Sunday, May 15, 2011

MQS Kansas

Well, I'm arrived in Kansas safe and sound. It it a beautiful city, all green and growing. Its a far cry from the early spring I left in Calgary. When we arrived the  humidity was stifling and way too hot. Without the humidity, it would be quite lovely. Let me tell you this, I know why the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz melted, the humidity did her in!

My first day was spent setting up the booth. I have worked shows before but kits and patterns are a whole lot less work than  individual spools of threads. Yikes. We were kept busy running about, talking thread and quilting with customers. I hardly had time to view the quilts. But let me tell you this ladies, they were fabulous. I've never seen such a variety of technique assembled in one place.

Aunt Polly's Porch
Quilted by Marilyn Badger.
Painted by Claudia Clark Myers.
3rd Place: Art/Pictorial.

Machine embroidery, hand embroidery, piecing, whole cloth quilts, wool quilts, machine and hand applique and what I can only call mock-applique. Quilters are taking whole pieces of cloth and quilting them with intricate designs and coloring them in too look like applique. They use pens, ink, markers, water colors, pencil crayons and special pencil crayon designed to blend with water. Irena Blume does fabulous work in this area and gave me a demonstration of how it works. Check her out at

There was also a ton of fabulous quilting. Much of it was done by computerised machine which did not, in my opinion, even come close to the beauty and diversity that was created by hand guided machines. The majority of quilts that took prizes were quilted by hand guided machines using custom quilting.

I have never been so inspired and depressed all at once. I couldn't wait to get home and practise my custom freehand quilting and at the same time worried that my skill would  never match that of these masters. I've decided that while I will likely never match them that I am going to practise and give it my best shot.

Magical Mermaid's Castle by Claudia Pfeil. Winner: Best of Show. Fabulous detail
quilting with hundreds, maybe thousands of crystals for accent. WOW!

Detail of Magical Mermaid's Castle

Detail of Magical Mermaid's Castle

Red Letter Daze by Janet Stone.
This quilt also took a prize by the detail
photo did not turn out. Apologies to Janet.

Detail of Red Letter Daze

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I just wanted to take a moment to thank my mother for all she has done for me over the years. I don't think there is a better mother out there and I apologize for the times that I told her otherwise. (As a kid I was a bit of an idiot.) Between her and my father they pretty much kept the four of us kids in line. I know there job wasn't easy and I thank them for the effort.

My mom was my doctor, nurse, kindergarten teacher, chauffeur, psychiatrist, maid, dishwasher, laundress, gardener, babysitter, cook and tutor, but most of all, she was my friend. She taught me to be kind to kids and animals; to love and give; to be polite and helpful; to give a hand and to accept a hand; to learn where I could and to accept when I couldn't. She even tried to teach me to keep my mouth shut and not say inappropriate things ... although that one only met with limited success. She taught me to drive, to crochet, to sew, to use a glue gun, to garden and cook. She passed her passion for reading on to me. I admit that she has me hooked on romance novels. (I love a good romance.)
All in all, I learned a lot of life's lessons at her knee, and on the rare occasion at the much deserved end of a wooden spoon. (I thank her for that too!)

Thanks Mom for all you did, all you do and all you will do. I love you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MQS Kansas: Are You Joining Me There?

Cat's Got the Measles by Pine Freckle Forest.
I'm almost ready to go. The International Machine Quilter's Association is holding MQS in Kansas at Overland Park. It runs May 11 to 14, 2011. I've never attended a show of this magnitude before and I am almost beside myself with excitement. (You can visit their website at

Quilts galore, classes and a VENDOR MALL! Does it get any better than this? Seriously, I ask you, can you think of a better way to spend a couple of days?  While I won't be attending any classes I am hoping for some demo's or make-and-takes for learning new techniques. And shopping, I am excited to see what's new in fabric and longarm tools. I am thinking that my credit card might get a workout during the show.

During the show, you can find me at the Wonderfil Specialty Threads booth in the Vendor Mall. Please stop by and visit me. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you!

Question of the day: Are you going to MQS in Kansas or any other quilt shows this year? Are you coming to see me in Kansas?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Winding Down For Vacation

A striking quilt created by one of my customers.
She chose a simple allover pattern to allow her detail
work and precise piecing to show through.

Wow, it seems another year has gone by already. Time really does fly as you get older. It seems like I just got home from vacation last summer and it is almost time to head out again. Early in May I will be attending MQS in Kansas. I can hardly wait. I'm not sure how much time I will have for viewing quilts, shopping and learning new things as I am headed down there to work for Wonderfil Threads. I've always wanted to attend the show and would love to take some classes, but in all honesty, it has always been out of reach of my budget. Now, I can go and plan to absorb as much as I can while I am there. I'm hoping to be able to take a swack of pictures for inspiration!

Simple pantos and
turned borders can be
very effective.

I'll be home for about twelve hours after the show before heading off on vacation. The house sitter is all lined up, cat food is stock piled to keep the babies happy while we're gone and my bags are nearly packed. (Let me tell you how much I hate clothing shopping!)

As the time before departure grows shorter, I'll be working like a one-armed paper hangar. I'll be chained to the longarm, and will love it. On a good day, quilting is pure pleasure. Things go well, and the mind has lots of time to free roam and be creative.These are the days I love my job. I get a lot of thinking done while I work and sometimes looking at a client top from a strange angle will inspire an idea for a new pattern. On a bad day there is blue smoke coming out of my ears and I have to walk away. Thankfully good days outnumber the bad ones by about eighty to one.

Have a fabulous week, and stay tuned for a chance to win a quilt kit.