Thank you, C&T, for supporting their authors! On Thursday, Pat and I presented our “schoolhouse”, a soft marketing pitch to shop and business owners. The next day we had our book signing in the C&T booth, where we got to give away 18 books and yakkety yak with attendees. Our marketing scheme to give away a bonus prize to people in our schoolhouse audience (over the next two days) didn’t work, but we had fun giving away our 30 beautiful scrap bags to people we met. Jeff Belvill, from Kai Scissors, got to choose a scrap bag for his quilting wife! Just one of many wonderful encounters with strangers, who aren’t strangers at all, because we share the love of textiles, quilting, fiber art, and so on.
All in all, it was a great “coming out party” for our book, Creative Quilt Challenges.
The aisles started at 200 and continued through 2800, with too many vendor booths to count in each aisle. On Friday, we crisscrossed the floor in a somewhat random pattern, making sure to thank companies who have supported me over the years and Pat & I with our recent book. On Saturday we went up and down every aisle before and after lunch. Which of us had the random or the linear approach? I’m sure you can figure it out, but both ways were fun.
The Cotton + Steel booth won first prize for “Best Booth”, but all the vendors showed their own style in some way. I’ve never seen hanks of sewing thread before, but for all of us who love fiber, the Aurifil booth made us smile and want to touch. One of our “thank you” stops was Quilters Dream Batting. We use their Request Loft/Natural most of the time, but they have so many to choose from, you’d never need to use another brand. They have a new “green” batting, which is made from recycled soda bottles. It’s polyester and naturally a green color because of the color of the bottles. How cool is that? This batting is thin, like their cotton version, and has a wonderfully soft hand.
For fans and subscribers of Uppercase Magazine (uppercasemagazine.com) and its leader Janie Vangool, the 2pm Uppercase Meet Up on Friday had to be a highlight of the day. Her first line of fabric with Windham Fabrics (www.windhamfabrics.net- search for Janie Vangool among the designers) will be in stores soon, but we all had a chance to win a big heavy box of fat quarters in every pattern and colorway. And we each got our chance to meet Janie and talk with her a bit. Across the aisle we met Marcia Derse (marciaderse.com and say der-see), a quilter and fabric designer for Windham Fabrics. We couldn’t stop ourselves from being thrilled to meet these women.
When going up and down aisles, we met a lot of people not on our vendor list. Stacie Bloomfield, from Springdale, Arkansas, caught our eye with her wonderful black & white sketches and fabric. She has a new line of fabric with Moda. Meanwhile, you can catch up with her artwork and products on Etsy (www.etsy.com/people/Gingiber).
We met so many nice people! The Zipper Lady from Fort Collins, Colorado took time to show me some zipper pulls I’ve not seen before, including one for a wet suit that is rubberized and spring loaded. She modeled her zipper apron and I showed off my zipper pull bracelet. Anneliese and Brenda from Eye Candy Quilts in Lincoln, Nebraska took time to chat with us about creating new patterns. This is what quilters do, right? We share our stories in all sorts of ways.
We were indoors so much, we didn’t mind the gray weather, but even walking around in 60ish degree weather, it just felt warmer than the chill of central Oregon at the same temperature. We went to bed while lightening lit up the sky, so we missed the power outage in downtown that left 85,000 people without electricity. One attendee got caught in the shower during the black out, and no, her hotel did not have emergency lighting in the bathroom! We just woke up to the wrong time on the hotel clock.
The drive to and from Salt Lake City is beautiful. Our airport in central Oregon is closed for a month, so we figured by the time we drove to Portland or Eugene (hours away), and hung out at an airport, and arrived in SLC, we’d be better off driving. It is a LONG drive (about 11 hours with bathroom stops and eating in the car). Montana may be called The Big Sky state, but Idaho and eastern Oregon can also claim a share of being Big Sky Country. The clouds on the way home kept us entertained, but I will only show one of the many photos taken out the window of the car.
I will say this: I’m terrible at taking a LOT of photographs. Sorry, I just get caught up and forget to capture the moments. So there are no photos of most of the people we met, the things we saw, the food we ate, the activities we enjoyed…
Let’s talk food first.
