Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last look at QuiltFest

It's time to bid a fond farewell to QuiltFest for 2008...
after thousands of visitors, 400 quilts, and many miles of walking up & down the aisles of vendors!

I helped hang it up, so I helped to take it down and return the quilts to their owners.
When the show closes, everyone must exit the room (except the take-down volunteers). The cloth bag with the quilt's ID number is placed under the one it belongs to. A sheet is carefully spread on the floor, and the two ladder-people un-hook the bar and slide the quilt off.
Working with them, another helper or two fold the quilt and put it back into the bag, along with the show tag and any ribbons it may have won. The ID tag is re-attached to hold the bag closed. It waits on the floor until the cart comes by to pick it up.

The bagged quilts are then set into rows by category number so they will be easy for the runners to pick up when.....
..... the owners, who have been chompin' at the bit to get in and retrieve their babies, are finally admitted back into the room!
Meanwhile, they have picked up an envelope with the judge's critique for their quilt(s), and can entertain their friends by discussing what was said!
Each quilt has a release form to sign, which must be shown at a table. From there, a "runner" goes to pick up the quilts (actually by that time it's more of a slow stagger, but we hustle as much as possible to get those quilts back!).

The remains of the Quilt Sale Room...unsold items are claimed after the show, or returned to the guilds by their QuiltFest Reps. Thanks to everyone who bought something, especially my stuff! I only had a small quilt left (the stars & geese one).

Once more the sea of cement has returned...hard to believe that I was so recently laughing & sharing Mile-A-Minute in the corner up there, and so many glorious quilts were on display!
But will all happen again next year (Sept. 24--26), and by then my "photo journalism" skills may have increased.
I just get so wrapped up in what's happening, I forget to take the pictures!

As one event ends, another rushes in to take it's place.
Soon I'll be leaving for Orlando to teach a couple classes...one is a Mystery Quilt that I had a great time writing for the Central Florida Quilters Guild.
Cherry-Cherry is coming along as my assistant, and we'll be staying at the home of A. Coffee Queen....there is no telling what craziness may ensue!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

QuiltFest: Around the show

The quilt show's last day runs from all the fun of meeting friends and seeing the beautiful quilts again to the extreme exhaustion of taking it all down.
Here is a last quick visit to the show:

The Young Quiltmakers' category is for those under age 18. There were 47 entries! They are not judged, but each one does get a ribbon. The zebra quilt in the center came from someone in my guild's annual Kids Camp.

This is "Sunshine & Sisterhood", winner of the Collaborative (group) category and also Best Machine Quilting. It was a true show-stopper, with feather designs in the yellow parts and a wide variety of designs behind the flowers. You can find out more about the group who made it from the website of the Quilters Workshop of Tampa Bay....it is their raffle quilt!
Another group-made quilt, this is the raffle quilt from the Sunshine State Quilters Association. My block is down there in the lower left corner: The Rick-Rack Shack! There are many creative blocks in here, including a light house and Quilters Rehab house.

The group quilts are just unbelieveable! I took this picture because I hoped the quilting would show up well, and it certainly does! At the time, I didn't realize it was made by the Quilting Sisters Guild in Leesburg... I'll be teaching for them next year!
The miniatures! Thank goodness somebody else makes these for me to admire...I couldn't make them! The winners (first, second & third place) were hung on these special set ups at the end of their category's row. It made a good break between the show area and the vendors, and it was easy to direct people who were looking for the top quilts....
According to the judge's decision! I enjoyed quite a bit of lively conversation about what won and why!

This is quilt is "Aurora" by Mary Anne Henderson of Marietta, GA. It is simply impossible to show the effect of the 20, 000 crystals (front and back!).
It was part of the Large Pieced Duet Quilts. This category was added recently in response to the many quilters who are having their tops quilted by someone else. Both people get a ribbon (if it wins).
Just when one controversy gets addressed, another is likely to pop up. Sure enough, today I was asked about the quilts done on the Statler Stitcher, a computerized longarm. Is that "fair"?
A good question for another time!A last peek at the demo area...what fun I had telling about "Mile-A-Minute" patchwork!
I am not even sure who this is giving a demo here, but there was always a group of people willing to learn about something new, while taking a load off their tired aisle-walking-weary feet.
I am afraid I did not do just to the merchants' mall this year. My purchases were few, though I may show them off tomorrow.
On Monday, the All Stars (my guild) will have "QuiltFest Recovery Day" as the theme for our Sit & Stitch. We'll be showing (and telling!) our experiences at the show, and I'm sure more a small amount of fabric will be revealed!

