Tuesday, February 27, 2024

QuiltCon Raleigh - Part 1

I've been home from QuiltCon, in Raleigh, North Carolina, for two days now. I continue to mentally process everything I saw there. From the opening of the event - the Awards Ceremony (which MQG members could watch via livestream) to my last workshop that ended at 9 PM Saturday evening, it was another incredible QuiltCon.

Here are a few interesting statistics about the MQG and QuiltCon. 

And, at the Awards Ceremony it was announced that more than 10,000 attendees were expected during the four days of the show. 

After seeing long lines - like a quarter-mile? - every morning before the show opened at 10 AM, my guess is that QuiltCon attendance surpassed 10,000.  

Once inside the Exhibit Hall, before descending on the escalator (or stairs), there was a panoramic view of the whole floor. Vendors were on the right; quilts were on the left. 
Vendors on the right

Quilts on the left

One of the most exciting moments was being present when the award for first place in the "American Patchwork and Quilting Super Scrappy Challenge" was announced. Our own Central Florida MQG member, Beth Shutty @blue_dragonfly5 won! We're so proud and happy for her!

Those members who were available (21 of our 56 members attended QuiltCon) met at Beth's quilt for pictures. 

And in case you don't know which person Beth is, we're pointing her out to you!

If you see 
QuiltCon magazine on the newsstand, you'll see Beth's quilt inside. 
In upcoming blog posts I'm planning to share quilt pictures of non-award-winning quilts, so if you'd like to see the winners, go to the QuiltCon website HERE

Besides quilts, it's the people that QuiltCon is about - those I enjoyed seeing again, and for the first time.

It was delightful to reconnect with dear friend Di @darlingdi from Sydney, Australia who was here in 2017 when we attended QuiltCon Savannah together. This is one of a half-dozen blog posts about her time here.

This is the second time I've met-up with Clara Stoikow @bimbambuki_blog, a lovely lady originally from Germany who currently lives in Manhattan. She made this quilt Scrappy Manhattan that won "Judge's Choice" from Stacey A. Watson.

(Left) Jo Avery @joaverystitch from Scotland was at QC again. I took her Improv Tiny Piecing workshop on Friday evening (more on that later). She and I swapped gifts. 

(Right) For the first time, I met Paola Machetta @cultofquilt of Italy, whose improv work I have admired since first seeing her Sealights quilt at QuiltCon Phoenix in 2022. 

While in a QuiltCon lecture by David Owen Hastings, I learned the he bought Paola's Sealights quilt!
Sealights by Paola Machete

Here's Paola with this year's Nightlights quilt. Doesn't it just glow?

Paola wanted a picture of us with my quilt, Feelin' Groovy made for the Maximalism Exhibit. I'm honored that she asked.

It was also fun to watch people as they looked at Feelin' Groovy.

Some of these sweet friend brought gifts for me.

From Di I received the key fob; from Jo I received the cute little stitchery; from Clara I received the adorable hand-stitched hexagon necklace fob; and the "I (heart) EPP" is from Tina Craig @seasidestitches (no picture). Gosh, it's difficult to remember to take pictures with friends! When you're in the moment, you're just enjoying their company, and not paying attention to making photo keepsakes. 

Such is the case with Candi Lennox @candipursuits of St. Augustine, Florida. Here's she's with a group quilt she made, inspired by a piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric!

Candi and I hung out together looking at quilts and vendor-shopping, and had lunch together... and never thought to take a picture of us together. Sheesh. I'm happy to say she has an eyeglass case and a fold-up shopping bag I gifted her. 

This is Debra Jalbert @madeofhonorquilts formerly of Clermont, Florida, who now lives in Tennessee. Debra made Big Stitch which hung in the Minimalist Category. I wish I had a close-up of this quilt so you could see that she pieced tiny blue and orange strips that she inset as skinny pieces. Impressive work!

I finally got to meet Tara Glastonbury @stitchandyarn who lives in Australia. At QuiltCon 2020, Tara bought my quilt L Cabin, which is now hanging in her Sydney studio. Tara recently wrote a great blog post Modern V Contemporary that I highly recommend reading. She makes a great case for understanding what modern is, and is not. 

