After spending all last week together, Val and I just can't hold it back any longer:
****We are writing a book together for C & T Publishing!!!!!****
We've been working on it together since last January, and are having an absolutely lovely time collaborating.
Val came to visit me here in Washougal last summer when we actually got to sew together for several days.
Our styles of working are pretty different, which makes the exchanges between us so rich. She is so neat and calm and executes her work flawlessly, while I am wild and out of the box.
She realized this when I dumped out all of my silk stash on the floor of my living room so we could pull some fabrics for our projects.
Val loves to swim, but swimming in silk was a first for her!
We've had such fun working long distance together....but of course it was wonderful to reunite in Wichita last week and we got a lot done in person. I can't wait until you all can see what we are up to! But it will be awhile....our manuscript is due next May, and the book won't be out until May 2014! That is soooo long to wait....
We knew that last week was our one chance to have our photo taken together, as we won't see each other again before next May. So we asked our fellow C & T author, Judith Baker Montano, to take our author photo for us. Judith is a very fine photographer, and she graciously agreed to help us out. The fact that she has been a huge influence on both of us in our work made it even more special.
Well, getting one woman to be happy with a portrait of herself is hard enough, but two of us? It took three different sessions over three days, but Judith was so kind and funny with us, (saying outrageous things to make us laugh) not to mention being very experienced (telling me, "For God's sake, put on some LIPSTICK, honey!"), that she finally got one we both love.
Val and Judith are looking at some of our 400 shots....yes, it took that many!
Here is Judith trying to get my frizzy hair a little bit under control.
We had some funny outtakes...
Nope, I was giggling and the light wasn't right...
Oops, there's a plant growing out of my head!
On the last morning, Judith got it.
We are thrilled with Judith's portrait and each feel very, very lucky to be traveling on this wonderful crazy quilt journey together. We can't wait to take you with us!
I just returned from teaching 4 days of classes at the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita, Kansas, hosted by my friend Valerie Bothell.
It was a mellow and harmonious week, where the students all worked hard but in the relaxed and gracious atmosphere of the Hotel at Old Town. I was so inspired by their creativity and warmth.
My fellow teachers, Judith Baker Montano and Candace Kling, gave me so many ideas about how to teach more effectively, and of course being able to see all their work on display in their classrooms was extraordinary. Candace and I roomed together and talked every night until almost midnight...what a wise and cultured rock and roller she is. She was so generous with her friendship....
Here are some pictures...just a few...of a magical week.
The Frame It With Flowers Class. Each student created her own unique beauty...a couple of examples show what I mean.
Lonna's work reflected her growing up as a florist's daughter. This is her son and new daughter-in-law.
Sandy Fox "wrote a love letter", as Kathleen Glynn calls this, to her cat Tabitha.
The Wee Farmscape Class was full of enthusiasm and hard workers. I threw quite a bit of class content at them in 6 hours, and they stayed with me every step of the way. Many thanks to Pamela Kellogg for allowing me to include her waste canvas seam treatments.
This class was especially fascinating to me, because though everyone followed the same pattern, again, each of their projects had a different feel to it.
Pam Peugh's cozy farmhouse beckons...
...while Vicki Clements' is energetic like a children's' book illustration. Of course, Vicki being a pediatrician might have something to do with that! Vicki spent all four days with me and I felt especially proud of all the work she did.
Friendships can grow deeply and quickly over the needle. Love you, Vicki!
This is one of the two heart blocks she cranked out in the Curved Hearts class.
She gave me some good insights for refining the pattern for the next time I offer the class, which I really appreciate.
Vicki's mom was at the conference too, here with Vicki in the Punchneedle Flower Class.
There she is in the aqua shirt. The bond between them was a source of real joy to me. I lost my own mom 36 years ago, so I love being around mothers and daughters.
How many of us can relate to Margie's glasses here? ;-)
Lydia Talton was in the Hearts class too, and made this wonderful block...
She didn't let that ornery clear mono-filament thread slow her down!
I was able to peek in on Judith and Candace's classes on the last day.
Students learned to make underwater seascapes using Judith's freeform embroidery techniques.
Candace's classes were next door to me, so I could hear that those ladies were mostly silent, really concentrating on their work. Being able to teach such complicated techniques in ribbonry requires a very skilled teacher; I soaked up everything I could learn from watching her.
She was organized, positive, clear and precise, and tuned in to what each student needed and how she best learned.
I love this picture of Candace and Lujean, who is 79 years young...
Some of Candace's display boards give the barest glimpse of what she does.
Click on this one! You'll want to see these ribbon flowers up close and personal.
None of this would have been possible without our lovely Val, who has put on this conference for 7 years, and her friend and invaluable assistant, Dixie Derksen.
Val has said this is the last year for the conference. But....maybe we can talk her out of that........
When I started blogging about my quilt life in 2005, I never could have predicted it would lead to the opportunity to travel and share my love for stitching with others. But over the last few years, that has happened, and each time I "go out" to meet new students in a classroom, I enjoy it all the more.
I leave for the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita, Kansas tomorrow, teaching alongside two of my heroes in the fiber world, Judith Montano and Candace Kling. My dear friend Val Bothell is hosting this event and some old friends will be attending--I'm sure I'll make some new ones too! I feel very lucky.
Four classes in four days! Preparing for them has been a labor of love...
The kits for "Frame it With Flowers" are ready to go...
I made a couple new samples for my "Crazy Hearts" class.
I added quilting to this one as an experiment. Very fun...
The "Wee Farmscape" class will cover a lot of techniques so I expect my ladies to work extra hard...
