Thursday, April 29, 2010

International Quilt Festival 2010

I attended the International Quilt Festival on Saturday, April 17, 2010.  I spent most of the day roaming the vendors, disappointed by the lack of bright, modern fabrics for sale.  However, I am very glad I did go.  This is the last year for the International Quilt Festival to call Rosemont 'home'.  Next year, the show will relocate to Cincinnatti, Ohio, due to feedback from convention goers regarding local eateries, hotels, and parking.

The quilts on display were a mixture of antique quilts, and more modern offerings.  Quilts from the 2009 Hoffman Challenge were on display as well, though it was only a small selection of the 300+ items that are in the travel rotation from this particular challenge.

As I said, I was a little disappointed with the vendors.  Overall, there were just a ton of Civil War reproduction fabrics, a lot of wool felting, and lots and lots of simple, simple patterns.  I'm not into the colors of Civil War reproduction fabrics, generally speaking.  As a whole, I find the colors a little too 'blah' for my tastes and design tendencies.

As could probably be expected, Kaffe Fassett's were the primary offering for bright and modern fabrics. Yeah... No thanks.  While I might like individual fabrics by Fassett, I would never create a quilt using solely his fabrics.  In general, I regard his designs as Technicolor vomit.  Far too much going on there for my eye, especially since I have taken graphic design courses in the attempt to get a degree and be able to actually call myself a graphic designer, and effective use of negative space as a resting point for the eye was constantly stressed.  I don't understand the blind adoration people have for his designs...

I did find Vogue Fabrics' booth, and snatched up four different batiks, a yard of each at $4.99/yard.  I picked up two more batiks at another booth, for $7.50/yard.  I also discovered "Eclipse" by Exclusively Quilters.  I absolutely adore the combination of black and gray with that pure yellow!

One of my favorite booths was the Patched Works booth.  I loved the fabrics on display, as well as a good number of the quilts.  Funnily enough, one of my fellow Milwakee-Madison Modern Quilt Guild members worked that booth!  Check out Jen's blog, and her photos of the booth here.

I also picked up a jar of Waterblocker Skin Cream, which I highly recommend!  My hands suffer from chronic dry skin.  I handle a lot of fabric throughout the day, as one of my primary job functions is to fold t-shirts.  I'm also responsible for steaming sample shirts in prep for photography.  So, dry, cracked skin is pretty much the norm for me.  Not so with this amazing cream!  Even better, it's all natural, which my son's bum loves!  Zeb-head has sensitive skin, and we can't use anything with chemical scents on him, and he doesn't always respond well to different diaper rash creams.  I used the cream on his little bum, and, with only one application, the diaper rash immediately started receding.  Honestly, this was probably the best buy of the show for me!

Astonishingly enough, I picked up two patterns by Jane Spolar of Quilt Poetry (image courtesy of website, as I was too lazy to scan them in, and my photo would not have done these patterns justice).  They are "Floral Meditation" and "Phoenix".

I love the rosemaling look Spolar's patterns have, and I highly recommend that you take a trip to her site and have a gander at all of her offerings.  Apparently, she also has a fabric line, called "Bliss", for Northcott Fabrics.  I might have to buy some of this when it releases.  

Now, I say "astonishingly enough" in regards to buying patterns because I'm just not normally a pattern person.  When I make a quilt, I don't want to make the exact same quilt that hundreds of other individuals have made.  I regard my quilts as expressions of my creativity, and how creative is it for me to use someone else's design?

Part of this resistance to patterns also comes from the fact that a good chunk of the patterns out there are so very simple, that they're easily replicated without buying the pattern.  Why should I spend money on a pattern that ten minutes and a decent set of math skills can re-create?  That's fabric money.  Sure, there's the flip side.  Why not pay $10 and save yourself the basic math?  I just can't.  I taught myself to quilt, which included designing my quilts and planning out measurements on graph paper.  I will always fall back on my own skills to produce a quilt, which includes designing it myself.

Patterns like Jane Spolar's are, clearly, the exception to my rule.  I would never have the imagination for designs like those pictured above.  I just don't have the background, artistic or quilting, to have anything like that come to mind.  When I draw, I do so very realistically, and have difficulty abstracting an image into basic, yet flowing shapes.

