Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Congratulations! It's a Blue!

Pantone just released their Color of the Year for 2020 and to no one's great surprise, it was a shade of blue. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! 

Whether it will be referred to as indigo or deep water or Ceylon sapphire, Classic Blue, Pantone 1904052, is a medium dark blue. 

Pantone's Laurie Pressman gave the world the spiel on the 2020 choice.  “It’s a reassuring blue, full of calm and confidence. It builds connection.” She used adjectives like constancy, trustworthiness, and dependability "...traits that are valued in the fast-paced, high-stress situations of the current world." 

Another quote from Pantone: "We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue.” 

Wait, did Pantone just comment on our rocky political climate? As in, "Stay the course, stay calm everybody-" Maybe. There will always be someone who twigs to the fact that a 'blue state' is a state that's voted Democratic on the election day map but don't read too much into that. 

I've noticed that Pantone's description of their yearly shade has improved and while still voluble, it's not as strange and woowoo as in former years. 

Radiant Orchid, 2014's color, needed a lot of selling, as in "Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm." Geezlueez--any color that requires that much verbal massaging has got a problem.

But I'm a true blue fan and it's primarily the reason years ago that Rod and I began collecting Japanese prints. Here's one that hangs on the wall of our living room right now. 

Our cat Memo (she's usually white) peering at us from the bathroom as she waits for one of us to turn on the tap.

A sashiko-stitched art piece I made.

Balls of perle cotton thread piled on a dish at the studio.

My favorite jeans jacket from the back. Notice I am now proud to claim the snail as my spirit animal. 

A masterpiece wholecloth quilt from the Jen Jones museum in Wales UK (swoon)

And my alltime favorite blue picture---- an indigo dyer's hands. From Cambodia. 

With all these wonderful blue images, I'm feeling calmer already. 

Good job, Pantone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Decoding Houston Quilt Festival Classes (for quilters)

In late October/early November, the biggest convention of the year comes to the
George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. No, it's not ComiCon or even a Microsoft gathering--it's when quilters from all over the world fly into Houston to gather together. They take classes, buy material---tons of it---award prizes for fabulous work (the Best of Show gets a $10,000 check!) and stay up till the wee hours comparing fabric finds and demonstrating to their buddies what they learned that day in class. And they eat. Downtown Houston restaurants are jammed with wide-eyed hungry women lugging large bags. They want a nice meal and a sit-down and are willing to pay for the privilege. And they tip. And call Uber drivers 'Dear.' 

This is my tribe. Call it a gathering of the clans, a coven or simply a huge party but come late October I'll be winging my way down to humid Houston to meet my peeps.

This year it's a bit different if you want to sign up for classes at Festival. Quilts Inc., the entity that organizes Quilt Festival, has not always taken to the digital road with enthusiasm but mark this year: all the registrations and class sign-ups are happening online. And it opens July 15th. 

If in the past you've been disappointed you didn't get into a particular class, now's the time to read the class catalog online and put a check by what you want to take. And sit by your computer, charge card in hand, and get ready to sign up. You have a better chance this year of getting the class you want than ever before.

Go read the class catalog here . Click on the days you want to take classes and there you go. And now for the advertisement: I'm teaching the first two days of Quilt Festival, Monday October 28th and Tuesday October 29th.  My classes are all hand work and I provide the kits. You have very little to do except show up. I opted for half-day classes since so many people want to taste a technique before plunging in. You can still get a lot done in three hours!

Speaking of showing up--if you're staying in a hotel near the convention center, good for you--with only a little planning you can get to class on time. If you're driving in, plan on the trip taking twice as long as usual. These are work days and Houston always has downtown traffic. And you have to park and walk into the convention center, go up to the third floor (all classes are on the third floor) and find the classroom. In addition to anything you're asked to bring to a class, always pack a light jacket or sweater. "It's Houston for pity's sake!" you say. Yep, and the convention center has the AC cranked. 

When you look at a class, note its number and any letters after the title and before the instructor's name. Here's what those letters mean: 

E                     EVERY SKILL LEVEL
B                     BEGINNER LEVEL
                     INTERMEDIATE LEVEL
A                     ADVANCED LEVEL
H                     HAND SEWING
D                     DESIGN WORK
MM                MIXED-MEDIA FOCUS
PJ                    PROJECT-ORIENTED
PC                   PROCESS-ORIENTED

For instance, my first class is #134 Welcome to Sashiko and the numbers are E,D,H, PJ. This means Every skill level, there is some Design work, it's a Hand Sewing class and it's Project-oriented. After the description of the class, you'll see the price ($45) and something called Mat Fee--which means the kit I provide ($25) and the total to take the class ($70). The last line in italics is what you need to bring (some scissors and a thimble). 

Truth in advertising here: my classes are #135-Welcome to Sashiko, #156-the 19th Century Pineapple Block, and on Tuesday in the morning #252 The Antique English Pleated Log Cabin Block. 

A Sashiko wall hanging to the left. 

A single Pineapple block is pictured here.

The Antique English Pleated Log Cabin block is left.

Enrollment is limited and I ask that 25 be my cut-off number. That seems ideal and I can move around the room and get to everybody for one-on-one time. I love teaching in Houston and especially meeting quilters from other countries.