Friday, July 10, 2015

Vermont Quilt Festival

Vermont Quilt Festival

I recently attended Vermont Quilt Festival.  If you are a quilter, and in the New England area, it should be a goal.  They are, as their website attests, the oldest and largest quilting event in New England.

The festival started in 1977, in Northfield, VT as a one day event.  Within 4 years, it was being held at Norwich University, the oldest private military academy in the US, and had expanded into a multi-day event that included classes and lectures.

The picture above is of the academy.  I first attended the show with my mom in the 1990’s.  The festival offered accommodations on the campus in the form of bunk rooms, usually occupied by the cadets.  ‘Spartan’ is the word that comes to mind.  There were two shared bathrooms on each floor, and no air conditioning.  You brought your own bedding.  Experienced attendees also brought a fan.  We used to joke that no matter when the show was held, it was sure to be the hottest weekend of the year. As a mom with 5 children, it was a special treat to be able to get away for a couple of days.

I think I may be the only quilter who misses those days!

Now, the festival is held at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction.  From the beginning, the official kick-off for the show is the Champagne and Chocolate preview on Thursday evening.

How delightful!

While I was there, I saw a quilt by a quilter I know!  The quilt below was made by 
Mary Wade.

You can see all of the show winners here. Click on each of the links on this page to see large pictures of each of the quilts.  Spectacular~

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wise Guys and Hot Toddies

Well – such a busy week.  But I finally took down the last Christmas decoration.  A wall quilt of the three wisemen.

I made this a number of years ago.  When I had finished the applique and quilting, my mother stitched faces on the camels and wiseguys.
Also this week - I had the plague… and control of both of my granddaughters for the past few days.  David, my dear sweet husband, assured me that it was not the plague, just a cold; so for two nights, he gave me zinc and a massive hot toddy, which he would not let me watch him make.  I don’t know what was in it, but I slept like a baby, and now I feel soooo much better.  Well, I FELT better, until I was serving breakfast to my older granddaughter.  She asked if I had any honey for her toast.  I assured her we did, as I had just purchased a bottle. 
This led to a side discussion with hubby.  He informed me that there was no honey left.
 [incredulous look]
 ‘Those hot toddies are mostly honey’, he says.
‘No wonder I look like Winnie the Pooh’, says I.
‘You don’t look like Winnie the Pooh’, says my granddaughter, hugging me around my middle.
[I smile, smitten]
‘He’s ORANGE!’ She says.
She is now with the other grandmother (completed unrelated to this story, I assure you).  They have gone to a resort where there is a swimming pool, Jaccuzzi, and buffet breakfast, complete with lox, bagels and capers.  [Dodged that bullet – if I had gone, I might wind up resembling Shamu].
While she was with me, we kept busy.  She decided she needed a mug rug with a cupcake on it.
This was based on my Cupcakes! pattern.
She chose all of the fabrics, and did all of the pressing.  I quilted it, and put on the binding.  She usually does this as well, but a deadline was looming(apparently, she thought it would come in handy at the resort).   Did I mention she is not yet eight years old?
I used my micro tac basting gun to hold the mug rug together while I quilted it (outlined the cupcake with Invisifil 100 wt. thread from wonderfil.  I love that thread – not only is it great for quilting (especially dense quilting, where a heavier thread causes unattractive thread buildup) I also use it in the bobbin – because it is so fine, the bobbin lasts forever!

Oh, speaking of Cupcakes – as part of my Drop And Give Me Twenty, (see here) I did manage to quilt the Cupcake wall quilt.  I know it looks lumpy, but that is my photography skills rather than my quilting.

Now I just need to bind it and add buttons.  There are so many ways I could embellish this, I really want to play …




Saturday, February 8, 2014

Java Jive

In my month-long adventure of sewing at least 20 minutes each day, I have discovered I have some questions.  Does pressing count? What about cutting…designing…selecting fabric?  At first, I thought only sewing would count as sewing, but then I started this little project, and I found that I could spend two or three days choosing fabric.  And yesterday, a charming young lady I know asked for help making scrub tops.  This will take several hours, and since I want to encourage her interest in sewing, I will be doing the pressing and cutting and cheerleading while she feels the magic of putting the ‘pedal to the metal’.  I think I was completely hooked on sewing after my very first time at the controls (it was a Singer Featherweight, and I was about eight years old). 

Therefore, I have made a unilateral decision – it all counts.
So, yesterday, I designed, traced, and cut a little wall quilt I am making for a friend of mine who has a special need. She has an office door that has a window in it, and she would like a variety of little quilts less than 16 x 25 inches to brighten up the place. 

I had already spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with...I mean judiciously choosing... fabrics when my husband arrived, and tried to steer me toward more 'realistic' subdued colors.  Running into the room behind him was Sophia, my outrageously adorable two year old granddaughter.  She clearly disagreed with him, as she pulled one fabric after another out of my fabric shelves, declaring, "color...oooh, color" after each selection.  Now I know you don't believe me, so I invite those of you who know my husband to ask him.  (I considered posting his cell phone number here, but decided if I did, I would never be able to talk to him myself).
 Today, buttonhole (blanket) stitched the applique into place. I used Invisifil thread in the bobbin (it is 100 wt., which is quite fine, and I love it.  It stitches out great, and a bobbin lasts forever!), and a variety of threads in the top.  I love how it has turned out so far. 
Now I need to decide on a border - I was thinking of prairie points - anyone have any great ideas?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Weekend Well-spent!

My friend, Karen Pratt and I host quilt retreats.  You can read about them here.

So I know the value of getting away for a weekend devoted to quilting.  This past weekend, instead of hosting a retreat, I got to just sit and stitch.  You can read more about the weekend on this blog, written by my friend and ‘pugmom’, Nancy.  But here is what I accomplished (and imagine, all this counts towards my pledge to sew for twenty minutes each day).
I worked on these cupcakes on Friday and Saturday.  This little wall quilt is one of my newest patterns.  They are fused and then buttonhole (or Blanket) stitched.  I used a variety of threads, including a metallic thread from Wonder Fil that stitched like a dream.
Then on Sunday I started work on a new sample of another of my patterns, Wrap It Up.
Here is the pattern cover:

During the weekend, I started the pinwheels, by drawing lines on the wrong side of lemon-lime squares, and started stitching the blocks.
And then I had to come home (sigh).
On Monday, I took part in a group project.  One of my daughters made a bowling shirt for a friend who is attending a Punk Rock Bowling Tournament in Las Vegas (who knew?).
She stitched it, a friend of mine added the embroidery, and then I made the buttonholes, hand finished the collar, and machine stitched the buttons (a new one for me - I have always shied away from adding the buttons by machine.  I could not shake the fear of the needle striking the button, shattering it, and getting something stuck in the bobbin race - egad!).
But they came out great!  Yes, that is a skull embroidered above the bowling pins.  
Don't worry, the pic makes it look lumpy, but that is due to my photography skills, not my stitching skills.
Finally, yesterday I finished up those Wrap It Up blocks.  I show pics of them later this week.
All in all - a great start to February.