Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back from the Quilt Festival...

I'm tired, I'm a bit poorer, my feet are a bit sore, but I am happy, thrilled and sooooo glad we got to go! Wow -- what a day! I'm not even sure where to start. I suppose at the beginning works, but so much happened and I'm not sure I can keep it in order so forgive me if this post seems to wander around a bit.

We started out the day relaxed and taking our time -- yes, I did want to get to the convention center, but hey -- try to rush an almost two year old and get tears. Relax, treat it as an adventure, and you may have a recipe for fun. Am I ever glad that is what we did. It may have meant that it was after lunch when we got there -- but it did mean that we all had a good time.

The first thing we saw when we got into the show were the beautiful quilt displays. I forgot my camera so no pictures, but these quilts were simply works of art. I got to see this quilt in person (the first one listed -- all of the squares and circles in bright colors) and I must say it looks good in the picture, but even better in real life. What the post about it doesn't mention is that each of those satin stitch appliqued circles is about the size of a US dime (sorry for those of you from other countries -- I really can't think of anything else to compare it to and don't have the dimensions for a dime handy). It is absolutely breathtaking! I also got to see so many other quilts, some that I've seen pictures of in magazines, a few antique -- all, just such beautiful examples of the art of quilting. *sigh* I don't know if I will ever have the skill to create something like that -- or even the patience -- but the inspiration to take home and to use in my own humble creations -- now that is priceless.

After perusing the quilts (not long enough there but as long as dd could keep from wanting to touch and would stand for staying in her stroller) it was off to the vendors. Oh my -- the booths, the fabrics, the notions, the celebrities...bliss! When we left for the show there were two things that were on my "I will buy" list -- some of Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut fabric and the Clover Yo-Yo makers (I know, I know -- Yo-yo's are simple to make, you don't need a gadget, etc. etc. But I kept reading about them from here and here and since I am usually slow to do any handwork I thought these would be an encouragement so I could do some clothing embellishment for dd). I MOSTLY stuck to my own rules. As you can see from the picture, a few other items managed to seduce me.
The first purchase that was not on my list was a copy of the first issue of Quilter's Home Magazine. For any of you who haven't checked it out yet -- really, you must! Not a lot of patterns (which is more than fine -- I have enough projects on my plate already), but great articles and some good tips about products, life stuff, recipes, etc. Plus, always Internet related goodies -- I started reading quilt blogs because of an article in one of the issues and look at me now! I started reading this one with issue number 2 and immediately tried to find number one -- no luck, sold out everywhere. The CT publishing booth (I think that's the name) had copies and, more importantly, Mark Lipinski, editor and contributor extraordinaire was at the booth signing copies of the magazine! If anyone who has read the magazine is wondering, he writes like he talks -- so much fun. I was kind of chuckling while he was trying to explain to one of the women waiting for his autograph what the magazine was about and that he started it because, yes, indeed, HE is a quilter (she seemed to have the most trouble with this point) and wanted something that talked about quilter's lives. I also had to add in when one of them saw me buying my copy and asked if I thought it was any good "It rocks -- hard" maybe not the most articulate of answers, but accurate.

So, my first purchase was not on my list -- but still made me seriously giddy. After a quick check-in with dh and the little girl who were having fun in an open space at the end of the booth area, I went back to the booths on a hunt for my "must have" items (for any of your who are parents and are having horrified thoughts of a small child being able to wander off in a large crowd, dd was out of her stroller, yes, but was attached to dh with this. Yes, I'm awful, I put a leash on my child when we are in crowded public areas. But she is an active and curious child without fear -- it allows her to walk on her own while we feel a bit less panicked about the idea of her simply scampering off. Otherwise we'd have to confine her to her stroller or being held. We're working on the whole, stay with mommy and daddy, hold our hands thing, but she's not even TWO yet! Plus, she loves her puppy backpack and will even ask to put it on at home.).

