Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sawtooth Gala

This past Thursday night was the "preview party" for the Sawtooth school's annual "Deck the Halls" sale, and  was also my first time participating and attending this gala event, wow! I was not prepared at all for any of it, not the crowd and lack of parking, the mouth-watering food that was available, but most of all, the quality and sheer volume of art that would be available for purchase, it was all unbelievable! I made the mistake of arriving 15 minutes after the festivities began (you know, "fashionably late"), and so had to park a block away. I guess I've lived in a small town for so long, it seemed strange to have so much going on in downtown Winston at night; our closest town rolls up the streets at 6 pm, nothing is open. The halls and rooms were already packed when I walked in, and the food! Catered by West End Cafe, there were the most delectable choices: raw salmon served with caviar on little toasts, oversized nachos slathered with a wonderful shrimp spread with fresh cilantro, an assortment of Asian dishes, dipping things and various sauces, and of course a wet bar. The artwork was spread out over one end of the school, spilling out over the store and several rooms, and included so many different styles and media: paintings, clay, sculptures, pastels, a multitude of jewelry, scarves, felted things, bags, hand-dyed silk, of course my little fascinators and felted earrings, geodes, and flowers, other hats, knitted and crocheted accessories, a multitude of trees with hand-made ornaments, I could go on and on. I was captivated and mesmerized by the workmanship and originality of so many of these pieces, everywhere you turned there was something different. I looked, chatted and ate, Julie and I of course had to have our picture taken wearing our fascinators, and then they needed help in the jewelry area so I volunteered some of my time helping customers there. I had such a good time, I was very close to where my little hats were on display, and the gals would come in and have little "hat parties", trying on my fascinators, deciding which one to get, it was so much fun to watch, reminded me of my booth in Houston! At any rate, my hats were a big hit, I had to come home and make more and take another shipment by there today, here's a couple of pictures of Julie, Julie and I at the gala, and also a new colorway of pink and black, kind of retro I think, I love this combination! I'm glad folks are liking them, because I definitely enjoy making them. Oh! And a big surprise, I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in probably 15 years, Jane and I went to school together years ago, was such a nice touch to run into her! And she hadn't changed a bit, lucky girl, she still looks great.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sawtooth's "Deck the Halls"

I was so honored to be among those selected to have their works of art in the "Deck the Halls" festivities at the Sawtooth School of Visual Art in Winston-Salem! I helped with the set-up a couple of weeks ago, there is so much beautiful art available during this Christmas special sale, patrons are fortunate to have so much talent offering their wares at this venue. I have taken an assortment of wool geode pins, wool bead earrings and rings, felted flower and necklace, and a bevy of my Fascinator hats, as they were hugely popular at the shows this fall! Sawtooth is having a Preview Party the evening of Nov. 29, I'm looking forward to being there to meet some of the other artists and local folks in my hometown.

Houston Quilt Market

One never knows what adventure awaits in Houston, TX during the Fall Quilt Market and Festival every year. It is like the land of milk and honey, and we make the annual trip with elated anticipation of finding inspiration and all sorts of sewing goodies to feed our creative soul. This year was no exception, as Georgiana and I made the scenic drive to the big ol' state of Texas, boy were we glad to see that sLone Star just across the state line! We stayed in a hotel near a hospital, and had a gorgeous view from the 9th floor, you could just see for miles. The weather there was gorgeous, sunny warm days for the most part, sadly while Sandy marched relentlessly across the upper east coast wreaking havoc on that area. One of my girls Rosie who had planned to come and help had to change her plans when her flight was cancelled, we sure missed having her smiling face there! But Georgiana was a wonderful roommate and right-hand lady, and we had a great time meeting folks, shopping, and seeing the awesome quilts. Here are a few of my faves, I only had an hour to look but they were just breathtaking.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Durham Quilt Show

This was my first year at the Durham Quilt Show, what a wonderful venue this guild had for their awesome show! The Tobacco Warehouse was a massive historic building with beautiful wood floors and layout, the perfect setting for a quilt show. Most of the vendors were upstairs, and we could look out over the quilt show floor through an opening in the center. The quilts were wonderful, a nice variety of styles and so much talent on display there. I was able to take a few pictures of some of my favorites, and I especially liked the wool penny table runner one of the guild members had made with beautiful stitchery. I also enjoyed the company of having a wonderful roommate Dawn, as well as having a booth between my friends Madeline and Judy, and we all went out for some authentic Cuban food across the street one night, yummy! Here are a few of my favorite quilts.

Cabarrus Quilt Show

I sure enjoyed seeing everyone at the Cabarrus Quilt Show this year, it was a fun show and I got to visit with so many friends there! I did the show by myself, and didn't get a chance to take many pictures, but I was really struck by this wooly "Pennies from Heaven" quilt that won 2 ribbons. Imagine my surprise when upon taking a closer look, it was created by my friend Martha and her girlfriend from a Woolfelt kit I'd put together for them! Congratulations on your ribbons girls, you did a wonderful job on this piece. There were lots of other fine quilts there too, wish I could've captured more on film. It was also great to see my friend Michelle and her awesome collection of Dusty's Vintage Buttons and textiles, her '40's hankies provided the perfect punch for my new apron pattern pocket. I also found some great fabrics for my mom in her friend Jan's area of the booth, I know my mom's gonna love 'em!

