Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Las Vegas in the Rear View Mirror

This time last week I was sewing like a crazy person with 53 others in a ballroom of a Las Vegas casino and loving every minute of it. I was attending the Kaye England Seminar for Shop Owners. This seminar is part fabulous creative retreat with a little expensive Boot Camp mixed in. Kaye is wonderful, gracious and hysterically funny. If ever you have the opportunity to enjoy her in person, jump at the chance. You will learn much and laugh lots. My customers will have that very special opportunity next December and I hope each and every one of them squeezes into the room so that nobody misses out on a really good time.

Although the schedule is casual, the chance to sew, get samples made and be the student instead of the teacher is rare in a shop owners world. Kaye fills us with fresh coffee and inspiration each morning and lets us do our thing. That might not sound to inspiring, unless you consider that the 53 others working around you are doing some pretty cool stuff - and you want to see and share what they are doing too.

These are my tablemates. Deb from New Jersey and Sue and Lori from Canada. Sue is chatting with one of the other Canadian dealers and one of the owners of Quiltique the shop in Henderson NV. The 5 of us managed to get away one evening for dinner on the strip but other than that, we sewed.... and laughed and tested our skills.
Others might not have considered it much of a test, but Kaye and I have polar opposite opinions on just about everything. Kaye is into reproductions. I'm not. Kaye never presses as she pieces. I press every seam as I sew - sometimes twice. Kaye loves scrappy everything. I plan. I design for Creative Grids, Kaye designs the Nifty Notions ruler line. Neither of us are wrong, we just do things differently.

When in Kaye's playground, I play by Kaye's rules..... for the most part. I work scrappier, I try-out her rulers. I learn from her color sense and I attempted to avoid pressing.  To be honest, I can't do it - the pressing thing. To quote Kaye "Quilting is like sex. If you aren't enjoying it, you are doing it wrong." If quilting is like sex then I see nothing wrong with making it hot and steamy.

Doing something differently, even something as simple as working outside your comfort zone is good for the soul. It expands your perspective and helps you confirm your beliefs. One of the things we laughed about last week were the comments on this photo I posted on the shops Facebook page. I wondered if I should add another border.  The pattern for this quilt is in Kaye's Hens and Chicks book.  In the book it is done in 30's green and reproduction style prints.  Several people that I know own the book wondered where the pattern was from.  Mine looks so entirely different, but we still found that amusing. 

Kaye appreciated my batik selection and helped me decide on the sashing fabric.  I really think it needs another border and I've decided it will be black, but I didn't have the fabric with me, so I moved on to another project. 99% of the Facebook comments were favorable until comment 31 which said:  "A black border would make side cornerstones not match. I would not have used that fabric for the sashing. Just my opinion, one out of 30 ain't bad !"  What made that comment funny?  It came from my Mother.

You can design fabrics and rulers, run a successful quilt shop, be the author of one of the top 20 best selling patterns and have your work featured on the cover of magazines and still not make your Mother happy.

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