My next round of aisles included the Clover booth where they were demoing the Yo-Yo makers and had samples of the new shapes that are coming out this summer. (side note - the rep at the booth said probably July before the new ones are available even though the official release date is in June) I had alredysearched every booth featuring notions I had come across and had not found the sizes currently available anywhere. And, of course, the Clover booth was not selling anything -- but the person doing the demos knew of the ONE (in a huge convention space with hundreds of vendors mind you there was ONE) booth that had them available. So, booth number in mind, I raced to get my darned Yo-Yo makers! If you think I am being silly (and, alright, I probably was) I was not alone in my mad dash. Another woman and I were dodging quilters, counting booth numbers and searching out these things like it was a military search and destroy mission! We recognized the same "must get the Yo-Yo maker" light in each other's eyes and were laughing at ourselves while doing it -- but you can see for yourself -- SUCCESS! I now am the proud owner of two sizes, and I also picked up a couple of marking pens. I have been slowly working my way through the various marking tools trying to find out what works the best for me -- so thought I would try these out as well.

My Yo-Yo success deserved some celebration so I picked up dd and dh and off we went for a snack. (note - is it really necessary for the concessions at large venues to serve the same bad hot dogs and cruddy snack selections?) After refueling, it was off to the vendors again in search for my Heather Bailey fabrics. Up until this point I had seen Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Batiks until you could almost cry (and I LOVE batiks), and reproductions, reproductions, reproductions but not a single Heather Bailey. ARRGGHHH! Dh and dd were with me now too, so if I didn't find the fabric I wanted soon, it was not going to happen. While on my quest for the fabric I've been drooling over, I saw the Collett Fenske booth. I had just seen her website the night before by following a link from some one's blog so I had to check it out. I started chatting withCollett (so weird using her first name but Ms. Fenske just is too formal for this sweet woman) and told her I had seen her site online. She was thrilled as the site is new. I just wish I could have given credit to the blogger who had linked to her lovely hand dyed fabrics -- I will have to look for the blog, I know I read it in the past day or so (or, if you are the person, please let me know so I can send an e-mail with the information to Collett). While I didn't bring any of her delicious fabrics home with me (and they are delicious), I did have to bring home the patterns to these little wall hangings. This picture does not show how cute these are -- and I have another wall hanging pattern I also purchased but I didn't get a good shot. I'll try again tomorrow. (for that matter, I apologize for the photo quality on all of these pictures, but I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to get these photos up and to post about the show) I also got this adorable sachet filled with lavender and made with her hand dyed fabrics. Little girl could not keep her hands off of it and kept smelling it the rest of our stay at the show.

While I was at Collett's booth and the other booths next to hers I saw Marianne Fons of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting. I kept my cool and did NOT rush her to say "Oh my gosh -- I JUST finished making a quilt from your magazine and I'm just such a fan." It was close, but I didn't do it.

I did however, have another fabric/textile arts fan moment. Also while I was at those booths, I saw Elinor Peace Bailey. She makes the most fantastic dolls and just looks as though she enjoys the heck out of life. I kibitzed on a conversation someone was having with her about her outfit and complimented her yummy lime green lace trim (have I mentioned that I think lime green is a neutral color?). And in case anyone is wondering -- Bailey -- where have we heard that name -- oh, the Heather Bailey fabrics, but no, there couldn't be a connection. Um -- actually, yeah, there could. Elinor Peace Bailey is Heather Bailey's mil. So now comes my quilt show celebrity, feeling like a potential weirdo stalker moment. By this point, I was desperate to find those fabrics -- and the mil of the designer is right there. Maybe, just maybe, she MIGHT know if any of the vendors have the fabric? Kind of a "hey look at what my son's wife did" kind of thing? So, yes, I did ask. Thankfully, she is a very kind person and said that she had been told by several people that they had seen the fabrics, but didn't know where. (ok -- a fabric sighting at least -- hope springing that I can actually find it!) We also had a lovely conversation since I had mentioned that I had seen the fabrics on HB's blog and she asked if I had seen her daughter, Laura Gunn's blog as well. I admitted that I had (umm -- both of them are bookmarked and are regular reads) and that I was in love with Laura's paintings. The entire time I am feeling somewhat like this uber cyber stalker. She was so nice, and even complimented me on dd's jacket and mentioned wanting to convince the Bernina folks about using blogging to reach young (oh, what a nice compliment -- someone please tell my students about this one) quilters and crafters who use the Internet. All I can say is that Elinor Peace Bailey is one classy and sweet lady.

