Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Special Day.

 Today I had booked a class with Pam Clarke for Free Form quilting on the Long Arm quilting machine. I wasn't sure if I would manage to last for the 8 hours especially as we only had an hour break for lunch. I had also arranged to meet Grit from Germany as her fabulous quilt, La Passion, was hanging at the International Quilt Festival and she was going to be here as well. I was a bit worried I'd miss Grit as I wasn't sure where her quilt was hanging and I was just hoping to find it quickly.
     Imagine my surprise when a quilter took the last seat in the classroom, next to me, and it was Grit. We were so happy to finally meet and I couldn't believe my luck in her finding me. In the lunch break we went down to where La Passion is hanging and met with Margun from Norway. We had some photos taken in front of Grit's fabulous quilt and it was wonderful to see it up close.
      Pam Clarke's class was excellent as well and I learnt lots of hints on how to free motion quilt using the long arm. I don't actually have one but the ideas are transferable to using on my domestic sewing machine as well. It was a long day but I was really happy to have taken the class and now I just need to practice and make sure I continue to develop my skills.
    Tomorrow I'm taking another bus tour to the Texas Quilt Museum. Unfortunately my time here is almost over and I'll soon be back home after so many wonderful experiences.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, October 30, 2015

Today's Tour to Old Town Spring.

 Well today was a bus tour on the Pink Panther to Old Town Spring to see some quaint village shops. It was relaxing to wander around the town, visiting two quilt shops and lots of antique and gift shops.
Lunch included the largest diet coke I have seen and a lovely lunch of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and beans. I had a lovely time chatting with lots of other quilters.
    From there things took a strange turn. We visited a Funeral Museum which even had a gift shop! The smell, as we entered the building, was not pleasant but there was nothing else of interest in the area. There were displays of the Presidential funerals, with the exception of Nixon. It was a somber conclusion to the day, which was unfortunate but lunch was fun.
   Tomorrow I have another 8 hours of classes. I hope I can last the distance.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stitching Time and Another Class.

 I've been using any spare time I have while traveling to work on my needle turn appliqué. I started the first block when I arrived and finished it last night but it does need a press. I also started the second one and it's progressing well. They are both for my Chester County Criswell quilt and I only have a couple of blocks left to finish.
   Yesterday afternoon I took a long arm quilting class with Linda Taylor. I have a short arm machine but the principles are the same. We had exercises in drawing the designs and then hands on practice . Getting sufficient hand control will take more practice but I learnt a lot and hope to improve my skills.
 Linda sowed us a 1950s Wedding Ring Quilt which she had machine quilted with different designs in every ring. She used bright green thread so the design would stand out. It wouldn't have been my personal choice for quilting the top but it did show many different designs she likes to quilt.
  Lots more fun to be hand before my next blog report. Lol
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Super Fast Binding and Piping With Melody Crust.

 Yesterday was very busy as I took a class in the afternoon as well. I've been binding quilts for years but you can always learn new skills and I wanted to use piping on a special quilt. Melody also shared some of her quilts during the class and that's always great fun to share the work of other quilters.
   The piece I brought to bind was from a class I took a few years ago. We were supposed to learn about different textile mediums and how to use them to enhance our work. We were allowed to use the tutor's textiles paints and Shiva sticks etc but there was very little instruction provided and I was very disappointed at the wasted opportunity. To me it looked like Hobbytex so It sat in the cupboard until,I need a prepared small quilt to bind. I enjoyed the class and found it easy to stitch and make the piping. I would have achieved a more invisible finish if I used a finer, color matched thread and my own machine as I found it difficult to slow down the speed using the foot pedal.
    I'll probably donate this as a small quilt for a child's doll and it does count as another UFO finish for me so it's a win-win.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Free-Form Continuous Feathers with Sue Rasmussen.

