Wednesday, April 29, 2009

hard at work

While planning for our trip to Paducah, I knew we would have hours and hours of bus riding.  I have to be honest, I was partly looking forward to it as a time removed from all regular responsibilities, just kick back and enjoy the ride.  And that was mostly what it was like, except I didn't realize how foreign that could feel!  It's hard to describe, but I felt sort of discombobulated without having to pay attention to driving, directions, gas, food stops, etc.  I wonder if that is sort of what it feels like to be behind bars--no control over anything!  Well, we had it much better than a cell, that's for sure!  The bus was comfy, not full so we had space to move about and spread out, new people to meet and talk to.  I also was really looking forward to the chance to just work on a project without feeling even a little bit pressured to do something around the house, sew or write a pattern, figure out a quilting design, empty the dishwasher, answer the phone, get ready for work, etc.  So here's what I worked on:
learning to knit 2 socks at once on 2 circulars--

hand applique for a block that will become the centerpiece of a group project--

Not being very experienced at hand applique, I am very happy with how it is coming along, considering I was bouncing around in the back of the bus while trying to keep that slippery silk thread in a needle and take little stitches and not spill all my little pieces all over the floor!  I had prepped the pieces all before I left home, using heat-resistant template plastic, liquid starch, and travel iron.  It still needs a basket, more leaves and little circles.  It's a pattern I got from the Quilt Show when I was a member last year, each month was a different applique block and this is just one of them.
Now off to work on a little experiment--if it turns out you will hear about it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Catching up

Well, I kind of dropped off the screen there for a few day, I think I was so full of ideas and sights and sounds that I couldn't sort it out for putting here.  The Paducah show was awesome, I loved looking at the quilts on display at the show and the museum.  I'm sorry I can't post the pictures here, but that would be frowned upon, so I can only recommend that you go to the AQS website to look for the pictures there.  I did take plenty of pictures for myself, as zoomed in as possible to catch the quilting detail, so I can begin to apply some of those techniques for myself.  
Our bus group made it back home safe and sound.  We passed through St. Louis on the way--

We met a few characters, like this gal from Smack Ass Gap, she swore it's a real place because you just can't make up something like that!

We meandered around the old downtown of Paducah one morning, and gazed upon the floodwalls that are muralized with historic scenes.  

We did have fun getting to know the other women on the bus, and exchanging ideas and tips, and even celebrating a birthday!

That's Joan Stahly on the right, the birthday girl, and trip historian, and mother of Jeff, a fellow Harris Lake Park grad!  On the left is Marcia Peters, mother of Dale, also of HLP background, so it was fun connecting with them.  They are both veterans of the Paducah trip and show, so we could learn a lot from them.   Meeting them on the bus just adds to that 6 degrees of separation theory.
So now I am back at it, all unpacked, caught up on a couple of my shows, finished the quilt on the frame and started another, printing up some new patterns and back to work at the store this afternoon to teach a class.  And happy to have my Bob close by!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good times in Paducah

We are really loving the nice weather here, even though we spent a lot of the day indoors looking at quilt displays and vendor  booths to see if there was anything that needed to find its way home with me.  We did enjoy our lunch outdoors, it was almost like going to the State Fair with those yummy health food options,(everything fried), in fact, so good that I had to call Bob to gloat about the delicious corndogs!  Shame on me!  
There are some great spring flowers in bloom here, I think they look especially nice when you are coming from the frozen tundra!

The dogwood trees are in bloom here, too, and our busdriver took us on a little tour of a lovely avenue of old homes with many flowering trees along the way.  I think I mentioned before that there was some evident damage around Paducah from an ice storm, but looking around a little more closely today I could see there was a huge toll on the trees here, so many of them have the tops off and many, many branches missing.  Kind of reminds me how it can look after a tornado.
After our day of tromping up and down aisles of fabulous quilts and hundreds of vendor booths, our dogs were barking!  We did find some interesting items, and my purchases include everything from a simple thimble to a deluxe sewing table.  There is a wide range of possibilities here!  We have been able to find some hard-to-find items, some new ideas, and other things just-for-fun.  What will tomorrow bring???

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We are whooped!

Up and at 'em again early this AM, well, sort of early, and departing the hotel at 7.  Arriving Paducah shortly before noon, and checked into our hotel.  Our 3some occupied the back of the bus, and somehow we usually manage to be the last ones to board, even though we are on time, we just can't get ahead of the rest of these gals!  Quite a bit bouncier on the road today, but I still got some applique stitched in place without too much trouble.  We noticed hight rivers, flowering shrubs and dogwood blossoms, and lots of broken tree branches in Paducah from a recent ice storm.  No ice today, no way!  It was sunny and mild, still windy, until this evening.
We are primed and ready to go with our matching little wallet/bags, a gift from Leisl and very handy.  Allows both hands to be free to admire and examine the many wondrous quilting and sewing goodies.  

This evening we went into the show floor for a preview, and we were amazed by the beautiful quilts on display.  The workmanship is awesome, and hard to imagine the time and skill involved in making some of them.  Can't show you any photos, against the rules to display them here for you, sorry!
Cool findings for today--a new ruler/template for making the Hunter's Star blocks, a textile product sort of like shrinky-dink for fabric, minkee on sale, and a few choice patterns.  Now very weary and ready for a good night's sleep.  Stay tuned for more...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Paducah Bound!

