Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Time to Vote

I got to see last year's winner, Bella, at the Machine Quilters Expo in New Hampshire. It was breathtaking, mouthwatering, and definitely earned its name. It had its own security camera and guard. Got any extra change? Bella is now being auctioned for charity.

I also got to view a couple of this year's entries at MQX. I took a class with Sharon Schamber, and she had a trunk show of her quilts, including Scarlet Serenade. The perfection of her applique combined with the exquisite detail of her quilting makes this truly an award-winning creation.

I also saw Renae Haddadin's Ring Around the Rosie at her booth. I think Renae's quilt is short-changed on the ballot webpage, because it only shows the black side. It is black on one side, white on the other, and either side could be the front. It features her radiating rays around a circular medallion. The quilting is outstanding.

I really admire all the quilts that have made it into the finals of the $100,000 challenge. Vote for your favorite!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Little More Mountain Beauty

Once again, not much quilting news, but lots of mountain inspiration! Here is the produce stand in Jefferson where we always stop for tomatoes, sometimes honey and homemade sourdough bread. It is now officially closed for the season. You can see Mount Jefferson in the background. (Supposedly surveyed by Thomas Jefferson and his father.)

One interesting quilting anecdote: a fellow longarmer in Raleigh referred a customer to me who needed some quilting done before Christmas. We talked on the phone several times, found out we were both teachers, and arranged to meet at my house. When she showed up I immediately recognized her as a friend from college days at N.C. State! I did not know her married name or that she was back in the Raleigh area. How fun was that!

Anyway, I need to complete my painting and bedroom remodel this week, and also am hosting my quilt bee on Thursday night. So, here are a few more mountain scenes, which I hope you enjoy.

Here is a Christmas tree farm across the New River.

My sister-in-law, her husband and one of her boys stayed with us this weekend and took a beautiful canoe trip on the New River- the same route where we float on tubes in the summer.
This is one of the many lovely homes along the New River.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bringing you some mountain sunshine

Last weekend we visited a furniture store in West Jefferson that is going out of business, and purchased some new bedroom furniture. It is for our home in Wake Forest, but before bringing it upstairs, I decided we had to paint the bedroom. We have lived here since 1994 and never re-painted this room. So, that's what I have been doing this week. No Violette-inspired casbah, just a nice soft creamy beige with off-white trim. I am getting a little old to be going up and down ladders all day and crouching on the floor to paint baseboards- but it is worth putting up with the aches and pains to see the lovely, fresh walls. You may be aware that we have been undergoing a severe drought here in North Carolina, but yesterday it decided to rain off and on again all day. Not the best for painting walls and windows! We are grateful for any relief to our water shortage. It appears to be continuing today, with gray and depressing weather. Since I cannot work on a quilt project due to my painting duties, I will give you a little tour of our mountain retreat in Laurel Springs, NC.

To get to our place, you have to cross a bridge over Big Peak Creek.

To the left is the dam, which once powered the old copper mine on top of Ore Knob mountain. The housing for the turbine is still in place on top. When we used to camp up there, the spillover from the dam was our shower! Very brisk even in the summertime.

Here is the view if you look to the right of the bridge.

After crossing the bridge, turn to the left. This is the road we built to our place, but all this land except for our little acre actually belongs to my sister and her husband. They wisely bought parcels of land back years ago and now have over sixty acres.

Charlie always thought this big tree next to the creek looked like a man with long arms, so he got on a ladder one day and added the tree face.

As you ascend our driveway, look to right and you will see the new pond constructed this summer. There is a stream that trickles down the mountain. Some of the men used bulldozers and backhoes to build an earthen dam to create the pond. (We had all sorts of government agencies check it out and give permission.) They just finished raising the dam to its final height, and the pond is now filling in. You can see the trees and leaves reflected in the water. Hopefully, we will have grass covering the banks soon.

One of our favorite things to do up there is ride around on the Gator, especially up to the top of the mountain. That is a great place to view the sunset, smell the fresh scent of Christmas trees, and look for deer, turkeys, and other wildlife.

Since there are usually numerous dogs running along ahead of the ATV's, it is rare to actually come across a deer on the path. My dog Maggy likes to be the lead dog. She is eleven years old and has bad hips, but she acts like a puppy up there. Here she is running ahead to the Christmas tree farm.

And when we get back down to the bottom of the mountain, she makes a beeline for a shallow place in the creek for a refreshing drink.