Vosen’s Bread Paradise: if you read about a German bakery with all sorts of goodies, I think you’d have to circle the block a few times like we did. This is a pretzel embedded with parmigiano reggiano cheese. Oh gosh- crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, slightly salty, and cheesy. Delish. I bought Pat a “Berliner” described as “the mother of all donuts”, light, not greasy, filled with raspberry marmelade.
Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana and Capo Gelateria: Opened in 2005, this appears to be the real deal, with the Italian owner watching over his pizza & gelato kingdom. The pizzas, cooked in a wood fired brick oven, come out quickly, piping hot, and perfect. We had a simple crushed tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and basil pizza with a salad with a thin slice of parmigiano reggiano cheese & balsamic vinegar smear, thin slice of prociutto, dab of goat cheese, and lemon juice. I almost couldn’t eat another bite, but we had to walk across the old wooden floor, through the door in the wall, to the Gelateria: oh, yes we did! It was hard to choose and to order the small size, but we had some restraint. When we searched for a recycle bin for the plastic cups and spoons, the owner gestured for us to throw it in the trash. As his gestures got more vigorous, we did as we were told. He came over to thank us for coming to his restaurant and welcome us back. I wish I could go back this weekend!
And then there was Spring Market in Hall C! You can see why we needed our strength! More next time.
My coauthor Pat Pease and I are off to Spring Market on Wednesday and we’ll be following – not a yellow brick road- but a winding highway between Bend and Salt Lake City. We decided to make new tote bags to carry our books and other shameless self-promotion materials while strolling around Market & town.
I decided to try using kraft-tex, a Kraft Paper Fabric, made by my publisher, C&T Publishing (ctpub.com). I crumpled and boiled it to give it the texture of leather (or maybe pleather). Topstitching in red unified all the fabrics in the tote bag. The fun splash of green on the back of the thread textured strap came about –not because of vision and planning- but because I forgot to add the seam allowance before cutting. It was a Make It Work Moment (thank you Tim Gunn, Project Runway).
I stitched the kraft-text to flannel to give it extra support. I backed the red home dec weight fabric with canvas, also for extra support. Does it need extra support? Who knows? Just seemed like a good idea.
I like to do the little fold in the side seams to make a 3D triangle in the corners (see first photo). It took some work to turn the bag right side out (middle photo) and to steam and finger press the sides seams and triangles- the last photo shows what it looked like before the finessing.
My coauthor, Pat Pease, and I have some special tricks up our sleeve for Market. If you will be at Spring Market, catch up with us- we’d love to meet you! If you can’t be at Market, follow us on Instagram (wendyquilter and peasp) and share the fun!
P.S. Pat’s tote bag is similar, but made a little smaller, with beautiful Japanese textiles and red leather handles. It’s a simple “grocery bag” type construction, that starts with a rectangle. The two cut ends of the rectangle are the “tops” of the bag, and the middle of the rectangle is the “bottom” of the bag. Confusing? Take a piece of paper and fold it in half- see how the rectangle becomes a bag?
Do some math ahead of time, or use trial & error and experimenting, to figure out your dimensions. Decide on the size of the bottom of the bag and do the 3D triangle construction (double the height of the tuck to know the resulting width of the bottom) or the usual “box” construction (the triangle gets cut off). Add your handles- fabric straps like mine or the fancier leather handles or your great idea for straps. The basics are the same, but you have a lot of opportunitiers to add your own special touches.
Vicki Welsh talks about how 1) even when fabrics get prewashed, 2) even when color catchers by the dozen go in the wash with the quilt, and 3) even when all precautions have been taken to protect your quilt, one or more fabrics can and do bleed in the wash. A few years ago, when this happened to her, she tried a fix using Dawn Ultra dish detergent and it worked. Since then she’s been researching and experimenting and sharing this tip with students, and now she has a “this has always worked for me but I can’t promise it will work for you” handout, called Save My Bleeding Quilt! Check it out on her website: colorsbyvicki.com
This has happened to me so many times over the years that it’s hard to explain to others that ‘oh yes, I prewashed the fabric and I didn’t do anything stupid’. A few days ago, I washed a baby quilt intended for my niece and her new baby. The red fabric bled into the white, making the whole block RED. Even though I rinsed out most of the red color, I could not in good faith give her a quilt that would quite probably turn all her wash load pink the next time she washed the quilt. It’s hard to see the pink in the photos- but trust me- it was deep pink leaking along the edges of the red fabric into the white.
