Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baltimore Overload!

I've just about recovered from the past couple of weeks on the road - a little fun, a little work, and a LOT of Baltimore!  Along the way I managed to finish the 24th 12" block for my LeMoyne Star - only one more 12" block and 6 more 6" blocks to go!

The Baltimore immersion began with a trip to the sixth annual Baltimore on the Prairie conference in Nebraska.  I was very fortunate to have two classes with Sue Garman, an absolutely phenomenal teacher.  She is my new quilting hero!  She is so incredibly organized and productive.  She shared a number of fantastic tips with us. After a number of years of taking applique classes it isn't often that you learn anything truly new, but that was not the case with Sue. I learned a number of great new tricks. Now that I am home I will have to work up the courage to applique without lines, one of Sue's time-saving tactics. I just couldn't let go of my lines while in the class....

Sue presented a fantastic program on her quilts at one of the evening gatherings. She is such a talented quilter and a very funny speaker!  I was impressed by the broad range in her quilts - style, fabrics and level of difficulty. You would never guess that all of the quilts she shared were made by the same person. Here are just a few of the ones that we saw:

There were a lot of other incredible quilts shared by other BOTP participants during show and tell.

Following the BOTP conference, I headed to Baltimore, MD for a work-related conference. I allowed a little extra time in my travel plans to see a few quilt-related sites. It was a bit disappointing - you really can't see much unless there is an exhibition or event specifically related to quilts. The DAR Museum was a complete dud....nothing quilt-related at all in their regular exhibits, and of course I was too early for the quilt exhibit that begins there in October.  The Maryland Historical Society Museum did have a few quilts on display, but photos are prohibited. I'm sure that there are many people who don't share my opinion, but I have no interest in museums that don't allow photos. It was nice to see the quilts, but in my opinion not worth the $9 admission.

My trip to Baltimore luckily coincided with the September meeting of the Baltimore Applique Society so I was able to attend my first meeting.  I have been a member for several years and drool over the newsletter every month, wishing I could hear the fabulous programs in person. This month's program was presented by Sue Reich, an expert on World War II quilts.  While the quilts for the most part were not beautiful, the program was excellent. Show and tell was fantastic also - there are some very talented quilters in that group!

My Baltimore adventure culminated with a trip to the St. Louis Art Museum with our TAS group for a private showing of the American Album quilt that is part of their collection. The quilt is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and is in wonderful condition. It is a bit of a mix of Baltimore styles, but really appealed to me in that it has a wonderful balance between the simpler, Style 2 blocks and the more ornate (but not overly so) Style 1. 

Seeing this quilt was the perfect end to my two week Baltimore adventure.   I'm feeling very inspired....if only I had more time to stitch!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Travels

I just returned from a fabulous weekend of quilt and rug hooking fun and thought I should get in a quick post before heading off to Baltimore on the Prairie. The weekend started with a trip to Bloomington, IL to see Bonnie Hunter.  What an incredible guild!  They have 300+ members and do not meet over the summer, so we were treated to an incredible show & tell prior to Bonnie taking the stage. There were so many beautiful quilts!

Bonnie's lecture was outstanding (no surprise!).  She explained her scrap saver system and shared lots of quilts with us.

While I love them all, I have to say that my favorite quilt is her basket quilt made as an exchange with an overseas friend.  I had a chance to see it up close - it is gorgeous!

I left the lecture ready to start cutting my stash into strips and squares. I love what Bonnie does with her scraps!

On Friday we shop-hopped our way down to the lake, stopping at Peace and Applique in Rochester, IL and then Homestead Hearth in Mexico, MO. I have to say that I was less than impressed by the customer service at the Rochester shop.  I have been there before and never really had an issue other than extremely slow service at the register, but the young lady at the counter on Friday was a complete disappointment. Irritating enough that I have no desire to ever go back.  Homestead Hearth, on the other hand, was wonderful as usual!  We spent quite a bit of time there and definitely did not leave empty-handed.

Saturday we headed over to Warsaw, MO for the Truman Lake Hook-in. It was our second year there and it was so much fun!  There were a lot of different vendors this year and we had a lot of fun visiting with Janice and Jim from Wooly Woolens and learning about an antique sock knitting machine from another vendor.  There were a couple of quilt shops there that I had not heard of before and I learned a new trick for using starch to prep for English paper piecing that I might have to try out.  

As usual, I forgot to take pictures... The picture above shows the booth where the EPP technique was being demonstrated. The quilts were beautiful!

After the hook-in we headed over to Saltbox Primitive Woolens for the open house and found a few more things that had to come home with us.  It is really a nice shop and every time I go it seems that they have added in a little more quilting stuff.

The weekend was filled with great food, excellent events and a lot of shopping. A great warm-up for Baltimore on the Prairie this week!