Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AQS 2010 Lancaster Show Review

Warning...this is going to be a long post... I like to think that the folks at AQS who organized this show will take some time to surf quilting blogs to read up on how visitors felt about their new show.

OK, here we go....

Since the AQS policy states that I am not permitted to post any quilt photos from the AQS Lancaster show anywhere on the internet without the permission of the quiltmaker, I'm afraid the only photo I have to show today is a shot I took of the carpet in one of the exhibit halls. I know that it was probably designed by someone somewhere, but I didn't see a copyright symbol on it and there was no sign in the exhibit hall stating that posting an online photo of the carpeting was prohibited, so it's fair game in my book!

Now, on to the review... I'm afraid I'll compare it to the old QHC show at times, but that can't be helped.

The Good
-- (in no particular order)

1) I'm thankful there was a large national show in Lancaster this year. My guild made many trips down there over the last few years for the old Quilters' Heritage Celebration show, so we were happy campers when we found out that there would be another show in its place. Thank you, AQS, for stepping in and giving it a try.

2) Beautiful quilts to see. AQS has posted photos of the winning quilts on their website, but they really need to be seen in person. I'm afraid you won't see pictures on their website of the many other quilts that were hanging in the show.

3) Plenty of vendors, including some that were new to me.

4) Nice new venue, even if it did have issues.

5) Lots of seating around the perimeter of the exhibit halls and throughout the facility. I did hear some people complain that it was tough to find a place to sit near the food area, but if you were willing to look around a bit more, there were plenty of places to sit.

6) Lots of restrooms.

The Bad
-- (in no particular order)

1) Fewer quilts on exhibit than at the old QHC show. It seemed to me that the QHC shows had a good mix of both modern art quilts and the more traditional-style quilts. Even quilts that could be made by little old me. As a matter of fact, I even had one in the 2008 QHC show. This year's show had a lot fewer traditional-style and fewer quilts that a "regular" quilter could make.

2) The quilts were roped off so that you couldn't get close enough to take a good look at the construction and quilting. At the old QHC show, a lot of the quilts could be studied closely, even with roping in front of them. As a matter of fact, at this year's AQS show it was hard to tell which ones were hand or machine quilted, which ones were needle-turn or raw-edge applique, etc. None of that info was on the label. I couldn't even see the labels for some of the quilts. Yes, some of the info could be found in the show book, but I personally find that to be too time-consuming when I only have a few short hours to spend at the show.

3) I don't think they should charge for the show book -- include it in the price if you have to, but charging extra is tacky. It doesn't have to be glossy...regular paper is fine with me.

4) The quilts and vendors were mixed in too much. The layout left a lot to be desired. And it was way too crowded, both in front of the quilts and at the vendors' booths. I felt sorry for those who tried to maneuver their way around in wheelchairs. The old QHC show would get crowded at times, but there seemed to be more space than at this year's AQS show. I also had difficulty figuring out if I had seen everything...the layout didn't seem to make sense.

5) What's the point of getting our admission tickets sent to our group ahead of time if we still had to stand in line at the admission windows (along with those people who had not already purchased tickets) to have our hands stamped?

6) Running out of show pins by mid-afternoon on Friday? And I heard that they were also almost out of show books at that time. There was still Saturday to go! Boy, did they underestimate the number of people attending, or what?

7) Although photographs could be taken for personal (non-internet) use of most of the quilts, there was a small section where no photography was allowed at all. I have no problem with this, however, it was just a row of quilts in the center of the exhibit hall, so many attendees didn't know about the prohibition until a show staffer ran up to them threatening to have them spend the night in the Lancaster jail (well, I guess that's a bit of an exaggeration). If you're going to have part of the exhibit be a no-photography zone, put it in another room, not with the ones where photography is allowed.

8) Vendors at the second venue (Liberty Place) were probably not very happy with the light traffic over there. It was great for customers who didn't have to deal with crowds, but I'll bet the vendors' pockets were not very full by the time the show was over.

9) I would have liked to have visited the vendors at the Quilt Blossom Festival which was again held this year at the Continental Inn across from the old QHC venue. Although there was a free shuttle going there, I didn't want to risk taking too much of my valuable time waiting for and spending time on a shuttle to travel that far (I think it was at least 5 miles, which in Lancaster during quilt show time is a long distance).

10) I miss some of the vendors that used to be at the QHC show...

