Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quilting Around Chautauqua Institute - A Review

So this weekend, I finally took the time to go to Quilting Around Chautauqua.  This was its seventh year and I've never managed to get there since Septembers are so busy here.   Still once I saw that Jinny Beyer was going to give the lecture, I promptly bought a ticket.  To say that this is just a local show would be a gross understatement.  This is a whole weekend of all things traditional quilt.  Ladies come from all over - including Canada to partake in the festivities.  There are wonderful accomodations, classes, a 800 quilt quilt show and over 65 vendors.  So what's not to love???

Well I did LOVE Jinny's lecture.  She talked on color confidence and even though I nor my friend Kristen didn't learn a thing we both absolutely found it entertaining.  She's great at talking in public and I felt like it was very personal although the 500 seat auditorium was sold out.  Her lecture was interactive and she explained how she chooses color plus showed some her  quilts and slides.  I would highly recommend seeing her if you get the chance!

I also got to hear a quick hour talk on sewing needles by the marketing director from Schmetz.  Am I the only one that didn't get what all those numbers meant on my needle packages???  Well now I do.  In fact, I can safely say that I know  more about sewing needles now than I ever need too (grin)!  Still, I wasn't bored and she handed out these super handy ABC books that showed what all the needles were and what they were suppose to be used for and on.  VERY useful.  Oh. . . and free!!  One thing I learned though, there is no tried and hard rule on when to change a needle - the answer is always  -
"it depends. . . "!

Now those are the things I liked.  What I didn't care for was the show itself.  It was VERY spread out.  Even though the grounds are lovely, it was blocks and blocks of walking all day.  They did have shuttles running but the grounds were over run with quilters and there were long lines for those.  Lunch wasn't well thought out either.  When we went over to the cafe  - we found it was smack dab in with a bunch of vendors and had an longgggggg line.  Our food - although cheap enough was cold and we ate outside since there was no indoor seating. 

I found the different buildings hard to find even though I'm usually good with a map.   The institute, for those who don't know, is a Victorian village inside its walls.  The streets are at different angles as the village grew and can get confusing.  Its gorgeous there though!  Still I didn't like wandering around looking for things.

For all that was spread out, once you got in the buildings, the show was packed in VERY tightly.  It was wall to wall vendors and quilters.  No room to look - I felt closed in.   You couldn't slowly enjoy and browse since it was such a frenzy. The quilts themselves were mostly hung nicely since they were hung by individual guilds.

One of the main reasons we went to the show, was to see the result of the Jinny Beyer Challenge.  35 of the 50 kits were handed back in and OMG they were amazing.  The work the ladies did was just spectacular.  I can pretty much say they were the most interesting thing we saw all day.  That said, the challenge was displayed in the main hotel, off a side entrance hall.  They were on folding racks  - smooshed together - some overlapping - displayed from way high - 8 ft - to toe level.  Mine was toe level - hung crooked and another quilt over lapped.  You couldn't stand and look at all of them since people were coming in and out trying to get to all the vendors.

So, as you can tell this will probably be the first and last time I go to this show.  It was an excellent value though - only $4 to enter - Jinny's lecture was  $15.  Still I felt like the promoters were trying to make up the extra money on vendors and their own booth. I definitely will  NEVER do another challenge with that quilt shop. The way they treated the entries was disgraceful.   Finally,  when I go to a show I  look for two things - to be inspired and to have a nice lunch out (sometimes not in that order - grin).  This didn't give me either!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Drag Along Quilt Hand Quilted - Design Wall Monday

Well once again, school starts and my blog goes by the wayside.  I really do need my own wife when things get busy.  Still I love teaching and this September has been amazing so I can't complain.  Even getting a bad cold, I managed to finish my Drag-along quilt  in time for the fair.  Since this is a project that I've been hand quilting for 2 years I was all happy with that!  It didn't win any ribbons  - guess my funky sense of style is too much for the octogenarians that run our needlework department - still I was SUPER happy to finish it up so I can use it this winter.

Some facts:
  • 58" by 105"  - Couch size
  • Original Design - Just radom squares
  • made with Amy Butler prints and RJR Quilter's Sateen
  • Hand quilted with Rayon and Polysheen threads
  • Batting is Quilter's Dream Request
  • Made just for me!
Things I like - I love everything about this quilt!

What I would change - the binding corners were a bit off - I need to look up how to do that again - LOL!

Anyways - it was a great fair week.  We go down every night to eat and enjoy the entertainment.  I was happy my wallhangings got  a first and second place.  Plus tons of people have stopped me to say they are enjoying my work - so that is way better than a ribbon.  It was nice that I was productive enough this year to have 3 things to enter!

Enjoy other great design walls at Judy's Patchworks!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Winter Wallhanging Completed! Design Wall Monday

So I spent Labor Day weekend laboring over completing my Christmas wall hanging.  I'm always surprised at how much the quilting adds to the piece.  As soon as the quilting line was down, the vision I had for this piece really started to emerge.  I originally had designed this piece for last Christmas but for some reason I got stalled.  I don't know if it was because all the thread work or because it wasn't coming out the way I envisioned . . . or a little bit of both.  Still, I'm so glad that its done and ready to hang on the wall and enter in the fair!

Some facts:

  • Original design 
  • 41" by 49"
  • Made with commercial and hand dyed fabrics
  • The trees are hand appliqued
  • The boughs are free standing thread appliqued
  • machine quilted, faced
  • good points - the design is strong, complex background adds interest and the gradations works well, thread applique adds dimension
  • bad points - the quilting could have been neater, the largest tree color is off - still - the borders are still a tad crooked
I was happy to finally do a piece with thread applique and now can add that to my tool box . Its so funny that last year I designed this piece because I wanted a "quickie" , little Christmas wall hanging.  Instead I got a piece that took 10's of hours, ended up being crib size and can hang throughout the winter!