Sunday, July 26, 2009

Knoxville: The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting

The Good:

The American Quilter's Society (AQS) Quilt Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee was held this past weekend. Knoxville is beautiful, affordable, and a nice place to visit. The convention center was easy to find, the parking was nearby, and the Market Square two blocks into the city had fabulous sandwiches on homemade bread. There were plenty of people at the show to help us find some excellent non-chain restaurants nearby. We went to Peerless, Chez Guevara and Aubreys during the evenings we were there.

I enjoyed myself immensely with a fellow guild member, Marie Q. and her daughter, Mickey. Marie and her daughter graciously allowed me to tag along to view our Guild Challenge quilts in the show. While the guild didn't win a ribbon, it was still an honor to be chosen. I, certainly, got a big kick out of seeing my quilt there and will remember it the rest of my life, even if this is the only time. Here are pictures of Marie and I standing next to our quilts:

The Bad:
I try very hard not to be a complainer. That said, there were just a few "bads" I thought might be worth mentioning. (1) Even white glovers weren't allowed to touch the quilts. No one at the show was allowed to see the backs of quilts or have their own straightened. Presumably the reason was that the poles were faulty and would fall down. (2) The number of guilds allowed to show their challenge quilt in the show rose from 8 to 18. This makes it easier to get in the show but harder for your guild to compete for a ribbon. (3) This show was recently moved from Nashville to Knoxville. Having not been to the Nashville show, I can't say whether this one was better or worse. I do know that for some reason AQS opted to have this show on the same weekend as the International Quilt Show in Long Beach, California. I can't help but think that our better national quilts went there instead of here. The rainbow in this "bad" is that the show did not attract a large crowd and most of the classes had openings. A local waiter even told us his wife, who is a quilter, hadn't even heard about the show until the day before it started.
The Interesting:
After viewing all the challenge quilts, Marie and I defintely agreed that in order to get a ribbon or honorable mention, the guild quilts must have a lot of quilting and a lot of embellishments. It also doesn't hurt for the guild to establish a reputation with the AQS judges by entering the challenge regularly and constantly improving quality.
Finally, I must mention a little observation in the air travel arena. Now that airlines have started charging you to check even one bag, more and more passengers are opting to bring their suitcases onto the plane. Once the plane fills up with suitcases, the airlines take the suitcases that won't fit under the seat in front or in the overhead bins and puts them in the hold with the checked bags (no charge to you). As a result of this practice, people seem to be lining up at the entrance to the plane with no regard for what zone was called so they can store their suitcases with them. Even so, those who have to have their suitcases checked, get to pick them up right outside the aircraft without having to go to the baggage claim. I can't help but think these new practices are an accident waiting to happen. I'm now rethinking my August trip to Florida with my son and his friend. $15 one-way for one bag will pay for an awful lot of laundry detergent. I'll save $90 ($45 each way) if I can get the three of us to all do the same.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting ready for Knoxville

I'm abandoning my hubby and teenage son to go to the Knoxville Quilt Show tomorrow. As much as I love my family, I'll just have to leave them to their own devices for a few days. (To be truthful, the only one who will probably really really really miss me is our daschund, Misty :-) Hope my son remembers to at least let her out a few times a day. Before I get on that plane though, I'll be bringing the following to Charity Quilts this morning.

The top left picture shows 14 preemie quilts made from fabric scraps. Top right picture are 10 preemie quilts made from Liz and Jane's fabric scraps. The middle left picture contains two quilted tops using fabric from Liz. The right middle picture has a QUAYGO (QUilt As You GO) made from a donated center panel and more scraps. Finally, the last picture shows 4 quilt tops made from Liz's fat quarters. Three fat quarters and a border = one charity quilt top.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quilters: The Musical

My friend, Chris, and I drove to Annapolis, MD last night to see "Quilters: The Musical" at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. I first heard about this production at the Annapolis Quilt Show in June. The producers collaborated with the Annapolis Quilt Guild and a historian at the Smithsonian Institute to create the quilts for for the show. Quilters: The Musical is a joyous and moving celebration of American Womanhood – as told through the eyes of a pioneer woman and her six “daughters” -- combines music, dance movement and interrelated scenes of vivid dramatic intensity. Its initial smashing success in Denver was followed by six Tony awards when it reached Broadway. QUILTERS is a rich mosaic which captures the sweep and beauty, the terror and joy, the harsh challenge and abiding rewards of frontier life. And the quilt itself brings an additional theatre surprise.

