Hey there! I’m back! We have a lot of catching up to do so grab a cup of something and
settle in for a long post. I know you all have wondered where I’ve been, so before I tell you about MQX and share “Atonement,” I’ll tell you what’s been going on. It’s very simple: Life just got crazy-stupid-hectic last spring and I needed to fall back and regroup. Just that, really. I know, it was a looong time to be regrouping, but I was doing it.
Was I sewing? Not much. More on that in a minute. So…what WAS I doing? Well, for one, I started taking piano lessons. Again. After 40 years. And if I may say this, it is SO NOT like riding a bike. I am having to relearn a lot of things, and unlearn others. Just know that I can’t figure out why I waited so long. I’ll tell you more another day, suffice it to say that I am loving it.
I have been walking again too. A lot. Most days I get in close to three miles. I am trying to transition to running because three miles takes the better part of an hour and I think that’s too long (although I’ve listened to a lot of books!). Running is also not like riding a bike. Since I haven’t run consistently for over twenty or yikes, maybe thirty years…well. You get the idea. Ouch.
In the meantime, I’ve worked a little. I did appraisals at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival in June and was insanely busy. It was great if sweltering. I was grateful to have plenty of friends there who not only ferried me back and forth from the venue, but also took me to dinner and made me laugh. A lot. The next KCRQF will be in 2019 and I am already planning to be there.
This past week I was in Springfield, Illinois, at the Machine Quilters Exposition (better known as MQX). If you’ve never been to it, I can highly recommend it. This was my third (fourth?) time there and it was a blast. One comment I heard over and over this year was how much it felt like a retreat. MQX organizers, Janet-Lee Greer Santeusanio and Mary Schilke, are terrific ladies, and their crew are positively amazing. I am blessed to call them friends as well as colleagues.
Next year’s shows are already in the works (Midwest–in Springfield again–September 19-22; and East–in Manchester, New Hampshire–April 11-14), so make plans now to go! You can learn more on the MQX website, or on Facebook. You will be glad you did!
I had some crazy experiences during the week, most of which resulted in me being BFFs with the hotel security dude. Yeah, really, and through no fault of my own. One of the least of these was a 2:30 a.m. fire alarm. It turned out that there was no fire, and I survived wandering around outside in my pajamas, ugly shoes, and purse, in the middle of the night. Sheesh. I won’t share any other stories because, well, because. You will have to take my word for it.
I appraised several of the quilts hanging in the show, which is ALWAYS fun. There is some amazing work out there, folks! I wish I could share details, but sadly, can’t. I CAN show you a couple of quilts that I thought were just terrific. My friend, Kris Vierra, (who, if you’re not following, you should be!) chose the first quilt below for her faculty ribbon. I chose the second one below it for mine. At the bottom is the quilt my friend, Mary Kerr, chose. (Mary also had her “Twisted,” exhibit there. You know how much I love that one, right?) So much good stuff!
It was also my privilege to teach three classes. On Tuesday, EARLY, the week kicked off with “Gathering Up the Fragments.” This is one of my favorite classes, and my students hit it out of the park. Check out the photos! Didn’t they do a great job? This is normally a six-hour workshop but we got most of it done in four!
There aren’t many pics from my other classes, unfortunately. I was too busy yakking to get many. Wednesday afternoon, we talked about “Dealing with the Past,” which is a lecture I designed to give longarmers the tools they need to get vintage tops ready to quilt. There is a lot of info crammed into four hours and students bring tops for us to look at and discuss. What we get to see is always different and a fun brainstorm time of sharing ideas.
On Friday, I got to take students on “The Road to Appraiserhood,” in an effort to help them map out what they need to do to become an AQS-certified quilt appraiser. I always get to meet people who are really interested in what I do, future colleagues, and those who think they might like to give it a go.
In between classes and darting between the rows of quilts to try to stay out of people’s way and get all the information I need for appraisals, I enjoyed getting to see so many of the people who keep my job fun. Many are long time friends, some are brand-new pals, and lots are only-see-at-shows-but-wish-I-saw-more-often buddies. I enjoy everybody! Being able to grab a few minutes to touch base, or even to sit down to a meal together is really good for my soul. And all the laughter. Oh.my.gosh. I couldn’t do without it.
It was an honor to have two of my quilts hanging. You might remember “Spin Cycle,” from earlier this year? It was there, as was my newest quilt, “Atonement,” that I just barely got done in time to mail. (Right on time, right?) “Atonement” is pretty much the only sewing I’ve done in the last several months. I finished it at a retreat in Brunswick, Missouri, in May and left it with Shelly Pagliai to quilt. She did SUCH a good job on it that we got a faculty ribbon. Yay us!!
So, yes, I’m back. I hope you’ll stick around to see what’s coming. I got home Sunday evening (after a looooong drive–mostly because I stopped at too many antique malls on the road) with my brain buzzing. I have way too many ideas! But for today, I’ve got to go finish the laundry and maybe hit the coffee shop.
See you again soon!