Sunday, April 25, 2010

AQS Show in Paducah, Kentucky

I just got home from the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Show & Contest in Paducah, Kentucky. Whew! What a whirlwind. My mom and I managed to see a lot in the two days were were there, had a blast, and then slipped by several tornadoes in our path on the way home last night. (More about that later.)

Paducah is a such a great town. It feels like all the townspeople are out and about helping, working, and welcoming the quilters. One told us that the show brings $8-10 million to the local economy each year. It is very charming, with boutiques, gift shops, antique stores, restaurants and galleries everywhere near the convention center where the show is held. You can tell that the economic conditions have hit the town hard, but they are fighting back.

The red brick building above is Caryl Bryer Fallert’s studio. I was told by several people who live in town that the town has some generous programs to help artists who set up their studios in the historic homes in downtown, many of which still await renovation. It is already a thriving artists’ community, and I think it will continue to grow.

Kirchhoff’s Bakery was doing a brisk lunch business and selling lots of goodies, including cookies frosted like quilts, to all quilters attending the show. That’s my mom and me posing with their vintage delivery truck, after enjoying mocha chocolate chip cookies and sour cream scones. Mmmmm...

Weather was perfect on Friday, but by Friday night and Saturday morning, fierce storms had arrived. This is the same front that spawned deadly tornadoes in Mississippi. The clouds were dense and moving fast. You can see them in the photo above, which shows the tent set up to hold many of the vendors this year, since the large hotel adjacent to the convention center has been shut down for renovations.

Mom and I hit the domed tent (referred to as “the marshmallow” by many of the attendees) first thing Saturday morning, fearing that the weather would get worse and it would go airborne. We were inside when the first rash of thunder and lightning hit, so loud at times that you could barely hear anyone talk. We were assured that the tent was guaranteed to stay put in 90 mph winds. Inside, it was very spacious and cool.

My quilt was in the main building. Even though I did not win a ribbon, I was so proud just to have gotten into the show after seeing all the exquisite entries, especially the traditional and appliqué quilts.

The National Quilt Museum is fabulous, and not to be missed. We were particularly moved by Hollis Chatelain’s Imagine Hope exhibition, which “strives to touch its viewers, inspiring them to get involved and make a change in the world.” It includes 12 monochromatic pieces of fiber art by Hollis, and thought-provoking photos by Michael Freeman, Edward Linsmier and Koos van der Lende. The goal is to create a public dialogue about important world issues, including the preservation of cultures, environments and natural resources.

I know Pat LaPierre through Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), and was pleased to finally meet her in person, demonstrating how to use a product she developed, the Supreme Free-Motion Slider, in combination with Sharon Schamber’s red Quilt Halo:

The top surface of made of Teflon. The bottom surface sticks to the bed of your machine. The result is that your quilt glides smoothly as you free-motion stitch. There’s no friction to make you tense, so you can thread sketch and quilt much more easily, and with better results.

I was excited to learn about a product new to me, Salem cutting mats. I needed a new cutting mat, and was initially attracted to their display because the mats were red and white, which would match my studio better than the green cutting mat I have now.

When I asked them to tell me about their products, they told me that Salem mats do not warp in extreme temperatures, and that they are soft enough to pin into. They also flatten right out after they are rolled up for travel or storage. And they are made in the United States. I was sold! I purchased the 24 x 36" size that was already sold out, so they are shipping it to me.

It was nice to see Betty Blais again. I took a class from her a few years ago, and learned a lot about different surface design materials. Betty is the owner of Embellishment Village, an online store that carries a wide range of products, including Angelina, foils and foiling glues, glitters, stencils (really cools ones like the ones behind her in the photo above) beads, yarns, charms and more. I stocked up on Angelina and stencils in her booth!

I found Pat Sloan (left) and Heidi Kaisland, the national sales manager for American Professional Quilting Systems (APQS) (right) in the APQS booth, and drooled over their wonderful longarm machines. It is such fun to meet up with people I’ve gotten to know through their blogs, websites and Facebook pages. 

By Saturday afternoon, Mom and I were completely exhausted, and had decided to call it a day. We headed for home.

About an hour outside Nashville, the skies starting looking pretty ominous, with a heavy ceiling of unusual looking dark gray clouds moving at an alarming rate. We stopped for dinner and considered stopping overnight at a hotel before proceeding home, but in the end, decided that was not such a great choice, either. The storms were still coming through. 

