Friday, April 30, 2010

Paducah . . . . Part One . . .

So last week I was lucky enough to attend the AQS Quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky. This was my fifth trip to this show. Out of the so called "big" shows, besides Paducah, I've attended the Road to California and the Chicago Show. I hope to hit the show in Houston this fall.

The Paducah show is by far my favorite, for several reasons. The one thing that I like best about the Paducah show, is the thing that appeals least to other folks I know. When it's show week the town of Paducah is in quilt mode. The Chicago and California shows are nice, but everything is in one convention center. Once you leave the convention center, the quilt show is over. In Paducah, there are vendors and events all over town. The Rotary Club has an antique quilt show with vendors, there are vendors at the mall, all the shops in downtown Paducah decorate their windows with quilts and Eleanor Burns has classes and a tent sale at the fair grounds. I like getting out and about Paducah, I have friends that prefer staying at one venue.

Every restaurant, every hotel, and every place you go, you are surrounded by the nicest quilters in the world. Even if you go to the show by yourself, you don't feel alone. It's just the best, most friendly atmosphere. One gigantic sisterhood of quilters, I love it.

Another thing I like about the show in Paducah is the variety of quilts on display. There are quilts for every type of quilter, regardless of your quilting interest.

I'm not one to take a picture of every quilt at a show, just the ones that appeal to me for a specific reason.

So first up....

I think this quilt won the Bernina Workmanship Award. It was stunning, every little detail was perfect. The thing that really caught my eye was that I have some of this fabric, it never occurred to me to use it for anything like this.

A snails trail quilt is on my Sometime To Do List . . .

I think this is the most stunning one I've ever seen.

I'm partial to medallion quilts, even though I've already made one,

I liked the colors and blocks on this one.

I'm thinking about doing something with hexagons,

I like how this quilter added great borders to that hexagon center.

Even though I would love to try applique, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make the border on this quilt,

the fabric is shirtings. This picture does not do this border justice.

This is a log cabin block,

I'd never seen anything like it before. I always like log cabin quilts.

I own this pattern,

but you know me and patterns, I own a lot of patterns.... but maybe I'll get to this one, someday.

This quilt looked very familiar to me,

Because I've made it!

This is my quilt # 37!

I like seeing a quilt similar to what I've made on display in the show. Who knows, maybe one of my quilts will make it in someday. But more than that, it's nice to know that the folks who pick the quilts for the show value good piecing and quilting, that's it's not all about creating your own design.

So that's it for the quilt show pictures,

next up...what I bought at the show! (Sherri C, I spent more $ at this show!)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First Stop. . . . . . Chicago . . .

An odd but true fact about me, I have 19 cookie jars.....not a single year round cookie jar, all of them are holiday/snowman themed. My folks have gotten the majority of them for me.

Another odd but true fact, I don't store cookies in my cookie jars, I don't even bake cookies, and the cookies I do have around the house, they're all sealed up in ziploc baggies, I've never had a cookie out of a cookie jar that didn't taste stale!

So what's a girl to store in all these jars, if not cookies....

Change..preferably the silver kind. I throw my extra change in this cookie jar all year long, then, before I leave for my quilt shows, I cash in the change to spend on something fabulous, guilt free, at the show.

This year's change amounted to ....$158.48.WOO HOO.....Let's go to the show......

This was the grand prize winner at the Chicago Quilt Show. It was pretty amazing, not my kind of quilt, but even I could appreciate the workmanship.

Oh, I need to warn you, I'm not that great of a photographer, you normally don't notice because for every one picture on my blog, I take 20 others. But at a quilt show, you don't really know how the picture is going to turn out until you get home, then it's too late to take a better one. Plus with all the people and poor lighting, it's a wonder I have any decent quilt show pictures at all.

So here's an example of a bad picture but a great quilt,

it was a full size quilt but this was all I got with my camera.

This one really caught my eye, pink, black and orange, a color combination that had never occurred to me but I think it worked for this pattern.

I really liked this one,

wouldn't it look great on my red sofa for Christmas? Does anyone know the pattern name?

So that's all the decent quilt pictures I took. There were several quilts I liked that I didn't get pictures of because they had a "No Photographs" section!!