The Ugly --

1) Lighting of the quilts in the exhibits was HORRIBLE! The lighting in my little old guild's small exhibit is head and shoulders above the lighting at this year's AQS show.

2) I heard horror stories about waiting for the shuttle service. Personally, I was fortunate. I did not have to wait for the shuttle to head over to Liberty Place (the other venue about a mile away) and it was not full. My wait for the shuttle going back to the Convention Center was only the 15 minutes that had been promised. But I put this in the Ugly category because it sounded like my experience was the exception.

3) Too crowded.

Anyway, that's my two cents' worth. If I think of anything else, I'll blog about it later.

If I had to give a grade to the show, I'd give it a B, only because I realize that it was the first time for them and I would hope that they would improve on things that didn't work right this year. If things don't change, then the grade will definitely go down.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Loving To Hate

It's a good thing I really like the fabrics in this quilt, because I'm really not enjoying making the triangles. This is one of those projects that I love to hate.

This is "BR11, Tartan", an intermediate-level triangle that I paper pieced.

I hope to have a review of the AQS Lancaster show posted by mid-week...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NQR -- But Who Cares?

My son's Scholarship Challenge team won the final round today (he's the second from right)! Their record is better than almost all of their school's sports teams....and now that I think about it, since they never lost a single round, it's the best record of all their school's teams this year.

Scholarship Challenge is a 24-school academic competition that's been around in the northern PA and southern NY area for about 30 years. It's similar to the "It's Academic"- and "Quiz Bowl"-type competitions. Wellsboro has never won; all three of the other schools in today's finals had won at least once. Today's first round score -- 220-50 and second round -- 200-10.

Congratulations to Wes, Ryan, Ean, Nick, and Andy!

The team will be representing a four-county area at the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition in Harrisburg in early May. We're confident they'll go all the way, perhaps even to a national championship (a mother can hope, can't she?).
P.S. For my non-quilting readers --- NQR = non-quilting-related

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Nope, it's not a Christmas list, but something even better...a list for things to look for at the American Quilter's Society show in Lancaster, PA!

Yes, bright and early on Friday morning I will be joining 40 of my closest quilting friends as we start our 3-hour+ journey to the first AQS show in Lancaster. We've made the trip to the Quilters' Heritage Celebration show down there in past years, but this show is a new one for us and for Lancaster.

If any of my readers are going to be there on Friday, I'd love to meet up with you, even if it's just for a minute or me privately if you want to...

Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Picking Up The Pace A Bit

It's been less than one week since I last posted a photo of a DJ triangle. Don't know if I can keep this up since the next couple of weeks will be quite busy for me.

This is "BR6, Frank's Rickrack", an intermediate-level triangle that I mostly paper pieced and then used the raw-edge machine buttonhole-stitch applique method for the smallest pieces at the tip of the triangle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Can't Stay Away From Those Selvages

The quilt that I was struggling with in this post is now finished. It doesn't have a name yet...

Would you believe that there are about 2 to 2 1/2 yards of selvages in each block? That means that at least 72 yards of fabric gave their lives so that I could make this wallhanging for my sewing studio. And I still have a lot more left!

I used a quilt-as-you-go method that I mentioned in the earlier post and it worked OK for this, but I won't use the method again. Too many issues.

The back was pieced with various scraps in my stash...(don't look at the long ugly crooked black stitching -- that was one of my issues with this method...)

The fabrics and selvages are all so much brighter in person...and the quilt is really more square than the photos show...

Thanks once again to all my quilting friends who have supplied me with selvages...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy National Quilting Day!

In my opinion, every day is National Quilting Day!

For more info on the museum, click here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gradual Progress

OK, I have now successfully made two triangles using the raw-edge machine buttonhole-stitch applique method and I'm fairly pleased with the results. It's not perfect, but it works for me. On this triangle, I decided to sew on the two side background triangles just to get an idea for how this will look. Perhaps now I'll make more than one triangle per week...but no guarantees...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another March Birthday

Another one of my quilting BFF's is having a birthday today (Happy Birthday, Madalene!), so of course, I had to make a fabric postcard for her. The purples are really much purplier in person (and much prettier). You can see the postcard I made for her last year at the bottom of this post.

