Houston International Quilt Festival – 2016

Houston Quilt Festival – 2016

As I mentioned a few days ago, this year was my very first visit to the Houston Quilt Festival.  It took 3 years living in Texas for me to find the time to go and I will tell you one thing – I will be going every year hereafter!

What an amazing day we had, and a tiring one at that.

So many vendors!

First things First!

Although we were tempted to dive right into the row upon row of quilts being displayed, hubby and I tore ourselves away to visit the vendors first. The Houston International  I had some specific purchases in mind, and wanted to get all that out of the way before we ventured into the forest of quilts.

The lanes between vendors were literally packed with people, but a few really did stand out. These lovely ladies were happy to pose for a picture.  I told them how much I loved their shirts and their reply was that a friend had them made custom.  Here went my hopes of finding one for me at the Houston International Quilt Festival!

Stitchin’ Heaven had such a fun booth, complete with longhorn!  At first I got to take a picture of them haming it up, but ultimately, they got Terry and I by the steer for a picture.

So, with list in hand, we went booth to booth and I must admit that I didn’t always stick to my list – there are just some things you can’t pass by!  In fact, I bought some finger-less gloves for both my daughter and myself.  Mine were blue, of course.

Soon enough, I found the Superior Threads booth and was able to check off a large portion of my list.  While I usually do order online, I am in the middle of a couple customer quilts that really benefited from seeing the colors in person.  After stocking up on thread and needles, Terry took a quick picture and I was off to check more off my list. (little did I know that some poor woman would be bending over just at the wrong moment!)

Time to see the quilts

A couple hours later, and I will not mention how much $$ and I was done shopping and ready to visit the quilts at the 2016 Houston Quilt Festival. Next year we plan on doing this in a couple days and not just a one-day trip.

We started at one end of the hall (the one closest to the vendors) and worked our way across to the other end. Here we were met by one amazing quilt after another.  All we had to do was turn a corner and a new adventure presented itself.

So many of the quilts we saw have been celebrated by others who also visited the show, but for me, I found there to be a couple categories that stuck out.  The first category is:

Quilts that Made me Smile!

The quilts above did just that – each one of these made me smile.

Quilts that fed my inner geek

Not all the quilts I fell in love with would fit within a pre-determined category.  This next one can only be appreciated in 3 individual images:

What a masterpiece which consists of three masterpieces!

Some quilts were so popular that it took patience to get a good picture.  This Alligator (or is it a crocodile?) was one such quilt.

As you may know, there are at least 1,700 quilts on display. It is very tough to pick images of my favorites.  All I can say is that it is worth your while to visit Houston for the International Quilt Festival and see which of these amazing quilts are your very own favorites!

So, home we went and I got started on some projects. I can’t wait for next year to roll around again!  Did you go to the show?  If you did, what were your favorite quilts?

Houston Quilt Festival – Here I Come!

I have been so excited because I am actually going to make it to the Houston Quilt Festival this year! This will be Year 3 as a Texas resident and about darn time!  The downside is that I can only afford the time to go Saturday. So many friends have gasped when I told them we will only be doing a day trip, so I am prepared to do all I can.  It is pretty safe to say that they will be proven right and next year we may plan a mini vacation around this event.

There is no question in my mind that this will be one of those Saturday’s when my fitbit earns its keep tho!  And I have so many specific things to find and purchase.

1700 Quilts on Display?

Many friends have already posted pictures of their adventures.

You can be sure that I will be taking a ton of pictures in between the required shopping. So, when I return to post once again about all the treasures I brought back and the pictures I took.

Did you attend Houston Quilt Festival this year?  What did you buy?

From Kits to Custom – Trunk Show and Presentation

I never really thought about it.

Every month, our local guild “Johnson County Quilt Guild” which meets in Joshua, TX, would have a new speaker.  With each new presentation, I was impressed by the beautiful quilts sewn, interesting books written, or historic tales to tell.

Admit I must that aside for the sumptuous meal shared and rich conversation with my sisters and brothers in quilts, the speaker was my favorite part!

I never really thought about giving a presentation myself, but here I was, just last Monday giving one to our own guild.  While trained as a public speaker, I was a tad nervous for two reasons.

  1. I had little time to develop a presentation and prepare and….
  2. This was my home guild and I really wanted to do well!

Needless to say, things went swimmingly and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

I took great care to lay out each quilt in reverse-order so it would be easy for my helpers to lift up each quilt as I talked about how it fit in my “custom” scheme.

This Trunk Show is one part “Show and Tell” and another part information on how to break free from emulating someone else’s project to the letter.  My goal is to provide encouragement to create quilts that show off your own personality and skill set.  By building on the concept of inspiration and breaking down the elements that comprise our quilts, I present ways to customize an existing design or go full on One-of-a-Kind!

I also present many of the tools that I use to make the concept become the reality.  And YES we talk about math and how to avoid being overcome by the technical aspects of creating custom quilts.

Feel free to give me a holler if your own group or organization would like to invite me to speak at an upcoming meeting.

Row by Row Texas – Home Sweet Home – 2016


This is the 3rd year I have participated by collecting rows and the 2nd year that I have produced a quilt and presented it at a local quilt shop. The process is both exciting and fun! I highly recommend participating in the Row by Row Adventure.

My Row by Row 2016 was turned in at Country Stitches, Burleson, TX on July 5, 2016.

The Home Sweet Home theme is a concept close to my heart as it represents how comfortable it feels to be a resident of the great state of Texas.  I just could not envision living anywhere else!

As many of you know, I am just not a Kit sort of gal.  I like to do things my own way – challenge myself. Each year, I visit shop after shop and while there I pick out a few fat quarters that I feel will work well with the row they offer.  Each year, I try to make the quilt my own.

