Houston Quilt Market Report

I’m back from Quilt Market in Houston, and what a wild ride it was! Kimberly and I had a great time traveling and rooming together, with much laughter and fun, even during the rotten flight over. The flight on Lufthansa was just plain painful, and not nearly as nice or comfortable as the one to Des Moines on Northwest. The only thing that made the flight to Houston even sort of okay was this:

Lufthansa freebies

Lufthansa serves either Cognac or Bailey’s Irish Cream after the main meal during the flight, and it truly was the only good part aside from good company!

Meerkat

The best part: watching Kimberly perk up like a curious meerkat when the cart with the Bailey’s came into view! ;) She’s just so funny! The main meal on the flight was some weird pasta thing that was barely even passable as “food” in my book, and my thought was “This is really not very good, is it?”, but Kimberly, being the “glass is half full” person that she is, says “Boy, we’re really going to enjoy dinner tonight!” :D We kept each other laughing.

I can’t begin to tell you about all of the new things I saw (and in some cases, bought!), but I’ll try to touch on some of the “new and notable” highlights, things I thought were just plain cool and other fun happenings.

Everything in the quilting world is “foody” right now. Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and new Sweet Rolls (like Jelly Rolls but with 1 1/2″ strips) and Turnovers (5″ x 5″ stacks of fabric like charm packs, cut diagonally into a turnover shape) from Moda. It’s not just Moda with the food thing either; the other manufacturers are on that bandwagon too, I just can’t remember the names of all the other foody things I saw. I visited the Moda Bake Shop, and ordered charm packs for the DreamWeaver’s Quilts Studio (eeek! I actually ordered stuff for my online shop, which was a little scary!). The Moda rep gave me the most adorable little box with two teeny tiny “Sweet Roll” fabric rolls, each about 2″ across. I think they’re just too cute to use!

Mini Sweet Rolls from Moda

I played cards with Ricky Tims, and won the deck, including his autograph:

Ricky Tims Playing Cards

Hmmm. Maybe pictures of my quilts will be on a pack of playing cards one day, but I’m not sure I want my face on the Joker cards. As for other celebs, I did see the winner of Season One of Project Runway, Jay McCarroll (though because I don’t watch TV at all, I’m clueless and I didn’t even know who he was until I read Kimberly’s blog just now. I do remember seeing his hair at the show though! ;)), but I missed seeing Marie Osmond at the show by two minutes. C’est la Vie!

And one other notable celeb sighting: Kimberly invited me to accompany her to the Robert Kaufman reception on Saturday evening (which was very nice) where I met Mark Lipinski, who is just as real in person as he is in the pages of Quilter’s Home magazine. Of course I couldn’t come up with a witty response (or any response at all for that matter) when he said “I know your name! Why do I know your name??” I can’t imagine why Mark Lipinski thinks he knows who I am. Not a clue. Who knows? Maybe I’m an “It Girl” and I don’t even know it.

I bought lots of embellishments; beads, fibers, hand dyed floss, threads, micro beads. You name it, it was there at Quilt Market, and I sampled heavily for both the book and the DWQ Studio. I viewed new fabrics from Hoffman, RJR and Robert Kaufman Fabrics, with an eye toward including some of the newest fabrics in my book, and let me tell you, the newest fabric lines are awesome! The batiks in particular from Hoffman and Robert Kaufman are really wonderful! I also met the folks who should probably be held responsible for my bead addiction, Edward and Ruthmarie Hofmann, creators of Hofmann Originals Bead Mixes. I brought home some of the newest additions to their Bead Soup Starter lineup, and a few totally new, limited edition mixes called Soup du Jour. See, more of that foody stuff, yummy!

Here are some of the other goodies I brought back with me:

Houston Goodies

Notable faves: Hot Ribbon Art fusible ribbon (bottom center), Valdani 3-strand hand-dyed floss (top left), Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 software (bottom left), Diva Cord Maker (top center), Yazzi organizer tote (top right).

