QV2018: Day 18: Houston Quilt Festival

10 11 2018

I had three classes today — morning (Floating Forest, with Rita Lynne), afternoon (Improv Color Blocks, with Cindy Griselda), and evening (Professional Quilt Edge Finished — The Envelope Edge, with Grace Errea). See https://rhondabracey.com/2018/11/11/qv2018-houston-classes/.

I met Sara, a friend of mine from Texas, for lunch, then had about 45 mins after lunch to look more closely at some of the quilts on exhibit, specifically the SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) exhibition and the quilts up for the silent auction.

Some of the most intricate quilting is coming out of Spain, and it's by men -- I'm pretty sure this is one of them

Some of the most intricate quilting is coming out of Spain, and it’s by men — I’m pretty sure this is one of them


QV2018: Day 17: Houston Quilt Festival

9 11 2018

I did two classes today — Luscious Landscapes (Peggy Martin) and Modern Simplicity (Jodi Robinson). See: https://rhondabracey.com/2018/11/11/qv2018-houston-classes/

After class, I met a friend from our first tour group in the bar, and others from the current group joined us. Some of us had a late dinner at a local restaurant (late because it’s almost impossible to get a table at any restaurant in the vicinity when Festival is on). Then it was time for bed. I have 3 classes tomorrow (morning, afternoon, and evening), so it will be a full day.

QV2018: Day 16: Houston Quilt Festival

8 11 2018

Today was my first day of classes at the Houston international Quilt Festival. I had an all-day drawing class (‘Abstracting from nature‘ with Jane Sassaman. I don’t think I’ve ever spent 4+ hours drawing in one day, and it was surprising how much better I got with that sort of practice!

After class, the Festival opened for 2 hours to delegates, before the general public could gain access to both the quilt exhibition and the vendor mall. As in previous years, my strategy is to start from the back, work the whole back section, then move to the front section — by then, the crowds have started to head back. It’s worked well before and so it did again tonight. My other strategy is to walk quickly, take photos of quilts that appeal to me, and get a sense of what I want to go back and revisit over the next few days. I’d walked the whole exhibition and taken some 150 photos in 90 minutes! And yes, my feet hurt — in previous years, my Fitbit has told me I do >15K steps in that 90 mins.

Once I’d finished with the exhibition (for now), I went to the vendor mall (still only delegates, so not HUGE crowds yet), and made a beeline for two booths that had two of the items on my five-item list. Then it was off to put my vendor mall strategy in play — start from the far end at the back, ignore any booths that have things that don’t interest me (e.g. beads, yarn), ignore any booths that have things I can’t take back to Australia on the plane (bulky goods, electrical goods, etc.), and only look (quickly) at those that might be of interest. However, I wasn’t able to put my strategy into play, because just as I got to the back corner of the vendor mall, an alarm went off with an announcement to evacuate the building. Somewhere in that announcement was something about fire/smoke (but not in a panicky way). By the time I got to the centre section of the mall, I could smell smoke, and a couple of the vendors said they’d smelt it for 10 mins (I presume they’d let the building security know). The smell dissipated the closer I got to the exit doors. It was still 20 mins before Festival opened to the public, so I hope the evacuation didn’t affect the organisers or the vendors for too long. I don’t know when it re-opened — I went back to my hotel room to process my photos and rest my feet!

Here are just a few of the ~150 photos I took tonight — you can see them all on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157702513543445

This is Sophie Standing and my friend Michelle's 2nd prize winning quilt in the Animal category -- 'Roaming free'

This is Sophie Standing and my friend Michelle’s 2nd prize winning quilt in the Animal category — ‘Roaming free’

QV2018: Day 15: Calgary to Houston

7 11 2018

We were up around 3am this morning, for a 4am gathering in the hotel lobby and a 4:15am pickup for Calgary Airport and our flight to Houston. It was COLD — minus 5C or colder — and snowing, but we knew it was going to be 30C or more in Houston, and humid. Most of our group dressed for Calgary weather, gradually discarding jackets and thermals from the airport onwards! (And yes, they had to de-ice the wings)

We flew on WestJet, a Canadian airline I’ve never heard of, let alone flown, before. And I doubt I’ll ever fly them again, at least not on one of their 737-600/-700 series planes! Six of us paid quite a bit extra for ‘Plus Economy’ seats, the only thing WestJet has other than standard Economy. Their website says the seats are larger, have more legroom, meals are served etc. What a crock!

Instead the seats are NARROW — ‘Plus Economy’ seats are effectively just three economy seats with the middle one used for an arm/drinks rest. They are certainly not equivalent to Premium Economy or Business Class (or First Class on US airlines). None of these seats have open arms, which means you can’t ‘spread’ a little past the width of the arms. You’re boxed in. There may be a tad more leg room, but there’s NO more width. Yes, I can blame my bum for being bigger, but when you pay a lot extra for seats that are described on their website as being bigger, you sort of expect slightly wider seats. Those in economy had no shoulder or bum room, and were very up close and personal with their neighbours. Fortunately, for those in our group seated together, we’ve got to know each other quite well the past few weeks…. Plus Economy also boasts a ‘meal’ for flights over 2.5 hours (ours was a 4-hour flight). That meal for breakfast was a boxed turkey wrap (stale; ‘use by’ date tomorrow) or a boxed ham and cheese croissant. With it came some packaged apple slices that had a ‘use by’ date two days previous. This was an international flight from Canada to the US. And yes, I’ve been spoilt by Qantas…

Enough! Let’s get on with the trip!

