Twice a year a group of friends gather together for a few days of fun–eating, laughing, and some sewing. The location varies and all of them have been great, most requiring more travel for one of us–but this August we met in a lovely retreat in Athens Texas.
The house was modern in style looking a bit odd in the middle of woods and A-frames and log cabins along the road. Surrounding us was a field all with utilities laid in for a housing development that never happened. Trees and deer and hummingbirds were abundant. I took dozens of pictures of these little gems but since we had filled up the vehicle with necessary supplies–my tripod had to stay home.
I find serenity in open spaces, solitude, and nature…all a welcome contrast to my usual hectic busy life—and then of course, the wonderful food prepared by others and cleaned up by others–I was a failure at that–putting up dirty dishes thinking the dishwasher was just not working very well and then managed to spill coffee all over the counter-top. You might think all of that was intentional to get out of kitchen duties–but truly–cross my heart–I am capable–but just not that week.
More photos of the house and our projects and us and a few of the hummingbirds are here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/QuiltGroups/Athens-Tx-August-2017/
My friend and I had looked forward to this weekend with great anticipation. Two days in class with Bonnie Hunter at Stitchin Heaven. She had been to a workshop with her in our local guild and I went to one in Las Vegas Nevada–where regretfully I missed that day due to food poisoning. We were pleased to see we could set our machines up the afternoon before.
When we arrived the next day, we discovered more tables and chairs had been added, crowding nearly 50 people into a space that comfortably fit about 25—space is needed to assemble fabrics, cutting tools, laying out of pieces and parts and so forth. Although the owner apologized for the space—we discovered that there were several people on the waiting list now in class with us. Perhaps an alternate venue had been planned and canceled at the last minute.This was touted as ‘make a new friend’. The two people sitting in front of us never stopped talking during the entire two days and were definitely not people I wanted as friends–I have a MP3 player with my choices of music. There were four more rows in front of them–we were all a captive audience.
Our teacher was exhausted and spent most of the two days sitting with her friends and chatting with them. Unlike other venues, she did not eat lunch with us, choosing instead to leave with her friends, perhaps a wise choice as the food was reminiscent of school cafeterias.
It was a disappointing two days of class.
However, we did go shopping in a wonderful group of antique stores. Lots of fun things to see. I bought an antique top for $35 to quilt; we went to see Godspell produced by the community theater group–not exactly talent rich but still enjoyable. The Best Western was shabby but clean and the manager-owner was an early bird and so she had coffee and breakfast ready at 5:30 instead of the 6 or 7 as advertised. She also was amenable to some of our group setting up their machines in the lobby and sewing in the evenings. She enjoyed people and chatted with us as though we were family.
Will we return?
Next year they have promised a full week of class and in a larger classroom. I’m not sure I want to repeat this experience. I did however, complete the first day’s project at home–I didn’t get much done there working from fabrics in my lap. The second day’s project is minimally started; perhaps I’ll throw those pieces into an orphan block and pieces box.
more antique quilts are here on smugmug plus a few other photos
A whirlwind of three days with much laughter and some sewing–and more cutting and sorting on my part has passed. Holus Bolus met for our spring retreat and as usual the time passed all too quickly.
I have been home now for three days and still cannot find my pins or my scissors. I remember putting them in my baskets/bags/boxes to return home but can I find them? I did find my knitting with a few dropped stitches–no problem there–the yarn is multicolored and those dropped stitches will fit right in with all the others.
We did manage to fit a lot of things in–a trip to the Piney Wood Quilt Guild show, a shopping trip to Atkinson Candy Factory Outlet, AND to the fabric lady who is available by appointment only, a passing off of our row quilts we had all worked so diligently on–lots of squeals of delight here—and then on to serious business. We traded fabrics to do a piece representing ourselves using Chagall as our inspiration.
I made spring rolls, the sisters cooked lovely meals, and Larry made steamers of shrimp, corn on the cob, and potatoes on the grill. Fritzi was excited to see us–and probably cried when we left–we all had to pet him.
