Prepping my Crazy Cushion Class

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When I was visiting the South Bay Quilters, they had one class in their line-up which intrigued me: Becky McDaniels’ Crazy Cushions class.

Covet.

I found a guild closer to me offering it, and the class is this coming Saturday.

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But since I am not a quick foundation paper piecer, I knew I should get some done before the class.

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This is what I use–it’s made by Neenah Paper.

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I use a vellum paper, purchased at Kelly Paper, for my paper-piecing.  I can see through it, and it’s crisp, so it tears off easily. I know the price looks high, but there are 500 sheets in there, and the last ream I purchased lasted me almost 10 years.  If you go to order it online, use the number by the manager’s finger.

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Once side of the cushion is Pineapple, and the other is called Star Jasmine.  And then there are a lot of flying geese for the cushion sides.

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We’ve also been movingmovingmoving stuff around upstairs and my quilting machine has a new place to live for a while, until I can figure out how I want to configure my sewing room.

I remember corresponding with another quilter and when I told her my sewing room was about 9 feet by 10 feet, she wondered how I could ever sew in such a tiny space.  Well…it’s what I have.  I will confess to having spilled over into the guest room, where that Sweet Sixteen is currently residing.

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My daughter just built an RV garage onto their existing three-car garage, and I wouldn’t mind taking over that space, but she lives several hours from me, so (sadly) not feasible.  Besides I’d have to share it with their vehicles.  I guess I’m thrilled to have a room dedicated to my own messes, my own stuff, so it never occurred to me that my room was too small.

Works for me.  Now I’m off to sew about a bazillion tiny flying geese and sew them into strips.

Starry Sky Mug Rug

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This summer, my niece Abby, let me have one of her hand-thrown mugs, of which I was thrilled to get (I love hot chocolate).  I meant to send her a little quilted mug rug in return, but that project seemed to get stalled for one reason or another.  But last week, I decided not one more thing would be done until I finished it and sent it off.  (Sometimes you just have to give yourself a little talk.)

I used the Starry Sky block pattern, by Kylie Kelsheimer (a downloadable pattern from Craftsy).  In this new version of her pattern, she has three sizes, and the 6″ size is perfect for a mug rug.

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My niece likes to go hiking, and lives up in the Northwest, so I used colors of purple mountains, green hills and aqua-and-blue waters.  I bound it in navy.

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I used an agate-stone looking print for the back, one of my favorites lurking in my stash.

It took me a couple of hours from start to finish.  It’s a paper-pieced pattern, so all the star points are sharp and it goes together easily.  I kept a photo of the block near me when putting the pieces together, to keep myself straight.

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I listened to the latest Bruno, Chief of  Police book, The Resistance Man, and that kept me going.  Then I ran it to the Post Office, and off it went.  I hope Abby likes it.

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A couple of days before I’d made Simone’s blocks for the Gridsters Bee, a wee bit late, but she forgave me.

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And then I got right on October’s blocks for Joan, for the Gridsters Bee.  She asked for a black-and-white New York Beauty block, with a touch of solid color.  Hope she likes these.

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I liked this old photograph of women sewing, found on the website for the National Gallery of Ireland, reminding me of my travels (I’m finally over the jetlag).

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Here’s your reminder: the perfect is the enemy of the good, Stephan Pastis style.  As some long-time readers know, I believe in this quote and used to keep it on my syllabi when I was a teacher.  Sometimes it’s good to just be *good,* and not strive for perfection.  Hope that idea helps you “lead a sane and balanced life.”

Shopping at the European Quilt Meeting

EuroPatchwork Meeting Program

The brains of the meeting.  I’d done some prepwork (looking at the website) so I knew what I wanted to see.  The very first thing: see the vendors.  I told my husband it would be like going to Disneyland for quilters.  Everything was new and different to me, but since I only have a small suitcase, I had to choose fun and interesting things.

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Since fat quarters were running about $5 a piece (with the conversion rates) and fabric was 22 Euro (about $25 dollars) per meter, I knew right off the bat I wouldn’t be buying any “American” fabric, and gained instant sympathy for European quilters at these prices!

The vendors were in a combination of inside “Espace Commercial” and outside tents, with one side of the tent opening to the passersby (and the weather).  I saw many of the drapes drawn to close in the booths when it was raining.

The Commercial Space was weather-proof, but hot and stuffy.  I took these photographs early in the morning.  When we doubled back before leaving, it was very crowded.

