Patchwork Times–Book Report, Car Dealers and Climate Control

After a pretty productive week last week on The Book, I feel like this week may get away from me entirely until Friday. The minutiae of at least two weeks of life is condensed into this one week, with “something” to do each day. I did manage to finish one of the biggest projects in the book over the weekend, and I’ve made great progress on the next biggest. Once these two are out of the way, I’ll feel a lot better about how quickly the manuscript will get done.

ITMan and I spent the entire day today (and I really do mean the entire day, from 7:45 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) dealing with car maintenance. Both cars needed their winter tires put on and oil changes, as well as a couple of smaller fix-its and warranty repairs, so we just used his day off to get it done. It might not have taken quite so long had the service department not lost the keys to the Mustang. Yes, they LOST the keys and the transmitter to my car somewhere in the service area. Good thing I had a spare key with me. They didn’t find it until we’d been gone a full hour; they sent me home with a brand new key and transmitter, but now I’ll have to go back at some point and have the original key, and my other spare, reprogrammed since I guess they won’t work now that the whole system has been reprogrammed. Sheesh.

Despite being in the Ford dealer’s waiting area all day, I got a surprising amount of work done on The Book. I took the laptop with me, plugged in to their power and did drafts of the instructions for two of the quilts in the book, so it wasn’t a completely wasted day like it could have been. The trip back over there to take care of the key mess will be wasted time, but at least it’s not a “have to do right now” thing…

Backing up a bit: Sunday was the day to head to the Holiday Bazaar in Heidelberg, and shop for foody gifts to mail back to family in the States, but the entire thing was really just a bust. The vinegars and oils that we usually send back won’t be going this year, as the vendor was all out of the good stuff before we got there. I’ve no idea what that means for the family Christmas boxes, and I don’t even really have time to think about it too seriously at the moment. I’m waiting and hoping for inspiration to hit.

Then on Monday I had to be a nice Mommy and take Guitar Girl back to the bazaar, since she worked all weekend and wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. It was a bust the first time around, but maybe I spent more time just perusing the aisles on Monday (since I knew there wasn’t any of the “must buy” stuff there anyway), because I did find a couple of other cool things, including these:

Wonnie slippers

Woohoo! Slippers that you put in the microwave and then put on your feet! Awesome! I used them this evening, and they are perfect. Though I LOVE my quilt studio, it has absolutely no insulation up here and it’s freezing even now (and it’s not even deep into winter here), so my feet are always cold (and don’t get me started on how bad this room up here is when it’s windy outside. brrrr.). The radiators are so weak and wimpy up here that they don’t even deserve the name, so there’s no such thing as climate control here unless you count slippers, socks, sweaters and scarves.

The Wonnie slippers have flax seeds and herbs in them so they smell nice when heated, and are wonderfully soft and soothing. You can’t walk in them, so it’s a sit-and-relax type of thing, but I did figure out how to run the sewing machine at the right speeds for machine quilting with them on. So I now have another climate control option for my feet!

Here’s Shadow’s version of climate control:

Shadow's climate control

He’s always been a chilly little thing, and since there’s not an ounce of fat on him he has no insulation. What he’d really like is my lap 24/7, but failing that, he camps out by this space heater that’s sitting by my computer chair all day long, as long as it’s on. He turns over once in a while, to roast the other side evenly. We’re both a little warmer now, at least!

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!

meerkatThe 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!” 😀 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!

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 “Trunk Show: Twisted Tails Mystery Quilt”

The allure of antiques and quilts

I think there are times when ITMan rues the day that I discovered antique furniture (okay, let’s be honest, I know there are times!). Lately, probably due to the number of new pieces that have found their way home with me (more on those later), I’ve been thinking about what it is exactly about antiques that speaks to me so strongly. So take a look at this:

Carved medallion on buffet

This is the carving on one of the doors of my buffet in the dining room. This is not a recent addition, but one of the pieces I got in Antwerp when I took a road trip to an antique wholesale warehouse with two carloads of other shoppers a few years back. I bought some other pieces on that trip, but we’ll get to those later. Anyway, I looked at this carving with new eyes some time ago, and thought about translating it into a quilted design. I think it was Kristin’s needle doodles that started me on that track, and I figured at some point I would work on some sort of a practice piece to see if I could duplicate the look and the texture of this design in fabric and thread. That’s as far as the idea went, but it was still floating around in my head when it came time to figure out what to do with the border of The Misery Quilt. The scalloped border was definitely more perfect than the idea that came before, but it still needed something more, and here’s what developed:

Border medallions

Can you see the roots of this design in the carving on the buffet? I loved those little curved edges around the central medallion on the buffet, and they soften the line of the oval, and add a bit more interest. I can hardly wait to get to the quilting part to add to the effect! I’ve planned to put sixteen medallions, eight each of two different sizes, in the outside border of the quilt. The embroidery designs are all just a bit different, since the feathery magnolia and leafy designs are all actually separate embroidery files that you can put together any way you like and stitch them out.

If you look closely at the background of the medallion on the buffet, the wood has been textured in some way, so it almost looks like stippling, in person anyway. I don’t know that “textured” is the proper term, since I know just enough about wood carving and furniture making to appreciate it, and nothing more, but you get the idea. I’m planning to quilt The Misery Quilt in #100 silk thread, and will probably put some insanely small background pattern around the flower in the medallion. The medallions are fused together, by the way, and I’ll do satin stitching with the silk thread on the edges like I’ve done in other places on the quilt.

I’ve come to realize that many of the reasons quilting attracts me the way it does go for antiques as well. Character, individuality, the unmistakable stamp of loving hand craftsmanship, finely wrought details, and the sure ability to stand the test of time; all these things are inherent to both antiques and quilts. Is it any wonder? Even the excitement and satisfaction of the search is similar: when you find the perfect antique that you just love (and can afford, and have a place to put!) you get that warm, fuzzy feeling, just like when you’ve found the perfect fabric for your current project, or you’ve tried some new technique or design solution and it’s given the project new life and made it better than you ever imagined it could be. What’s not to love about antiques and quilts?