Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend of Hooking

I spent the weekend in a hooking workshop with a wonderful teacher, Jackye Hansen.  It's a bit of an exaggeration to say that I spent the weekend hooking, however.  I asked for a custom pattern - an adaptation of a smaller pattern Jackye has in her catalog.  I wanted something larger with spring birds and flowers.  I was really excited about the pattern at first:

I hooked the bluebird first.  I was okay with how he turned out - this isn't fine shading, but somewhere in between fine and primitive.

However, the more I looked at him, the more I was bothered by how BIG he is!  It's hard to tell from the photo, but he's larger than the actual bird.  And larger than the robin sitting to the left of him. I think I need to rip him out and make him just a little smaller. 

And then there are the dogwood blossoms.  The darker pink I was outlining with is too close to the petal color.  All you can see is a big pink blob once you step away from the rug.  Those need to be redone, too.

Needless to say, my inspiration faded quickly (partly due to a severe headache I just couldn't shake), so I spent most of the workshop chatting and watching my classmates get lots of beautiful work done.  I should have taken pictures - there were some really wonderful rugs being worked on!

Before I even think about tackling the issues with the bird rug, I want to finish the Jumbo Star.  I dusted it off a month or so ago with the intention of finishing it before the workshop, but of course that didn't happen.  I am making progress, though, and would really like to finish it by the end of March. 

I have way too many new projects I am already committed to starting this year and I am being tempted by even more.  I need to be able to cross something off my list before I add more to it (not to mention that I am running out of bags to use to store my rug UFOs!).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another Evening of Beautiful Quilts

Today's workshop was fantastic!  We learned to weave a basket with embroidery floss (yes, I am serious!), made a tiny little butterfly by gathering a circle of fabric, made a sheep with colonial knots, learned a couple of silk ribbon flower techniques, and made the tiniest little bee wings with organza and wire (that one wasn't my favorite - I will stick with the sheep!).  I am truly enjoying this class.  Never a dull moment!

Tonight's show & tell brought more gorgeous quilts.  Sharon Schamber displayed her newest piece which I assume we will see hanging with a big ribbon in Paducah - it is gorgeous! The Massachusetts quilts were also displayed tonight.  Here are a couple I particularly liked:

Mildred, a relatively new appliquer from Hawaii (she started in 2005), showed two absolutely gorgeous quilts.  This one was inspired by Captain Cook and has all sorts of symbolism designed into it - it was amazing!

I wish I could have gotten a picture of the whole quilt.  It was truly outstanding!  I did get a chance to get a picture of Rita Verocca with her award-winning quilt:

Time to get back to my sheep - I can't wait to get his little body filled with a thousand or so colonial knots!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Surrounded by Inspiration

Today was the first full day of my four day class with Janice Vaine at The Applique Academy.  I opted to shorten my visit this year to avoid having to be away from work (or rather, to avoid having to work through another vacation!), so I am only taking the main conference class.  Our block is not my "thing" - it involves a person and I absolutely hate putting people on quilts - but the stitches and techniques we are learning are wonderful!  I don't have much to show for my time so far as we are mainly working to build a stitch reference book, but it has been lots of fun!

After class ended today we were treated to a presentation by Faye Labinaris, one of my favorite teachers.  She presented a trunk show of "Cover Girls", the quilts featured on the covers of her many books.  She is a very entertaining speaker!


Sorry about the blurry pictures - we weren't able to get a seat in the front and I only brought my little point-and-shoot camera along.  After Faye's presentation, we were treated to a bunch of wonderful quilts during show-and-tell.  There was a particularly wonderful group of quilts from a teacher in Massachusetts and her students. We are hoping to get those displayed again tomorrow so we can get a better look. Here's a partial picture of one of them:

My friend Pat shared a quilt that she made from blocks exchanged with other friends with whom she has attended the Academy for many years. We had a chance to get a picture of all of them with Elly after the session:

I will be up late tonight practicing the things I learned today - doing my "homework".  I have to have something to show for my time in class!