Happy Thanksgiving

We had a quick jaunt to Wisconsin to visit my sister's family for Thanksgiving. The ride is long but we were treated to a trip through the Benton County and Fowler Ridge Wind Farms.

We had a yummy meal...

...and I helped my sister clean out her fabric stash. This is what I brought home.

We separated all the fabric into things I could have, things she's not sure about, and things she wants to keep. I told her she must sew *something* in the next six months or I am coming back to take the "maybe" pile.

Upon our return home, I was treated to rainbows...

...and sunshine...

Many things to be thankful for!


Quilt Retreat: Second Finish

I used my Quilt Retreat as an opportunity to finish some Christmas projects that have been knocking around since last year. This is quilt #1 from my Scrappy Holiday Block Swap from last summer.

I added the maverick stars and paper-pieced trees (from last year's Quilting Arts Gifts, a pattern by Kathy Mack) and the quilting is by Margaret. All I had left was binding.

I'm loving the scrappiness and size of this quilt -- and it's backed in super soft flannel.

I'm looking forward to cuddling under this over Christmas break!

-- Post From My iPad


Quilt Retreat Part II: First Finish

There was some talk at my quilt retreat that I might not be allowed back because I finished too many projects. My secret? Bring a bunch of things that are already half done!

This is the table topper I started way back here during Round 8 of Old Red Barn's Quilt Along. During the retreat, I pieced the backing, quilted it, and bound it. DONE!

Of course, I chose to take photos Friday when it was bright and sunny. Not great. Today it is cloudy and dreary, also not great for photos so we'll have to live with these.

I'm really happy with my quilting, I think I'm getting better. I echoed the applique in the dark square, drew holly in the triangles, and free motioned the bricks.

I only joined in this round because I had everything in my stash -- but I ended up buying the binding fabric. I needed something dark and didn't want to use the teal linen (didn't have enough anyway)! I think the polka dot works, although it's a little bold.

And this not-so-little guy kept trying to sneak into my pictures!


Terrible Mother: Quilt Retreat Part 1

So I'm guessing a good mother wouldn't go to Quilt Market from Friday to Monday and then go to a quilt retreat the following Friday to Sunday.

I'm a terrible mother. I did tell Charlie when I left on Friday that I felt guilty and he looked at me blankly and said, "why?" I suppose that means he wasn't too upset about it.

The thing is, the retreat was held at a little backwoods resort about one mile from our house, so I spent the nights at home and only had to pay the registration fee (which also took care of all my meals).

I still felt guilty, and not only that, but also a little anxious. The retreat was hosted by the quilt shop in a neighboring town (about 20 miles away). It's a *very* traditional shop, and I had visions of being belittled for my bright colors and modern quilts. I thought I would ultimately be okay -- one of my coworkers was going and she likes bright colors too!

My anxiety was unfounded -- everyone was super kind and I saw many beautiful projects....here are a few I took shots of (there were so many more I somehow missed)....

Beautiful embroidery with 30s prints

Snowmen (in bright colors!!)

Wool Felt Santas

Amy Butler's Nigella quilt pattern in black and white with brights

An amazing double wedding ring top

And my latest obsession, paper piecing....

An incredible small hummingbird

And a circular table runner -- one circle half complete) (now on my wishlist!!)

I'll return with some of the things I worked on....


Pre-Market Sewing & a Winner!

Before I left for Market, I had a few things I needed to get done. Luckily for me, we have trick-or-treat the Thursday before Halloween, so I didn't need to miss Halloween celebrations for Market.

Jaxon desperately wanted to be Buzz Lightyear (with LIGHTS and SOUND). I went the easy way out. I made him the balaclava, bought a white sweatsuit, and Buzz Lightyear wings (they pop open and closed with a button on the front) and shoes. He was thrilled.

We also carved pumpkins...well, Jaxon drew his and Charlie cut it out. Jaxon thought the frown was HYSTERICAL!

I needed to at least make some travel craft before I left -- so I whipped up an earbud holder...



And I needed to get a QATW block done before I left....

....and I did two more at my quilt retreat (more on the retreat later).

But that's not why you are here! The winners....