That's it for now- must grab my paintbrush and finish the bedroom!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Glittery New Day

I got some great news this morning. Remember my blogs about my whimsical quilt, A-Muse-ing Violette? I found out about the free-spirited artist Violette in Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine. Anyway, I have been reading her blog since then, and recently signed up for a give-away contest honoring her three-year blog anniversary. And just found out that I won! How cool is that! The gift package is described on Violette's blog on October 13. I will take pictures when my glittery package arrives. Here is a picture of the hanging sleeve on my Violette quilt, which features gold and silver foil, inks, and of course, glitter!

Back to the Piedmont Quilters Show. There was an absolutely stunning Latte quilt made by Martha Jackson. The quilting was exquisite, and won the Best Longarm Quilting award.

Click the pictures to see them in a larger size.

There was another quilt from the latte pattern made by Chris Bowen, titled My Version of the Latte Quilt. It looked totally different in pastels!

Here is a lovely art quilt that I greatly admired, Iris Garden by Priscilla Hair. It is listed in the professional category.

Another art quilt I liked is Simply Autumn, by Kim Frisk. The judges must have liked it, too, as it won first place in the Small Wallhanging category.

And one more...this landscape quilt reminds me of Ashe County, my North Carolina mountain home. It is Cherry Valley, NY, made by Julia C. Davis.

Thanks to the Piedmont Quilt Guild for a great show!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quilting in the Piedmont Quilt Show

As I mentioned yesterday, my DSH graciously agreed to a short stop in Greensboro, NC, for the Piedmont Quilters Guild Show. Picture this- we are headed to the mountains with our dog in our SUV with a ten-foot trailer hauling our John Deere Gator. The quilt show is in the Marriott in downtown Greensboro and it is pouring down rain as we pull into town. Good old Charlie lets me out, goes out to get box lunches at the Bear Rock Cafe, and finds a place to park downtown while I make a mad dash through the show. I did get to meet a few of the Piedmont Quilters, get a close look at Kaffe Fassett, speak to a few of the vendors that I recognized, and take lots of photographs.

One of the features of the show was an exhibit of Round Robin quilts from the Pinehurst Quilt Guild. Unlike my own recent round robin exchange, these quilts all turned out to be about the same size. Some of them were quite stunning. There seems to have been a machine embroiderer in the group. I had a little trouble photographing some of the quilts since there was not much space in the aisle to back up. But, here are the RR's, and I believe I have identified them correctly.

First place-The Cat's Meow, owned by Frances Yoder

Beautiful applique!

Second place- Memories of Williamsburg, owned by Rosemary Hansult

Third place-Joy to the World-oned by Joann Hanley

Honorable Mention-The Mystique of the Casbah-owned by Mary Casey

Rosemary's Rose Garden-owned by Rosemary Hansult

North Carolina Rose-owned by Joanne Lentz

Round Robin-owned by Dottie Smith

An Oriental Surprise-owned by Mary Casey

Mariner Lost-owned by Suzanne Sullivan

Celtic Square-owned by Suzanne Sullivan

Spring Gathering-owned by Pat Scheidler-Kern

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lots of Quilty Things

All Things Quilty has lots of quilty news today! In fact, I probably have enough eye candy to last the rest of the week and then some. Thursday night I attended the Capital Quilters Guild meeting, with guest speaker Gail Garber. She is a fantastic quilt artist, known for stellar quilts with flying geese arcing around in all directions. Of course, I bought her book! Since I did, I probably should also have purchased the large, professional-looking compass and the flexi-curve ruler she was selling.

Gail wore a gorgeous jacket resembling the cover quilt of her book. She spoke about her journey from traditional quilter in 1980 to art quilt designer. I was taking mental notes, since this is the topic of my talk in January at the Piedmont Quilters Guild.

Gail did not exactly do a trunk show, but kindly allowed her quilts to be draped across the stage so we could go up and admire them up close. As is always the case, the photos in her slide show did not do them justice. Such beautiful metallic thread quilting and many hidden details. She is such a nice lady, too! She stopped me on the way back from Show and Tell to compliment me on Lily's bed quilt (Carolina Lily.)Carolina Lily with scallop border

My DH (who shall henceforth be known as DSH-Dear Sweet Husband) wanted to leave for the mountains Thursday night, but deferred the trip until Friday morning so I could attend the guild meeting. Then, he graciously postponed our arrival in the mountains yet again, so that I could make a quick stop at a quilt show in Greensboro, NC (right on the way!) The show was by the Piedmont Quilters Guild, so I definitely wanted to support their show and introduce myself.