The DoubleMint Twins visit the quilt show!

I said I would put this in my blog! You know who you are!
What fun we had when one sister came to the Turn-In Day with the other sister's quilt!

Tomorrow I'll show some pictures of Take Down and start to wrap up this QuiltFest report. It takes awhile to get all the ends in place. Facts are constantly being revealed (what was the total attendence?).
It is a lot of hard work for many people, but putting on a big show like this (400+ quilts) is a labor of love, and is the most fun you can have while working yourself to the limit.

Friday, September 26, 2008

QuiltFest Friday

Quilt shows are fun, and also tiring. After four full days, I am about beat!
I spent today doing two demos, talking to people, shopping....but not much picture taking!

Here's what I did get today:
The Quilters Walk is a sort of "chinese auction" where you can buy 50 tickets for $5.
Then you put the tickets in the containers for the prizes you most would like to win. There are gift baskets and other things to choose from, all donated by the guilds and vendors.

And I did find the pie, at last!

Friends, I am too tired to write any more tonight (having also done the mailing labels & stamps to get the state guild's newsletter out tomorrow...).

I do have to say how much fun the demos were. It's hard to take pictures of yourself, so I don't have anything to show for that! But it was great to see so many people I've had in classes around the state, and to share some laughs. I hope everyone went home and filled a grocery sack with scraps to start a Mile-A-Minute project!

You have every right to expect a big post for Saturday to cover the end of the show.
I may even run it over into Sunday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

QuiltFest: Opening Day!

At last everything is ready and the show can begin!
QuiltFest is unique because there are seven quilt guilds working together to host the show.
The best "perk" is having the raffle quilts on display so tickets may be sold!
After carefully inquiring at each guild table, and finding that no one was actually in the Witness Relocation Program, I was able to take the following pictures:

This is Honeybee Quilters with their very bright & black quilt. Sock Monkey is helping them promote their annual retreat.

The St. Augustine Piecemakers have gone autumn colored this year with a nice curvy design. Their banner shows the famous light house in the oldest city in America, which also has a great quilt shop (Margrieta's). Check out that third place ribbin!

Coastal Quilters won second place with a lovely applique quilt...yes, it is possible to get an award-winning quilt for a $1 ticket!

Friendship Quilters is one of the two day-time guilds in the area. I really regret that this photo does not do justice to yet another in a long line of wonderful raffle quilts they've made!

First Coast Quilters have a beautifully restful blues & greens quilt...the border really looks like water!

River City Piecemakers must have fun sewing all these crazy houses! It's great to have a raffle quilt that lots of members can participate in making.

All Star Quilters....where everyone can shine! Yes, it's my guild, and the quilt has an Honorable Mention. We were very excited to have 35 members work on this quilt!

The winning tickets are drawn on Saturday afternoon before the show closes, and we always hope it's a quilter who wins. It's especially fun when the chairperson or somebody else who has "fallen in love" with the quilt gets to take it home.

Oh, yes...we do mail the quilt if the winner is not present or in town!

Here's what you've been waiting for.....The Best of Show:

"Twilight Star Chateau Compass with Birds" made by Jeanie Pollard of St. Augustine. Splendid!

For those who want a small part of the show, there is the Silent Auction for charity. The money raised from these small quilts (over 100 items!) goes to the Morocco Temple Shriners' Burns Transportation Fund to help get children and families to the special hospital. I have a quilt in here that says "OHIO" and features a cardinal. The last bid today was at $30...we'll see if goes higher!

Quilt appraisals are a great service at a show. You can get a verbal appraisal, or an insurance value appraisal. It's fascinating to watch and listen in as the quilts are examined and discussed....but good manners include keeping your hands to yourself, along with your own comments!

