Sunday, August 28, 2011

Road Trip!

I belong to a state wide guild, the Land of Lincoln Quilting Association.  Because the state of Illinois is so big, it basically has members in the central Illinois region.  We meet 5 times a year, and rotate sites.  This past weekend Macomb, home of Western Illinois University, was our host site.  This is about 150 miles from where I live, and so 4 of my quilting peeps had ourselves a road trip!  We packed up our overnight gear, piled into my hubby's brand new car (<500 miles on it!) and headed west!

After picking everybody up, we headed west on US 136 (no interstate to Macomb). Our first stop was Havana. It was lunch time, so we stopped at Grandpa's for a bite to eat!

Great little restaurant on the main drag in Havana!  They had a great selection of hand dipped ice creams, including one called Cow Tipping!  Nice menu, with a variety of sandwiches and daily specials!

After lunch we walked the two blocks to our first shop, Ma's got a Notion!  Ma's motto is "We've got your back!"  She has the largest in store stock of wide backs, including batiks and flannels!  She also has a tremendous stock of Civil War fabrics.  I have never seen such a collection of just shirtings!   A must stop for those Civil War quilters!

So what is a girl to do, I had to buy some Civil War fabrics.  I will be in a row swap, and one of the ladies wants Civil War fabrics, specifically brown and blue.  So she pulled some fabrics for us to choose from!  And of course, I had to buy a fat back!  That batik was clearly calling my name!  The two kits are for pillowcases for my godson and his sister.  And the greens are for another group I am in called the Chocolate Chicks!  My theme is mint chocolate chip!

From Havana we went to Avon.  A wee village of around 800 people (animals are not counted in the census), but they do have a great quilt shop, Clothesline Quilts!  They had a great selection of bright prints, books, batiks.  They also had a Gammil long arm machine!  There was a man working on a Halloween quilt, doing free hand spider webs!  Very cool!

Yes, I stimulated the economy of Avon!  I am looking for some bright gold and yellow batiks for a quilt that is still rattling around in my head.  The back fabric was on the sale rack, and has really cool leaves on it!  It needed to find a good home!

Our last shop was in Macomb.  Piece to Peace Quilt shop was a lovely corner store with an equally lovely owner.  Though a small inventory, she had lots of interesting things.  Lots of samples made up that made you want to buy the kits!  Good Marketing!

I am really not a 30s repro gal, but she had a baby quilt made up with 30s, with blue work Sunday School Singers!  It just spoke to me, so I had to buy it!  And she had the jacket made up in a bright blue batik, and it was just my size, so I got to try it on to see if it looked good on me.  You can guess the outcome of that!  And the watch!  The hands are scissor blades, and the band, which "snaps" around your wrist, is a measing tape!  Too cute!

We always have a few vendors at our meetings.  The Macomb and Avon shops were set up there, as well as Quilts'N Etc. from Keokuk, Iowa.  I'm a pushover for fall fabrics.  And the lighted magnified seam ripper looks like it will be great when I have any extended frog sewing!

We got home Saturday evening, tired, but happy from a fun two days!  Ah, this is bliss!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Edyta Sitar

This past weekend our local quilting guild, Illini Country Stitchers, was very proud to host Edyta Sitar for a lecture and trunk show, and two days of workshops!  I have been anxious to meet Edyta ever since her appearance on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  The experience started on Thursday evening, when Edyta and her hubby Michael ate supper with us at Panera's.  I got to sit next to them and had a lovely conversation with Michael and Edyta.  Michael is a very important part of the team!  I was also privileged to be a quilt holder during the lecture and trunk show!  Her talk "Reasons for Quilting" is a fascinating look at her journey in quilting, and is now available in book form at her website!  I have ordered mine, and Michael told me I will have one of the first copies!  Because I was a holder, I didn't get to take any pictures, but I certainly got an up close and personal look at all her quilts!
As a reward for holding quilts, I received her 2012 calendar!  It will be fun to look at a different quilt each month.  I had her autograph her books for me, also!
Friday's workshop was Dresden Star.  All those points!  How were we going to get them all perfect?  Edyta's technique and excellent teaching helped us all sail through with flying colours! 
She provided each of us with a fabric kit containing enough fabric to make 11 Dresden Star blocks, plus the pattern, plus the template set.  Plus a spool of Aurifil thread!  All for $30! Brilliant!

She did not provide us with the fabric for the center circle.  She did talk to us about using fabrics and colours to pull together scrappy to make it sing!  I had this done by 1, so I was able to go on to starting on the next 10 blocks.  And then, Edyta gave us a bonus!
For us over achievers, she cut and provided fabric for us to put together an 8-point star that lays perfectly flat!  It's all in the ironing, to get those seams to cooperate!  I goofed mine up, despite her excellent instruction.  But Edyta took it and made it perfect in no time!

She saw where I had strayed, and showed me how to correct it!  An absolute "AHA" moment!  Her explanation of handling those pesky y-seams will allow me to approach them in the future without fear!

Day two we worked on "Clematis".  Again, she provided all the fabric, including back and batting, pattern, and fusible to make this lovely table runner!  She talked about fusibles, the differences between the three that she uses (Heat n Bond lite, Steam a Seam 2, WonderUnder).  She also told us that we should ignore the manufacturers' instructions.  She recommends only a second or two with the iron.  And it worked!
At the end of the day we all posed with our projects!  Everyone got their project fused and layered.  This is raw edge applique, so the quilting will hold the fused pieces down.  Some got started on that.  I being the over achiever that I am, got all my quilting done!  Now to trim and bind!  And also to add some beading to the centers of the flowers!
Edyta is a warm, enthusiastic teacher.  Her love of quilting is contagious, and hope you all get a chance to take a class with her!