Well, I had been at the show for all of three minutes when I had a sighting of a SUPERSTAR of the quilting and textile world (not to mention knitting, china, garments, and painting) Kaffe Fassett arrived at the front desk as I was filling out my tickets for the sewing machine raffle. He was signing copies of one of his books. I do have one of his early books, in which I admire his bold use of color (Kaleidoscope of Quilts.)

I have found my quilting friends to be divided almost evenly among those who adore KF and his work, and those who really dislike him. I am somewhat neutral. I wasn't falling all over myself to take his picture, but I don't hate his fabric. I thought I was going to purchase some of his floral fabric for the backing of my round robin quilt. It was on sale at Wish Upon a Quilt, a Raleigh-based Internet store. But I did not find any that called my name, even for the backing.

Well, I will save the rest of the Piedmont Quilt show for my next post. But be warned- last weekend was the most absolutely gloriously beautiful weekend in the mountains of North Carolina. If there is an attractive hillside, tree, or leaf in Ashe County that has not been photographed, it is not my fault! Here are a few teasers:
Christmas tree farm on mountain top

This is the top of our cabin just visible above the trees along our drive.

Must get going- please stop back at ATQ for more Piedmont Quilt Show news and mountains pics!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Move over Eleanor Burns, I made a quilt in a day!

"Autumn in new york
Why does it seem so inviting?"
Okay, so I am not in New York anymore. But it is autumn here in the South, despite temps in the eighties, and yesterday I made a little baby quilt that incorporates seasonal colors and themes. It will go to the Quilts for Kids service project of the Capital Quilters Guild of Raleigh, NC. The quilts are given to the neo-natal units at local hospitals to cover the isolettes. The parents love them because they can easily spot "their baby," and the nurses love them because the shield the infants from bright lights, and cheer up the nurseries. If there are enough quilts on hand, the families get to take their quilt home when their baby is discharged.
I won the leaf quilt blocks a couple years ago at the Cyberbee, a group of quilters in this area. I used two of the leaf blocks for my garden flag, six of them here, and have a few left. Since the leaf blocks were all ready, I was able to piece, quilt, and bind this quilt in one day! I used free-motion quilting with leaves, flowers, and swirls. It was fun to get this done and to know it will be treasured by a family going through a stressful time.

I am going to the guild meeting tonight with my friend Jean, who is floating on Cloud Nine after winning Best of Show and First Place at the North Carolina State Fair for her Twelve Days of Christmas applique quilt. Way to go! Jean's applique is to die for, and her hand quilting is so pretty. I loved the bright fabrics she selected, which have a lot of gold metallic details.

Another member of the same Cyberbee group also won a blue ribbon and the Golden Needle award for her quilt made during our Sharyn Craig challenge. Thirteen of us each made the same block, using one given fabric and any other fabric of our choice. So, one block that I made is in this prize-winning quilt! With thirteen blocks, there were some most unusual settings. Holly enlarged the block we made as a central medallion, and added some lovely bittersweet applique, as that was the theme fabric.

Here is the quilt I made from the same Sharyn Craig challenge. I gave it to my son Bryson and his wife for a belated wedding present, since they were married on October 18 in a beautiful autumn garden wedding. Happy Anniversary! I can't believe it has been four years! More detail shots of this quilt are available in my Webshots album 2006 Longarm Quilting.

Having left you such delightful eye candy, I am off to the North Carolina mountains tomorrow morning. Hopefully the autumn foliage will provide lots more inspiration for my quilting!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bet You Can't Make Just One

Fabric postcard, that is. Once I have all my stuff out, I end up making another, and another, and another...
Autumn Splendor- this one is shiny and features Angelina fibers, laundry sheet flowers painted with Lumiere paint, metallic thread stitching, ribbons, fused commercial print with fruits, autumn leaves from a purchased spray, and of course a few Swarovski crystals.

Last night I received great news from daughter-in-law Emily. If you have been reading my blog, you may remember that their apartment building burned down in September, and all of their belongings suffered water, smoke, or soot damage. Yesterday, the dry cleaners returned all their cleaning that was salvageable...and the white wedding quilt I made for them is now fresh, shiny, and beautiful again! When I saw it after the fire, it was rather brown and not too promising. I was starting to gather my white fabrics to make them a new one, but I am glad that this one survived. It has Floribunda quilting a la Nichole Webb, a sateen back and some white satin squares mixed with the cottons on the front.