Monday, April 30, 2012

Kalona Quilt Show

   This past weekend was the annual Kalona Quilt Show. Of course, that meant a road trip for Kayla , Jane, and me. It was their first time, but I've went almost every year for 20 years. It is a different type of quilt show. All of the quilts are for sale over the three day event. As a quilt sells, another quilt is hung in its place, so the quilt show is different depending on which day you go. If I lived in Kalona, I'd go everyday. We went on Saturday and, believe me, all the good quilts were NOT gone! There is always a good mix of new and antique quilts. I mainly go to see the antique quilts. I always wish I had a few extra thousand dollars in my bank account that I could spend there. The prices range from $125 - $5500. I think I saw one that said $6200 this year! I took plenty of pictures to share over the next few posts.

This is the first quilt we saw entering the show. WOW!!!

Next to that one...
And then...
Those first three quilts were breath-taking applique and convinced me how truly inept I am at it.

This one was called Indian Teepees...

There are always newly made Amish quilts to tempt you. This was crib-size...

This was my favorite antique quilt. I've never seen flying geese on the diagonal like this. I couldn't find the $2250 they wanted for it anywhere in my wallet! Oh, how I wanted to bring that quilt home! It was Civil War Era using a madder stripe  with muslin background and dense quilting.

A wonderful 1880's Ohio Star...

An unusual deep teal color in this beauty...

And a red and white Ocean Waves that reminded me of the recent show (I missed) out East...
  We had a great day. After the quilt show we visited several of the Amish country stores in the area and headed home inspired and ready to quilt. The only down side was the weather Saturday. It was chilly and drizzly. I'll share more show pictures tomorrow. Keep stitching!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Just for Fun

  After several busy weekends of travel, this weekend was just for fun. No plans, no obligations, just whatever I felt like doing. Don't you love weekends like that? Life gets so busy and so planned down to the minute. I need my "down time" to balance things out.

  Saturday was breakfast club, always fun. I went alone for a change. We usually take turns driving but, everyone had other plans or needed to drive separately. So the General and I were on our own. That's ok, we enjoy each other's company. :) There was a good crowd, but not as much show'n'tell as normal. Here are a couple of good ones I took pictures of after I remembered to get my camera out of my bag!

   Maureen (on the right) recently finished a UFO she hadn't worked on since 2004 or 05. I love the rich colors.

  She's still working on the binding. Another worthy finish.

  Linda had 2 creations to share. She is a longarm quilter who makes art quilts (a lot of them!) These are her newest finishes. The first is a colorful crazy type...
The second is a small wall quilt, very vibrant colors and densely quilted. The leaves appear to be floating on a breeze...
    I had a lovely surprise waiting for me on Thursday after school. A nice big box in my garage the mailman left for me. Inside was the antique quilt I've had on layaway with Jean S. Lyle  since the Des Moines Quilt Expo! I took it with me for show'n'tell...
  Remember the story? The basket block was made by the quilter's little granddaughter on a visit and then the next visit when grandma was ready to quilt it, the granddaughter asked where her block was and grandma took out one of her own blocks and sewed the granddaughter's basket block into the quilt before quilting. I just love this quilt and the story is a big part of the reason why. Since I learned to sew from my Grandma when I was only 4 yrs. old, this story really struck a chord with me. I love the unexpected poison green sawtooth border too.

  Closeup of the rogue Basket block...
   Imagine the patience it took to rip out a block and then set in the basket block after the borders were already in place. What a loving grandmother she must have been. The elderly owner of this quilt  had fallen  on hard times and reluctantly had to sell some family heirloom quilts to make some money. I can promise her this quilt will be cherished as if it had been my grandmother who made it and I'll keep the story with it to honor that grandmother of long ago and the dear little basket maker.

  After breakfast club, with no other plans, I decided to go antiqueing in Kalona on the way home. I ended up spending the whole day! I bought several orphan blocks and a wonderful vintage doll quilt. I'll have to take a picture of it to share next time.

  Sunday after church, Randy and I went to Williamsburg to the outlet mall; then on the way home we met Isaah at a restaurant in Coralville for a late lunch/early supper. Of course we had to go to the Coral Ridge Mall for dessert at Whitey's Icecream. Yum! Randy and I finished the weekend watching a movie on DVD, "Breaking Dawn" when we got home. I sewed the last 4 paper-pieced blocks for my pink and brown Reap the Whirlwind mini before I went to bed. I need to remove the last of the paper before I can sew the blocks together.

  I hope you all had a fun weekend  with plenty of down time too. Till next time, keep stitching!


Monday, April 16, 2012

There's No Place like Home!

   I  returned home Saturday night from my workshop/lecture in Kirksville, MO. I had a wonderful time. The retreat was a lot of fun. I drove down on Friday the 13th and of course, had a little glitch! There was a mix-up with my reservation at the B&B they booked me into. Someone had forgotten to log it into the computerized system. I stayed instead with Jo, a new quilting friend I'd met only a couple hours before when the committee took me out to eat at the Du Kum In. It is famous for it's " 2nd best cheeseburger in town" and that's exactly what I had...delicious as advertised.

