We will wear these garments at our shows for the next 3 years, before they are "retired" as we add new garments every year.

It's a good thing we get 5 yards. The jacket I made was too big, too bulky, too "not wonderful" for these great fabrics. After taking it in some, I still didn't like it so I used the remaining fabric to make a simple tunic top. I could take the jacket all apart, and re-do it for next year, and I might. I might not, time will tell...

The reject

The replacement
A Huge "THANK YOU!" to the fine folks at Art Gallery Fabrics.

We appreciate the generosity of the companies that provide us their newest fabrics. The garments serve us well in our jobs and help to show off these latest prints. And, of course, packing for 13 days in Houston is easier, really.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

International Quilt Festival 2019-the People

While there are thousands of quilts to see, and thousands of vendors to shop, the most important part of the Houston experience for me is the People.

Many years ago I worked as the buyer of my local quilt shop, where I still teach, and went to Market in that role. I looked forward to seeing my favorite sales reps, most of whom are now retired.

Today I go to Houston as one of the Education Show Team. There are 23 of us currently, 4 employees of Quilts Inc. and 19 "volunteers". We come from all over the country: Arkansas and Alabama, Kansas and Colorado, Tennessee and Texas.

Here are a few of the team photos we took with our daily garments, taken at our 6:55 AM daily meeting:

Marica Barker, far left, Suzanne Hyland, far right

As the week goes by, accumulated fatigue sets in, but, as you can see, we are all still upright and vertical--for the most part.

The Market Team arrives 5 days before the Festival folks--we get the office ready and everything in place to welcome the Faculty of 133 we had this year:

Jill and Vickie missing here
Vicki and Barbara missing here--it is hard to get all of us in the room at the same time
The first full day I deal exclusively with Faculty Freight--trying to keep it all straight as each box is brought in, found on the freight sheets, tallied on my master spreadsheet then placed alphabetically, more or less. This room was packed full of boxes by the end of the day. Just call me the "box whisperer":

This year we welcomed a wonderful new member to the Education Staff--Suzanne Hyland was recently named Director of Education and Industry Relations for Quilts Inc. She is stepping in as Marcia Barker, the current VP for Education, is retiring after many years working with the Education Team. I am so sorry I did not get a photo of them together--other than this "it's all over dinner" shot. Suzanne is second from the left, Marcia is second from the right:

I met Suzanne a couple years ago when we were teaching at Road 2 CA. Spending 13 days with her in Houston was a treat and she will be a real asset to Quilts Inc. in general and Education specifically. Welcome onboard, Suzanne!

When Marcia told me last May she was retiring I thought I should make her a quilt. Then I realized I had several under construction--she could pick the one she wanted and I would work hard to get it done by October. She picked Sizzle--HOT!:

It took some doing, but I put my best quilting into this and got it done on time. It hung in the Education office until it was time to go home with her. I will miss this quilt, but not as much as I'll miss Marcia, having worked with her for almost all of the 21 years I have worked for Quilts Inc. on the Education Show Team. She stepped in when we lost Judy Murrah, and has led us forward the past two years. Best wishes for a long and fruitful "retirement"--whatever that is.

At the Faculty Appreciation luncheon, Ricky Tims snapped a photo of our table--I keep  good company:

Seeing the gang from The Quilt Show is always good. This year we revealed the 2020 Block of the Month: Afternoon Delight, a Sue Garman pattern. The event was aired on Facebook Live--check this out if you missed it:

Another highlight of this trip was the reunion with my "longest" friend, not "oldest" friend: Eileen Williams. We grew up in the same Philadelphia neighborhood, K-12 together. After college she joined the Navy and I joined the Marine Corps. We both married Marine Lieutenants from Alabama, both had sons, both became passionate quiltmakers and are both still happily married. Her work as a Fabric Artist is much different from mine but we speak the same language. Hard to believe it has been 5 years since the last visit--when she helped me celebrate the Ruby Jubilee. Here we are at a nice restaurant, Indianola:

I took time to say hello to Betsy Chutchian, another quilter friend I admire. She will be coming to my guild June 2020--we planned it for a time when I will be at home:

Another Faculty friend who is a real friend, is Jenny Lyon--we made time at the end of a very long day to visit with each other and learn more about our "real" lives, the life beyond quilting--no photo of us together but here is Jenny:

Many more people could be named as those I look forward to talking to each year--but you might accuse  me of name-dropping. I hope they know who they are. 

And to all of you who told me you follow this blog, or got help on Sizzle when you needed it, or are so eager to get started on Afternoon Delight: THANK YOU! Sometimes it can seem like I am talking to the wilderness--is anybody out there? It was very nice to know I have been helpful to some on their Joyful Journey. 

It's good to be home but I'm already looking forward to next October! If you haven't been to Houston, make next year the first. You will love it.

Let's quilt. 


Sunday, November 10, 2019

International Quilt Festival 2019--the Quilts

The interesting thing about big quilt shows is which quilts grab you enough to make you want to take a photo. Houston is a HUGE show, easily more than a thousand quilts on display, some in the IQA judged show, "A World of Beauty",  and many more in the 35 Special Exhibits.

Here are just a few--the ones I took time to photograph.

It is the Sapphire Celebration--45 years and Festival is still going strong. The blue and white quilts hung in the air were spectacular:

Mine is in the middle, Spellbound, a pattern by Debbie Maddy:

Quilts I loved enough to take a photo:

This is truly an International show--this maker is from Israel:

Log Cabin: 100K Artist, Amy Pabst--this exhibit was astounding. Watch this Video interview to see the size of these quilts! And, the maker is 31 years old--I am thrilled to see young quiltmakers following their passion.

 The maker made many Log Cabin quilts, with very narrow logs, and counted ALL the pieces until she had made quilts in this series that totaled at least 100,000 pieces--a woman after my own heart. The catalog says there are a total of 102,779 individual fabric pieces in the quilts in this exhibit. 

I wish I  had photographed more of them:

This Special Exhibit was very moving:

The Bob Ross Cherrywood Challenge was fun to look at, all those "Happy Little Trees", here are just a few of the many in the Exhibit:

This one stopped me in my tracks--it won the Pfaff Master Award for Machine Artistry, a $5000 prize:

 I'm in the Pineapple Zone, working on one currently, this was so colorful:

 My good friend, Eileen Williams, is a wonderful Fiber Artist and she had two quilts in the Judged show:

Read the information card to find out why this quilt is titled "Second Chance":

Antique quilts always speak to me and this was no exception:

I did buy an antique quilt top from Cindy Rennels, this top is such an amazing collection of fabrics, some more than 125 years old:

 We believe the embroidery in the center of the top says:

"Pre(sented) to (Fl)orence Dec 25, 1887":

I now know what my Second Lifetime Quilt will be--a collection of small versions of this block in a wide variety of layouts. Since I still have a bunch of those small half square triangle units left.

My time on the show floor is limited and I saw lots more than I photographed. If you were there, your photos probably look nothing like mine--that's the beauty of such a big show. There is something to inspire everyone.

Here is a complete list of all the Winners. in the Judged show.

In a few days I'll have another post--about the PEOPLE.

Let's quilt.