Helloooo, Cleveland!

June 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

I’m writing this at the Cleveland airport, waiting for the flight that will take me to Memphis.  I’m going deeply South for the next three weeks for a contract job that I will talk about later.  But first I had to get this out of my system:

OK.  Obligatory Spinal Tap reference made.  Carry on.

I hadn’t intended to let the blog lie fallow for so long.  I’ve had some life stuff going on which I will discuss in a later post (ooh, SUSPENSE!) and the longer I put off talking about that, the harder it seemed to get started.  Not only have I not felt particularly verbally creative lately, but the quilting fell by the wayside somewhat while I regrouped, reassessed, and got adjusted to The New Normal.

But not only have I renewed my commitment to Accentuating the Positive, Eliminating the Negative, Latching On to the Affirmative, and Avoiding Any and All Messing With Mr. In-Between, I have also had a really good quilting weekend.  My birthday was Friday, and I couldn’t have given myself a better gift than three days of quilts and friends.  Since I found out Wednesday that I’ll be spending the next three weeks (!) in Arkansas (!!) without a sewing machine (!!!), I addressed my quilting day with Rhonda on Friday to the sole purpose of getting a hand-applique project ready to take with me.  It doesn’t look like much now, but it’ll get there.  Then Diane arrived Friday night with some drop-dead, knock-out show and tells:

Batik Disappearing Nine-Patch

Batik Disappearing Nine-Patch

Batik Ohio Star

Batik Ohio Star

The Ohio Star blocks are the beginnings of the quilt she’s been buying all those gorgeous blue, teal, and purple batiks for.  I feel a palpable ache to see the finished quilt.

Rhonda, Diane, and I took a shop hop to Lebanon, Lancaster, and Berks Counties on Saturday, stopping at Martin’s Fabric Barn in Lebanon; Burkholder’s and Sauder’s in Denver; Wooden Bridge Drygoods in Kutztown; and Ladyfingers Sewing Studio in Oley.  I didn’t buy any full price fabric, but I still did more damage than I would have ideally liked, especially since we were going to a quilt show the next day.  However, I was able to pick up Marsha McCloskey‘s new Feathered Star book, which I have been semi-breathlessly awaiting since the first volume came out in 2003, so that could not be helped.  It was a beautiful day for a drive out in the country, and a good day with friends.  When we got home, Dan made burgers and served birthday cake.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

Sunday we drove to Chantilly, VA for the Quilters Unlimited show.  QU has something like 1200 members, and the show is not judged, so they get a huge turnout of quilts.  It’s nice to see such a wide variety of difficulty and skill levels displayed, as the format encourages guild members to submit quilts that probably wouldn’t appear in a smaller, judged show.  In my critical hat, however, I started to feel like a broken record on two topics:

1)  Value Judgments:  If you don’t have much value contrast between your fabrics, your piecing or applique is not going to show up.  While this can occasionally be useful, even desirable, I don’t think many of the worst offenders at this show recognized the problem before the top was finished.  If all your fabrics are medium, there’s nothing to move the viewer’s eye around the top.  And apparently, the quilters of northern Virginia l-o-o-o-v-e them some Kaffee Fassett.  Gorgeous fabrics, but tricky.  I’m a believer in “showing my work” like in math class:  if I made the effort to do it, I darn well want you to see it.  And if your entire quilt is light peach and light green (or dark purple and dark teal, or whatever), that work doesn’t show.  You might as well have just quilted a big piece of one fabric.

2)Caught With Your Pantographs Down:  Just because I haven’t yet sent out a top to a professional longarm quilter does not mean that I have anything against the practice; far from it.  I would much rather see someone who likes to make tops but doesn’t like to quilt them enjoying finished quilts (and supporting a usually-female entrepreneur in the process) than feeling guilt over a closetful of unquilted tops any day of the week.  And I’ll never say never:  I may very well be patronizing a longarmer myself one of these days.  BUT– (and it’s a big but, tee hee) there is a time and a place for pantographs.  A busy pieced quilt with the focus on the bold print fabrics, where custom quilting wouldn’t show up no matter what you did, is the perfect application for a nice pantograph.  But a medallion quilt with big open spaces around the piecing?  An applique quilt?  A quilt where the value difference between the pieced stars and the background isn’t particularly strong?  Bad, BAD pantograph!  An all-over design pushes the foreground into the background and blends everything together.  That’s sometimes an asset, but for some of these quilts it was definitely an deficit.  I know pantos are normally cheaper, but there’s a time to be cheap, and your quilts aren’t it.

/soapbox stowed.

The quilts were lovely, the guild members rightly proud, and the vendors numerous.  We grew sore from walking on the unforgiving concrete floors, but it was well worth it.  However, fantasy had to cede to reality, and my fabulous quilt weekend had to give way to a long day in airports.  Such is life.

I’d better get to my gate; I have high hopes for Elvis-inspired ridiculousness at the Memphis airport.  If I am not disappointed, I promise to share.

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Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, New Projects, Quilt Shows, Travel. Tags: , .

Whoo Hoo! Walkin’ in Memphis…

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