Madalene makes exquisite art quilts and has done some wonderful things with snow dyeing fabric (among other things). You must take a look at her blog. And while you're there, wish her a happy birthday!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Teenagers Need Comfort, Too

Last month, a group of my guild members got together to make quilts for the Project Linus Make-a-Blanket Day. The local Project Linus coordinator, who is also our guild's outreach chair, brought in thousands of cut-up squares for use in the quilts. These had been donated by the owner of a fabric shop in Canton, PA.

This year, I have made a resolution to make charity quilts and pillowcases for teenagers, both boys and girls. I think that sometimes the teenagers get forgotten when it comes to us quilters making charity quilts. Usually, we just throw together fun kids' quilts, mainly because they're cute and quick, or else we make throws for elderly hospital patients or nursing home residents. The teens get lost in there...but teenagers get sick or are in need of comfort, too. So, I've decided to make that my mission this year (and maybe next).

I made this top from some of the donated squares and originally planned for it to have the four blue circle squares in the outer corners. But when it was sewn together, I decided that it was too small (teenage boys have long legs). I don't really like square quilts either, unless they are wallhangings. So, I found a few more squares and added the top and bottom rows. Now the top will go to another group of quilters who will finish it up.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Is More Like It

After struggling with trying to paper-piece lots of very small diamonds in the first few triangles, I decided to go back to my handy-dandy raw-edge machine buttonhole-stitch method that served me so well when I was making the center blocks. The dark green fabric (much prettier in person) was cut out as one piece and then appliqued on by machine. The long edge at the top was not sewed on because it will be hidden by the seam allowance. I could have made it easier on myself and extended that dark green piece, but I didn't realize that until I had it already cut out. I'll remember that for next time.

The triangles are not looking so problematic now...

This is "BR10, Nicholas' Diamond", an intermediate-level triangle.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pillowcase Fun (again)

The lovely heart fabric that I won in a giveaway from Heather has now been made into a charity pillowcase. I think it will be perfect for a teenage or tween girl...

You can read about my winning here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm So Fortunate... have a friend who lets me play with her quilts...

This is my first attempt at "dwirling" a la "The Pajama Quilter ", aka Dawn Ramirez. It's OK for my first try, but I see that next time I need to make the dips a bit deeper and a little less even. And I think the rows should be a bit closer to each other, too.

Thanks, Moddy, for being so forgiving with my attempts at trying something new!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For a BFF

One of my BFF's in the quilting world, Dori, is having a birthday today (Happy Birthday, Dori!), so I sent her this postcard to wish her a wonderful day. I've noticed that she seems to like the yellow and blue combination for quilts, so I thought these fabrics would be appropriate. One or two of them might even be some scraps that she gave me.

You can see the postcard I made for her last year here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For Your Entertainment

My son, the future engineer, wants to get a job so he can create things like this...

The music is bad (IMHO), but the video is cool to watch. This is the same band that released this may remember it from last year.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Not really.

As you can tell, I'm still having issues with diamonds. No two of my diamonds in this triangle are alike -- but that's true in nature, isn't it?

This is "BR5, Gay's Glory", an advanced-level triangle that I paper-pieced. I was going to leave the advanced-level ones until the end, but forgot to check the difficulty level of this one before I printed out the pattern. Oh well, it's on the bottom of the quilt, so probably won't be noticed much. Anyway, it will match all of my other wonky diamonds throughout the rest of the quilt.

I think I may try a different approach to making diamonds and other angled pieces in the upcoming triangles...hopefully, it will be more fun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stitching With Friends

Several of my quilting friends are also very active knitters/crocheters. So much so that a group gets together once a month to deal with their yarn addictions. I'm not a knitter and only know a few basic crochet stitches, but I enjoy the time I spend with this group.

My friend Susan got me hooked on making these easy fleece blankets with crocheted trim for Project Linus. I don't plan on making socks or sweaters or anything else with yarn, but I'm happy to spend my time with this group making more fleece charity blankets like this one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Translation Fail

Someone needs to tell the folks who manage my "Russian Word of the Day" widget on my blog's sidebar that today's word means "bald", not "bold"...

Monday, March 1, 2010


Now I remember why I bought a mid-arm quilting machine...

I decided to try a "quilt-as-you-go" method for this medium-sized project, and it's been a big pain to put together. The quilting on the individual blocks went just fine, but the sashing method that I chose leaves an awful lot of bulk in the seams, which means skipped stitches and very full sashing. It definitely would not work for a "cuddly" quilt. Not to my taste, but it will be OK to hang on the wall of my sewing studio.

Next time, I'll try one of the other methods that I found online...