With nothing to lose, I followed Vicki Welsh’s excellent directions and plunged the quilt into HOT water with lots of Dawn Ultra dish detergent. I kept the quilt submerged for hours and hours until the water cooled off, the deep pink was gone, and the red fabric stopped releasing color. The key ingredients in the Dawn Ultra that release grease from dirty dishes and oil covered birds also release color and keeps the color from reattaching to the fabric.
I rinsed the quilt in the tub with cool water and squeezed as much water out as my hands could manage. I rolled up the quilt in a towel, and then another towel, to soak up the water. After squaring up the quilt on more towels on my sewing tables, I let the quilt air dry. Success!!!
But now the quilt smelled of Dawn Ultra and I knew I had to wash the quilt in the washer one more time. After seeking advice (thank you Pat and Judith and Christine and Karla), I rinsed the quilt in the tub a few more times, squeezed out most of the water, then ran it through my LG front loading machine on “rinse and spin only”. Another success: no more bleeding!!!
For the front, I used 20 colors of Sketch Basics by Timeless Treasures to make 20- one-of-a-kind log cabin blocks. I constructed them oversized, then squared-up to 11 5/8″ by 11 5/8″. I pieced the back using a panel I bought in Medford, Oregon with fabric purchased locally*. It’s about 43″ by 54″, large enough for the baby and sister and brother to sit on.
* I bought the last of the alphabet fabric, which wasn’t quite enough. When I got home, I realized that the letters were directional. Sigh. After cutting 6 rectangles (yes, 6, because I had to piece the top and bottom to be wide enough), I noticed the vertical column of yellow, orange and lime green letters. Oy! As cut, this line zigged and zagged from top to bottom, which grated on my senses like fingernails on a chalkboard. Since the pieces were cut oversized, I was able to line up the columns.
I almost feel like I have to defend my obsession with lining up the columns, especially in this time of the prevailing attitude of “anything goes”. But I make decisions based on my inner compass and my own design sensibility and that means, no, not true-for me- that anything goes. We all have to make design choices that make us happy and if we really believe this, we won’t get all judgmental about how EVERYONE should do things in one certain way.
I am home again after being away for 2 weeks and playing catch up for almost another week. In the midst of chaos, I got to go to a Corgi Meet Up in Portland with my son and Colleen and of course, Korben, my “grand puppy”. He was 9 weeks old when I helped them move. Now he’s 4 months old! Korben was the only puppy at the Meet Up, but he loved it!
My niece L has a new baby (her third) so I must get going on his new baby quilt. My other niece asked her mother to make an “E” quilt for her. She kept twining her fingers, saying the E’s should interlock. I’m going to try out my drafted pattern so she and my sister-in-law can see if they like it. And of course, Pat and I are still working on our new challenge quilts for the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California in October 2016. Pat is painting-collaging-piecing the most beautiful trout ever- a sneak peek will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, here I am with Korben. I know, he’s not a baby, but he’s a sweet heart puppy with “glorious” ears. Click on the photos- you’ll see my face in the 2nd photo!
Inspired by the Unconventional Materials Challenge on Project Runway (an American reality television show on the Lifetime channel) in 2008, Pat and I challenged each other to make something with materials found in a grocery store. Pat’s quilt, “Sushi”, uses sushi grass, plastic, cupcake liners and other oddball stuff. Wendy’s tote bag includes Tyvec envelopes, fruit bags, mop strings and more. Who knew that these two items would lead to our new book, Creative Quilt Challenges, 2016, with C&T Publishing?!
Pacific International Quilt Festival 2016, Santa Clara, California, Oct. 13-16! Here are some sneak peeks of our “Creative Quilt Challenges” exhibit:
UFO Make Over Challenge: Both of us had a stalled quilt that we couldn’t find a way to finish. So we traded our quilts-in-progress, so the other person could finish the quilt, with total freedom. If you think this is risky, remember, these quilts sat around our sewing rooms for years. What did we have to lose?
