Sunday, September 30, 2012

Piping Hot Macaroni with Susan Cleveland

This week, my local quilt guild, Illini Country Stitchers, had the pleasure of hosting Susan Cleveland for a lecture and three workshops.  I had taken a class with Susan at Paducah, so I knew she was a fun person.  And I have watched her videos on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!

I was privileged to be a quilt holder during her lecture!  Although you don't get to look at the front, it is great to see a behind the scenes look at the back, and closeup of the binding.  She gives a great lecture, and has the most funny tales to tell!  I was unable to take her Friday workshops on Binding and Mitering, as I had to work.  So that made Saturday's workshop that much more specialer (yeah, I know, bad grammar, but it really was more specialer! LOL!)
This was what Saturday's class was on...Piping Hot Macaroni!  We learned how to make the piping, apply it to the curved macaroni pieces and with precision apply our piped macaroni onto our background piece by careful stitch in the ditch.
One of the secrets to getting all this done perfectly is the Clover Ball Point Awl!  It truly is my newest favorite notion.  It was a breeze to use and made the whole process so painless!
That rounded tip just glides in front of your needle, and made stitching in the ditch SOOOO easy.  I only popped out once!
At the end of class, we were all awarded the coveted  Piping Hottie button!  Because we all were able to finish at least one Macaroni in class!
It was a day full of laughter, and happiness!  No machine mishaps, and good homemade brownies for a lunch treat!
Yes, overachiever Maggie got two done, but so did at least half of the class!  So if you EVER get a chance to take a class with Susan, by all means take advantage!  She is an awesome teacher, and has some terrific tips and points to help make your quilting sing!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brian Haggard Crazy Quilting workshop

Well, I guess if we are talking crazy quilting, it is only appropriate that the picture of the book is sideways!  This past week I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Brian Haggard at Threads of Time in Danville, IL!  I have started a small group with my local guild dedicated to crazy quilting (no comment as to the mental status of the quilters within the group!) so was eager to learn some more about this art form!

Brian is a delightful gentleman!  As you can see by his unique style of book signing, he is a larger than life character!  His love of the art of crazy quilting and for teaching was so evident throughout the two days of the workshop! 
Our first assignment was to email a family photo that we wanted to make into a project.  This is my favorite picture of my mom's mom and dad!  Grandma had had a stroke when she was in her late 40s.  Grandpa was a character, as you can tell by his Hawaiian shirt (I love Hawaiian shirts, and would wear them everyday if I could!). So I was a bit dismayed when I got to the workshop and found that they had not received my picture!!!  I would have to pick out a picture from their stash. Long face...until they discovered that my picture had ended up in their spam folder!!!  YEA!!!
Here's my project before I start the handwork and the embellishing!  Brian used his dyeing technique to add the keys to the border!  I sat at a table with some great ladies, two who are from my local guild.  One lady was from Chicago and was such a delight to chat with.  We all had a great time chatting as we worked on our hand stitching!
Here is Brian and I at the end of the workshop!  I got a lot done, but still had some stitching to do!  This picture was taken in Mae's Garden behind Threads of Time!  It is a delightful place to sit amongst nature and contemplate your next project!
Need a label for my project?  Nope!  Brian even signed the backing that was provided in our kit!  How's that for making a great memory!
Voila!  It is done!  I probably could have done more stitching in the crazy patchwork itself, but I am very pleased with the outcome!  I know Grandma and Grandpa are smiling down on me!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

AQS Grand Rapids

Well, I have noted that my last blog was a month ago.  Sheesh, I have been busy though, and thinking about blogging, just haven't taken the time to do it!
This is what kept me busy for one week!  Hubby and I took a road trip to Grand Rapids, MI and attended the AQS show in Grand Rapids.  I have got to say, that this was a great show!  The venue was awesome!  Lots of room for the quilts and the vendors!  The classroom space was awesome!  The food court was awesome!  Even the restrooms were great!  Never stood in line once!  And plenty of great places to sit and chat with other quilters!
This is just a partial shot of the entrance hall of the DeVos Center.  Lots of light, definitely no claustraphobic feeling!
This is a view from the balcony.  I ate outside everyday and enjoyed the view of the river.  The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is across the river, and looks like a great place to visit, also!
I took 4 classes while I was there!  Yes, I am a class junkie, I just want to learn, learn, learn all I can about quilting.  That, and practice, practice, practice!  I think that truly is the secret to success.  The first class I took was a half day class with Leigh McDonald on how to use a sketchbook.  She showed us some of her sketchbooks, and we got to work on some color and texture ideas in our own sketchbooks.  She had us bring watercolor pencils, which I had never used, and had a lot of fun with them!
The next day I took an all day workshop with Sue Nickels on making whole cloth feather designs!  I can't tell you enough what an awesome teacher Sue is.  I could have taken a whole week of classes with her!  I was so sorry when the end of the day came!
Plugging right along, the next day I took a class with Sally Terry called "Can't Leaf it Alone".  Awesome class!  It was only a half day class, and again, I could have spent a week with Sally learning from her.  I did buy her books and DVDs and will be spending time learning more on my own!
My final class was with Anita Shackelford, and it was on designing infinite feathers.  I have had her book, but didn't have the template.  Now I do, and know how to use it!  Another great class, and I am going to be using all this newly learned information to hopefully take my quilting to the next level.
And speaking of taking my quilting to the next level, look what followed me home!  I have been thinking about a sit down long arm for a while, especially after getting the Bernina 550, with its shorter throat space as compared to the Janome 7700.  I tried APQS' George, I tried the Tin Lizzie-18, but I kept coming back to the HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen.  Hubby went with me on Saturday to the show, and watched me try out the different machines, and he felt like this was the best machine for me also.  So with his encouragement (and also his fabulous bargaining skills!) we struck the deal for one of the classroom demos!  I have already finished one stalled UFO (which I will show in a future blog).
And what is a quilt show without meeting with friends!  Patti Perkins has been a quilting internet friend for years through The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  And we finally got to meet in person!  Patti is such a delight.  Hubby and I had a great time visiting with her.
Speaking of The Quilt Show, here's Alex Anderson manning the booth for The Quilt Life and recruiting new members for TQS.  I really have to admire Alex for her stamina.  She always has a smile on her face, and such a great personality!
Another friend I was so looking forward to meeting was Stephanie Peterson!  We also have been internet friends through TQS.  We had a great time visiting, and went to eat at a fabulous tapas bar in downtown Grand Rapids.  That was a new adventure for hubby and myself, and we all had a great time! And yes, that is an empty beer glass in front of me!  I had two of a local brew from Kalamazoo (that was rather poetic, without even meaning to be!)