  I was at the United Methodist Church by 7 AM to set up my display while the committee prepared breakfast for the retreat attendees. My workshop started at 9 AM, broke for lunch at 11:30, then I changed into my period costume and gave my presentation at 1 PM. After Q&A time, I changed back to my 2012 self and finished up the workshop. I had such a fun time with the ladies, I forgot my camera was in the car and never got pictures of them at work on their blocks! Darn it! The room was huge and packed with quilters cutting, piecing, and pressing all day long. The General and I were on the road home by 5PM. We made it just ahead of a storm system moving in that produced 72 tornadoes in Iowa Saturday night. Mt. Pleasant only got rain and not much of that. It's good to be home safe from traveling and from tornadoes. My heart goes out to those who suffered a loss in the Saturday storms.

  When I have a spare moment, I've been sewing these foundation-pieced blocks using scraps from my CW charm pack fabrics. I have 4 (2- 1/2) gallon size Ziploc bags full of those scraps too good to throw away.
A 3" stack of them.

This is how they look before  trimming...
Trim along edge of muslin.

A closeup look after trimming...

This is what the final block looks like...
 I got the pattern from a $2 bargain book at the Muscatine show...
 This is a really good book, full of colored pictures of quilts and patterns. It was published in 2001 and somehow I didn't buy it then. It was a lucky find.

The inspiration photo. Sorry! I scanned it upside down, but you get the idea! I chose red for the centers and border to better accent my CW fabrics.

  I have about 6 weeks till my next speaking engagement so I should have time for some just for fun sewing and quilting. That will be nice for a change. I just confirmed my airfare for my annual trip to Maine tonight. I will be there June 19-27th. If you are in the area surrounding Portland and would like to book me for a presentation for your shop or guild, give me a call or email me. I'm sure I could make the time between antique and sightseeing excursions with my sister.

  Keep stitching!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On the Road Again...and Again...

    I've been a little absent from blog land lately. I've been on the road speaking. I presented for the Kountry Quilters Guild in Wellman, Iowa on March 19th at the Wellman Senoir Center. They have a very active guild and make a lot of charity quilts. I enjoyed a wonderful show n tell session which included a male guest quilter who brought a lot of his quilts to show. In fact, the Welcome Home Soldier quilt I shared a picture of from the Muscatine Quilt Show in my last blog was made by this gentlemen! He's really a very talented quilter.

    On the 23rd, I spoke to the ladies at the Wayland Mennonite Church in Wayland, Iowa. They got into the spirit and invited attendees to bring any Civil War Era quilts they had along for an impromtu quilt show in the church basement. It was lovely.They had some quilts for sale for their Mennonite Relief fund and I bought a wonderful antique red and white Baskets quilt. I certainly didn't expect that opportunity to present itself.

   The next day, Saturday, I traveled to Keokuk, Iowa for an antique appraisal day held at the Trinity United Methodist Church as a fund raiser. I had never had my Civil War soldier's quilt appraised so I made an appointment that afternoon. It was an interesting experience and fun to see all the other items people brought in. I'm still planning on getting it appraised by a professional quilt/textile appraiser when I can find one close by. The following appeared in the Daily Gate City newspaper (Keokuk.) I didn't even know I'd been photographed.

Becky Wright, left, of Mount Pleasant gives a bit of history about a quilt that was made by a Civil War soldier while he was recovering from a gunshot wound. Dr. George Morris, right, looks through family photos and other information gathered by Wright about the soldier at the Questers' antique appraisal fair Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church, Keokuk.

  This past week I've been car shopping. I've never bought a new car myself before. Randy bought one when we were first married, but then we've always had newer used cars for me to drive. He always has a new demo to drive since he works for a large dealership. With all my speaking trips, I need a reliable car with good gas mileage and plenty of cargo space to (easily) load and haul all of my display items. Yesterday, I closed the deal and now own my very first new car. I was really excited and had a salesman take my picture before I got in it for the first time.
   Don't I look tickled? I told Randy I thought I should have one new car before I died and I plan on retiring in 5 years, so it was now or never! It's a 2012 Dodge Caliber. It may not be a Mercedes Benz or a Porche, but I couldn't be happier with it. (I always liked that Janis Joplin song about "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?") The back seats lay flat and it's a hatchback so I can get all my stuff loaded with ease. I'm speaking way up in NE Iowa Tuesday night and I'm looking forward to my inaugural trip in my new ride. I'll be in Kirksville, Missouri speaking and teaching a workshop for a quilter's retreat April 14 and 15th so I'll get to see what kind of mileage I get. You know how people give their cars names? I think since mine is used for and paid for by my Civil War speaking and pattern business, it should have a Civil War name. I think I'll call it The General. If you see me on the road in The General you don't have to salute, a wave will do. Lol.

  I finally took pictures of the doll quilt I made a few weeks ago. Isn't it cute? It's 12" x 12".

  My son, Isaah, turned 29 on Friday and my Mom turned 89 today. We went to Illinois after church and took a lasagne dinner and birthday cake  to celebrate Isaah's and Mom's birthdays at her house.
I hope you have a great week ahead. I'll be on the road again...
Keep stitching!