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre is an outdoor theater in the heart of downtown Annapolis. We were informed that the theater was once under water (the left brick wall was where ships in the 1700s docked). Read more about the site at

I must say that I enjoyed the show and the experience! And, the quilt made by the Annapolis Quilt Guild was exquisite.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes a quilted-to-death cheater panel works

I was looking for a long narrow quilt to bring some summertime joy into the house. I purchased a cheater panel a few months ago and just finished quilting it.

Okay, so I know it's the middle of July....but I must say these colors on my wall are already spreading magic. Why just this morning, I asked my 16-year old son to bring the garbage cans back to the garage and he did it (truthfully, I had to hold his lunch hostage). But, he did it and that sometimes is a miracle in mother's of teenage boys know what I'm saying. Anyway, I like to quilt cheater panels to death. Here's a close up:
It's great practice and....if I mess's only a cheater panel. Also, I ordered Quilter's Dream Green batting from connecting threads (

and tried it in this quilt. The website says: Dream Green is a soft, cozy batting made 100% from recycled plastic bottles! Finished quilt may be machine-washed and dried with little to no shrinkage. This unique eco batting is wrinkle-resistant, and allows you to stitch up to 12” apart! This size keeps seven plastic bottles out of landfills.

I must say that I like it! There was very little distortion with this much quilting. I'm going to try the bamboo batting next.

Finally, to keep up with my fellow quilters (just the ones who include garden pictures on their blogs), I feel I must include the following picture of the Black-Eyed Susans that have just started blooming in my Maryland yard.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summertime is quilting time!

There's nothing better than a morning walk (before it gets too hot)...some chores...and then afternoons of quilting...

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, Liz B., gave me a bag full of material she decided she didn't need anymore. Here's what I did with it:

She had lots of fat quarters. I found out quickly that three fat quarters and a 5" border would make a charity quilt top...sort of using a stack, whack, and shuffle approach. Six quilt tops were made and I still have a pile of FQs in my quilt dungeon....uhhhmmmm... quilt cave, I mean. The tops will be taken to our service projects workshop on Thursday, where they will be sandwiched, tied, and bound.

The middle two pictures represent two QUAYGO (QUilt As You GO) quilts I made. Liz supplied the center sections. Next I took all of her baby fabric and incorporated it into 12 preemie quilts. Preemie quilts have a top and a flannel bottom (no batting). These will be donated to the Holy Cross Hospital Preemie Unit in Silver Spring, Maryland. Finally, Liz'a material was used in 5 pillowcases for cancer patients. Okay, I was having way too much fun, because I also made the following in the last two weeks.

The top two pictures show preemies made with donated fabric. The ones on the right were made with remnants of pre-quilted fabric donated by Jane. Two QUAYGOs are in the middle, each made out of donated center panels and batting scraps. The left bottom picture is a quilt top made with 3 fat quarters (with high heels and pocket books on them). Finally, there are 10 pillowcases waiting for someone to love. Hopefully some cancer patient will appreciate the Simpson and New Orlean Mardi Gra fabric. At any rate, I understand that Children's Hospital needs teenage boy pillowcases more than any other. Now, I have one of those (teenagers, that is) in my home. He's 16 and likes everything plain or black, black and black. No wonder they have a hard time getting ones that teenage boys like! Your suggestions are most welcome.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My first watercolor kit

I just finished the robin watercolor kit I purchased at the Quilting Unlimited show in 2007. It's only about 11" x 15", but it'll make nice wall candy in my home. Robins are special to me. My grandmother, Beulah Gertrude Robbins (just love her first and middle name :-), made pocketed beach towels when we were young. Every beach towel she gave to family had a Robin appliqued to the pocket.