The majority of the quilts on display were smaller, artsy wall hangings. I prefer a lap or bed size quilt.

The vendor area was very close quarters, it was hard to walk down the main aisles, let alone get in a booth. But I did manage to buy 3 things....

Lookie, the pattern for the quilt I had seen earlier on display! It's called Sherman's March and it's by Bonnie Blue Quilts.

The Bonnie Blue booth had a kit for this pattern that I almost bought, but the background fabric did not appeal to me. When I got home I discovered that I already had a great background fabric for this pattern, plus the blacks. All I need is the perfect red and I'm good to go, almost a free quilt. This is like my Jacobs Ladder pattern, one block doing all the work.

I also got this pattern to make these little calendar wallhangings, there are twelve different patterns, all cute, and all applique. This is machine applique, something I've done a little, but want to do some more of.

I have the perfect spot in my laundry room for these wallhangings. But you know the thing I figured out about applique, it takes quite a stash to come up with just the right colors and prints to make these projects look really good. I need to pick one, work on getting fabric for that one, then move on to the next.

And finally, I got this pattern.

It's a wing-ding ways with a twist, it's the little pinwheel in the middle of the blocks that grabbed my attention.

I was lucky enough to have a friend ride up and back to Chicago with me, it made the time in the car, the whole day really, a fun one. My friend contributed some cash for gas and repaid me for her ticket to the show, so after buying the 3 patterns, I still went home with more cash than I left town with!

One last story, on the way up I asked my friend if she was Ok with my driving. She said she got a little nervous when I took my hands off the steering wheel...WHAT!! Who wouldn't get nervous riding in the front seat of a car, going 75 mph, with a driver who doesn't keep her hands on the steering wheel!! I'm a little on the animated side, so when I get to talking I use my hands, apparently whether I'm driving or not! Who knew.....not me and Cooper's never mentioned it once! So in addition to the 3 patterns I got some interesting insight from a friend.

I'm still working on the hands on the wheel thing!!

Next stop, Paducah.....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where've Ya' Been???

Oh wait, it was me that was gone. Just in this month alone I've made three trips to Indianapolis and one trip to Chicago and one trip to Paducah, Kentucky. Three sporting events and two quilt shows, not bad, and all fun. The good thing about living in the middle of nowhere, you're not too far from somewhere!!

I'm looking forward to getting back to my normal routine. Cooper heads back to daycare this week, I have no planned road trips, and I have some serious catching up to do in my sewing room and on my blog.

I'm eager to tell you about the Chicago and Paducah quilt shows but first things first, today I finished block number 4 of the Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt Along, just in the nick of time.

This fabric is called splish splash, perfect for today, it's been raining all day long. These strips are leftovers from Kara's Jungle quilt.

So I'm up to 4 blocks on this sew along.....I'm still not loving the second block, but overall I'm enjoying making them.

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments on Jake, my Jacob's Ladder quilt top. My name came up on my long arm quilter's list so I mailed him off last week to be finished, perfect timing. I should have him back in a couple of weeks. I'm eager to see it all done and hanging over the bannister.

I have more to share but I'll save it for another day!

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tootin' My Horn . . . . . .

Most every time there's a picture on my blog with my sewing table, I get a few comments asking about I figured I would give this wonderful piece of furniture its own post.

Meet the Horn Multi Lift 5000!!

This little table makes my sewing life so easy and fun.

When I first started sewing, my table consisted of an unfinished door setting on a small plastic table. It slid all around and vibrated when I sewed. It was about as bad a setup as you could get.

Then my husband bought me this for my birthday, definitely one of my all time top 10 presents.

The table is 72 inches long.

and can be either 30 inches or 40 inches deep. This little 10 inch flap here goes up or down. I always have it up.

And even though it's quite heavy, 252 pounds, the rollers make it easy to push around the room and also lock to keep it in place.

I do all my cutting on this end.

and I added the Ott light.

So this is what the machine looks like most of the time, just sitting in that little well, doing its job.

But with one little push, the sewing machine is gone, and you can use this whole table top.

With one little push it pops down here and stays.

Then, with one little push down

it pops right back up. It must have been calibrated at the factory for my machine, because it knows right where to stop for a perfect fit.