Anyway, there you have it.  My experiences at IQF 2010.  I might try to swing a trip to IQF 2011 in Cincinnati, but that's really dependent on hubby and having friends to stay with!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


So, I've just been made a happy, happy, deliriously joyful camper!

EQ7 releases on July 7, 2010!

*insert girlish squeal of delight here*

I have EQ5, which I used quite a bit to design quilts.  Then came the new computer, and I misplaced my disks for quite a while, during which time my brain decided to purge any knowledge I had of EQ5.  I determined that I would upgrade to EQ6, but that determination was fairly recent.  Like, a month ago recent.

But now, I'm telling my husband that I don't want a birthday gift in May.  I will happily wait the additional three weeks to obtain a copy of EQ7.

I'm very excited.  Why?  Because I have a lot of very pretty fabric awaiting the installation of a design program on my computer(s).  I've just been reluctant to cut into it without a plan.  I like plans.  I like knowing how much of said pretty fabric is going to be utilized, especially since I've been enamored of the idea of doing coordinated pillow cases and such.

Also...  EQ7 will be Netbook compatible!  Oh, be still my beating heart!  I am made a little bit more complete with this little tidbit.  My Netbook has been my constant companion since its purchase in March.  The fact that I will be able to take my design software with me wherever I go, even to guild meetings...  Teehee!  I'm like a child in a candy store at the very idea.

And for those of us with multiple computers (there are a total of five computers in my home)...  Well, Electric Quilt Company says it far better than I do:  "You’ll never run out of EQ7 activations! Activation and deactivation is as easy as two clicks of the mouse. Install on as many computers as you like and quickly transfer activations from computer to computer. This new policy gives you complete freedom to manage your own activations — and no dongle to worry about!"

And now, here's the truly delicious news (which I would love to hoard to myself, and increase my own chances of winning, but it's truly too wonderful to not share)...  Ten lucky, lucky bloggers will win their own copy of EQ7, along with one more to give away to a lucky, lucky reader.  I have fingers and toes crossed, hoping, because that would just an awesome thing to have happen to this modest little blog.

So, here's to hoping.  I'm throwing my hat in the ring.  

Because I EQ.  Do you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sewing for Myself!

Now that I'm all caught up with birthday blocks, I've been able to do some sewing for myself!  My project of choice:  Sandi's Basket Quilt Along over at Piecemeal Quilts.  I've been lucky enough to be able join Sandi and the group of wonderful ladies she quilts with once a month, in person!!

It's sooooo nice to have quilting friends!

Anyway, these wonderful ladies are putting together basket blocks from instructions by Sandi.  All of the instructions are available on her blog.  Just scroll down and look for them on the right hand side of the page.  They're in PDFs, so you can save them for later or print to work on now.

The last two sessions with Sandi and the ladies, I was able to see some of their basket blocks.  It's really fun to see how much we all differ in our fabric/color selections.  Me?  I chose to go with a white, black and red color scheme.  Very striking, very fun.  

Then I got to my stash...  Still loving the red, white, and black.  But it needed something.

Some red.



Some black.


Lots of white.


And some...


I'm a big one for 'zinger' fabrics.

Make it POP!

I am just loving the way this is coming together!  I took liberties with the color placements in the patterns - I just can't follow a pattern to the 'T'!  

And of course, I had to buy fabric to enhance this quilt:

Aren't these just gorgeous together?  I'm debating the polka dot or the wavy, red/black stripe for the binding. I think I might have the perfect red/black Alexander Henry print in my stash for the backing - depending on how much I need once I'm done.

The plan is to make two more blocks this weekend, along with at least one set of Birthday Blocks for the month of April.  I also need to make at least one large tote bag for the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, IL.  That's coming up quickly, and, well, it's a quilt show.  That means fabric.  That means I need something to carry my goodies in, since backpacks are verboten.  

Maybe I'll even make a matching roll-up for my quilting tools, so that I can use the tote bag for taking projects with me to my quilting activities.  

Oh! Speaking of quilting activities...  I've gone and joined the Milwaukee-Madison branch of the Modern Quilt Guild.  That's TWO groups of quilters that I get to hang out with!!  Our second meeting should be coming up this month.  It looks to be a sewing day!  See?  This tote thing is becoming more and more necessary.

Well, I'm off to put together another basket block.  These things are addictive!