Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Quilter's Beach Party

I love the Quilter's Beach Party! Lordie, it was a great weekend, weather withstanding. The Party kicked into gear Thursday night with a pizza party at the fab Boat House in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Here's the link to view this gorgeous place http://reservations.emeraldislerealty.com/properties/Boat-House/
The Boat House overlooks Bogue Sound so we must stitch while looking out over the water...sigh.

A dozen quilters from North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania gathered to learn handwork quilt techniques. On Friday we made a little foundation-pieced Silhouette House in the morning (Patti lined and finished the blocks) and a traditional Album block in the afternoon.

That evening we moved to the back room of Patti's shop The Quilted Butterfly, shared a delicious dinner and heard a talk about oriental flower arranging principles from Sandra, the owner of The English Rose flower shop in Morehead City, NC. Got to admit though--the highpoint was plundering Patti's shop inventory at the year's only 25% off sale--yippee!

Hand sewers Carol Moore (a prof at ECU) and Sandy Gordon (who drives big rigs when not quilting-) learned how to make work more comfortable by using cushions.

Saturday we learned back-basting applique doing a little Teacup block as Robin Finch shows here and in the afternoon got down and dirty learning to stencil on fabric. We also got massages. It was hard getting the partiers to come back up and stitch after that!

Sunday's morning class saw Robin Khoeler come in to teach us basic beading techniques. Robin also makes prize-winning quilts such as this mermaid with a beaded tail.

It was a great group and the Midwest contingent introduced the others to midnight Yahtzee games. Somehow all the ice cream got eaten and the leftover cheesecake and tiramisu disappeared...

If you think you'd like to come to next year's Quilter's Beach Party, email Patti at contact@albfabrics.com and say 'Beach Party 2010' in the subject line.

Wahoo! We're approaching the 2000 mark in readers! As we head toward 2500, I'll run some sort of contest and giveaway...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eclipses and Meteor Showers

No, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. The above title, Eclipses and Meteor Showers, is the title of a 5 day class I'll be teaching this summer at the John C. Campbell Folk School. The class goes from August 16-22. Here's a link to the history of this unusual institution http://folkschool.org.

Founded in 1925 in Brasstown, North Carolina, John C. Campbell offers everything from basketmaking to blacksmithing to quilting, lots of different art courses, and even cooking classes. I am really looking forward to teaching for days straight and intend to help students get a lot done. My class centers on quilt designs using the venerable Drunkard's Path pattern but in fresh and interesting compositions. We'll even stretch a quilt on a frame and try hand quilting. But no dull Drunkard's Path quilts for me--I'd just as soon be sentenced to purgatory as make a quilt in only two colors!

The Eclipse of the title is this quilt but I'm already hip-deep in revamping this beauty and making another in vague far-eastern colors and print. The Meteor Shower part means combining the Drunkard's Path with star blocks. No such thing as too much going on in a quilt.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gifts I Love

Years ago when we first moved to our house in Beaufort, a friend named Byron Boyer stopped by with a house-warming gift. Opening the trunk of his car, he whipped out this vintage oriental rug and insisted we take it. We love it. It lays on the dining room floor where we can view it every day.

Byron is a merchant seaman who sails all over the world. He stops by Beaufort to visit family and then is gone again. He has excellent taste in gifts. Two years ago he brought me this beautiful red silk scarf from India. Look how the light shines through it!

Last week Byron was through again and unhappily I missed him. On the porch were two more gifts (from Singapore) with a card. I've hardly taken off the silk purple and gold scarf--it's wonderful for wrapping my neck to keep warm.

And then there's the long rayon stripes scarf, almost a shawl in length, that serendipitously goes with my old Indian style sweater. The sweater was a gift from my sister Mary Frances who totally understands that if it's soft and colorful, I'll like it. In the hand-me-down progression I was person #3. The sweater was well broken-in...perfect. If I had the bucks, I'd hire someone to wear shoes and jeans till they were just right, whatever that is. I prefer the "new" totally knocked out of clothes.

Last and never least: my orange leather gloves, another gift from Mary Frances. Three years old now, they are getting a bit battered. Monday I stopped by the credit union to do some banking and inadvertently left the gloves. Panic! When I called, the woman said, "No problem--we've got them in Lost-n-Found." Yesterday I retrieved the gloves. As she handed them to me, she said, "Oooh, these are so soft...like butter-" Gratefully I took them and replied, "Yes, but the best thing's the inside--they're lined with cashmere." I could see she was envious.

Thank you Byron and Mary Frances for giving me beautiful gifts--I cherish them.