Here are my photos from the event—https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/QuiltGroups/Skye-Studio-Adventures-March-2017/
Attending the Annual International Quilt Festival in Houston is a must for those of us who live a mere 80 some miles away. The Festival has grown each year and is now the largest convention hosted in Houston Texas and is probably the reason why the George R Brown Convention Center keeps expanding and why there are two new hotels going up with skywalks.
It is always a busy time with so many vendors and new exciting products, classes on nearly every kind of sewing thing you can imagine and then there are the quilts themselves. It is a time to meet people you know just from the internet or from their work featured in magazines and to hang out with friends.
This year I took two classes to improve my long arm quilting skills, a class in making a sloper for clothing–although why I did this and then ordered a dress form is beyond my comprehension as I primarily dress in long sleeve Tshirts and jeans from Academy, and then a fun day making a small fiber collage.
My Holus Bolus group—yes that is a real word and you will have to look it up–met to exchange our row quilts–I got photos of three–just not the one I did or the one that is mine–and then we went out to dinner.
I also managed to squeeze in a visit to the MFA for the Degas retrospective–a fabulous HUGE show. And as always there is usually something else I see that is interesting and unexpected. This time it was several woven Indian blankets–Navajo—and then a silk embroidery piece from India–
A fun few days—and now back to work.
Here I am in front of my second assignment in Improvisation with Ricky Tims (https://www.rickytims.com/) in lovely LaVeta Colorado. (http://lavetacucharachamber.com/ )
Note the pile of tiny slivered scraps behind my machine keeping that coffee cup warm. And all that thread which I will not use during this week. And underneath my table is the canvas and backings I brought to finish up small pieces—that I thought I would be working on this week.
I brought my two laundry baskets full of solids and prints that I dyed for Nancy Crow workshops in the past(http://www.nancycrow.com/artworkshops.html) —I am still using those fabrics but have added some prints–and as you can—vibrant ones. The question is always=-==will I have enough of this one to use in this project or should I choose something else. I picked out some fabrics that I knew I had at least a half yard or more to begin.
Tomorrow I start the next piece.
And I’ll see something like this on my way to the workshop.
A workshop at the Franch in LaGrange Texas is always a treat. This weekend was with Melinda Bula http://www.melindabula.com/#!about-melinda/c240r with our project of Poppies. Most people bought her kit–which included all the fabrics needed to complete the piece except for the background, batting, and backing, binding and so forth. I had intended to bring my large box of reds and three smaller ones of green but at the last minute decided to cull my choices to fit into just one little box and work from that.
Yes this used to have apples in it.
and those are Tide boxes with a small basket of yellows on top of the greens.
this box is bigger than a shoe box but not much. I could not fit in the fusible webbing or the vinyl.
I also opted to stay in the Dorm—freezing cold the first night, wrapped up in two extra blankets from two people’s cars–and then really needed earplugs—the snoring was quite daunting—might think about camping out in the bed of my truck next time. The only drawback to that is that there is no coffee in my truck unless I buy one of those semi truck driver’s coffeepots—might seriously consider.
I got about four pieces cut on my project–and will work on it more here at home with my large box of red and three smaller ones of green.–see above photos-
Solitude and few distractions are needed for me to feel creative–if someone else is nearby I feel I should be attentive to their possible needs. It feels rude to not work on the assigned project but gathering up enthusiasm to work elbow to elbow–even when it is your dearest friends–just does not work for me.
I did get a lot of nice photos—and you may enjoy them here: https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/TripsandEvents/Poppies-at-the-Franch-July-216/
don’t miss the bling we bought for the birthday celebration.
Two months ago, I joined the Houston Modern Quilt Group. This group meets on the third Saturday of every month and seems to be a fun and active group. They are very busy and have many challenges and workshops and are just fun. One of their projects is providing a boutique booth at a local quilt show in October or maybe it is September. We are all challenged to make some fun items. One member brought fabric she no longer wanted as she thought it very traditional.