We kept going, drove through some greenish skies, then heavy wind and pounding rain in the dark, for about two hours, and came out on the other side, where the winds were high but things were generally better. We got to my parents’ house near Knoxville by about midnight, white knuckled and very stressed, but safe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Inspired! Creativity Cards

Stuck in a rut? Discouraged? Need something to spur some new ideas? Try C&T Publishing’s new deck of 36 cards with motivating thoughts and beautiful quilt images called Inspired! Creativity Cards. One side of the cards contain little pearls of wisdom from some of C&T’s authors, including me!

The other side has detail shots of gorgeous quilts, both traditional and contemporary. Retail price: $9.95.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quilt & Fiber Art Emporium 2010 coming up!

Marianne Fons (left) from Love of Quilting magazine and TV show is the keynote speaker at the Quilt & Fiber Art Emporium 2010, to be held in Hickory, NC, April 30 through May 2. Bernina of America is a show sponsor.

The event includes classes, lectures, demonstrations, a vendor mall and a large display area of quilts and crafts. 
Want to go?
Hickory Metro Convention Center
Hickory, NC
Friday, April 30: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 1: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 2: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PRICE: One day admission: $7.50
My friend, Rene Crowder (left), who owns Rene’s Quilt Shop in Mooresville, is teaching her famous “Mile a Minute” Quilt on Sunday from 10 to 1:30. 

Another friend, Judy Whitehead of Goneaway Quilting, will be a vendor. Judy is a long-arm quilter who also creates fabulous hand-dyed fabrics, and will be carrying some of my patterns. You can see more about Judy in this previous post.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On the A-Team

 A few weeks ago, AURIfil Thread asked me to be part of their A-Team. Woo-hoo! I have been a big fan of AURIfil for years, so I am thrilled to be included in the list of artists, designers and educators that AURIfil selected to be part of this team. I’m going to be sharing with them projects that I do with their threads, and adding my name to the list of some very talented quilters who endorse the AURIfil brand.

They recently sent me this 48-spool thread kit! Here is the front:

and the back:

I selected mostly 50-weight Cotton Mako (orange spool), because it is perfect for thread sketching. I’ve been using it in the projects I’m doing for my series in Quilting Arts magazine on thread sketching, including this one:

 Vanity (detail)

Cotton Mako 50 is the lightest weight Egyptian cotton thread that AURIfil makes, and because it is so fine, it doesn’t cause my work to draw up the way heavier thread would. And there’s no heavy thread buildup, just a nice sheen. It works magnificently in the bobbin, whether I’m using a heavier thread on the top, or the same weight. And unlike some other threads, it almost never breaks, and it leaves practically no lint in my machine.

They even let me pick the colors! What a treat; it’s like having a humungous new box of crayons. Here is just one panel of their current thread card. If you’ve never seen a thread card before, it is what quilt shop owners get if they carry a particular brand of thread so they can pick the colors they want to purchase. Cotton Mako 50 comes in 260 solid and varigated colors, and I want them all!

I’ve said it before: when you make traditional quilts, it’s all about the fabric, really. At least I didn’t pay much attention to the thread when I was making traditional quilts. But now, my thread stash is as important as my fabric stash. 

Here’s a look at the outside of the AURIfil 48-spool thread kit. I think their packaging is very stylish. Maybe it’s that great Italian fashion sense.

Their display racks for shops are spectacular too. Here’s a shot I took at the spring 2009 Quilt Market, the trade association shows for everyone who buys and sells products for quilting. Don’t they look like works of art themselves?

(That’s my quilt Lepidoptera on the wall behind the stand.)

wool Lana thread

And look at their cones of thread!

And last, but certainly not least, AURIfil has top-notch, and exceedingly kind and friendly, people to work with. Here are (from left) Davide Moro, Alex Veronelli, and Elena Gregotti:

AURIfil’s blog (AURIfil Buzz) –
AURIfil’s website –

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Never say never

Nothing Could Be Finer (wallhanging size, 34" x 46")

You know that old saying, “Never say never!”? Well, I’ve never had one of my quilts quilted by someone else. I’ve always said that it would feel like sending my children to boarding school. 


I’m in the middle of a mighty big project, and one or two other medium sized ones, and a whole bunch of smaller ones, and… I’m doing it! Yes, I am relinquishing control and sending my quilt, the wall hanging version of Nothing Could Be Finer, to be quilted! I’m getting busy enough that I think I’m going to have to do more of this in the future for my quilt pattern business. Because I do so much thread sketching on my art quilts, I can’t see ever sending them to someone else for the quilting. But hey, if it is good enough for Nancy Crow…!