1. Comment #12 Highway Cottage
2. Comment #1 Michelle
3. Comment #6 AnneMarie
4. Comment #4 Anna Joy

I've sent an email to our fist winner, once she makes a selection I will select winner #2, etc. Thanks for taking the time to comment!


Quilt Market: My Experience (Part II)

So now that you know what I saw, and how much it cost (was that weird or helpful??) I thought I would share how I found the whole experience.

Quilt Market is pretty amazing. The people are friendlier and more welcoming than at any other conference/trade show I've ever been to. There is SO MUCH inspiration and creativity.

I went to attempt to get a fabric design contract. I got a lot of great feedback and learned so much about the industry, including the fact that the median age of quilter is 58 years old, and most people trying to break into fabric design are showing a more modern aesthetic. I was called edgy (if my students heard this they would not believe it). I did not walk away from Market with a design contract. I had a couple of art directors tell me they really liked my stuff and I should keep pushing, but I'm not too sure..

...here's my thinking. I have a (more than) full-time job that I like (most of the time), that pays well and gives me some flexibility in time (although if our new governor has his way this might change). I think the Etsy shop has run its course with me (for many reasons, if you want to know, ask). I want to be involved in this industry, and I thought fabric design would be a good fit. Maybe not.

This epiphany, and the great feedback I got on my designs was enough to make the trip worth it. Add in the AMAZING people I met, and, this trip was over the top AWESOME! It wasn't all kitty cats puking rainbows, though. In my first attempt to talk to an art director, I asked if I could make an appointment to talk about fabric design. One AD turned to another and said, "It's YOUR turn." Nice. Being told the design market is saturated with modern designers and the demand didn't warrant the supply -- that was rough. I mean, I can work harder at being a better designer, but I can't change the market. Or can I? In six years, I'll be 40 and buying modern fabric. In 16 years, I'll be 50 and buying modern fabric. Perhaps we can be forward thinking and start thinking about the market in 20 years?

My last scheduled meeting, I sat down with two art directors and said, "I scheduled this meeting to talk about being a fabric designer, but now I am not sure I WANT to be a fabric designer." They looked at my stuff and told me they liked it and I should keep pushing. We'll see.

I mentioned running in to Anna, Katy, and Brioni. I didn't get to spend enough time with these ladies!

Kathy is fabulous, and if you don't shop with her you are missing out. Did you know she has an 800 number you can call and her staff will help match fabrics and answer questions?? So helpful and she has such a great philosophy about business!

Bari J, Lizzy House, Julie, Linda, Kim, Tula, Kate and Jane were all fantastic to talk to, offered great insights and were just as open and delightful as you would hope.

I made some new friends, like Lauren, Stephanie, Heather, Melanie and Trish.

I started this blog to form connections with people who like to do the things I like to do -- I didn't have anyone in my own "live action" community to relate to in this way. I'm so happy I have lots of friends now to draw inspiration from -- virtually. The funny thing is, I traveled over 1,000 miles to meet a super talented pattern designer who lives just 30 miles away from me! WHAT?!


It was great meeting a "local" who gets why I love to sew! Yay! Go Market! And to thank you for being my friends, virtual or otherwise, I have a few giveaways. Yes, I suppose I am paying you to be my friend. Sad, but true.

Multiple prizes, one comment is one entry, one entry per person please. Just say something nice, make me smile, make me laugh, whatever. Comments before Sunday at 5:00 EST for your chance to win! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

First name drawn gets first choice, etc. Here's your choices:

1. Serendipity Studio pattern: The Priscilla Tunic

2. Sweet Ruby Designs pattern: Cooper's Cars

3. Seven fat quarter set of Little Menagerie by Melanie Hurlston of Melly and Me for Windham Fabrics

4. Sudoku Quilt kit featuring Lovely by Sandy Gervais for Moda (this is a pack of 81 charm squares with a sudoku puzzle -- when you solve the puzzle it gives you the layout for a quilt. Or you could just sew something with the 81 charms. Like I would. If I weren't giving it to you.)


(I'm thinking of ending my posts this way. It has a nice ring to it.)

PS Sorry to do a giveaway on a post with only one photo. LAME. But I am packing up projects for my quilt retreat weekend and my camera is already packed. Wait, Quilt Market and THEN quilt retreat? YES. DON'T JUDGE ME.