Here is Tara with Multifarious Me, her entry in the "American Patchwork and Quilting Super Scrappy Challenge." Tara's quilt came in second place behind Beth's. 

After several Zoom workshops/meetings last year with Irene Roderick @hixsonir I finally got to meet her in person... and tell her exactly what I thought! That she's a very special instructor whose ability to educate me about how to do improv afforded me a big leap toward success. She's the person who helped me finally accept that I can do improv - albeit carefully, and not always successfully. I owe her a lot!

Also along improv lines, I met (L) Lenny van Eijk @modernstitchwitch, and (R) Annie Hudnut @anniehudnut, both of whom had multiple quilts in the show.

Lenny van Eijk made Alien Jungle (63" X 79") for the Piecing category.

Lenny made Summer Journey #1 (39" X 39") for the Use of Negative Space category. 

And Lenny made Summer Journey #3 (39" X 39") for the Use of Negative Space category.

Annie Hudnut made Spin (74" X 75") for the Modern Traditionalism category. 

And, Summer Cherries (64" X 57') in the Use of Negative Space category.

I could certainly keep going, but will share more in a future post. Linda

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

QuiltCon Ahead!

It's been a bit of a whirlwind for the past five days, as I've scrambled to fulfill commitments and prepare for QuiltCon.

I had a "Squirrel!" moment last Friday when I saw on Instagram that Sewingtimes Nancy had posted a new, free YouTube tutorial: DIY Reusable Shopping Bag. It seemed like the perfect thing to tuck in my purse, for possible (HA!) QuiltCon vendor shopping. 

Back in 2016 I won an Instagram giveaway of a Kona Kaufman fabric panel, and this was the perfect way to use the whole piece!

You can see the pocket into which the bag is folded. 

It's about 5" square when all tucked-up - a nice, portable size.

I also made two more bags using other Florida-themed prints that I anticipate giving away at QuiltCon.

Friday brought a delivery... another Instagram giveaway. I know, I know... I'm fortunate! 😇
For linking @magicfabriccare to my Unallocated scrap quilt IG post, I won these seven items from Magic Fabric Care, a division of Faultless, in Kansas City.

1. (front) iron cleaner, in a tube
2. (L-R) Quilting & Crafting Spray (mist, 16 ozs.)
3. Quilting & Crafting Fabric Fresh
4. Quilting & Crafting Spray (aerosol)
5. Quilting & Crafting Steamer Boost
6. Quilting & Crafting Fine Mist Sprayer 
7. Quilting & Crafting Spray (mist, 3 ozs.)

I've already tried Quilting & Crafting Fabric Fresh, so I know it works beautifully to remove wrinkles from even the most-wrinkled quilting cotton. It will be a real treat to use the other products too! Thank you, @MagicFabricCare

A Saturday trip two hours south took me to Sarasota where I gave a Big Stitch Quilting and More program and trunk show to about 40 members of the Sarasota MQG. 

After lunch, most of them stayed for the stitching demo.

The program coordinator, Lois, prepared kits so everyone could try big stitch quilting with perle cotton on a quilt sandwich made with linen. 

If you notice lots of pink linen, that's because Lois found an inexpensive pink linen tablecloth to cut up and make kits. Great idea!
How's this for a little connection? Lois, the Sarasota MQG program coordinator took my domestic machine quilting workshop when I taught in Rock Hill, South Carolina in August 2017 (during the eclipse!)! When she became program coordinator in Sarasota, she remembered that I teach! Thank you for inviting me, Lois! I had a wonderful time with your chapter.

On Sunday, with my best Bible study friend, Jody, I had the privilege to again go to the movie theater to see episodes 4, 5, and 6 of Season 4 of The Chosen.

Every episode continues to be thought-provoking, and (for me) very emotional. So many things that were portrayed - for example, the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10: 38-42) - that provide vivid and profound moments of understanding that move me, and have enlighten my thoughts and the reality that Jesus lived on earth!

I pray for Dallas Jenkins, writer and director of this series. He's taking on a great responsibility to portray Jesus in a manner that's Biblical, authentic, and plausible. For his efforts he's answering to some criticisms, and I admire the thoughtful and caring way he responds.
made by Ashelyn Downs

Now I'm attending to last-minute QuiltCon preparations. Packing. And prepping supplies for two workshops.

