Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quilting at the Big E

We got back from W. Springfield, Mass., around 11:30 Thursday night and agreed that we'd had a good time. After leaving at 6:30 am on Wednesday, I was quilting and sewing in Sheila's SM Creations booth by 10:00 am. Our booth was in the Vermont building of the Big E, the Eastern States Exposition, just across from the sugarmakers and Ben & Jerry's. The fairgrounds are huge and over a million people come during a two and a half-week period.

Each state has a building on "State Street" and there's a historic village (Storrowtown) along with the usual farm animals, food and craft booths, and other displays. Every day at 5 pm, there's a parade featuring various high school bands, and at 7:30 there's a Mardi Gras parade. We ate plenty of fair food, including lobster rolls in the Mass. building, tomato/basil salad (Conn.), apple pie a la mode (Vt.), artisan pizza (Vt.), and a New England turkey dinner (Storrowtown).

It was a thrill to see my tulip quilt (from 1994) and my tulip vine quilt ("Summer" - just finished below) hanging over the entry doors and quite visible as people left. I pointed them out to the Vermont tourism person who looked at them all day long, and I told quilters visiting our booth to look up when leaving. The third quilt was made by one of the sugarmakers in the booth across from ours.

I spent most of each day, from 10 am to 9 pm, quilting a colorful appliqued piece and sewing a few other pieces. I had prepared a few quilt blocks to hand piece as well as some appliqued items, including the Basket Case Quilters block of the month and a class sample in batiks. A lot of people stopped by to look at Sheila's quilt based on a photograph of sugarmaking. One woman called it "guy-catching," and it did attract quite a few men. Women browsed through the table toppers, tote bags, patterns for fusible applique, and other items. One couple asked for advice on buying a sewing machine, and a young woman showed me a photo on her phone of a table runner she had just made out of yo yos.

We didn't sell a whole lot, but I did chat with quite a few quilters and wannabes, as well as "Mr. and Mrs. William Gillette" who strolled by on Wed., Connecticut Day, to promote Gillette's Castle. I was also pleased to reconnect with some librarians, current and former, including ones from Wells River, Franklin, and Stamford/Wilmington. Paul helped out the sugarmakers who were very busy the whole time, and we decided it would be fun to come back sometime and "do" the whole fair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quick update

There is a definite touch of fall these mornings, which are generally foggy and chilly. Last night, it got down to near freezing, though, since the midnight sky was clear and full of stars. We went down to the Tunbridge World's Fair on Thursday, and our drive took us through a valley where the leaves were definitely turning and the views just beautiful. We looked at prize-winning vegetables, some quilts, and lots of historical exhibits. We also had hot dogs (me), Italian sausage (Paul), and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for lunch.

I have been busy getting things together for our two days at the Big E next week in Springfield, Mass. I need a variety of projects to work on and to last me two full days. I have one set of Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Christmas blocks to make, assorted SBS blocks, and a couple of applique pieces to work on. I'm afraid I'll run out of things to sew, so I will probably be over-laden. I've also been working on a class sample for Dee to hang in her shop to advertise an applique class I'll be teaching this winter.

Besides the Big E next week, I also have meetings of the quilt show committee and the Heart of Vermont Quilt Guild. Saturday night we have tickets to see the Maori dancers at the Barre Opera House. Should be fun!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Now a "basket case"

As if I didn't have enough UnFinished Objects (UFOs), I heard about some quilters in various Dear Jane groups that are doing a block of the month project, with all the blocks being baskets and designed by members of the group. I love the shape of baskets, especially those with flowers in them. So I finally jumped in, too, and joined the "Basket Case Quilters" group on Yahoo!UK.

We can do September's block in either 6" or 12" (or both), but the blocks will vary in size. I chose to do mine as a 12" block, figuring I might end up with a nice throw by the end of the year. I finished mine yesterday. As people finish, they are receiving patterns for a bonus block but I am going to try to resist doing one. I need to turn my attention to sewing a sleeve onto "Summer" so that it can be hung in the Vermont pavilion at the Big E, the New England States Exposition in Springfield, Mass., later this month. Paul and I will be there, too, working in the sugar makers' and quilters' booths, respectively. I plan to take some hand quilting as well as some fabrics for making Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks along to demo in the booth. Pat and Jay will be there promoting cheese, but we will probably all be too busy to do more than say "hi." Should be interesting!