Take some time for you!

the gang That’s just what I did this past weekend. I had some fun and reconnected with classmates from grade school and high school.  I think some of us were in first grade together.  Our 40th class reunion is fast approaching so we decided to make a quilt using Pal-Mac’s colors of red and white with a touch of black thrown in.  Have you caught up with friends you haven’t seen in years ? Try it – it was so much fun!  What amazes me are the people and stories we remembered even at our ages! We got together at The Upstairs Inn ( you know that great inn right above that great quilt shop) and started sewing and talking right out of the gate!  We never missed a beat.  Sewing all day and out to dinner was such a great way to spend the day.  Our quilt was a disappearing nine patch and Kathy (who was taken ill and couldn’t attend) had everything cut before we arrived and we had our quilt top done in record time.  Even the non-quilters got into the act.  Here’s a couple more photos – I’m sure you can tell we had fun!

Gail CJoyce

Note Gail at the ironing board?  She made a quilt top from Summer’s End Layer Cake and the new book-Cutting Cake.  The book is brand new and we picked it up at Quilt Market two weeks ago.  I’m going to be making one of those as soon as I can.  It was very easy to piece and cut and I loved the finished quilt top!  So as soon as you can take some time for yourself – it is so worth it to you and everyone around you!

 

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May’s Book Review: “More Adventures with Leaders and Enders” by Bonnie K. Hunter

May’s Book Review

More Adventures with Leaders and Enders by Bonnie K. Hunter

More Adventures with Leaders and Enders by Bonnie K. Hunter

I admit it. I wasn’t terribly sure what leaders and enders were when I first saw this book. I learned quickly and realized I had actually done this technique before. Once. I found it cumbersome. That being said, author Bonnie K. Hunter says, “Sewing with Leaders and Enders might feel strange at first, but after a while you will find yourself automatically grabbing for something to feed into the machine before removing your chain piecing for pressing.” (page 9)

That sums it up. If you are a chain piecer (I’m not, at least not right now), you are already using a leader and ender to start and end your piecing. That means you are ending off with a piece of scrap fabric under your foot when you end your sewing session (your ender). When you start sewing again, the ender becomes your leader. What Hunter proposes and describes in this book and in her previous book, is that why not make those leaders and enders worth something. For example, use specific scraps (say 2” squares) as your leaders and enders and trim them off. When you do, set them aside and before you know it, you’ll have enough pieces or blocks to make an entire scrappy quilt. And wow! Hunter really makes some dynamite scrappy quilts using this method. The book includes pictures and directions for 12 scrappy quilts.

Hunter’s quilts are bright, cheery and lively. Unless you do an awful lot of sewing/quilting, however, I wonder how long it would take you to actually have enough to make one or two of these quilts. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Just keep putting the scraps aside and eventually you will have enough. And I think that is Hunter’s point exactly.

If you love scrappy quilts and if you love chain piecing, this book will be just the ticket for you.

Book Name:More Adventures with Leaders and Enders
Author: Bonnie K. Hunter
Publisher & Date: Kansas City Star Quilts, 2014
Pages: 96.

The book retails for about $28. Sue’s shop carries the book so stop in the shop or give her a call if you need a copy.

Full color pictures and good layout diagrams, in color. The layout is clear but I found the text could have been larger but that would have meant a longer book. Still, I think it would have been better.

My favorite pattern from this book is noted here. I would love to hear which ones are your favorites. And, if you make any of the patterns, send us a picture!

Betsy’s Favorite from More Adventures with Leaders and Enders
Lucy’s Baskets (p. 31) – I love basket quilts and I love appliqué. I also happen to like the juxtaposition of the scrappy striped border against the more orderly baskets.

Lovin’ It:
– The scrappy nature of all the quilts.
– The good use of color and layout even though the use of such a variety of scraps. was immense so it must have been tough to plan the quilts.
– The use of “cheddar” fabric in the “Cheddar Bowties” quilt. I love cheddar.
– Love the baskets in the basket quilt.
– Hunter’s description of “neutrals” and how to determine how dark a neutral could be. She states the darkest color she will go for a neutral is the color of a brown paper bag. I love that. Everyone knows what a brown paper bag looks like so it’s a great example.

Likin’ It:
– I felt the directions were a little wordy and would have been served better by lists or bullets.
– “The Scrap user’s System” and the “Scrap Strip Sizes” sections (page 10-11) overwhelmed me. I felt like I was back in math class being told to work out a math word problem (something that continues to make me hyperventilate). I know this won’t be the case for hardly anyone else but it caused me to pause. I thought, “Oh my gosh! I have to do all this before I even start?” I don’t know why it hit me that way but it did. Maybe I’m just not that organized but I’m sure you will be. J

To repeat, if you like scrappy quilts, you like to chain piece and you are good about organizing your scraps, you will absolutely LOVE this book.

Comment and let us know what you think! –Betsy

Olive Ann Designs

Introducing……Olive Ann Designs!

If you’ve had an opportunity to step inside Sue’s shop, O’Susannah’s Quilts & Gifts, then you know the shop is more than just about quilting. One of my favorite sections is the fabric and pattern section for children. I have seen some of the cutest clothes for children there.