I took three fabrics–a shirting, a blue print, and a red print.
From these three fabrics and then some of my own, I made cell phone pillows and notebook covers.
‘cell’ is written with chalk pencil on small pieces of black canvas.
A friend invited me to sew at her beach cabin in Crystal Beach last week. I eagerly accepted and found two others in the cabin with me and all four of us sewing and sewing and sewing. I completed my crayon quilt challenge–I drew yellow green–I could add black, gray, or white to the color. I also got the back pieced although I think I may undo a bit and insert a bit of the yellow green in the backing.
this is just the beginning; there are more blocks around the outside using the black and gray plaid
It was a wonderful week. The prickly pear cactus was in full bloom outside the cabin, there were lots of shore birds including pelicans, gulls, and sanderling–and almost no people. I walked on the beach every morning and every evening, took lots of photos which hopefully you can see by clicking on the photo and going to the gallery labeled crystal beach.
We took a side trip to Pickets and Posies where we all indulged in some purchases of fabric we all ‘needed’. The Mexican restaurant next door had wonderful food and we were so stuffed we ate just a few crackers and cheese and fruit for supper that night.
We also ate at the Stingaree on the last night; watched the barges go up and down right outside our window seating-no photos of that as I was near the aisle; and took a trip through ‘the Big Store’=– a local legend and the first to be up and running after the hurricanes. It has a concrete floor and tin sheeting as walls but has everything you can imagine you might want from appliances to loaves of bread.
The power was out on Friday morning making the lift unusable–everything there is up on stilts for storm damage control–so I thumped my stuff down the stairs–I tend to travel lightly and had already taken some of my projects to my truck as I finished them so really didn’t have a lot to carry down–just my sewing machine in its cart plus my weekend bag with toothbrush etc.
It was a wonderfully relaxing week–something I really needed—.
I like to participate in swaps–I think I enjoy the surprise. I’ve done several swaps of mug rugs that were fun. I enjoy using them scattered about my house as I tend to carry coffee cups around with me. So this latest swap was for a candlemat. My swap partner is Ulla in Denmark. She sent me this lovely mat–fabric–postcard–and look at the stamps.
love that green fabric–and the postcard is a collage of Ulla’s quilt association.
Several years ago the technique of StackNWhack was popular—I had a length of fabric bought at Hancock’s closing sale featuring Elvis in front of prison bars. There were some other fabrics–a wild Hawaiian floral print, and a light blue with Elvis written on it. My friend helped me line up the panels, I cut, and sewing, and combined it with a bright yellow. The resulting quilt was quite colorful and somewhere I have a photo of it. It was used as the grand prize at a Al-Anon convention–and won by the sister-in-law of the friend who was the convention chairman. That sister is somewhat impaired mentally but she was totally thrilled–so much so that I gave her my Elvis T-shirt I bought at Loretta Lynn’s kitchen in Tennessee.
So back to the quilt of the day. There were quite a few pieces left over plus some panels. The original had all of Elvis shaking an rolling in a sort of kaleidoscope fashion. The remaining pieces had just a leg or a foot or sometimes just the bars. I put them all together, used the remaining panels for the back–and here it is– And ready for the Golden Triangle Quilt Auction–the first time I have donated a quilt of cuddle size.
here it is in process on my design board.
Here is the front quilted, the fingers on the top are my husband’s who was offered the choice of taking the photo or holding it.
And here is the back with some of that really bright yellow I used on the first quilt.
Now I have none of that fabric left, I don’t have the partially sewn blocks looking at me accusingly from the shelf and hopefully there is another Elvis lover who will fall in love with it. So now I must fish and fumble through the shelves for another partially completed project. I’d like to have those shelves and boxes empty but there is a huge stack waiting to be quilted and my midarm machine is not happy.