Thursday, June 27, 2013

So Many Shops, Sew Many Rows!

Do you like shop hops? Do you like collecting quilt patterns? Maybe you are motivated by prizes?

And if you live in New York State or Pennsylvania--or if you are planning to visit either of these over the summer--this might be just the ticket to travel from shop to shop with a purpose!

No fees, no passports, and if you've got a smart phone (or a pencil and paper!), you have everything you need to collect a pattern at each of the participating shops. This could be the 'easiest shop hop' ever . . . and maybe even the most fun.

It's a row by row shop hop!

Each of the participating shops has designed a row, following this year's them of "Fairs and Festivals." As you travel from shop to shop, you might get a reason to come back to the area for their special events!

The row patterns can only be obtained by visiting that shop in person. Collect and sew at least eight rows together, and return to one of the participating shops and win a prize! That's it! Them's the rules.

So why am I telling you about all this? . . . It's true, I don't have a shop, but I was thrilled to be asked to design two of the rows in the hop, one in New York and one in Pennsylvania. Wanna see?

"Pick a Patch of Punkins" was designed for Sew Special in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Tons of fall festivals celebrating everyone's favorite fall vegetable take place throughout in Fayette County each year.

And this row, named "A Pickle and a Jam" has lots of little pieces that combine to invoke fun, colorful jars of home-made fruit and veggie put-ups. This row celebrates the culinary arts competitions at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. You'll find this row pattern only at Calico Gals in Syracuse, New York.

The hop starts July 1. To learn about the hop in New York, visit this public facebook page. To read about the Pennsylvania Row by Row hop, visit this page. And to get the complete map of all the shops in both states, you'll want to save this page to your smart phone!

So gather your travel gear, charge up the GPS, fill 'er up with gas, and put the pedal to the medal!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Very Pleasant Day

Even though it's just a few hours by car from my home, I've never been to the Mt. Pleasant Quilting Company in  York, New York. So when I was invited to do a trunk show and book signing at a special event, I was thrilled, but wasn't quite sure what to expect. Every year, Barb Miller, the owner of this amazing destination shop just outside of Rochester, New York, hosts a review of some of the newest, coolest quilty stuff she unearthed at Quilt Market.

I knew I was headed in the right direction, when a quick glance down the road showed me where all the cars were.

The tent just a few steps away from the shop was all abuzz with quilters waiting to see and sample the latest gadgets on this beautiful early summer Saturday.

Then, just before lunch, it was my turn. Barb, our emcee introduced me . . .

And I turned to face this sea of happy quilters! (I told you when I took this picture I would put you on my blog!)

Well, we had a good chat. Looked at some quilts. And it was wonderful to meet so many quilters who purchased the book and waited patiently for me to sign it.

Then, I just had to take a peek inside the shop.

Of course, I visited the powder room and found some treasures on the wall there. This plaque . . .

And this one . . .

And another on a shelf.

Turns out, there were a lot of distractions in there.

As I headed back down the road, this series of grain storage buildings was at the end of the road. So, you see, I really was smack in the middle of farm land.

(I bet this would make a cool quilt!)

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

So Many Choices, So Little Time!

Last summer I challenged all my readers to use their orphan quilt blocks in a quick summer project. We had a competition, a judge, and a really amazing prize package! It was a lot of fun, and it really helped me clear out some of those orphan blocks in my own stash as I created some of the projects I wrote about.

This summer, I'm challenging myself to finish up a few things--and start a few things too. Sorry, no prizes this year, just some plain old-fashioned quilting motivation.

Earlier this year, I started working on this project. The pattern is inspired by a single quilt block from a book full of modern quilt blocks--the book is Modern Blocks from Stash Books, compiled by Suzanne Woods--and this block is the only triangle block in the bunch. I honestly can't say I'm in love with the project. I had to alter the instructions to be able to hand-sew the block. And create the sashing templates--it needed something between the blocks. I love the fabric selection--something from my stash that I purchased year or two ago. Needless to say, this project has some challenges. So, it made me think. . . .

If I'm going to work on a hand sewing project, several years ago, before hexagons hit their current state of hyper-rage, I started making this hexie quilt from a bunch of scraps. The 3/4" hexagons are hand sewn--no paper piecing--English or otherwise. These are done with template plastic, pencil markings, pins and thread. All the hexagons are prepped and ready to sew. And all the diamond-shaped blocks are assembled. I only need to complete the quilt top, come up with some sort of border treatment, and quilt it. "Only"  . . .Ha!

This one is actually a really fun project. I bet it's the first one to get completed this summer! As much as I'm enjoying stitching this project, it serves as a good reminder that Inklingo might be the way to go next time I have an urge to hand-sew hexies together!

With all the summer graduation party invitations, it's good to have a fast and fun project ready to roll. My good friends Susan and Christine, The Swirly Girls, have a new book out, and I'm just itching to make something from it! Four fat quarters and some yardage. Let's see what happens next . .

Every quilter should have a quilt on their own bed, right? Well here's a close up of the quilt on my bed. It has seen better days.

Maybe this summer, I'll create something new and scrappy. These fat quarters and a couple of pretty blue solids seem to want to become something. We'll see. . . .

And these Half-Square Triangles are part of an online HST exchange. Before summer began, each group member (including me!) made a pile of half-square triangles. All were sent to one coordinator, and they were swapped. Now I have a pile of HSTs and a deadline. Will my project be complete by Labor Day? Is the suspense killing you? Yeah, me too!

Karen and Josh welcomed Faye to the family in May. That means, she needs a baby quilt. Let's see if we can get that finished up this summer with our Quilting 101 lesson plan!

Plus one more! I'd like to spend some time showing you some of the projects in the new book in more detail as the summer progressed. There is some great stuff in here!

What about you? Do you have any quilty goals for the summer?

Or . . . maybe it's best to let the quilts decide.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Great Escape!

I made a last-minute decision to accept an invitation to vend at the Wings Falls Quilters Guild Quilt show this past weekend. The group meets regularly in Glens Falls, New York.

Glens Falls is at the very eastern edge of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. In the summertime, that means it's time for some fun!

Although summer hasn't officially arrived yet. The temperature on the last day of May when I arrived in the area, was hot and steamy. How fortunate that Martha's Dandee Creme was located directly across the street from my hotel!

Not just your average ice cream stand, Martha's has an interesting history. Seems Martha lived in New York City in the 1930s, she came to the Lake George area (just a few miles north of Glens Falls) and fell in love with it. She convinced her family to help her finance the purchase of some land--a popular restaurant and ice cream stand soon followed. "Charlie" the rooster portrayed on the huge sign in front of the ice cream stand, likely was inspired by one of the residents in the chicken coop located behind the original restaurant and residence! 

Directly across the street from Martha's (and next door to my hotel) is the The Great Escape theme park.

Complete with a huge gut-releasing ride at it's entrance, the park is surrounded with lush green, shady trees.

And a couple of roller coasters!

The park looked like it would be a fabulous good time, but back at the quilt show I had a booth to prepare!

The Wings Falls Quilters Guild holds their biennial show in The Dome at the Adirondack Sports Complex in Queensbury, New York. The Dome is a huge athletic arena with a vinyl roof that is supported by air pressure.

After passing through a couple of garage doors that kept the pressure-ized air in, I was able to drive right up to my booth space, unload the car and get started. Here we are, ready to roll! My booth was located right at 'home plate!'

As luck would have it, the booth right next to mine was my good friends at Loose Threads Quilt Shop from Plattsburgh. They had lots of tempting quilty treats, including some Snap Sack kits. So did the folks at Adirondack Quilts in a booth on the opposite side of the arena.

And here's another collection of tempting wool treats available from a vendor at the show.

And then there were the quilts. This one, made from a pattern by Edyta Sitar, was made by Pam Schafer using primarily Daiwabo Taupe fabrics. Lovely!

And this one also made by Pam Schafer from a pattern by Mary Ross and Barbara Shea was a real beauty.

With so many quilts on display, leave it to me to find the hummingbird! (A detail from the quilt above)

As a vendor, I was asked to select a "Vendor's Choice" quilt. I just loved all the birds appliqued into these quilt blocks. And the quilt looks so scrappy, too. I couldn't resist! It was made by Nancy Swezey after she took a workshop with Becky Goldsmith.

It seems like I was drawn to applique quilts as I took some quick photos, but all the quilts were just fabulous! All the entries were really amazing!

By the end of the show, it was time to head back to the hotel. Martha's was hoppin'!

But still time to find a quiet spot by the hotel swimming pool next to a beautiful clematis in full bloom.

Happy Stitching!