Accepting my early retirement I am filling my days with quilting and sewing projects as well as catching up on my blog and organising my huge backlog of holiday photos. I have also started the Royal School of Needlework's Diploma classes at Hampton Court Palace. That's what I love – hand work, travel, being around my family and writing about it.
On the days off between Quilt Market and Quilt Festival we took a drive out to La Grange, home of the Texas Quilt Museum. It’s about an hour west of Houston, and quite a small town, but it was chosen as the site of the TQM because it is situated equidistant between Houston, San Antonio and Austen, Texas.
Coincidentally, because of the Sapphire theme at Quilt
Festival the TQM also had a display of historical blue and white quilts which
form part of a collection of a local Texas quilter. Next door to the TQM is a knitting/quilting
shop called the Quilted Skein which was fun to browse around (although I was
glad that I’m not a knitter because I might have done even more financial
damage). Outside of La Grange is a shop
called the Texas Quilt Barn which also added to my baggage going home.
As part of our trip to Houston, Texas I got to spend a day and a half at Quilt Festival which is open to the general public. The huge halls of the conference were packed with enthusiastic quilters and it took a long time to get a coffee or lunch. The vendors were doing a roaring trade but with having to pack any purchases in a suitcase I spent most of my time looking at the quilts – so beautiful and so much talent!
The year 2019 was the 45th anniversary of Quilt
Festival. The theme was Sapphire and
featured a display of blue and white quilts.
Rising high into the rafters and on BOTH sides of the display I got a
crick in my neck from just looking and looking at the quilts occasionally
feeling dizzy spinning around trying to see every detail.
Here are a few of my favourite quilts of the 1700+ in the show:
The opening day of Quilt Market features the Schoolhouse Series and TOS attendees had the opportunity (for a small extra fee) to join the quilt retailers. Tula Pink was the keynote speaker and she introduced her latest Homesewn fabric line which wouldn’t be in the shops until April 2020.
Of the 280 available sessions my favourites were the ones
with the well-known names in the quilting industry – Lynette Anderson, Kathy
Schmitz, Lisa Bongean and Marti Michell. Without attending the TOS conference, a
non-existent (for now) quilting business like mine would not have been able to
soak up the entrepreneurial expertise offered in the Schoolhouse series.
Threads of Success Conference
TOS officially opened with a drinks and nibbles networking
event on the first evening of Quilt Market which takes over the entire
facilities of the George R. Bush Conference Centre in downtown Houston. A chatty, business card swapping melee
predominately attended by US quilters, three Canadian provinces were also
represented at the conference along with a lone international delegate – me
from the UK.
Breakfast the next morning was accompanied by a motivational
keynote address with Ricky Brooks of RNK Distributing. His theme of “Turning Dreams into Success
Stories One Stitch at a Time” was repeated over and over at the conference with
inspiring presentations from the likes of Alex Anderson and Kimberley Einmo,
both of whom are incredibly successful.
In the breakout sessions I learned about pattern writing,
packaging for customers, photographing quilts and answering the question “Are
you ready for a booth?” The Chief
Visionary Officer from Martingale, Jennifer Keltner, outlined the procedure for
approaching publishers in “Is writing a book right for you?” while Ebony Love
gave the lowdown on independent publishing and distribution.
Creating a social media strategy, building a personal brand
and developing a professional media kit were underlying suggestions for all
delegates to consider before they should approach a publisher with a book idea,
send art designs to fabric companies, launch online classes on YouTube or book
on as a teacher at a quilt guild meeting.
On the fourth day of the conference TOS delegates met with a
mentor who talked them through what they could expect on the Quilt Market
floor. I was lucky enough to be paired
with Tula Pink who showed her small group around her Homesewn booth.
As we handed out business cards and swapped quilting histories it became obvious to me that practically every person at the conference had a book idea, pattern design, fabric artwork or new template buried away in their bag that they wanted to share with someone firmly ensconced in the quilting industry. I know I did and if I could have had five minutes of Jennifer Keltner’s time she might have been able to give my book idea a little professional looksee and a few words of editorial advice that I could have used to improve my proposal. With 100 delegates I know this kind of personal contact is probably impossible.
During our visit to Budapest in Hungary I constantly snapped stained glass windows, tile floors and local embroidery for inspiration for my own sewing projects. I got ideas for at least seven quilts plus a possible project for my Diploma Whitework unit at the Royal School of Needlework. So much potential!
Heading out for a two day overnight trip to see some friends, including an American friend who has come over from Germany, and to visit a quilt store. After being at home for five weeks recuperating from my hip replacement surgery I feel disproportionately excited as I slowly get my freedom back!
“My Gramma Nagle made me a twin sized quilt back when I was a teen. The passing decades took its toll on it and even though it became somewhat tattered I did not have the heart to part with it. So a very special thank you to my dear friend Tricia Wilson in Britain who graciously offered her time to rebuild this old quilt and give it new life! “
On the eve of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation I reached a milestone of my own! I logged my 200th quilting project since 1982 which includes 51 full-size quilts, 37 small quilts, 38 quilted tote bags and 14 baby quilts as well as table runners, clothing and Christmas stuff. It doesn’t include innumerable unfinished projects including the quilt I started in my first class. I’ve chosen a few favourites for you to view (if you’ll indulge me with a little bragging for a minute or so).
Really enjoyed visiting the Alsace region of France attending the Sainte Marie Aux Mines quilt show with Steve as the driver and Claire as my shopping partner. The quilts were beautiful and inspiring including a 10 metre long single square quilt that took the maker exactly 10 years to create! (Not sure why she’d want to do that but mine is not to reason why.) And, yes, the photo of the woman with blond hair is painted in the background but quilted with details – amazing eh? Claire and I also took a class with Edyta Sitar and we both came away with another project to do! Edyta is an enthusiastic, very talented quilter and teacher and even this old hand benefitted from her methods.