We arrived early into Houston and went straight to our gate. Once the luggage came through (that took a bit longer than expected), we exited into a wall of heat and humidity, and then onto the blissfully air-conditioned bus. (We’d cleared US immigration/customs in Canada, but that’s another story for another day, so our flight was treated as a domestic one.)

Once at the hotel we exited into the heat again, then into the lovely cool hotel lobby. Some of our rooms were ready straight away, while others had to wait several more hours for theirs to be ready. My first port of call was the International Quilt Festival registration desk to pick up my name badge, program, final room assignments for classes, IQF pin for 2018, etc., then I went with one of the new ladies this tour to show her where the Phoenicia market was.

At 5:15 our group gathered and went over to the convention centre to line up for Winners’ Circle — the ceremony announcing all the award-winning quilts for 2018 — from Honorable Mentions, to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners in each category, to the final eight quilts that won big prize money, including the Best of Show.

There were too many people crowding to quilts for me to take many photos of them, but photos of all the winning quilts (but not close-ups, unfortunately) are here: http://quilts.com/fqf18/iqawinners/list.html. I’ve put some of the photos of my favourite quilts in this post; the others are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157702513543445 — I’ll add to this album as I take more photos of the quilts in the exhibition (which doesn’t open until Wednesday night for delegates, and Thursday for the general public).


QV2018: Day 10: Workshop day with Katja in Kamloops

2 11 2018

Today was a late start, with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel then down to Katja’s Quilt Shoppe for a workshop. Our project was English Paper Piecing, and Katja had designed a 13-piece maple leaf (representing the 13 provinces of Canada and the Canadian flag) for us to do. Her method doesn’t involve thread basting the fabric onto the paper pieces — instead we glued the fabric down, then whip-stitched the seams (by hand) to join them. No-one finished, but we all made decent progress before it was time to stop at 4pm. We were glad it was a workshop day today because the weather was cold, grey, and wet. (Kamloops is in high desert country, so they don’t get a lot of rain — who were we to begrudge them of that?)

After the workshop Dan, our bus driver, dropped off some of the group back at the hotel and then took others to the Walmart Supercenter for an hour — I bought some knock-off Skechers-style shoes to replace the ones I’ve been wearing for the past four years that are very worn down, as well as a 4-wheel hard-sided suitcase (my current suitcase is only a 2-wheeler, which means I have to get it on a pivot to move it along).

We met in the lobby at 6pm for dinner at a local Chinese/Japanese restaurant (Oriental Garden). Wow! What a meal! We had HEAPS of dishes for our group of 23, and they were piled high with yummy fresh food. The food was great, and the service was super quick. Cocktails were all around $6 to $8 each (my well-made Long Island Iced Tea was only $6.25!) At the end of the night, we divided the leftovers into about 12 take-away containers, got some plastic knives and forks and napkins to go, boxed everything up, then as we walked back to the hotel, Dan and a couple of the others gave the meals to some of the local homeless people nearby.

QV2018: Day 3 Seattle

26 10 2018

In case you’re wondering why there’s no Day 1 and Day 2, that’s because I didn’t join the QuiltVenture 2018 (QV2018) tour group until their Day 3 in Seattle. I’d gone on earlier to New Orleans for a conference, and didn’t get into Seattle until very late on their Day 2.

Day 3, which is where I start my journey with them, was a workshop day. We did a workshop with Sherry Rogers-Harrison, learning her technique for painting quilts. She provided us with a kit with two different colourways — I chose to do the aqua/purple colours, not the copper/fall colours. She also did a trunk show of her amazing work (just a few photos below). Some were miniatures, others full size art quilts.


We had a lot of fun, interspersed with long moments of concentrated silence as we focused on painting between the stitched lines.

This evening some of us are going to the ‘Come From Away’ musical, based on the true story of the people of Gander in Canada, who took in thousands of stranded passengers whose planes were grounded immediately after 9/11. I expect it to be rather emotional, so am making sure I take some tissues. (see the update below)

Tomorrow we go to an animal park, where I’ve heard there are bear cubs to be seen! (though at this time of the year, I’d expect them to be several months old by now).

More photos of Sherry’s work (and my attempts!) here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157701398501701

Update: ‘Come From Away’:

OK, so here’s the thing. I’m not a fan of Broadway-style musicals, or even much of a fan of live theatre. But tonight in Seattle I saw probably the BEST show I’ve ever seen or heard on stage. It was full of humour, sadness, compassion, emotion, more humour, great music, excellent singing, and sheer brilliance. It finished with a 10-minute standing ovation from a full theatre (5th Avenue Theatre) on a Thursday night — and I was right there standing and clapping too. What was this brilliant show? ‘Come From Away’. Yes, you’ve probably never heard of it, and yes, over time you will. If you get the opportunity to see it, do.

When I first heard that some of my tour group might go, it was touted as a musical about 9/11. My first reaction? No way on Earth would I go to that. But I looked it up and saw that it was actually about the town of Gander in Newfoundland that ended up with 38 grounded planes when all air traffic into and in the US was stopped as a result of 9/11. 38 planes and 7000 passengers, in a sleepy little town about the same size. A town that fed and clothed them, took them into their homes, and said goodbye when they finally left. A town that those passengers have never forgotten.

If ‘Come From Away’ comes to your town, see it. You won’t regret it.

Community Quilts 418 to 422

20 08 2018

The latest batch.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 418

Community Quilt 419

Community Quilt 420

Community Quilt 421

Community Quilt 422

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/