One of the designer’s patterns that Sue carries is from Olive Ann Designs. While in Pittsburgh last weekend for Quilt Market, I stopped briefly at the Olive Ann Designs booth and got a quick chat in with the owner and designer, Ann Blair. She was sweet to talk to and even sweeter when my camera took on a life of its own and started changing settings and randomly taking pictures in burst mode. She was patient and kind while I swapped cameras with my husband and had to ask her for yet another picture. How embarrassing!

Olive Ann Designs booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

Olive Ann Designs booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

Olive Ann Designs booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

Olive Ann Designs booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

Ann Blair of Olive Ann Designs at her booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

Ann Blair of Olive Ann Designs at her booth at 2014 spring Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

When asked what inspires her, Ann stated her grandchildren (of course!) In the banner around the top of the booth there is a series of pictures of little children. Who might be in those pictures? Her grandchildren, plus “one borrowed” child, makes the series of pictures complete. I’d say, “lucky children” whose grandmother keeps them decked out in these adorable togs.

But you can sew for your kids or grandkids, too, in these cute little outfits. Sue carries some of the patterns and you can see them made up in the shop or right here on the blog as I’m sharing a couple of samples that are in the shop.

Olive Ann's "Easy Peasy Pleats" little girl's dress design, available at O'Susannah's

Olive Ann’s “Easy Peasy Pleats” little girl’s dress design, available at O’Susannah’s

Olive Ann's "Charley" little girl's dress design, available at O'Susannah's

Olive Ann’s “Charley” little girl’s dress design, available at O’Susannah’s

Share and comment! We would love to hear from you.

 

The Surprise of International Quilt Market

This is a bit of a random muse but I woke up to it and felt I wanted to share it with you.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s my father occasionally “did” a trade show. And you can bet they were as every bit as boring and stodgy as you might have imagined – a bunch of men in business suits standing around or schmoozing. I’ve seen pictures. Ugh. International Quilt Market is absolutely nothing like that. It is vibrant and fun and colorful, to say the least. Oh, and there are more women than men but there are definitely men.

I have now been to two Quilt Markets and one Quilt Festival. Let me explain the difference. The Quilt Market is open to the trade – shops, manufacturers, designers, etc. Pricing is wholesale. Quilt Festival is open to the public and pricing is retail. Not every vendor that is at Quilt Market is at Quilt Festival.

The thread of Quilt Market and Quilt Festival that is binding to me is my mother, or the memory of my mother, Betty Alderman.

Yesterday, I was surprised and pleased to hear my mother referred to as a pioneer in this business. And, I guess she was.

Here is a picture of my mom at the 1994 Quilt Market. She is on the right. I can only guess at the names of the two other women in this picture. I may find out later today. This picture is from 20 years ago. This was not her first Quilt Market.

Betty Alderman (on the right) at the 1994 International Quilt Market

Betty Alderman (on the right) at the 1994 International Quilt Market

In 1997, mom and I self-published a pattern booklet called, “A Century of Sunbonnets,” which is now out of print but which can be found sometimes on the internet. It was incredibly successful for us. That year, I was able to go to Quilt Market with mom and we did what is called, “Schoolhouse.” These are sessions that run all day long and designers, authors, vendors, etc, present a new technique, product, book, etc. It helps them build sales and it educates, informs and entertains the rest of us. Mom led the session while I paraded the quilts around. I loved it and so did she.

Mom had been part of a group that came out of The Quilted Apple, a Phoenix, AZ quilt shop, a shop that eventually would become known as a percolator of designers. My mom was one of those. Another employee, among others, was Val Sparks. Val and my mother became fast friends as she did with many of the other employees. In 1997 Val was at Quilt Market.

Though I don’t have a picture of Val from that time, at least not with me, I can tell you she hasn’t changed much and she is delightfully funny and kind.

I had not seen Val in many years. The last time was in my hometown when she and Diane Ebner flew into Rochester, NY and drove with my mom to the Pittsburgh version of spring Quilt Market. There is more to that story but I will save it for the book that I hope to write about my mom.

Here is a picture of me, Val and Diane, taken yesterday at the Olfa booth. Sorry that it’s a bit blurry.

 

Betsy Alderman Lewis, Val Sparks and Diane Ebner at the Olfa booth, International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, NY 2014

Betsy Alderman Lewis, Val Sparks and Diane Ebner at the Olfa booth, International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, NY 2014

After the 1997 Quilt Market, I always had a tug to go again but I really couldn’t justify the cost of going when I wasn’t really much involved in the Betty Alderman Designs business at that time. So every time my mom went I was just a bit envious. I knew the fun, and hard work, that was going to be involved and I wanted to be there. Well, I never made it again with my mom.

But, last fall there was an exhibit of mom’s work at the Houston, or fall Quilt Market. It was a display I put together to share a portion of my mom’s work with the world. It was a deeply satisfying, meaningful, and loving project for me. It also gave me an opportunity to study my mother’s body of work. It gave me an opportunity to reconnect with some of my mom’s old friends who I continue to value as friends of my own. One of those friends was Val Sparks.