Luckily it is a friend, and someone who I trust to do spectacular work, Judy Whitehead. Judy is a fellow artist, and has been turning out beautiful quilts for customers through her longarm quilting business, Goneaway Quilting, since 2003.You can see some of her work by clicking here.

You can see her art, both quilts and drawings, by clicking here.

Judy Whitehead with Beach Eleven

Nothing Could Be Finer is a design I created for the 2010 North Carolina Symposium's donation quilt. The larger version was beautifully appliqued and pieced by women in the Charlotte Quilters Guild. Here is a photo of it:

Nothing Could Be Finer (82" x 84")

It was hand appliqued by some very talented members of the guild, and then longarm machine quilted by Kay Giese.

Detail of Kay’s quilting

Detail of Kay’s quilting

In the next few weeks, I have to finish up the pattern for this quilt. It will include instructions for both the large and small sizes, and will be for sale at Symposium. Proceeds from both the raffle of the big quilt and from sales of the pattern will help cover the expenses of the 2010 North Carolina Quilt Symposium, which will be held in Charlotte at Johnson & Wales University June 3-6, 2010. For more details, check out the 2010 Symposium Blog.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My work featured in SAQA ad

I got word last night that my work Red Coleus is featured in an advertisement for the SAQA Auction! SAQA, or Studio Art Quilt Associates, is a group of fiber artists, and this auction of several hundred small art quilts donated by its members brings in a lot of money each year. The money raised goes towards SAQA’s exhibtions, education, and outreach programs.

The ad will run in Fiberarts, Surface Design Journal, Selvedge, and American Craft magazines. Here is the whole piece:

If you are a fiber artist and don’t know about SAQA, you should! SAQA offers so many things for fiber artists who are serious about their art. There are great professional development opportunities, including conferences and programs, exhibitions, online galleries, and publications. You can join as an active member, professional artist member, or as a student member.

Monday, April 12, 2010

IQF moves spring venue from Chicago to Cincinnati in 2011

Quilts, Inc., the producers of International Quilt Festival, announced today that the location of the show’s spring edition will move from Chicago to Cincinnati, Ohio, beginning in 2011.

The first International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati will take place April 8-10, 2011, with Preview Night and classes beginning April 7. Spring Festival’s new home will be the Duke Energy Convention Center.

“We're all about trying new things, and after eight years in our current location, we're happy that we will be able to act on many of the suggestions made on our recent attendee surveys,” says Festival director Karey Bresenhan.

“These include such things as providing easier parking, more accommodation options, and access to a great variety of restaurants at all price levels. All will be available when we make this move.”

The final edition of International Quilt Festival/Chicago will take place as usual from April 16-18 of this year (with Preview Night and classes beginning on April 15) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, in Rosemont, Illinois.

“We've enjoyed making new friends at our Chicago-area show, and we’re looking forward to seeing many of them just about 300 miles away in our new location,” Bresenhan continues. “I think this shows that we're really sincere in our desire to seek out and act upon well-thought-out suggestions for improving our shows to make them as appealing to quilters and quilt lovers as possible.”

Introducing Linn Shimek

Trading Post by Linn Shimek 35" x 48"

In February, I received an e-mail from Linn Shimek of Sebring, Florida. She wrote: “I have one of your ATCs from the Houston Show on my quilt entry for the International Quilt Festival/Chicago (April 16-18). I traded 30 ATCs in Houston and mounted all of them on a quilt called Trading Post and was lucky enough to be accepted in Chicago. Just wanted you to know your card will be there and hope you will too.

“I didn’t realize I had one of your ATCs on my quilt until I saw your article in the latest Quilting Arts magazine on thread sketching and saw the picture of Indian Corn, which is similar to the card… I love your work and do a lot of thread painting myself. ”

Oh, Linn, I wish I were going! I have too many deadlines right now to make this show. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to get to the IQA Houston show three times, but have never been to their Chicago show. It is one of my long-term goals to make it to both the IQA shows in Chicago and Long Beach. 

Look at her beautiful quilt! Isn’t this a wonderful way to display small pieces of art in one bigger piece? And look at all the cool buttons and beads she used! The ATC (Artist's Trading Card) that I made is in the middle of the third row from the top. Here are some of the ATCs like it that I made to trade at International Quilt Festival in Houston last year:

Linn says that her Trading Post piece was a result of a group challenge. She belongs to a group of ten artists called Frayed Edges, and they decided to make “chrysalis quilts – rectangles pieced in unlike fabrics and a smaller rectangle fused in the center of the larger ones with a fabric bead (chrysalis) in the center of each small rectangle.” She tried to think of a unique idea for the challenge, and happened to glance at the ATCs, which were hanging on a bulletin board. It gave her the idea to replace the fabric beads in the centers of the small rectangles with the cards.