I picked up so much stuff, including a small mountain of literature from many different companies, that it almost didn’t all fit in the suitcases to get it home. I’ll get to play with some of it while I work on my book, but a lot of what I was after at Quilt Market was for the DWQ Studio, and I have to put that on the back burner for a month or two. In fact, I have to put everything on the back burner for a month or two, and work on nothing but the book, so I can get the manuscript done asap. I hope to have it done and to the publisher by mid-January at the latest, so if things are a bit quiet here until then, that’s why. I’m just going to have to ask forgiveness ahead of time for being too busy to write much here! Exciting times ahead!

Monday’s Melange #4

Monday's Melange

After an unanticipated two week break for the flu and house hunting, I’m back in my Bookmarks folder today to share another Melange on this happy Monday. Today I’m surfing through some art, computer and Internet related links.

The Art of Monica Van der Weer—I love her artwork, and she offers it for download to use as desktop wallpapers. She does lovely paintings of cats, dogs and other animals that are reminiscent of Charles Wysocki. You can also send greeting cards featuring some of her paintings. I remember that I figured out how to put one of her backgrounds on the Windows Startup Screen on my office computer once, and then I couldn’t ever figure out how to take it off. My boss hated cats, but unless he’s bought a new computer since then, I imagine it’s still there… :)

Digital Blasphemy—Ryan is a wonderful digital artist and his desktop wallpapers are really cool. I have a number of them that I use depending on my mood or the season, and he’s always creating more to add to his members only gallery. He rotates some of his members only wallpapers out to the free gallery which I’ve linked to.

PlasmaDesign—Yet another desktop wallpaper site. These wallpapers have more of a Mac-ish feel to them, though of course they are compatible with Windows systems as well (or even Linux, if you are of that persuasion). Some of his wallpapers are free, and some are members only and require payment, which seemed fairly reasonable at the time I did it, which was years ago. He has some lovely landscapes and cool looking abstracts to spiff up your desktop. Continue reading

Trunk Show: Twisted Tails Mystery Quilt

Here’s an oldie but goodie that hangs on the wall in my stairwell. I completed this in 1999 (or so it says on the back; this one actually has a label of sorts, unlike many of the other older quilts around here—shame on me, I know), but it was probably started long before that. I remember piecing the top, and then putting it away for a while because I didn’t know how to quilt it. I even had a place to hang the thing when I pieced it; our bathroom was decorated in these colors, but by the time the quilt was completed, the decorating scheme in the bathroom was on its way out the door due to a move since the new bathroom didn’t have wall space.

Twisted Tails Mystery Quilt

While I was preparing this post, I searched on my hard drive for the instructions for this, as it was from a pattern I thought I had found on the Internet. Couldn’t remember the name of course, so I never did find it. Lo and behold, when I looked at the back of the quilt, there was the name of the pattern! Dang, I amaze myself sometimes, and it isn’t even that hard. ;) I have to be honest, it probably wasn’t forethought that made me note the name of the pattern on the back of the quilt, it was more like being unable to come up with some other creative name for the quilt!

Anyway, the Twisted Tails Mystery Quilt pattern is still available out there as a quick Google search proved, though Quiltzine was not where I got the pattern way back when. Now that I’ve really thought about it, Birgit from Patchcom gave me the pattern, but she did tell me that it came from the Internet, so maybe she picked it up there. Continue reading

WFMW–Basting quilts with a tagging gun

For many years I’ve used plastic tags and a tagging gun to baste quilts together for quilting. In fact, this is the only method I’ve ever used, since I purchased the tagging gun when i was making crafts to sell (BQ) and needed to tag them with prices and info. When I started quilting, I heard about the tagging guns and tags that had just become popular with quilters, so rather than going out and purchasing hundreds of safety pins to baste my quilt, I dug out the tagging gun and tags I already had.

Tag on quilt

There was only one small problem: the tags I had were 3/4″ and had a fat end and a skinny end, instead of 1/4″ with two skinny ends like what was sold for quilts. If I’d used them the way other quilters were using them, straight through the quilt from top to bottom, my quilts would have been quite unstable, with too much potential for movement between the layers. I decided to try putting the tags in like you would use a safety pin or a straight pin, into all the layers and back out again, so that both ends of the tag are on the top of the quilt.