Quilt Market: My Experience (Part I)

featuring some photos from the exhibit floor

Tula's quilt

My decision to attend Quilt Market was kind of a quick one. After last Christmas it was announced that Heather Ross would be teaching a fabric design class at PNCA. Now, I have harbored a secret desire to be a fabric designer for a couple of years. I hemmed and hawed over the class and finally called to enroll...

....and I was promptly told I would be number nine on the waiting list. I gave hope on the class.

Fig Tree & Co.

Fast forward to a week-and-a-half before the class, and I get a call that there is space for me! Now you might remember that the trip was too expensive on short notice. I was bummed, but I had a conversation with a friend of work that was kind of a turning point. She asked, "You know how to use the software and hardware used in this class, right?" Yes. "And you have an advanced degree in design, right?" Well, interface design, but yes. "So why do you need this class?"

Cloud9 Fabrics

RIght. So I though I would save my pennies for Market instead, which, with some advanced planning, would be a less expensive trip. But it's a trade show -- to the trade only. So for those of you who have commented or tweeted about wanting to go to Market...

Oliver + S

...it's actually not difficult to get into "trade only" shows. You can approach it a couple of different ways.

1. Ask your local quilt shop if they are attending, and if you will pay your own way can you go on their credentials.

2. Go as an independent designer. This is what I did. I emailed my business card and had no problem.

3. Go as press. I'm not sure how Quilts, Inc. deals with bloggers, but I know a couple of bloggers went as press.

Kate's Quilt

Then comes the cost. Here's the breakdown.

The show itself costs only $15.00. This is amazing, I attend "trade show" type conferences for work and they are a lot more expensive than this. I am guessing the cost is low because they want quilt shop owners to come and buy. I also paid $10 to get into Sample Spree. Now, you can go to Sample Spree without paying entry, but you have to wait an hour to get in, and then they let in smaller groups of people at a time. They also have classes and school house sessions you can attend, but I didn't pay for these.


My airfare was covered by our credit card points. I think I paid a $10 fee for this.

The hotel was by far the biggest expense. Any major metropolitan area is expensive. I chose a hotel based on proximity and price. With tax and fees my hotel bill ran $500 for three nights. Ouch. Next time I will make a friend! I will say this -- I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. It is only two blocks from the conference center. Breakfast was included in the cost, and they offered us a free "welcome" dinner on the first night. The staff was helpful and friendly, they had free Wi-Fi, and even though the hotel wasn't on the conference shuttle bus route, they offered us a shuttle van for transportations to and from! I highly recommend this hotel is you are going to be in downtown Houston!

Slice Fabrique (this is a really interesting concept -- I'm not sure if this will compete with the AccuQuilt -- the Fabrique is for applique only -- but I like how it works)

Meal prices added up, the conference center offered an over-priced food court, but you could find other less expensive options in town. I had a great Vietnamese meal at Kim Son, which was a short walk from my hotel.

The only other cost was the shuttle van I paid for to an from the airport and hotel. This is well worth the cost just for the people I met! More in that in part II.


Quilt Market: Awesomeness

So there were two booths that really deserved to win awards...not that I'm second-guessing the judges...

Tula Pink

I didn't get a good full-booth shot of Tula's booth because there were ALWAYS people in it...and it was really, really rad.

The quilting on thee large scale black and white print was AMAZING. Note to self: next time stay until the end of the last day and attempt to pack everything in Tula's booth in my luggage.

Kate Spain

I want to hug this booth. It was just SO. DAMN. HAPPY.

This quilt was beautifully pieced and quilted...

...and the sun was even shining!

Some other fun things I saw...

...from Robert Kaufman...

...Hissyfitz Designs....

...Sewn Patterns....

...Melanie Hurlston's booth...

...Free Spirit...


...Alexander Henry...

...Anna Maria Horner...


...Don't Look Now...

...Bari J. (and her glorious ricrac)...

...Penguin and Fish...

...and quite a few patterns I'd like from Serendipity Studio, including...

...and I just might have a Serendipity Studio giveaway in the pipeline!! Stick around!

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