Friday, November 5, 2010

Shopped till I dropped!

After my initial post, I never got back to blogging about my visit to the Houston Quilt Festival...many weeks later, here it is....

For a quilter, there is nothing like fabric shopping at the Houston Quilt Festival. If it exists in the quilting world, it is there.

The first day I shopped, I bought some hand-dyed wool selvedge bundles from Mary Flanagan Woolens. As I passed by her booth again, I decided that I just had to have more of them - when will I ever see them again? Since they are only $2.50 a bundle, it was not an expensive decision (which is a good thing because, well, the picture speaks for itself, lol). I didn't know what I was going to do with them - I just had to have them!

Cherrywood is one of my very favorite booths - their hand-dyed fabrics and delicious bundles of coordinated colors are irresistable! I've been using their fabrics for a lot of the stencil techniques I've been coming up with and love that the fabric/dyes respond well to everything I put on it. I sometimes purchase through their web site but there is nothing like "hands-on" fabric shopping.

Two other booths that I always make a point of visiting are Laura Murray Designs and Artistic Artifacts. Laura Murray takes apart vintage kimonos and overdyes the fabrics. The results are fabulous, interesting pieces of silk that can be used for all kinds of projects. I'm a big fan of her "scrap bags" - they are always full of great pieces and unusual colors. Laura Murray is also a Paintsticks expert with terrific books & videos on the topic. Artistic Artifacts sells a wide variety of vintage fabrics, trims & goodies and their booth is an endless adventure. My favorite item is their bundles of hand-dyed vintage textiles. They take old doilies, hankies, dishtowels, laces and other vintage textiles and dye them in coordinated, gradated bundles. Each bundle is unique and contains a LOT of fabric and trim. I've used them to make tote bags, quilts, vests, garment embellishments, gifts, and more. The hardest part about shopping in their booth is maintaining self-control (yeah, right, as if I can... at least I can pretend that I tried!).

Another thing that caught my eye was the booths full of hand-dyed wool. I tried to talk myself out of starting to collect yet another type of fabric but, in the end, I folded (ha ha, a little fabric pun). Before I left Houston I had made significant progress on a "penny" quilt mat and I'm working on another one, trying to make it using all flower shapes. I'm going to work on it while I'm on the mend (it's all hand work) and will post pictures of both next week.
I also bought two new gizmos towards the end of the year - the L Letterpress machine and a Felting/Embellisher machine. I've yet to unpack either but am looking forward to playing with both (of course, I had to buy roving in a lot of colors to use with the embellisher.... I swear, it all started when I was a kid with that box of 64 Crayola crayons. I was never satisfied with the box of 16, I had to have the box of 64, I needed ALL the addiction that continues).

Needless to say, I did my part to support the quilt industry while I was in Houston!

To catch you up on my sudden disappearance... I had been having some problems with weakness in my left arm which was getting progressively worse through November. Steve & I went on a Carribean cruise after Thanksgiving and I nearly dropped a plate after going through the buffet line. One doctor visit led to another with a whole alphabet of tests, CT, MRI, EMG, etc., all resulting in the decision that my weakness was caused by pinched nerves in my neck from two herniated discs and a bone spur. On January 3rd, I had surgery to fix the problem and I am now at home, recovering. I can already feel an improvement in my arm and am relieved to have the surgery behind me. The weakness was exhausting & I have done very little in my studio since October because of it. My goal is to recover from my surgery and regain energy for creative endeavors. I'm thankful to have such wonderful doctors who have been genuinely concerned about me and how to make things better.

Time for a little rest... I'll post again next week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Houston Quilt Festival

Last night was the opening of the Houston Quilt Festival show floor - it's as amazing as I remember! I haven't been for a few years and I didn't realize just how much I missed it until I walked in last night.

I decided to spend the first night visiting my favorite vendors so I could shop from their best selection. When I'm at a show, I shop only for unusual supplies and things I need to see or feel (shopping on line for fabric just doesn't always work). I loaded up on hand-dyed fabrics and scrap bags (I love scraps!). One of my favorite finds was at a vendor who hand-dyes wool. She was selling bundles of selveges - they have wonderful lettuce like edges and were very inexpensive. I have a couple of ideas brewing about what I'll do with them.

As I hauled my treasures back to my hotel I thought I had shopped enough & that my next day would be spent just enjoying the quilts. However, after a little playing with my new finds, I'm hungry for more. I'm sure I missed a lot last night - visiting the show floor will be a new adventure today. There's plenty of time to look at the finished quilts tomorrow...

Last night, I picked up a one pound bag of long skinny scraps at the Cherrywood booth (amazing hand-dyed fabrics). As I was considering the colors, another quilter looked at them and asked me "What will you do with those? They are SO skinny!". I told her that I don't have to know what I want to do with things, the possibilities are enough for me.

So, here I am in Houston, shopping for I-don't-know-what, bringing home the adventure of new materials, to continue my journey to I-don't-know-where, finding joy in the possibilities that surround me. Quilter's bliss.

More tomorrow...