Quilting Adventures Spring Seminar: Day 3: 6 March 2012

7 03 2012

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Another busy day! And again, I was running on very little sleep. I’m not happy that I’m four days in to my trip and still have jet lag. I’m usually well and truly over it by now. It’s not that I’m tired during the day — I’m not; it’s just that I can’t get to sleep at night until well after 2 am and I’m barely getting 4 hours sleep, sometimes less, and often very broken sleep. I feel wrecked.

Today we continued working on our projects, so there’s not a lot to report except that we’ve all made a lot of progress from yesterday! This is a LONG SLOW process, and while the end result may be sensational, I probably won’t use it much as it takes WAY too much time. But it’s good to learn a new technique as it will always get incorporated into another art quilt at a later date.

Lunch was hamburger, char-grilled skinless chicken breast, salad, and hamburger buns (if you wanted to make your own burger — I passed on the bun and dessert, just sticking with the meat and salad). Dinner was oven-roasted stuffed pork loin with broccoli and some other sort of vegetable gratin thing that had corn in it, salad, and cheesecake.

After dinner, two of the instructors — Vikki Pignatelli and Lenore Crawford — did a ‘retrospective’ of their work, which was most interesting.

I decided not to work on my piece tonight (yes, quite a few of the ladies will sew well into the wee small hours), but instead get these blog posts and photos loaded, catch up on email, and have an early night in the HOPE that I can drop off to sleep as readily as I do at home 😉

Click on a small photo to see it larger. You can see my project’s progress from morning to the end of the day.

Quilting Adventures Spring Seminar: Day 2: 5 March 2012

7 03 2012

Monday 5 March 2012

Phew! What a day!

After sleeping a broken 4 hours last night, I woke after 7:00 am and rushed around like a mad thing to get showered and to breakfast by 7:30 am. With all the chatting (these ladies are REALLY friendly), I didn’t leave breakfast until well after 8:30, just enough time to clean my teeth before the workshops started at 9:00 am.

For most of the morning, Lenore was in charge — we had a slide presentation from her about the changing emphasis in her quilting, the techniques we were going to learn, and some more pictures of her amazing quilts. After a short break late in the morning, she discussed each person’s chosen photo and the good and bad elements of each — where we might be likely to have trouble, where she suggested we paint instead of use tiny bits of fabric, etc. It was really enlightening seeing other people’s photos and hearing how Lenore would tackle each one.

After the break, she demonstrated the first steps in drafting our pattern from our photo, making it all look too easy!

Lunch was really healthy — lots of salad veges, raw vegetable sticks, some optional chopped meats (turkey and ham I think), optional dressings, and two soups. Oh, and brownies for dessert, but I was good and didn’t have one! My aim is not to put on any weight while I’m in the US, which is always much harder than it sounds.

In the afternoon we got started on our pieces. I got my pattern drafted onto plastic, then freezer paper, then on to the muslin base.

And I chose my sky fabric and ground fabric, and some of the other fabrics. I fused the sky fabric to the muslin using MistyFuse (excellent stuff!) and I cut out my first pattern piece. Tomorrow should see us doing much more as we’ll have the whole day to work on our projects.

After we’d finished for the day, there were drinks and lots of laughs in the courtyard, followed by dinner (skinless chicken breast, wild rice, and stir-fried veges — another healthy meal; there were also two soups to choose from, and carrot cake for dessert).

Tonight was ‘show and tell’ of student pieces started in previous years at a Quilting Adventures Seminar. Wow! What a selection, and what talent and creativity on display. Each piece was held up and the person who made it explained a bit about it, such as which class/tutor they had, which year, anything special about its creation, etc. Kim also got me to show the quilt I’ve bought with me for another purpose, and that got a lot of oohs and ahs — and a big belly laugh too! (can’t tell you much about that quilt yet…).

The only dampener on the day was the inability to connect to the internet. I’ve supposedly got WiFi connection, but it’s not working. It finally worked on my phone, but still not on the computer, so I won’t be uploading these blog posts and photos until I get connected. The guy at the T Bar M Resort was most helpful, and has offered me a workaround if I can’t get connected tomorrow.

One final thing… I am blown away by the contrast in the welcoming nature and friendliness of the Quilting Adventures team, and all the students. While I enjoyed most of last year’s 3-day Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy, one of my big complaints was the lack of a general introductory welcome, and a lack of group activities that brought the group together as versus something that was another ‘talk at’ type session. These Texan ladies have really shown how wonderful a workshop can be (an experience like I’ve had at retreats that Michelle Pearson from Handcrafters House in Midland, Western Australia has organised). This personal touch has NOTHING to do with price. You can’t put a price on being friendly and welcoming. These things cost nothing, but when they’re absent, it’s noticeable.