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Who wouldn’t want to shop at this booth, with its array of Kaffe fabrics and a vendor with bright pinky-red hair?

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This isn’t exactly a vendor, but the distributor (Rhinetex) who’d rented out the ground floor of this old house, displaying some Moda fabrics (don’t they always do it spectacularly?).

EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue6 Moda3EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue6 Moda2And inside, the famous Tula quilt for her new line, and a sweet scene at the fireplace, with their logo on the felt backdrop.  Lots of quilts in here, and it was fairly mobbed.

EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsVenue5 creativesThe last venue I want to mention was titled “Les Createurs” and was filled with beautiful handiwork from “designers and craftsmen.”  I definitely coveted a few pieces of jewelry, as well as that blue coat in front. Now to show you what I bought and what their booths looked like.  I asked permission for all photos, but was told more than once they’d only like me to take a “general” photograph (imagine this word with a French accent); I totally understood their request and why they made it.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors1These folks are from the west side of France; she has a book out (I saw it at the book booth, but since it’s all in French, well…)  I’m always thinking small, so I picked up these two fat quarters.
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Across from them was the Costuretas de Moly booth, with the most charming kits and small handmades.  I saw a lot of sweet little bags and pouches with detailed scenes appliquéd and embroidered on the fronts and backs.  They are from Catalan, Spain.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors2a

A small bracelet, a quick blurry shot of the bins of bracelets (they didn’t want their booth photographed) and random German Christmas Tree, the only thing I regret buying.  The vendor had tacked green rosettes of fabric around all the outside edges, and I thought maybe I could tie on some green primitive rags instead.  Oh well, we’ll see.

The handmade, laser-cut embellishments were purchased next, from a booth that made it hard to decide, given their categories of sewing, animals, children, family, house, etc.

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors5aEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors5Even though I said to myself “no fabric” the Filarte booth drew me in with their linens.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors6My husband and I both liked the scarf on the outer upper edge of the houses, but when I tried on the leafy print next to it, well, that one came home.  It is wool and cotton so I will be very warm in sunny old Riverside. (I’m wearing it now, as I type this next to the chilly window in our hotel in Geneva.)

EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7cI had a total fangirl moment when I realized whose booth I was standing in front of: Un Chat dans l’aiguille.  The lady on the right is the artist who makes up all these beautiful pieces (and whose name I think is Christel–hard to figure it out when you don’t speak the language).  I fell in love with her Matryoshka needle case, that I saw in a shop when I was here in Geneva last year, but they didn’t have any more (it’s out of print).  So when I got home, I looked up who made it and read all about her and her designs.

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But what to chose?  None of them are cheap, so I had to choose carefully.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7aEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7bI went with this little pouch with all its flowers and scalloped edge detail.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors7aabWhen I looked inside, I can see why her kits are so popular: everything is well-labeled, ordered and she even included a needle.

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Sometimes what draws you in to fabric is that it is the exact opposite of what you’d normally buy.  Like the dusky shades of printed and dyed linen on the left.  Then you spend the next two hours mentioning to your husband that it won’t be enough fabric to do anything with, so you circle back around (my husband is a saint) and then pick up two more fat quarters to round it out.  I’m assuming it was the wife of the man (below) sort of strongly suggested that it was not good to put the heavier weight linen next to the quilt-fabric-weight linen on the right.  But I loved the look of the thicker threads in the first pack and couldn’t be persuaded to change.  If only they’d had the colors on the right in the heavier.  The vendors are from Germany.EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors9a

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Here’s the back of the package, in case you ever run into them.  Like I said, nearly everything I saw was unique, unusual, and not seen in the American markets.

Like these doll heads:EuroPatchwork 2017_VendorsRandom HeadsEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10a
We saw this sign while walking between exhibit locations, and entered into the little lane where several booths were set up with bolts of fabric.  At the back was a burned out house (?) with buttons for sale in what looks like the garage.  Or maybe the whole house was under renovation?EuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10bEuroPatchwork 2017_Vendors10cThe quilts are pretty backdrops for what I purchased: the two buttons, above, and a necklace.

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The penultimate purchase was this dishtowel from the Beauville exhibit in Sainte Croix-aux-Mines, one town away from where we started.  I have one more purchase, but I’ll mention it when I get to the various exhibits.

Alsatian Dress Lady

Here’s the woman in the Alsatian dress again.  It is so beautiful, and of course, I wondered where I could get that apron fabric.  We saw her again later in the Old Theater venue, so stay tuned.

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