Val and I have been communicating back and forth for several months now (she’s in Phoenix and I’m in Palmyra, NY).

Now that I am carrying on the Betty Alderman Designs business, I was able to attend Quilt Market this year as a designer. Of course, I am also attending to gather information for this blog that Sue and I write.

So, I have come full circle a bit, I guess. Quilt Market is the binder that holds me to the past (my mom and Val) and the future with Sue Knapp and all the plans that come with that. Val and Sue, two friends from my past, met up in Pittsburgh yesterday. Perhaps you would like to see them all together? Great! Here’s the picture. Oh, and that’s Judy Niermeyer in the middle. More on that later.

Jeanne Knapp, Sue Knapp, Judy Niermeyer, Diane Ebner, Val Sparks, 2014 International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, NY

Jeanne Knapp, Sue Knapp, Judy Niermeyer, Diane Ebner, Val Sparks, 2014 International Quilt Market, Pittsburgh, PA

So what’s the surprise? The surprise is how Quilt Market has connected me to some very important people in my life who also were connected to my mom who I miss deeply every day. To walk aisles with Sue and with Val and Diane was to hear a rich recounting of stories about my mom, stories of past Quilt Markets my mom attended and stories of pranks and jokes that my mother participated in, which I knew existed, even if she tried to be proper in front of us kids most of the time. My mom loved to have fun. None of these stories were requested. All of a sudden, something would just remind them of my mother and they would tell me a story. I loved it.

Good Morning, Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh, PA on a spring morning in April

Pittsburgh, PA on a spring morning in April

Good morning to Pittsburgh and all of you! This was our morning view. You can see a bit of sun and a bit of the Allegheny River. This is really a beautiful city. I love that it’s in the hills.Anniversary breakfast in Pittsburgh, PA

Anniversary breakfast in Pittsburgh, PA

Another reason it’s a beautiful morning? It’s my 22nd wedding anniversary. What better way to start it off than with room service. You know you have a great spouse when he decides to spend his wedding anniversary with you at a quilting trade show.

I’ll try to post more tonight. I anticipate this being an exhausting but fantastic day. I hope yours is, too. –Betsy

We Made It!

I know this probably isn’t the picture you wanted to see, but here we are arriving into Pittsburgh this afternoon. The rain continues but that’s okay. There is so much beauty to behold and the people of Pittsburgh have been incredibly nice (I know this because there is a long story that I won’t bore you with).

ImageHere are a couple of pictures of the booths as they are getting ready for tomorrow’s show opening. I haven’t seen Sue and her group yet. I’m a little surprised I haven’t seen any of them yet. But tomorrow is a new day and a very exciting one, I’m sure.

Image

ImageBecause Dave (my hubby) and I didn’t get to the convention center until about 2 PM, we couldn’t take advantage of all the classes we (I) wanted too, but Dave got to two with me and I got to another two and I came out with much added knowledge. I definitely want to talk to Sue about a couple of them. Check out some of the pictures and comment on what you think about them (the quilts, not the pictures).

Random pictures…

This is a quilt by Janice Vaine and is published in her new book, Embroidery & Patchwork Revisited, published by Landauer Publishing. The person in the picture is not Janice. I don't know her name.

This is a quilt by Janice Vaine and is published in her new book, Embroidery & Patchwork Revisited, published by Landauer Publishing. The person in the picture is not Janice. I don’t know her name.

This is a quilt by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.


This is a quilt by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.

This is a quilt by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.

This is a pillow by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.

I’m a fan quilt lover. Are you?

This pillow is actually a portion of the pattern from the previous quilt. The pillow just uses part of the pattern and then positions it off-center to give it (and the color choices, I think) a more contemporary look. What do you think?

This is a quilt by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.

This is a quilt by Wendy Sheppard (and that is her in the picture) and the pattern is found in her new book, Recreating Antique Quilts, published by Landauer Publishing.

I like this one, too. It sort of runs to a plaid kind of look.

These are quilts by Donna Cherry (and that is her in the picture) and the patterns are found in Art-Scapes. I'm not sure where else exactly. I have to check her booth out tomorrow.

These are quilts by Donna Cherry (and that is her in the picture) and the patterns are found in Art-Scapes. I’m not sure where else exactly. I have to check her booth out tomorrow.

These landscape quilts were pretty amazing. Interesting techniques to create them, too.

This is a fabulous quilt by Donna Cherry (and that is her in the picture) (I don't know who the woman is holding the quilt other than she is a quilt shop owner in Oregan The patterns are found in Art-Scapes. I'm not sure where else exactly. I have to check her booth out tomorrow.

This is a fabulous quilt by Donna Cherry (and that is her in the picture) (I don’t know who the woman is holding the quilt other than she is a quilt shop owner in Oregan The patterns are found in Art-Scapes. I’m not sure where else exactly. I have to check her booth out tomorrow.

Another look – above.

That’s it for tonight. I hope you enjoyed the show. 🙂 Please feel free to share, post, stumble, tweet, etc. –Betsy