Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Places

This weekend, I visited a few of my happiest places on earth:
Happy Hour bundle of fabrics and pattern
  • my favorite local quilt shop for Happy Hour to get this bundle of fabric and pattern for a fun swirling hexagon quilt--can't wait to get started on it!!
  • another great quilt shop where I did some serious damage--enough to earn one of their free bags
  • IKEA for lunch--although too busy for any fun shopping
  • back to the swimming pool after almost 1 year hiatus for much  needed lap swimming
  • and my studio to finally make a heavy duty tote bag for myself---to transport all my swimming gear (with exterior and interior pockets!!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Survived SCVQA's Shower of Stars Quilt Show

Over a year ago, I was looking to get involved with SCVQA and thought I would join the Quilt Show
My quilts ready for display with sleeves and labels
planning committee and made some inquiries.  My offer to help was enthusiastically accepted and the next thing I knew, I was in charge of setting up, laying out and taking down the quilt show!  And at first it was just a matter of attending some meetings to stay on top of the various set up needs.  However, as the quilt show was rapidly approaching and quilt entries starting coming in (including my own submissions which required sleeves and labels) my tasks grew exponentially and I called in for reinforcement:  Doug!  We drafted up the entire show layout including the rows to display the quilts, vendors, featured artists, special exhibits and more!
Mapping out the quilt show consumed my entire studio
Then the real challenge arrived:  mapping out where all 400+ quilts would be displayed, and I will admit I had a serious panic attack when we were on the last row and I was left with 20 quilts that would not fit!  After several sleepless nights and some creative rearranging and maneuvering, we were able to pack in the last 20 quilts, just in time to make sure we had ample parts to build all the quilt racks needed to hang all 400+ quilts.  Doug didn't seem to mind visiting hardware shops to purchase the spare parts and now he proudly boasts, he has a "tape and adhesive guy," from scoping out gaffer's tape needed to tape down electrical cords in the convention center.

Quilt Show Equipment ready for loading
Quilt Rack Assembly team (photo courtesy of John Palmer)
The actual set up started Thursday as we met up with volunteers to load all the quilt show equipment into the moving truck, and then whisked off to the convention center to mark the floors to indicate where all the rows would be set up, assigned vendors, exhibits, etc.  I knew I needed to ensure ample aisle space for fire codes, but wasn't sure how accurate the measurements had to be.  My predecessor said he used Pythagorean Theorem and others have used laser tape measures, and I was unsure how best to proceed.  Well all my worries went out the door when one of the experienced volunteers arrived and assured me not to worry too much about accuracy as no one ever bothers to measure their assigned areas.  Phew!  Friday we started out at 8 am to unload the equipment, set up all the racks and hang the quilts.  Doug and I (and probably all the other volunteers who helped) went home absolutely exhausted!  Once I sat down, I did not move until it was bedtime!  Saturday I slept in a bit and then headed to the quilt show to take lots of pictures as part of my historian role.  My feet were pounding and I was just about to leave, but then a friend/colleague arrived so I took her on a tour of our show before heading home.  Sunday, Doug and I went over around lunchtime to finish taking pictures and then prepping for the take down.  Amazingly enough--what took 1.5 days to set up, came down in only 2-3 hours.  The show ended at 4 pm, and we had taken down all the quilts, disassembled all the racks, loaded the truck and unloaded it back into storage and returned the rental truck by 7:10 pm!  Not bad!

But here are a few personal highlights:
*  Entering my quilts into a quilt show was one of my new year's resolutions, and I had a total of 8 quilts on display--several of which were included in the workshop exhibit and challenge quilt display.  Seeing several of my quilts on public display and getting praise from fellow quilters and friends was a positive experience and will hopefully motivate me to enter a juried show.

*  Partnering with BAMQG to include a Modern Quilting Exhibit, which was very well-received by all who attended our show.  The BAM volunteers rocked as they helped to set up quilt racks, hang their own quilts and assisted in other areas of the show as well.  And they finished their beautiful BAM banner, which included one of my BAM challenge blocks--the wonky star in the top left area.

*  Besides a bunch of fun memories, I also walked away with some fun mementos and purchases to remind me of the weekend's success
SCVQA mementos:  bag, ticket and program
I couldn't resist making a few purchases at the vendor booths!
Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this a fantastic quilt show.  All in all, it was a successful weekend, but I am looking forward to catching up on sleep and getting back to some actual quilting of my own!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mad about Plaid

This weekend, I managed to select a new pattern, fabrics, assemble and complete an entire baby quilt!  It was so exciting to start something new and then to actually complete it.    

Swirl Blocks Completed and Laid Out
Despite everything else on my plate, I decided it was time to make a quilt for a friend who would be having her second baby girl soon.  I call it productive procrastination--at least I am getting something accomplished?!?  So I went through my quilt patterns, books in search of some inspiration and found this fun and modern "Daisy Baby Quilt" pattern which can be downloaded free from Craftsy.  

The pattern calls for one charm pack and 1.25 yards of background fabric...easy enough.  I had a few cute charm packs set aside and selected Moda's Swirl by My Sister and Me.  For the background, I selected medium grey, which I had recently used up, so I asked Doug if he could pick some up during his lunch break.  The fabric was waiting for me when I returned home from work and I just dove right in selecting the 30 charms I would use, cutting 'em up and assembling the blocks.  By midnight, I had all the charm blocks completed and the grey fabric components laid out and ready to go.

Basted and ready for quilting
Even after a late night of sewing, I woke up early all giddy to lay out all the blocks.  I thought it would be fun to do a color wash effect having the colors blend from pink in the top left corner down to blue in the bottom right.  But it was tricky business avoiding adjacent fabric designs.  I kept fussing and fussing until I finally decided I had done my best.  I even managed to assemble several rows before heading off to work.


Quilting went super fast thanks to blue tape and Aurofil

Despite coming home from work with a sore throat, I headed right to the studio to finish assembling the quilt rows.  By the end of the night, my quilt top was complete, basted and ready for quilting!

Quilt Back
I woke up early with a full blown cold, but managed to map out a quilting design.  I figured I would keep it simple and fill in the plaid lines with grey stitches to complete the plaid illusion.  Despite my sniffles, the quilting went really fast, thanks to my handy, dandy blue painter's tape.  In fact, I seemed to forget about my cold while quilting away!  

I decided to round off the corners and prepped some binding with a bias cut to ease around the corners.  By 8 or 9 pm, I was finishing the last few hand stitches for the binding!

Monday:  Ta da!!!  FINISHED QUILT!!
Mad about Plaid Baby Quilt Completed!
Now that this is out of my system, I can get back to my priorities, like laying out almost 400 quilts for our upcoming quilt show!  Eeeek!