I still have a bag or two to unpack, but I wanted to post about my days at International Quilt Association’s (IQA) Quilt Festival at Long Beach. I went two years ago, when the quilt portion of it was okay with a couple of stand-out exhibits, missed last year, but happy to report that this year’s quilt display was waaaay better than the first time I saw it. Or as my friend says, they only had one way to go–Up. And they did.
I left my town at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, headed through the Los Angeles traffic to Long Beach, arriving there around 8:15 a.m. I left my car at the hotel, along with my luggage, and their shuttle gave me a ride over to the Long Beach Convention Center. I stayed at the Hilton, only about a 10-minute walk, but there are three hotels that are closer if that’s too far.
Kaari Meng of French General fame. She’s wonderful as a teacher, explaining everything crystal clear.
This was on our table when we arrived: the jewelry kit, tools and a fat quarter of her fabric to use as a working mat. Like many others, I tucked the fat quarter away in my bag–no way I was going to get glue on that!
Pieces spread out: the cabochons and the bezels and the charms. You had to be there.
Gluing done, we worked on attached things with jump rings. I learned a lot, which gave me confidence to do the kit I ordered from her store over six months ago, and which has sat unassembled as I had no idea what I was doing.
The bracelet, modeled. I put this and a few other pictures on my Instagram account: occasionalpiece, if you are interested in following me there.
She had a few other kits there to buy, so I took this one home.
I took two classes from Karen Stone, who is amazing, lovely and has great lines that she’s always throwing out in class: “Have I told you more than I know?” and when working with piecing curves, she noted that instead of wishing away our troubles with piecing, we should “Learn to love the devil that you know.” Good advice on so many fronts.
Karen Stone makes me laugh. Like when she brought out this first quilt (above, and detail just below it), a sample for another class, and asked, “Do you want to see some irrelevant quilts?” Of course we did, and I loved this one with all the raw edge applique leaves coiling around.
This sample was for another class also, but her combination of colors is just inspiring–not any that I would have gone for but that work together beautifully. She says to mix everything up: batiks, 1930s prints, modern, calico, Kaffe Fassett. . . everything.
An earlier quilt, which she says was snapshot of who she was as a quilter at that time. As I work on my Quilt Journal, I feel the same way about my earlier quilts.
Clamshell quilt. A lovely and invigorating riot of textures, design, colors.
All of these were laid out on the floor, so you are looking at a tilt in all the photos. (Sorry.)
Hexies. One-inch hexies, sewn by machine. And that was the thrust of our class: Old Favorites, New Ways.
It looks like a puzzle on the back. Using a lightweight cardboard template, iron just three sides of the hexagon, then fit them together, joining them with a narrow zig-zag stitch done with monofilament thread.
A closer view.
Lay out the hexies on heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer, using a paint brush with water to “glue” down the pieces. Notice how we are weaving them: raw edges under a pressed edge. When I first started this technique, I was thinking how wierd it was. But as I picked up speed, using the grid to align them and glueing them down as I went, I thought about the possibilities.
My sample complete, but not yet stitched down. I then took it to the machine and zig-zagged along the folded edges. It’s practically invisible that way.
And now the New York Beauty class, the block that catapulted her to fame and reknown. I had purchased her book at the end of my first class and that night went home and read it from cover to cover. It’s a great book with lots of tips and tricks about how to assemble these blocks, as well as a whole section on color selection.
Showing us how to cut curves–use the natural movement of the arm to cut an arc.
It was interesting to me as she talked about fabric choices, that it makes a difference when picking fabrics for the pieced arc, as to which fabric is used for the pointy things and which is used for the background. Choose the fabric that pops off the other, she said. In this photo you can see she draws from many many fabric types and colors, but she noted that each block should have the colorway of the whole quilt so it’s harmonious.
Upper corner of this quilt, showing the borders.
“Irrelevant quilt,” as she would say, but I was interested in how she used interior piping to set off a series of blocks as the borders of the quilt.
Demo-ing the piecing of the arcs. “Learn to love the devil you know.”
My little wobbly block. She said don’t trim them, as it will all work out. I was interested that these fabrics “worked” together, as I never would have chosen them. But this block does work and that interesting animal spots background that changes sizes works to pull the viewer’s eye into the block.
After classes, we all headed into Preview Night, where we could get first crack at the vendors and see the quilt show.
Here’s the booth selling Ghanian fabrics.
Another vendor booth showing a bright Log Cabin quilt.
Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts–I follow her in Instagram and also read her blog. She’s written a book and I’m happy to say that it’s a solid effort, with clear concise directions, and few new tips and lovely quilts. She is very talented and recently relocated to Southern California from Philadelphia. It’s a family affair–her mother was working the booth, beaming from ear to ear at her very talented daughter.
Sandy Klopp, of American Jane. I told her my camera was a “younger-lighter” brand, explaining that it was magic and made the person in the photo look 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger. We wish.
Jane Tenorio-Coscarelli of Quarter-Inch Publishing. Amazing coat.
The last night I was there, the traffic was backed up all over the freeways, so I parked the car after dinner and went in for the last hour. All the tour busses had gone home and the vendor area was pretty empty. I felt like this guy, tired and wanting a nap.
So I went over and found my friend Heather, of Superior Threads, and we walked around. It was pretty interesting being at the side of a vendor, as she greeted her fellow vendors. I told her was like those children’s stories that when after the children are tucked away and are asleep, all the toys come to life. She laughed, but agreed. I have to remember that I show up at quilt shows a few times a year, but all these people see each other about every month. She knew their stories, asked them about their vacations, commented on new products they had in their booths. When I’m there, I just see them as temporary brick-and-mortar shops where I can glean new quilt fabrics and buy the latest. But with her, I realize that we are all part of a large industry, all of us like pieces in a incredibly wonderful quilt.
More, next post, on some incredibly wonderful quilts in the show.