 I had a big day taking two classes yesterday. The first was machine quilting free motion feathers with Sue Rasmussen. As sue's background is as a textile scientist we also learnt about the composition of thread and how to use it effectively. The benefit of Sue's method was that with practice you won't need to pre- mark the feathers but will be able to free motion quilt them, adding additional swirls of feathers from the original stem.
     Sue's sample as shown in my first photo, was quilted over wool and doesn't include any trapunto. Using large feathers with smaller filler stitches between them, makes the feathers pop when using wool.
     Sue was a lovely teacher, very knowledgeable and I feel like I finally "got it" when quilting feathers without marking. She also had lots of suggestions for troubleshooting problems. We practiced stitching the feathers on paper at first and now I need to practiced so I develop muscle memory and confidence. I can really recommend the class.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Class With Pepper Cory.

 Well what a whirlwind of quilting busy-ness we have been having in Houston. There was to be a tropical storm or hurricane on its way but luckily we have only had rain and some strong wind and it seems to be blowing itself out now. Instead we have been nice and dry and seeing all the new products which are being introduced to the Market.
    We had a very full day yesterday with lots of networking with other quilters and sharing our common interests of quilting techniques. This morning I made sure to be up in plenty of time as I had an early class with Pepper Cory. I have been reading Pepper's magazine articles for years and it was so lovely to finally meet her. The class was on how to combine machine and hand quilting in a quilt. She also started with sharing marketing ideas for shop owners. Even though I don't have a shop I found it was very interesting.
   Pepper had made us all a block and we marked it with a stencil and started hand quilting the block. I will finish it and I asked Pepper to sign mine so I will have a lovely memento of my visit to Market.
Pepper also showed a couple of quilts she had finished by machine quilting the blocks along the stitching lines and then hand quilting in the blank spaces. I'll share my finish when I get home as I start more long arm classes tomorrow and the week will be fairly busy again. Busy or not, it sure is fun.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quilt Market in Houston.

 I spent an unbelievable 11 hours at the Convention Centre for Quilt Market today. It actually went for another hour and a half but I thought 11 hours was enough. It concluded with shopping the market stalls and I have added a few photos to show some of the talks and demos I attended. The first photo shows the launch of Andover's new fabric line- Little House on the Prairie. Two of the actresses from the show were there to support the launch and were very warmly received.
     It was a long day but well worth attending and I feel blessed to have the opportunity. I'm having an early night so I can last the distance tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Relaxing on the Mississippi River.

The weather was lovely and sunny and I had a very relaxing cruise up the Mississippi River, which included a lunch of typical Cajun cooking including Catfish, rice and red beans, okra, and bread pudding. I also tried a Mojito which was light and refreshing and I preferred it to yesterday's Mint Julep. After a wander around the French Quarter I have put my feet up and done some stitching on the hand appliqué pieces I'd brought with me. I decided to have a relaxing day today as tomorrow I fly to Houston and it will be a very busy time with Quilt Market, Festival, classes, bus tours and catching up with lots of quilters.
Can't wait. Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sights and Tastes of New Orleans.

 Today I took a day tour out of New Orleans to visit two sugar plantations and I was very surprised to find a quilt on one of the children's beds. The first house we visited was St Joseph's Plantation and it is still owned and run by the original family. The quilt was from the 1940s and a version of Dresden Plate I hadn't seen before. As well as the main homestead we also visited the outside kitchen and former slave quarters. Of course the huge Oak trees were a lovely feature in the grounds and were originally planted to encourage the cooling breezes.
      The second plantation is Houmas House and has extensive gardens as well as lots of interesting furniture and collectibles which decorate the home. Both plantations were built along the banks of the Mississippi River which served as their way of transporting the sugar after processing, as well as a means of transport for people as they conducted business in New Orleans.
     I finished the tour with a Mint Julep which is a well known drink in the South. I always like to try the local food and drinks and have enjoyed Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Poboy and Fried Shrimp and have really enjoyed the different flavours. We also drove through the American and French Quarters of New Orleans and the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the local history and customs so it was a great way to gain some insight into New Orleans and Louisiana.
More fun to be had tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac