April 29, 2009

I went to Chicago but did not see the quilt show!

The back-to-back Chicago and Paducah shows created travel and logistics nightmares for many quilt show vendors, and we were no exception! Our solution was that Stacy drove most of her product for both shows and all of the booth paraphernalia to Chicago in a cargo van. Then, between shows, she would drive to Paducah on Monday. Meanwhile, I flew in to Chicago on set-up day and left early to fly home on Sunday so that I could drive to Paducah from Atlanta on Monday! Whew!

Our booth was the second booth from the convention center door, where we unloaded the cargo van. The same door was directly across the road from the hotel. Even the restroom was conveniently located at the end of our aisle. We didn't even get to see much of the show as we walked to our booth. In addition to being vendors, I taught two classes and Stacy taught one, and between us, we did three of the evening Sampler presentations. Thank goodness for Diane Gabb, who lives in Chicago. She is one of several show staff we really depend on. In her regular life, she is, among other things, a quilter, certified quilt appraiser, CPA and From Marti Michell educator. At shows, her steady demeanor and attention to detail keeps us balanced!

For the record, my students said it was a great show. If you visit Flickr and type "Chicago Quilt Festival" into the search field, you'll find many fun photos of quilts that were on display. The attendance seemed very strong, although I did not hear official numbers, and our sales were as good or better than last year. As always, the best part is the communication with quilters from around the world!

Speaking of Quilters Around the World
Back in February when I blogged about my trip to Holland, I showed a few photos of Belgium quilter Mieke Duyck's Sunburst blocks. She recently sent us a photo of the finished - beautiful! - quilt and I thought I would share it with you here. Click on the quilt for a larger photo.

Spring Day in Atlanta

Atlanta is blessed with perfect weather and climate for azaleas and dogwoods. Blossoms begin to peek out the last week or so of March and any time after the first of April, become magnificent! On Monday before Bettina had to catch her plane home, we toured some of the beautiful residential areas and then had lunch outside in the sun. She missed the show by just a few days!

Bulloch Hall Quilt Show

On Sunday, Bettina and I went to the Bulloch Hall Quilt Show. Bulloch Hall, in Roswell, Georgia, was the childhood home of President Theodore Roosevelt's mother, and it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bulloch Hall Quilt Guild meets there each month and holds an annual quilt show. It is always a very nice local show in a lovely setting.

A special treat this year was the exhibit of two of the six sets of the Vintage Revisited challenge quilts organized by Mary Kerr. "What would happen if a set of [antique] blocks was divided among a number of quilt artists and each was left to create a quilt in her own unique style?" I had seen three of the sets at the New Jersey State Convention when I taught there last year and really liked the concept as well as the results.

Here are two of the snapshots I took at Bulloch Hall. Click on the photo to go to a larger version. You can find the makers' names and see more quilts at the Vintage Revisited Website.

Bettina is the originator of the "quilt challenge" idea. She arranged the first quilt challenge that I ever knew of when she was coordinating the National Quilt Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. The reason I remember it so well is that the challenge fabrics she selected were from the first Richmond Hill line that I designed for Springs Industries in 1986. (In case you are wondering, the Hoffman Challenge did not start until 1986.)

Atlanta was hopping when Bettina came to town

For some years, six or seven traveling quilt teachers, including Bettina and me, got together for a December slumber party in Iowa. It was a treat to travel without suitcases of quilts, share like experiences and enjoy our friendship. All of the others were within driving distance, I always flew in. I'd always say, "When is someone going to fly down to Atlanta and see me?"

So, a few weeks ago when American Airlines had a good sale, Bettina called and we picked a weekend for her to visit Atlanta. There was no agenda, just a planned get-together. we can't remember for sure our very first meeting, but our friendship goes back around 30 years. From 1978 to 1985, Bettina was a quilt shop owner in Columbia, Missouri, where she and her husband still lives. Richard and I owned Yours Truly, Inc., from 1972 to 1985.

The Terracotta Army
The day before Bettina arrived, Anne Dawson, my secretary, reminded me how much she had enjoyed the special exhibit of nine soldiers from China's Terracotta Army at the High Museum of Art. It was closing that weekend and became one of our non-scheduled events. I picked Bettina up around 1:30 and we drove past the Carter Center and the Martin Luther King Center to meet Richard. He took MARTA (Atlanta's rapid transit system) to Art Center Station and we had just enough time to appreciate both the Terracotta Army and the final of three exhibits from the Louvre.

We had dinner at Atlantic Station, a new live/work/shop area near midtown that was built on the site of an old steel mill.

The Greater Atlanta Shop Hop
Saturday was a busman's holiday*. Bettina and Stacy and I went on the Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop. It was a first for all of us! The theme was Remembering Childhood and all of the shops created their own memory. Nine shops participated, but we were able to visit only five. It was a lot of fun, and, of course, we added some things to our fabric stashes. *free time spent much the same as one's work.

Tiny Stitches' theme was "Read Me A Story and tuck me in with a quilt!" and Maetha was the Princess with the pea:

At Little Quilts, Mary Ellen was the ringleader for Under the Big Top:

Intown Quilters celebrated Summer Vacations. Here's a photo of Cheryl with her new Aurifil thread display. Aurifil is my favorite thread and I am the U.S. spokesperson for Aurifil. All but one store we visited had Aurifil, but Cheryl had the most!

At Sweet Home Quilt Co., in Conyers, it was time to dress up in Grandma's Closet. Here is owner Melisa holding a picture of her at the age of four doing exactly that!

At our last stop, Karen and staff at A Scarlet Thread were celebrating a Birthday Party.

I'm sorry we didn't get to the other shops - Quilts and Fixins, Jonesboro; Red Hen Fabrics, Marietta; Patrick's in Covington and Heritage Quilts & Fabrics in Newnan. But I'm sure a good time was had by all!

Visiting Tifton

I left the office in time to drive to Tifton, GA, for dinner with some of the members of the Wiregrass Quilters Guild. Even though it was early spring, the azaleas were in full bloom in South Georgia, so beautiful!

My hostess, Caroline Benefield, had invited a few ladies over for dinner, and Margo Martin brought a really good baked bean dish. I asked her if I could have the recipe to share on my blog, and she photocopied her recipe card for me (it has the notation "very good" in a corner, and I can attest to that!). The recipe pushes my limit of 5 ingredients, but I don't count ingredients in cans or bottles! Thank you for sharing, Caroline. :-)

    Ranch-Style Baked Beans
    2 Tbs vegetable oil
    1 lb ground beef or 1/2 lb ground beef + 1/2 lb sausage
    1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
    2 (1 lb) cans pork & beans
    1 (1 lb) can kidney beans, drained
    1 Cup catsup
    1/2 Cup cold water
    2 Tbs mustard
    2 Tbs lemon juice or vinegar

    Brown the meat in the oil. Drain off the fat. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix and bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did!

I was happy to also have time to stop and have dinner with Suzanne Leimer, who owns Suzanne's Quilt Shop in Moultrie, GA. Suzanne has been one of our customers for a long time. I design the blocks for the online Patchwork Parties, and Suzanne's has been one of the 12 participating shops since the Party began in 2006. We talk on the phone, but it's all business, so I really enjoyed our visit.

Unless you live in the area, or are a fan of wild Burmese chickens, you probably don't know about the town of Fitzgerald has the largest population of these birds. They roam the streets at will. The Wild Chicken Festival, with antique cars, crafts and a rattlesnake roundup was the same weekend I was teaching in the area.

April 28, 2009

Friendship Quilt - Photo Update

There are now larger pictures of the quilt and 30 of the blocks on our Website. I hope you enjoy them!

April 21, 2009

My Very Special Friendship Quilt

In 2004, I was selected to receive the Silver Star Award at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I was very flattered to be chosen for such an honor. The award is presented annually "to a living person whose body of work has positively influenced, promoted, and developed the art of quilting." The banquet was attended by about 500 quilters, many of whom I've known throughout my career, and it was a wonderful evening.

What I did not know was that many of the people in attendance had also made a block or sent a signed a brick for a friendship quilt that was hanging to one side of the stage under black curtains. It was so dark in that corner, I didn't think there was anything there at all. Just when I thought the banquet was over, Richard went to the microphone and Patti and several others left their tables to go toward the side of the stage. As they wheeled out the quilt frame and removed the curtains to reveal the surprise, Richard talked about the friendship quilt and how happy everyone was that the secret was never found out! There were dozens and dozens of phone calls, letters and packages going back and forth for months - I never had a clue! Nor did I have a clue that Richard was making me a quilt, too - his first quilt!

We recently hung my Silver Star Friendship Quilt in the stairwell at our office and everyone stops to look at it, but not as often as I do. It's so special to me, for many reasons.

It was the best surprise ever. I was so happy my family and so many friends involved with the making of the quilt had attended the banquet. They were able to see the quilt in person and I was able to say hello and gather hugs and enjoy the evening even more. I was so touched by everyone's thoughtfulness in designing their blocks. There are blocks depicting book and pattern covers from our Yours Truly days, even blocks made with YT fabrics, and lots of my favorite colors and block patterns. I can't list everyone here who participated in making the quilt, but the whole story and many more close-ups will soon be on our Website. Click on each block for a larger view.

This is Sally Paul's block. Sally and I have enjoyed a long friendship and I miss spending time with her. She is a high school art teacher.

Gudfinna Helgesdotter, who doesn't prefer applique, made a beautiful depiction of Iceland's volcanic landscape. We have been friends with Gudfinna and her husband for many years. They have a lovely shop called Virka.

Rita Weiss and Linda Causee at American School of Needlework put the cover of "Quilting for People Who Still Don't Have Time to Quilt" on their block. I did a series of "...Don't Have Time to Quilt" books with ASN.

The quilt is large and we didn't have a place to hang it, but we took it out whenever we had visitors who wanted to see it. It has always been fascinating to look at! We recently relocated our offices and the stairwell was the perfect place to hang the quilt - the way the stairs are built, we have a wonderful view of the quilt from upstairs and downstairs. I see it whenever I walk out of the sewing studio, and the variety of block styles, techniques and colors makes it "new" over and over again. I <3 this quilt!

hope you enjoy these pictures of my friendship quilt. And if you're in the Cedarburg, WI area, you can see the quilt in person at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, through July 19.

I just discovered an online quilt festival and posted this quilt there. To see over 400 quilts (!) visit Parkcitygirl's blog:

April 11, 2009

LaVeta, Colorado with Ricky and Alex and Sharon

When I returned from the Maryland trip, I had less than 24 hours to unpack, pack, sleep and catch another plane. This time my flight was to Colorado Springs, CO, the first trip I had ever made to that airport. Because I normally fly out of Atlanta, a big and busy airport, I have a great appreciation for the fact that I can fly direct nearly anywhere in the world. Changing planes seems like a hardship to me. Because I fly so often in and out of such a big and busy airport, I have a real appreciation for flying in and out of such a small friendly airport as Colorado Springs. They even have free wi-fi throughout the terminal. (If you travel with a computer, there is a wonderful list of airports with free wi-fi at http://www.wififreespot.com/airport.html)

I have to admit that, when Angel Hawthorne, the producer for Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson’s The Quilt Show on webTV, called to invite me to be a guest on the show, I was pleased. But, when she told me they would tape in the Colorado mountains in the middle of March I was skeptical. Is is really smart to tempt the snow gods? I guess so! When we landed in Colorado Springs it was the most gorgeous day I had seen in weeks – we are talking 72°, sunshine and blue skies! Now, there had been snow two days before we arrived and a week later they had 24”, but on March 14 it was beautiful!

Sharon Pederson, probably best known for Reversible Quilts, and I would both be taping the next day (the Ides of March) so we had planned to drive together to LaVeta. Sharon is from Vancouver, British Columbia, but had flown in from Tuscon and was waiting at the airport. It took only a few minutes to meet, rent a car, haul out the bags and be on the road to LaVeta. The two-hour drive gave us a nice opportunity to get acquainted. LaVeta is not the end of the world, but as people like to say, “You can see it from there!” This quiet little town is hardly the place you would expect to find a very professional crew taping a WebTV show with a live audience. But that is what we found. Sharon taped in the morning and I was in the afternoon. Ricky and Alex are both so poised and professional and easy to work with, and the audience was wonderful. It went all too fast! Here I am on the set with Ricky and Alex.

“My” show will air sometime between July 1 and December 31, 2009. You can bet I will keep you posted! For more details about all the shows, see