Pat’s Original Quilt and Wendy’s Sneak Peek Make Over (in progress)
Wendy’s Original Quilt and Pat’s Sneak Peek Make Over (in progress)
We’ve both been working on other challenges. Wendy finished her quilt, Lightning Strikes, inspired by the Rail Fence pattern- see detail of the quilt. Pat challenged herself to make a quilt with the opposite of “low volume fabrics”, titled High Volume.
We invited a dozen or so quilters from Canada and the United States to join our Shape Shifting Challenge. The quilts must be 20″ by 20″ or less. The theme is open ended, of course. See Pat’s quilt, Encryption and Wendy’s quilt, U-Turn, (in progress). We’re so excited to include this group challenge (and another small group challenge) in our PIQF exhibit!
Neither of us can get a good angle on our sewing rooms in photographs, but we thought some detail shots might be fun to see. Both of us have big fat messes going on, but try to guess which group of photos is Pat’s or Wendy’s workspace.
Creative Quilt Challenges, Take the Challenge to Discover Your Style & Improve Your Design Skills, by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill, 2016, C&T Publishing
Thank You for Following us on the Blog Hop! Take the challenge to figure out which group of photos is Pat’s or Wendy’s sewing rooms OR tell us what you like about our new book and you’ll be entered into a random drawing for our book (digital copy for international readers) plus a surprise from Pat & Wendy. Leave a comment by April 12th to be included in the drawing.
Please join us on our Blog Hop!
Catch Up with previous posts and Keep Up with the new posts!
Monday, March 28: ctpub.com/blog
Tuesday, March 29: Maria Shell, talesofastitcher.com
Wednesday, March 30: Sandra Clemons, sandraclemons.blogspot.com
Thursday, March 31: Tierney Hogan, tierneycreates.wordpress.com
Friday, April 1:Gina at BOLT Fabric Boutique, boltneighborhood.com
Monday, April 4: Yvonne Fuchs, quiltingjetgirl.com
Tuesday, April 5: Kristin Shields, kristinshieldsart.com/blog
Wednesday, April 6: Paula Mariedaughter, paulamariedaughter.com
Thursday, April 7: Teri Lucas, generationqmagazine.com
Friday, April 8: Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, wendyhill.net/blog
I love being home! But there is always catching up to do.
I’m happy to announce that our book hit #5 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Quilts and Quilting list a couple of days ago, and today, it was #52 in overall rankings in Quilts and Quilting. Thank You Everybody! Thank You C&T Publishing!
Before I went out of town, I made good progress on one of the new challenges (with coauthor Pat Pease) for our upcoming Pacific International Quilt Festival special exhibit* Cooper the Cat let me know it was time for dinner on occasion, but otherwise I kept going! (* PIQF, “Creative Quilt Challenges”, Santa Clara, October 13-16, 2016)
I found a new book that is more than just a coloring book- it’s another way through the door of patterns found in nature. I spent some time doing the Flip Coin Coloring Game with my mother-in-law. Heads: Color a hexagon green. Tails: Color a hexagon magenta. The author promises we’ll find patterns in the randomness!
Finally, I got to see a wonderful exhibit of trompe l’oeil in Medford. This is French for “deceive the eye”. You might think of it as extreme realism in 2D artwork, such as the chalk paintings on sidewalks or walls that look so realistic you feel you might fall into a hole or walk into a cafe OR in paintings. But the allusion of realism found in trompe l’oeil is also used in ceramic reproductions of objects. My favorite: a plate of eggs, one partially peeled, ready to eat (if I didn’t know better).
The exhibit included a photograph of scissor earrings. I’m not sure it’s a classic example of trompe l’oeil, but I’d wear these in a hot minute if I had pierced ears. I googled “trompe l’oeil scissor earrings” and found them on Etsy, TheEdenCollective. You can find them too!
As a metaphor for life, I think you can figure out your own life lessons from the photograph.
As a practical guide to taking care of your sewing machine, don’t let this happen to you! When thread texturing, clean out the bobbin case regularly (no exceptions), change the needle every 3-4 hours of sewing, and don’t wait to hear the sound of parts grinding on parts to add a drop of oil.