We were rolling across the prairie today on our big bus, cruising in style and comfort.  So easy to watch the miles roll by, a beautiful sunny day, a bit breezy (that's an understatement) and interesting company.  Departed Worthington at 6:30 AM, picked up passengers in Sioux Falls, lunch in St. Joseph, MO, and staying tonight near St. Louis.  Got plenty of knitting and applique done today, caught a short nap, and shared stories. My traveling companions, Leisl and Nancy, are a special treat, and Nancy's candied chex mix doesn't hurt!  You can probably tell from the picture that they are always ready for fun!

We spent last night in Lake Park at my parents' house, thanks for the comfy beds!  We had dinner out with them and Jarry and Mary at a local Mexican restaurant--very good!

We are far enough south that we are seeing trees in bloom, and these blossoms paused from the tornado-like winds just long enough for me to snap a photo.  They won't last long with all the tossing and tearing in the wind, I'm afraid.  Had a little dinner tonight at Ruby Tuesday's, and they have the best white wine sangria!  We requested the recipe and the bartender visited our table to fill us in on the details, it will be great for the summer months.  Need to turn in now, since it is back on the bus for about 6 hours tomorrow before reaching Paducah.  Will keep you informed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

never enough scissors!

I saw another blogpost about the scissors we collect, and it made me curious about what I might find if I took a good look around my own house.  Well, I should never have to look far for a pair!  I counted 40--which is about double what I guessed I might find before I started the gathering.  How many can you find in your place?  This might get complicated for those of you who have more than one abode, but I will let you figure that out on your own!
I am embarking on another new sock venture, this time learning to do a twofer with the help of the book I purchased in June Lake during vacation last month, at the Sierra Cotton and Wool shop.  A shout out to the Monday night Get Lit and Knit group!  So far going OK with the new technique, a little tangled at times but progressing.  Maybe for the first time I will make a pair of socks that are the same size!  I'm not one to count the rows of sock #1 so that sock #2 will be the same length, I just sort of lay one on top of the other and see if they are close to the same length.   It works for me, sometimes better than others!
I'm counting down the days to Paducah!  If you are a quilter, you probably know that the annual show and festival in Paducah, KY, is sort of like going to mecca.  Well, it has been a personal goal of mine to experience this, and next Monday I will embark on the pilgrimage with my trusty travel companions, Nancy and Leisl.  We are 3 Paducah virgins, ready and willing to sacrifice our credit cards on the alter of the American Quilters' Society!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

easter socks

Look what the Easter bunny brought!  Well, not really, since these are soon on their way to someone special who also just happens to have a birthday real soon.  Since they are still drying, it will be good timing to mail them tomorrow.  These are for Mary, and I used a yarn new to me.  It is Paton's Stretch Socks, color mineral, and it's kind of neat because it is a mix of cotton, wool, nylon and elastic.  I worry a lot about getting socks the right size when I make them for others because I don't want to go to all that work and then not fit right.  These looked awfully small to me but Mary has a much smaller foot than my own.  They do look kind of fat in the instep, one more so than the other, one of the problems of knitting one sock at a time and not always duplicating the tension and stitch count exactly.  I'm not a machine, after all!  These might be just right for those edematous days!  The leg part looks exaggeratedly skinny, but that's because I ran the ribbing all the way and that will have plenty of stretch.  They were fun to make and I hope fun to wear! 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

new blog

I signed off without telling you about an important addition to the blogging world--my sister!  Jan just informed me that she has started up the MissesStitches blog so check her out!

weekend warriors

We are starting out our weekend with an industrious feeling, Bob prepared to cut down some trees and myself bound for the basement and running my machine!   Bob's friend, Dana, is coming over to help him (thank you for not expecting me to be a lumberjack today!) and they are planning to take down 4 dead trees on the north side of our driveway.  They are kind of on the property borderline, so they might actually be on our neighbor's yard, but he is OK with this because they can't fall that direction without hitting lines and other trees.  We have lost many,many oak trees from our property to oak wilt, so over the years Bob always has more to work on.  And he has learned to do it safely, has had a few problems with directing the fall, but no injuries to himself and very few to property!  
As for my quilting, I, too, plan to avoid injury!  I am working on the 3rd in a row for Stacy West, designer of Buttermilk Basin, as she is putting together new patterns to be released at Quilt Market in May.  These are all Christmas designs, kind of retro looking, in the size of wallhangings.  So I am wanting to get those done and back to her for finishing, can't wait to see them on the market!  And I have a beautiful baby quilt to get quilted for Debbie, plus one of my own, and no, we are not having a baby boom, we just want to get a display of baby quilts up in 
the store soon!  This is the baby size of my Chill Pill pattern.

These pictures show a couple things I was working on at my 2 recent retreats.  The first I showed you a little of before, this shows more of the blocks done and even though they aren't really arranged carefully, you get an idea of what I am doing.

This next picture shows something I have been working on with the intent to publish a new pattern.  It uses an acrylic template set to cut hexagons and diamonds, this is a size that could make a tablerunner.  I am also just about finished making the hexagons into a child's quilt, using 108 different prints in the blocks to make it a story quilt, or in the style of "I Spy" quilts.  

So now I better get moving and on with the day!