Monday, September 23, 2013

Barb and Kathy's Excellent Adventure, Part 2

The Corn Fest was more fun than anticipated.  There was a parade...

My mother is a clown.  (Really, that's my mother with the pink hair!  She did face painting in the park after the parade, too.)

I think LOTS of people should have this sign on their car.

I got to see several of my old classmates, some of whom I hadn't seen in about 30 years, so that was fun.

There was a quilt show, and unbeknownst to me, my mom entered two of the quilts I had made for her.  We won a blue ribbon!
This was a Lone Star quilt top that my grandmother had pieced.  After my grandmother passed away, my mother gave the top to me to finish.  This was early on in my quilting career - I finished this quilt in 1991.   The top includes a lot of feedsacks and fabrics from my mother's childhood.  I added the cornerstones, setting triangles and borders, and hand quilted it to death.  I kept track of my hand-quilting time; I think it was 120 hours or something like that.  After it was finished, I gave it back to Mom.

When we went to pick up the quilt, I found that we had won Viewer's Choice, too!  They said they liked my hand quilting.  Not many people (including me) do a lot of hand quilting any more, so a quilt with hand quilting is kind of rare in a quilt show these days, I guess.  So I have a blue ribbon and a purple ribbon to add to my quilt wall.  I was pretty excited!
In looking at this quilt, a lot of the colors are popular again - there is quite a bit of navy blue, that icky green, pink and cheddar.  I'd do a lot of things differently on this if I were finishing it now, but I guess I'm happy with it the way it is!

After all the Corn Fest activities, and visiting with our families, Barb and I headed back to Wisconson on Monday.  We found some more shops to stop at!

Our first stop was in Cedar Rapids at Pine Needles Sewing Center.
This shop is also a Bernina dealership, and they have tons of everything and very helpful service. There were quilt models everywhere in this shop - you could spend all day in here!

Village Needlework Store
Our second stop was Village Needlework, a shop which sells everything you can think of for cross stitch, needlepoint, etc.   They have an online store, so if you need any type of cross-stitch floss, I can recommend them.

Our third stop was Cottage Rose Quilt Shop, a shop in downtown Marion.  I had quit taking pictures by this point, but it's a cute shop in a historic building, in among lots of antique shops.   Marion is a neat place to visit.  Cottage Rose does some of their own patterns, so it's worth taking a look at their website!  We each bought a cute little wool kit that uses an antique sugar mold.  I have mine almost done and will put it on the blog next week.  It was a quick project that will be a fun memento of our trip.

The last stop (and we were dragging by this point!) was Mill House Quilts in Waunakee.  This is a huge shop in a converted historic feed mill.   They were a Top Ten Shop one year, too, and it's worth a stop just to see the mill!   They, too, have everything - wool, reproduction fabrics, batiks, kids fabrics, everything! 

So, that's our Great Shop Hop of 2013!  After two recent outings with friends, I need to stay home for awhile and sew up all this stuff I bought.  I've been keeping track of yardage in/out this year, and I'm way in the red for this year.  I may dig out by year end, but I'll have to get busy in order for that to happen!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Barb and Kathy's Excellent Adventure, Part 1

A couple weeks ago, my friend Barb asked if I'd like to go with her back to our hometown for Corn Fest, an annual event that's become sort of a reunion for classmates.  This was a big decision, since we'd have to miss the Madison Quilt Show (always fun) to go to Corn Fest.  We decided if we stopped at a bunch of quilt stores along the way, we wouldn't miss the Madison show so much.  So that's what we did!  Here's our little Personal Shop Hop Across Iowa.  (A warning here ... never quilt shop with someone who's expecting a grandchild soon.  You will end up with bags full of baby stuff.  A whole bunch of that stuff jumped in my bags, and there are no babies in my near future.  If I get invited to a baby shower, though, I'm set for the next few years).  Our trip "back home" takes 7 1/2 hours driving time - with our stops, it only took us about ten hours - that's not too bad, is it?  We didn't stop much to eat, though LOL.

Our first stop was JJ Stitches in Sun Prairie.  (You didn't think we'd actually get out of Wisconsin before we found a store, did you??)  This is a great store, but I had been there just a few weeks ago with Donna, so didn't do too much damage to my wallet at this store.  I joined a BOM here last time I visited, so I'm anxious to get started on that.

Our second stop was Vintage Threads in Dyersville, Iowa.  This shop was a Quilt Sampler Top Ten Shop a few years ago, and it was wonderful.  Lots of vintage as well as bright fabrics, and a very nice, helpful owner.  We did a lot more damage to our wallets at this store!  The store is in a nicely restored historic building and is lots of fun to visit.

The owner of Vintage Threads suggested we travel a little on down the road to Manchester to shop at the store there.  That was "sort of" on our way, so we changed our itinerary a little to add that one in, and I'm so glad we did.

This is The Quiltmakers' Shoppe in Manchester, Iowa.  This picture doesn't do it justice - it was chock full of inspiration and models of everything from wallets to aprons to quilts.  It was a nice, bright, airy shop with something for everyone.

The Iowa stores all had flannel receiving blankets, made of only two pieces of flannel.  The backing is brought around and mitered on the front to give the appearance of a binding similar to the satin bindings you usually see.  A kit for a blanket like this jumped into my basket, and I'm anxious to try this method.

Our fourth stop was Inspirations in Hills, Iowa.  This store was also a Quilt Sampler Top Ten Shop, and it's full of reproduction fabrics and a ton of baby and children's fabric.  Another receiving blanket kit jumped into my basket at this store!  Inspirations is also in a neat, renovated historic building with lots of, well, inspiration!

Wisconsin has great quilt shops and we're a little spoiled, but I think Iowa can give us a run for our money.  The shops we visited we all wonderful, and each had their own special charm.

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you the rest of this story!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Design Wall Monday, September 2

You can tell summer is over by what's on my design wall!  These are the Block of the Week blocks from Primitive Gatherings.  I have 11 of the large blocks done, and 10 of the freebie small blocks.  There are thirteen blocks in each, I believe, so I have a little bit left to do.  I haven't inked in the words, and don't know if I will - I'll decide that after they're all done and trimmed.  The thought of writing on them in ink scares me a little after all that work!

Anyway, that's all the quilting that's been going on around here lately!  I don't know where August went, or summer for that matter.  I spent a fair amount of time running around with friends and shopping at quilt stores, but not all that much time actually making anything.  I'm well prepared for winter, though!

My big plan for September is to get Hocus Pocus Ville quilted.  This has been pieced for a very long time.  My big hangup on this one was my backing fabric.  I had ordered some Ghastlies fabric for the back, which I thought would be perfect.  It had a very white background, though, and my quilt is more tan, so I've been thinking about what to do about this - change out the backing (which I'd already bought) or dye it.  Yesterday I decided to just take the plunge and dye it tan.  I think it worked pretty well.

The original backing color is at the top of the picture, and the dyed one is below it.  They are laying on my embroidered block, so it looks like a pretty good match to me!  The white on the back would have just been too stark.  I love that Ghastlies fabric, though!   I'm going to get this basted tonight and hopefully quilted during September. 

That's it - if I can get this done, and my other few Blocks of the Week done, I'll consider September a good month!  I have one more running-around-shopping-at-quilt-stores excursion planned, and then I'm staying home to actually work on some of it!