PA National Quilt Extravaganza 2012

This has been such a busy fall, it seems ages ago when I was at The Oaks in PA at their awesome quilt show, so glad I had a chance to go and take pictures of some of the beautiful quilts and my wonderful students! The workmanship displayed was truly amazing, in both areas, I really enjoyed seeing the innovative techniques shown in the quilts, so inspiring! And I cannot say enough about my students, they did such a great job in felting their fruits and veggies, here are some of my needle-felt students showing off their perfect pumpkins and gourds, so proud of them! I also have to add, I had some much-appreciated help from a couple of lovely ladies there, Georgiana and also Rosie, thanks so much girls! Couldn't have done it without you. It was also great to see old friends from the last year or 2, looking forward to seeing you again next year!

and the winner is...

A big congratulations to Jane, winner of the free fabric giveaway hostted by Quilters Newsletter! I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this blog-hop, thank you so much to all who participated, you are all winners in my book and I wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Christmas Critters Quilt

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog during the recent blog tour and for all the wonderful comments! I'm so glad you enjoyed seeing my Christmas Critters quilt in the QN Best Christmas Quilts magazine, and hope it inspires you to try your hand at this design or others using Woolfelt. The Woolfelt really does make the applique easier to sew, as you don't have to turn under the edges; I even used it on the "orange peels", which are the green crescent-shaped pieces that frame each of the critters on the outer edges of the applique blocks. Of course, you can always use all cotton if you prefer, just use a fusible web for the critters and add 1/4" on the curved edge of the orange peels to turn under. I do like the tactile feel of the wooly fabrics though, perfect for a young one's exploring mind and touch.

Also, someone asked for close-up pictures from the quilt, so here you are! This will give a better view of the stitchery and quilting, I hope these are helpful. And another reader mentioned adding verbage to the lamb, a great idea! That made me think, wouldn't it be cute to add text to the quilting in the borders? You could write a Christmas story, classic or scripture, then you would truly have a quilt that told a story. I'm working on a new kid's quilt pattern that will be out later this fall, I may just have to try it on that one!

And I'm still waiting to hear from QN to see if our winner has been notified, hopefully this week I'll hear something and can make the official announcement on my blog! Until then, enjoy these photos, and thanks again for visiting.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Best Christmas Quilts 2012 BlogTour

I'm so excited to be participating in the blog tour for my "Christmas Critters" quilt in the new issue of Best Christmas Quilts 2012 by Quilters Newsletter! I met the editor in Houston last fall, where she fell in love with my "Cuddle Buddies Quilt" and invited me to design a Christmas quilt for their awesome magazine, of course I was thrilled. I've kept the basic design very easy, and I used Woolfelt for the critter applique and orange peels for simplicity, no need to fuse or turn under raw edges, as it doesn't ravel. Do be sure to pre-shrink your fabrics, and especially the Woolfelt, it will add a wonderful texture to it and it does shrink just a bit when it goes in the dryer. (I allowed for shrinkage in my yardage in the materials list.) I've used some basic hand-embroidery stitches on my sample: blanket-stitch around the critters, a pretty decorative herringbone stitch around the orange peels, stem-stitch for the reindeer antlers. All of these can be done by machine too if you prefer, I just like to do hand-work.

I chose animals that would have a special meaning for Christmas: of course the rein-deer at upper left, giving Santa a ride to all the good little boys and girls; the polar bear bringing to mind the North Pole where we all know Santa lives; what would Christmas be without the lamb, and every little boy and girl needs a Christmas puppy frolicking around! The 4-patch blocks reminded me of presents, so I added a little bow to the center of each one. If you're making this cuddle quilt for a small one, I would recommend not to use buttons; instead you can fuse or stitch penny-circles on the Christmas tree and at the corners. Ditto for beads, I would use French knots instead, and instructions and diagrams are included in the magazine for doing all the decorative stitches. I also had a thought as I was looking at the magazine photo: wouldn't it be cute to use chenille or minkee fabric on those outer borders? And so soft and cuddly for your little one, too. If you don't have a young one at home, this would also make a great wall hanging as well. My sample was quilted in a Christmas motif by Judy Whitehead, more info on Judy's beautiful work at

If you'd like to see more of my patterns including my inspiration quilt #150 "Cuddle Buddies Quilt & Accessories", please visit the Patterns page of my web-site Hard to believe, we are celebrating 22 years in the business this year! Lots of patterns and magazine projects have been designed over the years, and we're still going strong! I also have the Woolfelt kit for the critter appliques and green orange peels for this "Christmas Critters" quilt.

And most important: if you'd like to be entered in the blog tour drawing, please leave a comment on this blog post before 11:59 MDT tonight, August 24, for a chance to win this "Hugs and Holly" fabric bundle by Red Rooster Fabrics and a copy of Best Christmas Quilts. Be sure to include your email address in your comment so we will know how to get in touch with you. I will draw one name at random. One comment per person, please. Open to those who haven't won something from Quilters Newsletter in the last 90 days. Good luck, and happy sewing!