This concept can definitely be expanded to more elaborate work. I've done 3 other ones since this sample last winter, one of which was my quilt for the Quilt Alliance's contest, "Home is Where the Quilt Is".
"Washougal Valley View" was purchased by my friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe. That was great!
The last class I'll be teaching is about making punchneedle ribbon flowers. You all know how much I love making 3 dimensional flowers... ;-)
It is going to be a busy and creative week in wonderful Wichita.
I'll report back when I get home...meanwhile, thanks for stopping by....
Friends, being a traveling quilt teacher can bring so much joy in so many ways: from the students who love to learn, the audience who is interested in your work (unlike, perhaps, the beloved guys in your family whom you live with), the hosts who treat you like a princess, meeting new friends and old....and from the chance to explore new areas too.
I had all these experiences in my recent trip to Columbia, MO to teach my "Pretty Crazy" class and "Essential Crazy Quilt Embroidery", as well as to give a lecture about my transition from sane to crazy quilting.
I came home filled to the brim with great memories...here are a few pictures from my trip:
What's a better sign that you are in Missouri than having some mules come visit? They live next door to my host family and greeted me my first morning there.
Here we are setting up for my Friday night lecture. This guild made sure I had every thing I needed, one person even bailing me out when my PowerPoint got stuck. *whew*
The students worked hard all day in class on Saturday.....
...and I was thrilled with the variations on my pattern and method that they discovered.
This gal said she was going to try very hard not to enjoy the handwork she is starting to add here....I loved that, and good luck!
My sweet hostess, Corrine Remeika, is learning some new embroidery stitches in Sunday's class. She brought in that lovely CQ you see in the foreground of the picture. Nice fan there!
Another true highlight of my trip was my visit to the Clark County Amish community. My old Point Bonita friend, the master handquilter and hand piecer Bettina Havig, took me there. Bettina has long ties to the community and some dear friends among them too, so she knew where to go and what to show me.
We did indeed have to share the road. A couple of buggies being driven by women intent upon their errands passed us by along the way. They each gave us a serious nod and wave.
You don't photograph the Amish people, so I couldn't capture the utterly charming school children at play in their schoolyard at lunch time, in colorful long dresses and wee bonnets (the girls), and the straw hats, black pants, and bright shirts (the boys). It felt like stepping back into an earlier America. I was dazzled.
But I did photograph the little corner store that one family had on the side of their house. Come inside and see....
Please note the minimal packaging (food is bought in bulk and then bagged in manageable sizes), natural lighting, and absence of advertising. It felt so good in there.
Front and center, the fabrics for clothing and quilts!
...and the threads, of course. Note the Bag Balm in the green tin above. That's ointment for udders, so the teats don't get cracked or for cuts the cows get. As dairy farmers, my husband and I used to buy that stuff in gallon tubs! Fun to see it here.
Everything needed for the plain and simple Amish life was for sale here, including the straw hats worn by the men and boys. The woodstove is ready for winter, the broom on the wall for sweeping up ashes from the floor....
It was hard to leave such a peaceful and interesting place....but it was back to the 21st Century, albeit in retro fashion...
Bettina took Corrine and me here for my last breakfast before heading south to the airport in Kansas City. Good coffee and conversation, not to mention those hash browns.
A special thanks to Bettina, for hiring me and squiring me about. The private quilt turning of her masterpiece quilts in her home was something I'll never forget.
Bettina is dedicated to the "made by hand" school of quilting, in applique, piecing, and quilting. Her work is unrivaled, she teaches it here and internationally, and has published 7 books on the subject.
And her friendship is a treasure to me...
Home for a bit...next stop, Wichita! There is still time to sign up for my classes. Looking forward to it!
It's been a month since I've checked in here, and I miss my blogging friends and readers.
But my posts are going to be few between now and May 1, 2013, which is my deadline for a top secret project that I have been sewing madly for since last January. It is hard not to share what I've been doing, but I hope you feel it will be worth the wait.
There are some big surprises in store!!!!
There has been a whole lot of gardening going on by my Food Supplier in Chief Robert, and harvest season is upon us....
The deal is, he grows it and I process it. Pear sauce and tomato sauce have been cranked out in mass quantities, with more to come...
I don't add a thing to this sauce, and I don't peel those tomatoes, either! They are simply terrific as is off the vine.
Thankfully, once the onions are cured we just store them in the basement. It was a banner year for the onions!
Same goes for the winter squash. For some reason (a pre-natal tendency is my opinion), my husband is compulsive about growing all sorts of winter squash: Delicata, Carnival, Ambercup, Marina de Chiogga. We will be eating off these til next summer. (Shown is a fraction of the harvest, believe me.) The potatoes are all stashed away downstairs...
But we are still waiting on the Bosc pears...
This is only a part of the tree...I'm amazed at how great a crop we have, considering the weather is so lousy while the trees flower in the spring, and the bees are down in numbers...These will go into the chutney, along with all those peppers we also have coming ripe. I'd like to try drying some, too.
And after planting some Asian pear trees 18 years ago....we have our first decently sized crop of them. They are incredible...and it's nice to know we didn't completely waste our time with those trees!
Here's Robert filling a bucket for us...
There are also some out-of-it apple trees that we don't harvest...but our neighbors here are waiting for me to chuck some windfalls over the fence.
That big cow with the horns gets first dibs on everything, that is for sure!
I will check back in with reports of some upcoming travels....off to Columbia, MO next week, and then Wichita, Kansas for the Victorian Stitchery Retreat in November (there are still openings in the classes by me, Judith Montano, and Candace Kling, so contact Valerie Bothell if you can come.)
But....a few more moons will pass before I can blog about my studio work....here is a little glimpse though...can you find the Big Dipper?