Armed with the knowledge that, indeed, there was some of the fabric I wanted in the building, we moved on with our quest (given the length of this post and the time it's taken to write you would think it was an epic quest). Wouldn't you know, further down the row I found it! Not all of the fabrics I was looking for -- but in one case, a better choice. Even better, it was a booth that was selling yardage rather than just pre-cut FQs, half-yard and yard cuts. I grabbed the bolts I wanted and gladly waited in line. Of course, wouldn't you know that in the next aisle over, there was another vendor who also had the Fresh Cut fabrics and who, moreover, had the ones I had originally wanted as well? Oh, the quandary -- I already had my fabric, but, oh, they are just way too delicious. What is a fabric addict to do? Oh, please, of course I bought some more. Just because I changed my mind about the one project, does not mean the fabrics I originally fell in love with will go without a project for long.

So, fabric and notions purchased (plus a few extras), it was time to head on home. On the way out, I had another quilting celebrity sighting. As we were walking to the end of the row of vendors we passed the Bernina booth. Who was sitting there? Alex Anderson. When my dh heard me gasp, he asked what was wrong. I said, ever so intelligently, that's Alex Anderson! Who? Where? So? (his response). I pointed her out through the crowd surrounding her and his response? "Oh -- the 'Simply Quilts' lady." I had to stop and giggle at that one. I am amazed he has paid enough attention when I have had the show on to recognize her, and because I even assumed that he would know the name. I think he gets husband brownie points for the recognition. He even asked if I wanted to brave the throng surrounding her to get a book and an autograph. I did join the crowd for a few minutes and listened to her talking a bit about her new show with Ricky Timms, but it was getting late, dd was getting tired, and I had really spent all I needed to spend (and a bit more, but just a bit) for the day. So, I passed on getting Alex Anderson's autograph but she did seem very nice and friendly and I did stand not more than 2 feet away from her.

Wow is this a long post -- if you have made it this far, you probably deserve some kind of reward. But I'm not going to share my new fabrics! I went through too much to get them! So, home again, dd sound asleep after an exciting day (and may I say she was sooo good, I am so proud of her and she will benefit from my fabric buying spree), dh sleeping too (he wasn't when I started this post, but he is now -- I can't believe the time) and deserving of major husband brownie points and thanks, and me, ready for bed with visions of playing with yummy fabric and yo-yo's galore in my future. I will post about the other fabric play I have been doing soon, I promise, but later.


Tazzie said...

Wow! You sure did pack a lot in, sounds like the very best day!

Leigh said...

Sounds fantastic.
Love the fabric.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

OOW, OOw, I read the whole thing and I was excited about it all with you!! I showed my sister the ultra cool HB site with it's links to Elinor Peace yesterday-we just looked at each other and screamed "Elinor Peace, how cool is that!"
Love your selections, may I be cheeky and ask you to reply with what you paid, I'd be interested in Internet comparison. I am so proud of you for taking the family-i hope DH was very well complimented on that effort! Well done, tracey

gwen said...

I am glad you took the trouble writing such a long post after what sounded like a wonderful day. The whole report was very interesting and the links you mentioned are just full of ideas. When am I going to find time to sew after reading all this?! Thanks a lot for sharing and I wish you lots of fun using what you bought. Take care.

Linda said...

What an adventure you took us on, wonderful, absoloutely wonderful. But fancy not wanting to share that lovely fabric with those of us who stuck with you through the entire post...LOL... Will now have to go back and check out all the links you planted in there. And yes definately brownie points, or a gold star or two to the dh, there aren't too many hubbies who will wander around with us in those sort of conditions.... Now we look forward to seeing all the wonderful creations that come from your purchases.

Greenmare said...

Oh I am glad your day was sooooooo good! I can't wait to see what you do with the yo yo thingies. I prefer technical terms like that.
Good job all of you!

Happy Valley Quilter said...

What a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing all of the details!

Tanya said...

I didn't realize until now that you had visited my blog in the past. Thank you so much! And thank you for the wonderful tour of the quilt festival! It really was like I was there!

The Wooden Spool said...

ohhh, you lucky duck! I wanna go, too!

KCQuilter said...

Wow, what a fantastic post!!! Just loved reading all about the Chicago Quilt Festival and all your neat experiences there. It's now on my "list"!!!

Tonya R said...

Wow, sounds like a very successful, wonderful day. I love that circle quilt too - how wonderful to get to see it in person.

Lucy said...

Wow you bought a lot.. I have the clover Yo Yo maker too.. it is a fun tool to play with :-)