You can't take the quilts out of the show, but you can buy one at the Quilt Sale Room! OK, we know it's really a loooooong table...but it's still a sale! Hard working members of the host guilds take turns opening and re-folding quilts all day as shoppers try to pick out one they want. The quilts are stacked by size, as well as a pile for "vintage" items and another for "UFOs"....somewhere in there are my quilts & "block orphange" (unless they have been sold already!)

One last photo here...the vendors! The merchants mall! Call it what you will...you know it is calling you!
Tomorrow I'll try to have a few pictures of my favorite booths, and if I can manage, pictures from my demo. I did one today and will do two tomorrow! And that, dear readers, is another story all together....

QuiltFest: Almost ready!

Something is finally happening in the front of the room!

There are many tables, and they all need covers and drapes...before the seven guilds can set up their raffle ticket sales, the "Quilters Walk" chinese auction can put out the gift baskets, the entry table is ready for the programs,etc etc etc!!!
Still no pie, but tomorrow this area will be filled with hungry quilters who have tired feet!
The vendors look so tempting when the shops are all dressed up with fabric and other goods....but the the set-up is not so pretty! It takes a lot of work to get everything in place.
The calm before the storm.
In the morning this area will be filled with quilters coming into the show, busloads arriving, and volunteers getting their badges.

Yes, I was totally lax and got no pictures of the Preview Party tonight!
But tomorrow the show opens, and I will be there to take you through a day at the quilt show!(and I promise more pictures of QUILTS!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

QuiltFest is born! Hanging the quilts...

Here we go! It's time to create a quilt show.
Every day I will include the view from the main entrance, looking into the show, and down along the front wall.
The decorating company came in early in the morning and put up the poles and drapes according to a carefully drawn floor plan. Each quilt's ID number is plotted to go in in place with the others in its category.

It doesn't look like much until the quilts are all up

Lots of space available...but wait until you see what goes here!

The QuiltFest is hung in the mail exhibit hall of the Prime Osborn Convention Center, Jacksonville, FL. It has grown a bit over the last few years and now the entire room is used. This is the same space used by the big boat show, food conventions, and the Home & Patio show .
The back half of the hall is for the vendors, food court, and activities. All that will be moved in tomorrow.
Today a sea of cement flooring....on Thursday, this will be where we look for PIE!

In this next picture you see the quilts ready to go up. They are safe in their bags, waiting for a team of hangers with a sheet for the floor, a step ladder, and hooks & chains to suspend the quilts in front of the black drapes.
The white rods slip into the sleeve that must be on the back of each quilt. When the show asks for a 4" sleeve, it's because something needs to slide easily inside it...so the rod won't harm your quilt! A narrow sleeve is hard to use and the hangers worry about hurting your quilt. Or they may not have anything that will fit inside!

We also like nice BIG bags for the quilts...some are really hard to get the quilts in and out of as we have to do at least 4 times before it comes back to you!

Oh, look! It's Perky Old Men, making its (their?) quilt show debut! No ribbon for this one, but I am exceedingly pleased that it already has people talking and laughing...those are my best rewards!

POM has no border...it's floating there on the black drape!

I did not want to harass the busy workers by taking their pictures (myself included!). Everyone got down to business and had the quilts all up by 2:30...including a nice sandwich lunch break.
Then it was time to get the vendor booths marked with the names taped to the floor. When they arrive tomorrow it will be easy for them to find their spaces.
As I left, the signs for each quilt with its number and brief description were still being carefully pinned in place. If you have not be involved in a show, you would not believe the details to attend to!

I took a couple of the same from-the -entrance pictures as I left:

Lookin' good in the Large Quilts category! All the bags from this row are in that basket, ready to be stashed away and return when the show comes down.

Still not very exciting up front ...but just wait!

Several of us set our car's trip meters to see how many miles we will end up driving back and forth to the show. It takes me about half an hour to get there, if the traffic is OK.
Tomorrow morning I'll be taking my quilts down to inventory them in the Sale Room (and to give you a peak at that, plus the vendors set-up!). Then it's another trip in the evening for the Preview Party.
After having some "heavy hors d'oevres" (I had to look up that spelling!) it's a wonderful time to see the quilts (vendors are not open), take pictures, and generally schmooze with quilters from far and wide.
So join me tomorrow evening for the celebration of having the show up....but the work is never done!

Friday, September 19, 2008

QuiltFest....Sale Room Preview

QuiltFest opens next week (Thurs. September 25), so from now on every day is devoted to getting ready.
Seven local guilds work together to host this annual event which has a judged competetion of over 400 quilts, 60+ vendors and all the various activities you would expect to see at a large show. I'll detail a number of them next week, but today's topic is the Sale Room.

Lap-size quilts are usually good sellers...patriotic or Christmas themes tend to be popular

Though not a separate "room", there is a large area where the members of the seven guilds may sell their quilts, tops, blocks, and kits. It is not a boutique or flea market. The money goes to the quilter, less a 10% commission for QuiltFest, making a win-win situation for the hard-working members, the organization, and the show visitors who can purchase some wonderful items.
There is often a big rush when the door opens Thursday morning....it's the antique collectors seeking a real find!

The top is complete, but I am done...now it could become someone's cherished bed quilt!

Yes, these photos are all my items for sale! I'm trying to do a clean out of samples from when I used to teach at the you-know-who Big Box store.
It's not a good Patchwork Pie without some pictures!

Nothing says "holidays" like red & green & gold!

This is a REAL quilt and has lots of stitching...and, of course, much more colorful than it seems here. I like the striped fabric for the binding.
If it doesn't sell, I'll use it as an early Christmas gift for some family member. I wonder who?

These poor unrelated blocks are looking for a home

Friends of this blog will recognize my alternate design wall & photo staging area...the blue plaid sofa! I refer to these collections of blocks as "orphanages", as in a group of orphan blocks that never became a quilt, and were never intended to go together. Samples, left-overs, boo-boos....you know!
Some of these are mine, and some came from the BGPC. If they don't sell, I am taking them to one of the retreats I'm attending in November/ December and make a really fun & funky quilt....or two or three!
Right now they are grouped by size, but I'll re-group then according to how bright they are. Size may not matter, but color does!

The quilts are being hung on Tuesday next week. I'll be working, but my camera will be in my pocket so I can give you a look at what it takes!
The first thing is a step ladder....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

QuiltFest 2008 begins!

Things are gearing up for another great Quilt Show Season!
There are two main seasons per year, January to May and then September to November. Some new big Summer shows have started up, but I'll save that for another post.
In Jacksonville, FL, it's QuiltFest time!
For many people, QF is almost a year-round labor of love, yet when Quilt Turn-In Day comes, then the excitement really builds up.
I helped take in quilts at Old Green Cupboard. What a great way to get a preview of the show! Here's one quilt we measured, lint-rolled, and tagged:

"Stairway to the Stars", the 2008 raffle quilt for the All Star Quilters Guild.

Yes, friends, once again I had my camera but forgot to take pictures! This is my guild's quilt. I have a hard time being in a working frame of mind and being a photographer at the same time. There were more than 70 quilts to take care of, along with their owners to inform and educate about the show process.

Quilts were collected at six different locations, along with a large number of mailed in entries, for a total of over 400 to be judged. The quilts are all carefully guarded as they go in and out of their bags and finally end up at the Prime Osborn Convention Center on September 23 to be hung for the show, which runs Sept. 25th to the 27th (Thursday through Saturday).

I'll be there...with my camera in my pocket, so I won't forget to take pictures! Unless I am completely dead on my feet, I hope to do a daily post during that week so you can come to the show along with me, and get a behind-the-scenes view. I'm planning to cover as much as possible: hanging the quilts, the Preview Party, the show, the vendors, the quilt sale room (members of the guilds who host the show can sell items there), the guild booths, the fund-raisers...even take down and a special report on what pie is available at the show!
Oh, yes... I will be doing two demos (Thursday at 3 PM and Friday at 4:30 PM), so come on by!
I'll see you at the show!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Trash Talk

No matter how careful you think you are, someday you may write something not very complimentary in an e-mail, and then you are apalled to find it has been copied off to a large group of people!
But the trash talk here is about your very own trash can in the sewing room/ studio.

Look! Actual floor space showing in my studio! (the white thing on the left is NOT a trash can...it's a Scrap Basket!)

This odd contraption is exactly what it looks like: a brown paper grocery sack stuck into a cardboard box. The original intent was to have a disposable bag, stabilized by the box. Over time it has all become stuck together and the space between the box and the bag makes a convenient place for stashing odd bits of possibly-useful-in-the-future cardboard.
(OK, we can talk about my Pack-Ratism at a later date.)

Meanwhile, when it gets filled, I just dump the contents into a large trash bag.

I learned to make the paper bag trash container at an early age, and I highly recommend it for all class situations. The turned over edge keeps it open and sturdy. It is an excellent "green" recycling item, especially as I believe a paper bag is a better grocery holder than the plastic thingies.
(of course, a cloth bag is the BEST!).


Fold over the top edge of the paper bag but do not crease! Just bend the paper, working your way around. Then go around a second time, making the crease. If you crease it the first time around it will tear at some point.
You can throw the entire thing away when it is full.

Recently the Mysterious Ms. E asked me about disposing of sewing needles.
While I admire her for putting safety first, I personally don't care, and just chuck the needle right into the bag. Often, they are parts of needles, as yet again I have managed to smash one up by aggressive machine quilting, or forgetting to replace the single hole throat plate with the zig-zag one. You know what I mean!
Otherwise, I must lead a charmed life, as I have never had a bad encounter with a discarded needle while pawing back through the trash looking for a scrap!

I know you know what I'm talking about!

Rotary cutter blades are another matter. They are round razor blades.
I wrap them in sheets of paper....or even a piece of that cardboard... which is so handy, waiting right there with trash!
(this is the root of Pat-Ratism... can't throw this away, I really will need it some day!)

Post Script & Happy Talk:
I really cannot leave you with "trash talk" and that strange photo.
Do you remember this quilt, started in a Dianne Hire class?

Today it will be going to it's new home...at Cherry-Cherry's house! She doesn't even know it yet.
Happy Birthday to my Alpha Beta-tester!

Monday, September 1, 2008

New OLFA cutter!

I've been watching for this since it was first advertised over a year ago, and finally it showed up!
Not at a quilt shop, but at the Big Box store...and 40% off! So it cost $17.99.
I was so excited to show it to you, I took some fuzzy pictures...please accept my apologies!
OLFA Quick-Change Rotary Cutter

A new cutter is a great thing...fresh blade, especially!.... but what does this baby really do?
I did not understand about the left hand/ right hand deal until I actually used it.
It has a split guard, so only half of it opens to expose the blade.
Here you see it opened for right handers:

And here it is opened for left handers:

Each of the guards is controlled by one of the black parts on the side of the handle. That may take a bit of getting used to! But it also means anybody can use the same cutter without fuss.
If you are left-handed, or share your cutter in a group, this is great!
Each person will just open the side of the blade they need to use, because I know all of you remember to "Cut & Click" ..... meaning you always close the blade when you have completed a cut, and your arm is extended out away from yourself.

The handle is very comfortable. If I change my mind after cutting an entire quilt, I will let you know! But I did compare it to the curved handle OLFA, which I like very much, and it's about the same thickness.

What about the "quick change" blade?
Here is the back of the cutter. The black part on the handle is like a switch that you slide down.

Here it is in the open position:

It makes a very satisfying click sound and a metallic "cling"...because the blade falls right out onto the table! No screw, no pesky little curved washer thingie that is always so darn confusing!

This is what you've got: the piece that holds the blade on has a axle that goes through the hole in the blade and then the handle. You click the switch back up and it holds the axle in place!
The guards stay on the handle, so you don't have to get lots of pieces stacked back into place.

I know you are wanting to find out the real question: Will I be able to use my wavy blade on this new cutter?
Yes, you can!
I had to remove one from another cutter, so I could try this out. It sure did have a lot of irritating pieces to get apart and then juggle back together.

So even though OLFA has not paid me to say this...but I wouldn't turn down a box of blades or another cutter if they wanted to send them to me!....this new cutter is great.

There is a lot of good info on the OLFA site. They have the blade changing demos under "customer service", which is not where I would have thought to put them! But I found them anyway.

As usual, I want to be cutting out a new quilt with my new toy....
instead, it's back to the machine quilting marathon!