Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back to reality

Whew...let's talk about some happy stuff.

Last year when we celebrated LeiLani's birthday, we decided that for her big "0" birthday this year we would go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Back in the spring I booked a condo in the Midtown area through AirBnB. Katrina and Cindy were going along, too. Katrina had to bail out, but the rest of us headed to Houston--Cindy and I drove there on Wednesday, and LeiLani flew in Thursday night.

Cindy and I attended the preview and saw most of the quilts Wednesday night. Overall, I thought the quilts were outstanding and better than the ones exhibited at the show in 2010, my last visit. The best of show quilt win by Cynthia England was definitely deserved, and one of my very favorites.

Queueing up for the Preview
Shopping was interesting. This was my 6th visit to the festival and the LIGHTEST load of shoppers and vendors I have witnessed. We started shopping bright and early Thursday morning and it was packed, and I thought that it would be that way for the rest of the show. I was completely surprised that by Friday afternoon the crowds had thinned out and Saturday was incredibly light. I appreciated the fact that I was stumbling over fewer people, but I worried for the vendors. Cindy and I were commenting on the number of booths that had little to no activity. This is an expensive show for a vendor and I'm sure there are several that may not return after this year. I know it will be a few years before I attend again. It's funny--the first time I attended was in 1996, and I wanted to return every year. It's been 6 years since my last visit and while I'm unsure of when I'll go again, I'm thinking 6 years isn't a bad wait.

I've said it before--it is all cyclical. There's an ebb and flow to this business and the strongest survive. I see quilt retailers that have evolved their shops, products, aesthetics and attitudes over the years, and even the people behind the festival have had to do the same. I saw more lectures and demos being featured this year. I also saw more non-quilting products--and was a bit disappointed. I'll return in the future, and it will be interesting to see how the show continues to evolve.

What did I get? My goal was to not buy fabric! I ended up buying 4 pieces--2 needed for a current project, and 2 just-had-to-have-it fabrics (Frond Textiles). My mission was tools. I bought a new straight-edge ruler for my longarm (I broke my old one), some patterns, some more rulers, 2 Modern Quilt Studio books, and...

...this baby. A Bernina 770 QE. I got a real deal on this one. My intent was to research machines and I test drove several, but the 770 QE won my heart! I took the classroom machine deal and had to wait a few weeks before picking it up, but in the meantime I watched a lot of videos about the machine.

Checking out the features
LeiLani also bought the same machine. Right after she made her purchase, we walked across the aisle to It's a Stitch's booth (Houston quilt shop and Bernina dealer). While LeiLani and I were buying feet for our new machine, Cindy purchased each of us a fat quarter of this fabric:

How cute is that??? I'm trying to decide if I'll make a mat for the machine or a sewing machine cover with it.

As soon as I arrived home from the show I joined the Hubster, my sister and Jack in the studio to continue prepping for Jack's booth at Holiday House. The timing of it was the same as the announcement that he was a finalist for Garden & Gun's Made in the South awards. We are so thrilled for him, and he did well at the show this past weekend. It's been a sweat shop atmosphere for a while and I'm ready for some regular sewing, even if it is for Christmas making.

Jack's booth at Holiday House

On display at Jack's booth
And as a runner-up in Garden & Gun's Made in the South Awards, he is now featured in the current issue of Garden & Gun. Go ahead, read the article! I'll wait. 😊

 Go here to get your Alie bag!

And the Christmas making continues and while I've lost a little bit of time due to the quilt show and our son's making, I have two gifts completed, two more about 80% complete and another one started a week ago. The Hubster has yet to start the gifts he's wanting to make, but he's also been busy helping Jack. Here's a teaser photo from the gift making:

And the Beast arrived last Monday!

In an entire week I have only spent about an hour with her. I've been under the weather and that interfered. Then there's work. The Hubster and I discussed the modifications necessary to my sewing cabinet in order to accommodate her ... ahem... HEFT. She weighs 40 pounds. I'll send you a proper photo once that's done.

More to come! Now, go quilt!