I've pulled fabrics for Large Scale Minimal Improv that's Friday evening from 6 to 9 PM.

This quilt sample was made by the instructor, Ashelyn Downs @urbandwellstudio

We are to bring one or two inspiration fabrics. The Dutch-made African print along the bottom is my color inspiration. I purchased that piece at the October 2021 Broward Quilt Expo in Pembroke Pines, Florida. 

Fabrics along the top are (L-R) accent colors; five neutral linens; three solids; two neutral prints; and three pieces of denim. It remains to be seen whether I use them all. 

I'm also taking Jo Avery's Improv Tiny Piecing workshop which requires a much less extensive fabric pull. 

Book Recommendation
Such Kindness
 by Andre Dubus III is the story of Tom Lowe, a happily married man with a young son, who works too hard in his construction business. He's always worked long hours to get ahead - to give his family everything they want and deserve. Then, one fateful day while roofing without a safety harness, he falls off a roof. Overnight he's thrown into a pain-filled world - with burning hip pins - that lead to drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and the ruin of his marriage and relationship with his son.

Now Tom is getting by, day by day, living from one disability check to the next in subsidized housing where he's neighbors with others like himself who are struggling to get by. 
As he lays the blame for his problems at others feet Tom's situation goes from bad to worse. It's the fault of the banker who loaned money at an adjustable rate for the home Tom build. It's the fault of his wife who left him for an attorney who could provide a better life.

Such Kindness would be great for a book club discussion! I would be interested to know others' views on Tom's character as he evolved from being frustrated and blaming, to sincere gratefulness and appreciation. 

The only thing I didn't care for was the narration. Believe it or not, the author himself, Andre Dubus III reads the book. I found his droning monotone voice less than compelling, and without distinction among different characters. If it weren't for the narrator, I would have scored it higher.

Linda's score: 4.0/5.0 

QuiltCon Ahead!
I don't know this fella, but his name is Larrie, and he's going to QuiltCon. My friend Candi, tagged me when she saw this Instagram picture and spotted my Log Jam quilt behind Larrie. It's my quilt that was displayed at QuiltCon Atlanta (2023) in the "Log Cabin Challenge" category. Apparently Larrie liked it! Though Larrie was not the buyer of Log Jam which sold at last year's QuiltCon. 
So indeed... Raleigh, here I come! I'm riding there with two quilty friends. We plan to arrive in time for the QuiltCon awards ceremony. If you're a member of The Modern Quilt Guild, you too can watch the award ceremony! Clink the link to watch, Wednesday, February 21, 7 PM Eastern time. 

Until next week, when I'll have lots of QuiltCon pictures and blogging to do, happy making my friends! Linda

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Wading Through WIPs

With two quilt events coming up, my attentions have been somewhat distracted. I've made slight progress on projects, dilly-dallying on WIPs. I'm not in the right head space to think about starting something new.

With my Prudence quilt top finished at 58" X 58", it was time to piece a backing.

During last week's South Florida MQG's "Sip 'n Sew" Zoom get-together, Jessica suggested I make a backing using black and white stripes, cut and pieced like an hourglass block. Since I don't have enough black and white stripe to do that (yes, my stash is dwindling!), her idea triggered something different. 

I cut a 24" X 24" square - the largest cut I could get - from a Freespirit, Anna Maria Horner print called "Fluent, Passport." 

Then I searched for anything in my stash that coordinated with it. I turned up a 2007 orange tone-on-tone RJR print. I used nearly all of it. 

Lastly, I cut striped setting triangles from a diagonally-printed black and white stripe from Blank Quilting Corp., called "Paradox." The backing measures 60" X 60" so I don't have much wiggle room for quilting. 

For the first time, I used Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool Blend for the quilt sandwich. Christa Watson said in a lecture (last year) that it's her favorite batting because it's light weight, breathable (cotton), and doesn't hold a fold (wool). We'll see. 
So far, it's quilting great! Maybe credit is due to my wonderful Bernina 770QE. 😁

I set my Bernina to a 3.10 stitch length, and reduce the tension to 4.5 because I'm using 100-weight thread, ivory-colored Wonderfil Invisifil on top. In the bobbin is orange-colored Aurifil 50-weight thread. I've walking foot quilted diagonally across the quilt, through the striped fabric pieces. 