But this is what makes this table so wonderful, it has a hydraulic lift that will lower the table to

29 3/4 inches or raise the table to

42 inches. I'm able to program the lift to stop at the perfect height for cutting or sewing with the touch of one button.

I use this feature multiple times everyday I sew. Up, down, up ,down, I'm never bending over or straining my back.

If you look at this table on line from the Horn site, here, you'll notice a drawer on the lefthand side of the table. I took that off, first thing. I like to roll back and forth on my chair across the front of the table and kept running into the side of that drawer, I've never missed it.

But here's my absolute favorite feature.....

a cup holder!

Now if I could only get Starbucks to deliver.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Clean Slate...or Design Wall . . . . . .

Awhile back, I read on someone's blog, where a quilting instructor talked about cleaning your sewing room when you finished one quilt and before starting the next. She equated it to cleaning your kitchen after baking a cake, you just don't let the mixing bowls and measuring cups set around, you clean things up.

That's just the way I am, in my sewing room and my kitchen.

So as soon as I had the border on on Jake, and took my pictures, I was ready to move on to my next project. I put all my leftovers in a ziploc baggie and threw them in the big rubbermaid tub full of leftovers in ziploc bags from my other projects.

Everything came down from the design wall,

and I used a lint brush to remove all the threads.

I put up all my sewing tools, the rulers, tweezers, scissors and dusted my table.

I dusted my shelves

and laid my Stars and Coxcombs out, everything's ready for Wild Goos Chase.
There's nothing like a fresh start!!

Isn't this just the saddest face you've ever seen,

I had just broken the news to Cooper, no doggy daycare for a couple of weeks. He didn't take the news well.

Nothing in his toy box seemed to hold his attention,

So I bought a few new things....

anything to keep him entertained.

As you can see, Cooper really needs more toys.

But yesterday, when I was walking Cooper, a neighbor invited us over for a play date. My neighbor has a 4 year old setter of some kind AND a one acre fenced in back yard! The dogs got along great this morning so we're going back for more tomorrow.

A few updates.....

So far so good with the water pearls.....


I'm liking the Sketchers, they provide great support to my knees....the last time I sneaked a quick peek at my backside I noticed no change.....I may settle for a 40 year old butt instead of the 20....Demi Moore is in her 40s, right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day . . . . . .

Spring continues to flourish at my house,

blooms, green grass and sunshine's a beautiful thing!!

OK, just in case you forgot...

I started with this.....

moved on to this.....

and ended up with this!!

Hurray!! Jake is done!

Jane at Too Good To Be Through left the following comment about Jake and it is such a good description of this quilt I thought I would share it again, "Dark denim meets Brooks Brothers Chinos meets crisp white shirts."

Thanks so much for all the comments encouraging me to stick with this project. I liked it the whole time I worked on it, I just felt like it was sooooo sloooooow going. Like I was just getting nowhere. Adding to that feeling was the fact that I've just not been able to spend as much time in my sewing room as usual.

Jake is quilt number 57, finished at 55" x 67" , is made up of 80 six inch blocks, and has 1,250 pieces.

And lookie here.......

my first border with mitered corners.

I received two really great tutorials that got me through the process. Call Me Crazy at Crazy 'bout Quilts suggested a tutorial by Jaybird Quilts. I also got a tutorial mailed to me from a friend. They both used the same method, which was a big help.

One thing that I wasn't sure about, and was not addressed in my two tutorials, was how to get a design to match perfectly. I just figured if I cut each strip exactly the same, it would all work out. And it did!!

The first two corners went together perfectly. I did the third corner the exact same way, but it just would not lay flat when pieced. I tried it 3 times and was just not happy. So I moved on to corner 4, it went together OK, but not as perfectly as corners 1 and 2, but good enough. I then went back and did corner 3 for a fourth time....I'm sure it will look fine when it's quilted, but it's not as perfect as I would like. Guess there's something to be said for beginners luck.

I like the look of mitered corners, I think I will do this more often. The tutorial by Jaybird Quilts is for mitered multiple borders, that looks really sharp too.

Don't forget, if you would like to make this quilt you can get the pattern, Climbing Jacob's Ladder II by River's Bend Quilts and a kit at The Quilt Merchant.

Next up, Wild Goose Chase!