It worked great, with the added bonus that I didn’t need to buy one of those funny grid things that lifts the quilt up slightly off the table or floor that you need if you use the shorter tags, since you have to put them straight through the quilt. I could always tell if the needle (and thence the tag) went all the way through the quilt because I could feel when the needle hit the floor or table under the quilt.

The quilt is secure and the layers don’t shift any more than they would with safety pins. Both ends of the tag are on the top of the quilt so they are easy to see and quilt around and the tags are easy to remove without digging around under the quilt for the other end after you cut it apart. Cutting the tags out of the quilt is safer too, since they’re longer and you can keep the scissors farther away from the quilt surface.

One thing I must point out: You may find that the needle on the tagging gun makes a bigger hole than a safety pin might, or causes a snaggy looking bit on the fabrics. I’ve been told this repeatedly over the years by quilters who tried the gun and don’t like it. Yes, sometimes it can do that, but I think the trick is to be very careful with your needle, and replace it at the first hint of a burr or bent tip. Treat the needle very carefully, just like you treat the needles on your machine; maybe even more carefully, since they cost much more per needle to replace. Continue reading

Quilty cases for the iTouch

iTouch

After all that paper yesterday, I came home and had to have some HOF (hands on fabric) time. ITMan and I each received a slick new iPod Touch as a late Christmas present. We got them free because I took some programming classes in November and December. Great freebies! Not that we needed new iPods, but we do love our techie gizmos…

So now comes the inevitable search for just the right cases for the things. I’ve really never had cases for my other iPods, because I generally don’t take them out of the house. I connect them to players and speaker systems just to make it easier to have more music at my fingertips in whatever room I’m in without burning cd’s constantly. ITMan has a case for his iPod Video from DLO, but it’s really trash, since the case itself put scratches and permanent marks on the face of the iPod after long term use. Isn’t that what cases are supposed to prevent? Obviously, we won’t be buying cases from them again.

When I decided I had to have some sort of case for my newer iPod nano that I got last Christmas, I made a little quilted sleeve from fabric and thin batting. I just wanted something to protect it when I sling it into my purse on trips or something, and this way, there’s nothing inside the case to scratch the finish on the iPod. Perfect. So when ITMan and I were contemplating cases for the iTouch, he mentioned that some sort of a sleeve would be all that was really needed, so I whipped up two cases with that in mind:

iTouch Cases

Soft on the inside, cool looking on the outside. I was going to say “pretty,” but ITMan probably doesn’t do “pretty.” He did spend quite a bit of time picking out his own fabric for his case though, finally settling on the red silk dupioni. The purple silk dupioni was a close second, but in the end he liked the way the red silk shimmered. I chose a couple of coordinating cotton fat quarters for mine, and made the front from one fabric and the back (which also acts as the flap to enclose the iTouch with a bit of Velcro) out of the other.

I left the seam allowances on the outside and used the serger to finish, because I didn’t want the seams on the inside causing lumpy bulk. There’s nothing on the inside but batting, and I think it was Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Black, or maybe it was Dream Cotton in black. Either way, it’s the perfect thickness and very soft and didn’t cause any problems with the machine when I quilted it to the top fabric with no backing.

Now I’m looking at mine and thinking how cool it would be to add some embellishments, like beads, embroidery, crystals, buttons, etc., etc.! Or I could make another and embroider and embellish before assembly. Hmmm, I could get totally sidetracked making these. It would be like making fabric postcards, but making something useful (I’ve never done the postcard thing. What do you do with them besides send them away to someone else, and then what do they do with them??) I’m not sure I have time to get involved in making more of these, but I might not be able to resist this temptation…

The Perfect Four Patch Demo

The Perfect Four Patch Demo

The Perfect Four Patch Demo is now available for download. It’s a short demo which will show you how to make the perfect four patch, with perfectly matching seams and the “twirling trick” to reduce bulk. It’s free, just download and click to play. Other demos are coming soon, but will only be available to DreamWeaver’s Quilts Newsletter subscribers. Subscribe to the newsletter now and be the first to know when new demos are ready to download.