Once the quilt has been stabilized with walking foot quilting, I'll switch to ruler quilting. I want to quilt concentric circles in each small medallion block.

Also, I dug out blocks made for a Glitter quilt, designed by Jen Kingwell in her book Quilt Lovely. I haven't touched these blocks for a year! I know this because I write notes to myself. I have made 92 blocks and need 152 for the quilt.

Using a set of Glitter templates, I cut out more shapes. Then on the diagonal, I arranged nine-patch looking portion to machine-piece.

After I pressed seams, I stacked the four inset corners for each block with its machine-sewn section (pile on the left), They're ready for hand-piecing to set-in that "bent" seam. I learned early-on that my attempts to machine-sew those seams was less than satisfactory. So hand-piecing it is (far right)! 

Since I'm riding with two friends to QuiltCon, the stack of prepared-to-handpiece blocks will go with me, 

Also, I continue to stitch this hand embroidery piece started in June 2023. It's an enlarged design from Sarah Thomas's book Color Your Own Sariditty Sketchbook, embroidered with Wonderfil size 8 pearl cotton. 

I'm trying to create interest with a variety of stitches. This looks better in person than it does in these pictures. 

Book Recommendations
Mine Till Midnight
 by Lisa Kleypas is the first book in the Hathaway series that takes place in London and rural England in the 1800s. The story focuses on Amelia, the "responsible sister" who, because their parents have died, looks after her two younger sisters, and her older, irresponsible brother who has inherited a title and a deteriorating manor house and lands. 

Amelia meets a handsome man, "a Rom" (gypsy) by the name of Cam who has a reputation for managing and making money, and seducing with women. Being a respectable English lady, albeit a poor one, Amelia tries to resist a physical attraction to Cam. But when they find themselves in neighboring estates and in social situations that keep them in contact, their attraction grows. All the while, Amelia is despairing over her brother, a fragile sister who's recovering from scarlet fever, and keeping the secret of her youngest sister whose kleptomania must be the result of stress. 

In comes Cam to sweep Amelia off her feet (literally) and give her the emotional support she insists she doesn't need. I kept wanting to say to Amelia, "For being a fine English woman, you sure are willing to risk scandal by falling into bed... again and again." 

Linda's score: 3.6/5.0

 by Chris Hammer is the first book in the Martin Scarsden series. This won't be the last time I look for this author. 

Martin Scarsden is a reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald whose past experiences, hidden from the Taliban for three days in the trunk of a vehicle, has scarred him. His editor thinks Martin needs a change of scenery, so he's is assigned to write a "one year later" story about the citizens of a nearly abandoned (fictional) town, Riversend located near Bellington (also fictional), in the Outback.

The story Martin must write begins with the aftereffects of a Sunday morning, a year ago, when everyone's favorite priest, Bryon Swift, unexpectedly goes postal and shoots five men outside the church. Byron himself is then killed by a local policeman, so no one knows why Byron did the unthinkable.

At the Oasis bookstore/coffee shop, one of the few Riversend businesses that's open daily, Martin meets the beautiful owner, Mandalay Blonde. Then he meets the town's former mayor, drawing lagers at a local bar. The longer Martin stays in Riversend the more people he gets to know, and the more unanswered questions he uncovers. 

Mr. Hammer does a good job describing the environs. So much so that I could feel the 40C (104F) heat and dust in the air; could hear the quiet of the town except for rumbling bikies motoring through; and could see the red sunset due to smoke from bush fires. Hammer is an excellent writer! Though a couple scenes were pretty graphic - Codger lives in a ramshackle house in the scrubland and often doesn't wear clothes because of the heat - the locale, people, and interconnected storylines held my interest.

No surprise, Aussie narrator Rupert Degas, was fantastic! A couple characters spoke with full-blown Australian accents - the kind I describe as full of low, guttural "oi" sounds - that were so believable as to almost be difficult to understand. So, all in all, I highly recommend this one!

Linda's score: 4.4/5.0



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