This year’s challenge centers on values but let me start at the beginning.  Just prior to the Row by Row event, my husband and I redecorated our living room.  Because of this, I thought it would be nice to make a quilt that would complement the rich, warm brown tones we used.  This gave me the inspiration to do a sepia sort of pallet – shades of brown offset by a large white on white fabric.

I actually found this background fabric at the annual spring sale at Golden D’or. I fell in love with the large random floral pattern.

The main challenge for this project is to create balance within a small range of colors.  There are many ways to test your choices when working in this manner.  Some people will back up from their design walls and squint their eyes until they are looking at a blur of tones – if there is enough of a difference in values, they know they are on the right track.  Other folks will take black and white images of their wall to be sure their choices do not run together.

I try them all, and then rely on my gut to sort it all out.  If I like the way it looks, I do not overthink.

The blocks I chose for this project are listed below – each of the shops was a joy to visit!

Sandy’s Quilt Shop – Joshua, TX

Country Stitches – Burleson, TX

Quilt Among Friends – Arlington, TX

Cabbage Rose Quilt Shop – Fort Worth, TX

Richland Sewing Center – Hurst, TX

Sew It up Bernina – Hurst, TX

Peggy’s Quilt Studio – Pantego, TX

Suddenly Sewing – Fort Worth, TX

Now compare these rows to the finished product and you can see where the challenge of values really kicks in. (and yes, I labeled this image and printed it out when I turned in my quilt so the process would go smoother – I’m glad I did)

The quilting was done with the intent of making key elements of the block stand out as well as providing a softening element for the overall quilt.  A row quilt can get so hectic if for no other reason than that the rows are designed by different people.

I think the most challenging job when doing Row by Row is to create and assemble the rows in such a way that they look like they belong on the quilt together.

This quilt will hang at Country Stitches – Burleson, TX for a while until either they need the room or the contest concludes.  In many ways, I can’t wait to get it back.  I really grew fond of many aspects of this quilt and I did make it to complement our home too!

Last, but not least, just like last year, I chose my 25 Fat quarters prize to specifically make a couple new projects.  Here are the fabrics I choose.  Sometime soon, I hope to present the quilts that result from this!

Are you a Row by Row quilter?

King Cabin Crane Quilt – 2016

This quilt started with an inspiration.  I had the opportunity to purchase fabric from an estate of a woman who was a prolific seamstress.  While I purchased many gorgeous fabrics, the one I used as inspiration for this quilt really stood out.

I checked online and found other similar fabrics by the same company Timeless Treasures, but not this exact one.

This King Size Quilt was designed in Electric Quilt 7.  I am sharing all the information I have on how I designed this quilt so that anyone can make it for FREE.

Ultimately this quilt measures 115″ x 115″ after I trimmed the blocks down a bit – how you piece could make your quilt’s size differ

This is actually quite a basic design which consists of a single block – the Log Cabin. I spent a long time moving the blocks around and turning them this way and that until I came up with the layout you see here.

What makes this quilt so effective is the placement of the blocks, they create a 3-D effect.

The image above is the actual print-out from Electric Quilt 7.  Please note that I chose similar fabrics from the stock list in EQ7 to represent the fabrics that I ultimately chose.  It is very important when doing this to choose fabrics with similar values so that the effect is the same.  It is OK to choose a different pallet (I choose browns, greens and blues).

Blocks:

Below is a representation of the block used. This was designed as a 12″ x 12″ finished block.

The image above included example fabrics and is not those used in the final quilt.

The cutting directions are (in inches):

(A) 2×11
(B) 2×9.5
(C) 2×12.5
(D) 2×8
(E) 2×6.5
(F) 2×5
(G) 2×3.5
(H) 3.5×3.5

There are a total of 64 blocks; the blocks are 8 rows of 8 blocks. Around these blocks are two borders.  The borders pictured are 3” and 5” wide respectively.

Borders:

I did not do mitered corners. I was a bit excited to get this done, so didn’t take the extra time to do the math. Instead, I figured out what fabric I had left in the two border colors and made them as large as I could.  I measured 3X across the quilt to get my border length to ensure they would not be wonky when quilting.

Quilting:

I looked at this quilt for some time to come up with a quilting plan that I liked.  Because it was not necessarily symmetrical, I knew that whatever I did would create more than one secondary pattern.  Ultimately, I decided on splitting the block into two designs.

  1. The tan side held two feathers
  2. The blue side was a variable line that started at the middle and ended at the point.

This created some interesting intersections that I love.

The borders were done in two designs:

  1. The brown border was a filigree type design
  2. The blue crane border was segmented into triangles with double feathers similar to the blocks.

The color thread chosen was #3056 (rusty) OMNI by Superior Threads.  This burnt brown color added visibility to my quilting on the top of the quilt.

Binding:

Because I really hate waste, after I had done all the piecing and quilting and it was time to bind I had to make a decision. I either had go buy more fabric or use what I had which was not enough for one color to bind.  Of course I refrained from purchasing more.  Instead, I cut the green and blue into 44” x 2.25” strips and alternated them.  As you can see by the final images, the quilt turned out very well and I didn’t have to incur any additional expense.

Additional Quilt (not on purpose):

Have you ever gotten so excited about a project that you made a crucial mistake?  I sure did.  Instead of waiting for ALL my blocks to be complete and then trimming to the smallest one, I started trimming right away – and trimmed too much. Because of this, I had 24 smaller blocks.  Never fear, I just set them aside and created a corresponding lap quilt.  This can be used on a sitting room chair or a number of other uses.

My plan is to quilt this one the same as the larger version. Because of a shortage of corresponding fabrics, I will most likely have smaller borders though!

Feel free to give me a holler if you have any questions regarding this or other projects: EMAIL

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