Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AQS Des Moines Show: Day 1

We made it to our first class of the show: Quilting Queries with Helen Squire. (A little late due to some traffic issues, but I won't get into that. It's just good to remember that if you're in the stop and go traffic in an unfamiliar city with an 8:30 class, you're still having a better day than the people in the crashed vehicles.)

Helen was very fun and energetic. She spent most of the class looking at student's quilts and giving ideas of what area to quilt, what to quilt there and why. Lots of lessons by example. It was great looking at everyone's quilts. Most were wall hangings.

Mine, of course, was not. I went ahead and packed my mongo Stars and Spikes (she hated that title, by the way, but oh well...) and submitted it to discussion. She focused on the outer area between the border spikes and the corner spikes. (Sample area outlined in orange below.)
She pointed out that the red/pink should be treated together with the light blue as one area. They're both "background" to the spikes which are the items to be highlighted or featured. I had come to this same conclusion, so I gave myself a pat on the back for that!

She first mentioned feathers and I said that that's what I'd seen in other Hawaiian Star quilts. But she must have heard something in my tone, because she asked how I liked it. I said I didn't really like feathers. (Now, before you go crazy on me, I think feathers look good, but I feel no calling to do them myself. There's a difference.)

So she gave some other ideas and techniques to use and the "light bulb" comment that what I am dealing with is basically a swag. Swags are very common in the outer borders of quilts and that's what would fit in the shape outlined above (roughly). That idea alone will help a lot with what patterns I look at and how I think I can use them.

Yeah!! I'm so excited. I really needed a place to start with this one.

Helen ended the class with a very quick review of how to apply a border design to a quilt, the various corners you can make from the design, and how those "corners" can be used to quilt in the blocks. Let me tell you, the lady's good.

The classroom itself was freezing but that is one thing you don't really need to worry about at a quilt conference:
There were lots of quilts to go around!

After lunch we went to the "Coloriffic" lecture from Mickey DuPre. No pictures, sorry. But she was entertaining, had lots of great pictures of blocks in different colours, and knew her stuff. What more can you ask for? Oh, well, she had a lot of gorgeous art quilts on the wall too. So even more than you could ask for.

Then we walked through the main exhibit hall. I have lots of pictures, but I can't show you even one! :-( Sorry, AQS rules forbid it. Clures and I walked through about half of the quilts on show. (We needed to pace ourselves.) We haven't visited any of the vendors yet.

Then we fit in a visit to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center. There was a quilt display there as well (again no pictures allowed), and lots and lots of succulents (and a few orchids).
I must say it's a little odd to see common houseplants growing over 10 feet tall. A little too Little Shop of Horrors for me! But they were gorgeous. Textures. Colours. Patterns. (And it was warm--not like some classrooms I could mention.)

A pretty full day, right? Whew, it was!

Meanwhile, I did get a little knitting done.
Got the heel done (twice) during and between the flights yesterday. Started with the woman's size but since I was using worsted wool instead of sock yarn, they were way way way too big. Thought about making adjustments, but decided going down a couple sizes would be a better way to do it. So I ripped it all out and started over.

And it seems to be working.
Another 8:30 class tomorrow morning and more quilts to see in the exhibit hall...

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