Sunday, October 14, 2007

Home and inspired

Well, I'm back from my adventures!

What a great weekend I had...and all that fun on the heels of some lovely time at the Bishop's Ranch quilt retreat, too.

I picked my friend Rita up on Friday morning, and despite driving rain and a lot of traffic (California drivers do tend to get confused in the rain) we had a nice drive down the peninsula to Santa Clara, where the Pacific International Quilt Festival is held. Isn't having a hunk of time in the car with a good friend one of the best things? As usual, we just talked and laughed and talked and laughed all the way there.

We decided we had to fortify ourselves with lunch before braving PIQF, so we stopped at a Chinese restaurant right across the street for some steaming hot and sour soup (perfect on a rainy day) and a tasty lunch. And then we ventured into the convention center for the quilt extravaganza.

This was Rita's first PIQF adventure, so it was fun reliving the first-time excitement of seeing a ton of world-class quilts in one place. Once again, I remembered how quilts that are stunning in pictures are that much more amazing in person. We saw so many incredible quilts. This year, I decided not to take a single picture, opting instead to make small sketches of certain elements that surprised me or seemed useful to me. So, no pictures here of the show. But we saw Terri Grant's gorgeous Anne Frank portrait quilt in the She Made her Mark exhibit ... oh, and I was delighted to see that a friend and member of my guild, Judy Mathieson, won a big blue ribbon for "Expanding Star," one of her huge Mariners' Compass quilts. It was exquisite, as are all of Judy's quilts. Nancy S. Brown, the best maker of animal quilts I know (go look here and scroll down to #7092, Sunday in the Park with Mittens), had a wonderful new gorilla quilt there. Oh, heck, I saw so many wonderful quilts and I can't even remember whose or what now. Which is a good reason to take pictures, isn't it?

I find that every year, I focus on particular details. This year, I found myself watching for and studying how certain quilt artists used commercial fabrics in surprising or especially skillful ways. As much as I like hand-dyed and/or painted and/or surface treated fabrics, I think I tend to find special skill and talent in artists who can use commercially printed fabrics in ways that use the print as an elemental part of their know, where you don't look and say, "Oh, look, there's a Kaffe Fassett print" or "I have that Amy Butler pattern..." Sue Benner and Ruth McDowell are masters of this, of course, but there are plenty of others. I had a very good time studying that.

And of course, I did manage to make a few purchases...a Bernina #57 foot (that's a quarter inch foot with an edge guide) -- on sale, no less, a few pieces of Japanese and Australian fabric I couldn't pass up, Ruth McDowell's new book on design, the latest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Great finds, all.

Oh! And I picked up a few extra issues of the November/December issue of Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home Magazine, because of the great article all about my sister Laura's needlework designs! I had to get a few to pass to my mom and my aunt!

Anyway. It was a lovely two days, and I came away very inspired and eager to get back to my sewing table.

But first, there are family members to cuddle and laundry to be done and bags to unpack and money-earning work to be completed. The fabric will be there when I'm ready...


  1. I'm glad you saw Anne Frank. I had forgotten she was going to be there! My quilts get to go to more neat shows than I do.

  2. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. You will love that #57 foot. I resisted getting it for a long time, smugly believing I did perfect 1/4" seams. Huh! Amazing how much more accurate they were after I started using ole #57. I also use it in my children's sewing, as they also have 1/4" seams.

  3. Anonymous8:51 AM

    I am so jealous! I shoulda been with you two. I miss that funny Rita so much. Now that I can fly directly to Santa Rosa, watch out - I will be crashing smoe of these events.