Friday, October 19, 2012

Getting ready for the big show

For those of us in the quilt industry, Fall Market is sort of our Mecca. Each fall we make our pilgrimage to hawk our wares. Market is the time to promote new books, see the newest fabric lines, and to learn.

Since I often have something to sell, I'm usually on the teaching end of things. This market I'm doing a Take & Teach session on the 28th. This one block will illustrate at least seven Sneaky Piecing Tricks, more if time will allow. It's a short class, so to get as much teaching time in, I did most of the cutting.

The thing about Take & Teach is that, aside from basic tools, the student brings nothing. It's my job to get the stuff together. You all know how much I like organizing things (I just spent a small fortune on Martha Stewart stuff from Staples, but that's another story). So, after the parts were all chopped and stacked, they were stuffed into little baggies.
When I began the project, I thought it would take tons of time. But you know, when I have a great book on the mp3 player (Micheal Connely's The Drop), it was done in no time at all.
The final kits, including some goodies, are all pretty and ready to roll. My teaching tools are also in the box, and the hand outs for Schoolhouse (a raucous day of running from demo to demo to see the hot new stuff before the show floor even opens) are neatly packed in as well. I would have to say that zip top bags are my favorite organizing tool ever.
I have a demo to make the step outs for, and get stuff packed for the Festival classes I'm taking. Taking! I'm very much looking forward to being a student for a change.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Meet Gracie

This is Gracie. She is three quarters Australian Shepherd and one quarter mystery mutt. And she'll be coming to live with us on Saturday. Yes, I have completely lost my mind.
 We have been kicking around the idea of getting a dog for quite a while. Now that the kids are mostly gone, I'm kind of lonely in this big old barn of a house. A dog would be great companionship, and would also help me feel safe when Kent has to travel.We were looking for an older dog, maybe one to three years old and already house trained, but we just couldn't find any that fit just right for us.
Aussies are working dogs, used for herding sheep and cattle. They are actually an American breed, possibly Spanish in origin, but passing through Australia before arriving in America's western cattle country. Gracie will keep me busy, for sure, with training and exercise. I hope someday she will become a therapy dog, giving comfort to seniors and kids alike.
Although we looked at purebred puppies, I'm glad that Gracie is part mutt. I'm looking for a doggie friend, not a show dog. She has gentle eyes, and beautiful coloring. She chose me. When the puppies were freed from their kennel, she came straight to me and snuggled between my shoes. Remind me of how adorable she is when I'm haggard from lack of sleep. Then again, I have always loved having babies, this one is just furry. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Knitting interlude

Knitting is what I do so I know I'm not working. I needed a new hobby when my quilting pastime became my job. I tried beading, I tried scrapbooking (which ended quickly, once the fun of purchasing basic supplies was over), but needle and thread keeps calling me back.

I really enjoyed Camp Loopy this summer, which has reinforced my feeling that I really need to find local friends. Quilting friends never seem to work out. I'm a "herder" at heart, and I just can't help myself when a teaching opportunity arises. I need to find a group that will smile affectionately and say to themselves, "that Beth, she just loves to share". With knitters, I can just be one of the gang. Totally without credentials.

This shawl, Adhara, from Tanis Fiber Arts, was my third (and last) Camp Loopy Project. I was not happy with how it was knitting up, but once it was blocked I was thrilled with the outcome. My daughter-in-law, Amanda, received this for her August birthday. I will knit this again, with two yarns with less contrast and I think it will be spectacular.
With the leftover yarn, I knit a pair of fingerless mitts for her. To be honest, I think she was more thrilled with the mitts than the shawl. At least I got it half right! (And she loves purple, so maybe two thirds.)
Next I set out to knit sweaters for my grandchildren. About time, don't you think? Nicole's fit her perfectly, just a little big so she can wear it all winter. Alex's, however, turned out to be way too big, and nightmarishly long. What was I thinking? Lesson learned? Just because I still have yarn doesn't mean I have to keep on knitting. I will be tinking (to tink is to knit backwards, how cute is that? Don't you wish tliuqing would work for us?), about four inches off the length. And then maybe making a hat. The pattern is the Tomboy Cardigan. It is knit from the top down, using a new shoulder technique called the contiguous sleeve method, which results in the look of a set in sleeve without all the sewing. I do hope Susie is working on a book, because I want to knit every sweater this way.
And finally, this shawl:
It's Pleiades, and it turned out to be the neverending shawl. The pattern suggested that I weigh the yarn and stop increasing when I arrived at the halfway point of the skein. Yes, it efficiently used up most of the yarn, but I think perhaps I have finally learned that knitting to the end of the skein is not always best for the project, or the wearer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

They're Here!

C&T truly knows how to make their authors feel special. This amazingly gorgeous mum plant arrived on the same day as my advance copy of my Sneaky Piecing book. I love that it's a plant (rather than cut flowers), and a perennial at that. When it's run its course as a house plant I plan to break it into smaller plants and add them to my gardens. For years to come they will serve as a reminder of the day my book became real.

And then, a couple of days later, the box filled with dozens of copies of my book arrived! Talk about making it real! I'm hoping this will just be the first of many boxes of these books to pass through my doors.
There's a post on C&T's blog about how the book came to be here. There are also pictures of each of the quilts in the book. To get your own copy, you can ask for it at your local quilt shop, or you can order an autographed copy here.