Even after only a day and a bit, already I’d come back in future years if I was in the vicinity at the time one of their seminars was held.

And now it’s time for bed!

Click on a small photo to show it larger.



Quilting Adventures Spring Seminar: Day 1: 4 March 2012

7 03 2012

Sunday 4 March 2012

I found the venue for the quilting workshops — the T Bar M Resort, just outside New Braunfels. Gorgeous location and grounds. I checked in to my room, then went to check out where we had to register for the workshops etc. Kim (one of the organisers) welcomed me with a big hug (we’ve chatted quite a bit via email) and the ladies at ‘The Quilt Haus’ store knew who I was too, as they are hiring me a machine for the week. What a pleasant welcome!

I chose a table in the room where I’ll be spending the rest of the week, and started setting up my gear, including the loan Elna sewing machine (brand new — it will become a demo model for the store once I’ve finished with it). I met a few of the other ladies in my workshop (it looks like there are about 15 of them). Then it was time for drinks, where I met a few more ladies who are in different workshops. GOOD Margaritas, with plenty of tequila! 😉

After drinks was a Texas BBQ dinner (not an open fire BBQ — more BBQ-style beef [brisket?] and chicken and a HOT sauce). Delicious.

Then we had a general session for everyone — I counted about 45 people including the instructors, who will be spread over 5 different workshops. I cracked a special mention for coming the furthest! Most of the ladies are from Texas, with a few from further afield, such as Oklahoma City, Florida, Connecticut, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

After the general session we went to our workshop rooms, where our instructors for the week did a 30-minute intro session. My workshop is with Lenore Crawford, and I got to look at some of her amazing quilts close up.

Then it was back to my room to write up this post, upload my photos (click on a small photo to see it larger), and to TRY to get more than 2.5 hours sleep, which is all I’ve had the past two nights… Damned jet lag…. (Actually, I didn’t upload this blog post or pictures until Tuesday night, which when I first got internet access that worked).

Click on a small photo to show it larger.

They breed ’em big in Texas!

7 03 2012

And that includes the insects….

Here’s one of the ‘friendly’ gnats that are hanging around New Braunfels, TX this time of year.

Big gnat

Fortunately, they don’t bite, so while they look like an over-sized mosquito, they don’t have the power of mosquitoes to carry nasty diseases… or so I’ve been told!

Old friends and new

7 03 2012

My trip south from Dallas included a stop north of Austin to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Shari and I had worked together (via the internet) for several years, for our professional organisation, and it was great to catch up with her.

Next stop after lunch was Helotes, on the northern outskirts of San Antonio, where I was to meet Kelli’s parents for the first time and stay overnight with them. Who’s Kelli? you might ask. Well, to cut a long story short, she’s a gal who lives in Colorado who I ‘know’ via Twitter. One of her colleagues in Phoenix, where Kelli used to live, put us in touch several years ago as we both do crafty things with fabric. Kelli’s Mom is a quilter and her parents are a similar age to me, so Kelli introduced me to her Mom via email and it all snowballed from there once I knew I was coming to Texas to their part of the world.

Suffice to say that I didn’t know Kelli’s parents at all, but figured they must be nice people as they raised such a ‘together’ daughter. They must’ve figured I was OK as I was a friend of Kelli’s (even though Kelli and I have never met), seeing as though they invited me into their home to stay overnight prior to my quilt workshop week in New Braunfels, Texas (about 40 miles away).

I arrived around 4 pm and I don’t think Kelli’s Mom and I drew breath until we all went to bed around 10:30 pm! We have a LOT in common, not just the quilting. Kelli’s Dad had trouble getting in a word edgewise 😉

Sunday morning was leisurely with a late breakfast (and more chatting) with Kelli’s parents, followed by me hitting the road and driving north again to New Braunfels, where I was meeting a distant cousin for breakfast. Tom and I met last year in California and we have a common ancestor from about 1750! We had lunch at the New Braunfels Smokehouse, which does traditional German-style smoked meats. Tom and I both had the Reuben sandwich, and caught up on our respective news.

So, it was a good 24 hours of meeting an old friend, making new friends, and catching up with a relative.

Next stop — the quilting workshop!