Sunday, March 02, 2008

Quilting Hangover

I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show. This was my first quilt show ever. From the grumblings of some of the other visitors, I gleaned that there weren't as many quilts on display as at some of the bigger shows. But there were quilts from all over the country, and maybe a couple from overseas. Some of the quilts were truly amazing. Detailed piecing. Delicate applique. Quilting more dense than you can imagine. On the other hand there were some people's first quilts, which were cute, but probably not worth the price of admission. There were two Dear Jane quilts, one by an amateur and one by a professional. The amateur's won a ribbon. The professional's didn't. At first I thought it might be that the competition in the professional division was at a higher level. But then I looked closely at both and you could see that the ribbon-winner pieced more accurately, quilted in a more interesting way, made more interesting fabric choices, fussy cut a lot of the pieces, and it hung straighter - which is a sign that the construction was more consistent throughout the process. There is hope for us amateurs!

Edit to add: Robert Genn's Twice a Week Letter had this to say about amateurs:

"Amateurism can induce clear sight and creative optimism. At least you are not held in check by a lot of stuff you already know."

Thursday I took a machine quilting class from Sue Nickels. Friday and Saturday I took a Lone Star class from Jan Krentz. My sewing machine up and died fairly early on in the Sue Nickels class, which was about free-motion quilting, a process that does ask a lot of a basic machine like mine. Luckily an angel in the form of a Bernina dealer saved me with a free loaner of an Activa 230 PE. I got to practice most of the techniques and start on my larger project. And it turns out her daughter was at the Middlebury program in Madrid at the same time as David. Small world!

That night I took my dead sewing machine home and tried to revive it. I got it stitching a straight stitch with only a few skipped stitches every few inches, so I thought it might get me through the Lone Star class. But as soon as I plugged it in and ran a test scrap through it, it totally keeled over again. Thank goodness a student in another class who was renting a Bernina got ill and dropped out of her class so the Bernina angel brought me that Bernina, which I was able to use for the rest of the two-day class. I eventually caught up with the slowest person in the class and Jan Krentz was a superstar about managing a class with WIDELY varied skill levels and speeds.

Today I feel like I have a hangover. I don't drink. I think it was the three days of non-stop quilting. I feel like I need to sleep until I pick up my new (well, it was a classroom loaner, like the one I borrowed, so I'm getting it for a discount) sewing machine from Shiisa Quilts on Tuesday. :)

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Janet said...


I'm so glad we were able to help you out at the show -- and that you love your new Bernina!

It was a fun weekend, wasn't it?

Owner, Shiisa Quilts