“Voila!” says Linn. “Trading Post was conceived! I had a piece of red burlap just the right size in my stash for the top base of the quilt. Loved the color! I needed to make it a quilt so added cotton batting and backing. For design continuity I used all poka dot fabrics in different colors. The cards are hanging on yoyos and buttons so they can be turned to see the maker’s name. I added a scrappy border with fabric beads and the bottom is fringed burlap with fabric and glass beads hanging.”

Linn has been quilting for about 30 years, but only really got interested in art quilting after retirement. She is in several local art quilt groups: SSS ArtWorks, Contemporary Art Quilters, Frayed Edges, and Art Quilters Unlimited of Fort Myers.

Last year was the first time she entered a major show (the West Palm Beach Show), and she won a second place ribbon with her quilt Sultry Shadows.

Here are more photos of Linn’s wonderful thread-sketched pieces:
Banana by Linn Shimek

Rocky Mountain Columbine by Linn Shimek, 31" x 35"

Rocky Mountain Columbine (detail) by Linn Shimek
I wish Linn all the best with her work and with her show entries. It is so nice to meet other quilt artists in these unexpected ways.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blue Ribbon Quilt Shoppe has PPP as a block of the month program

If you want to make my Pink Petal Party quilt (featured in my book/pattern pack Appliqué Petal Party by C&T Publishing), here’s a great way to get the pattern and the fabrics, a little bit each month…

The Blue Ribbon Quilt Shoppe in Wylie, Texas, is offering it as a block of the month program! You get the pattern pack and all batik fabrics. Here are the prices:

Start-up fee: $9.98
Pattern fee: $17.95
Monthly fee: $22.00

You can check out all the details and sign up on their website. But hurry! It starts the weekend of April 17!

Huge give-aways at I Have a Notion

Want a chance at winning some amazing stuff? Hustle your bustle over to Kelly Jackson’s I Have A Notion blog. Kelly founded the online store, I Have a Notion, one year ago, and she’s celebrating with 30 days of giveaways. This week, Kelly will be giving away my Tulip Bag pattern and a set of my Orchid Notecards.

Here’s just some of the stuff you could win:

Amy Butler fabrics and patterns
Scissor fob by Simply Tracy
The book It’s a Wrap II by Susan Breier
Toni Whitney pattern
Eleanor Burns pattern
Isacord thread
Batik fat quarters
Dupioni silk
Qtools Cutting Edge Strips and Sewing Edge Strips
The book Laundry Basket Quilts by Edyta Sitar
Mark Lapinski thread collection by AURIfil thread
pattern from QuiltWoman distributors
rulers from Simplicity Studio rulers
The book Floorquilts by Ellen Highsmith Silver
Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth
Mod Podge
Mary Ellen's Best Press clear starch alternative
Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 software
GrabARoo’s gloves
The book Hook, Loop & Lock by Theresa Pulido
Texture Magic by Superior Threads
Reliable Corporation's Digital Steam Velocity V100 iron
Sizzling Circles pattern by Lacey Hill of Golden Thyme Designs
Books and notions courtesy of Checker Distributor
Thread carousel by Virginia Lauer
Quilt Design Wizard software by Electric Quilt Company
Famore Cuttlery scissors and seam ripper

This is the last week of the event, which runs March 15 through April 15 (this Thursday!) , but you still have time to enter all of the giveaways. All you have to do is to leave a comment after the post for the items you want to win. All the drawings will take place at the end of the event.

I met Kelly Jackson last fall when I was attending Quilt Market in Houston. The Hilton only had free internet service in the lobby, so guess where all the quilting bloggers congregated each night, sometimes in pajamas (in the wee hours of the night)? At first, I thought it was going to be a giant pain in the rear to go down there every night, and then I realized that it was THE place to be. I met some really wonderful people there, and made some great business contacts.

Kelly was one of them. Her online store includes books, DVDs, Electric Quilt software, lighting and magnification products, patterns, notions, paintstiks, travel tools, hangers and holders, punchneedle patterns and materials, threads and floss, and much more I can’t list here. And she’s a really nice – and really funny – woman.

On Monday, April 12, Kelly is posting about a chance to win an AccuQuilt Go Fabric Cutter! It is a revolutionary way to cut fabric... “safe, easy to use, accurate, and 90 percent faster than rotary cutting and scissors.” Retail value is $349.
I Have a Notion direct links:
Blog Link: http/
Website Link: