Monday, March 9, 2015

Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival

Earlier this month we, along with Mother Nature, were vending at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton VA.  Despite the wicked weather, ice and 7+ inches of snow, the show was wonderful.  The crowds were lighter than expected, but sales were up.  Customers kept commenting on how much they enjoyed being able to shop every booth, see every demo and not have to wait in line to have fabric cut.  Those that braved the elements really did have a wonderful time.
As a vendor we arrive early each day.  That gives us time to freshen the booth, restock and get ready for the day.  It also gives me time to sneak away and look at the quilt show!  Every show has inspiring quilts.  I rarely have time to study them, so I just focus on the ones that catch my eye.  Here are a few of my favorites.
I posted this one on The Quilt Company Facebook page.  Not only is it a fun subject, but this quilt was made by 4 different people.  It is one of those challenge projects where you select a photo, enlarge it and then cut it into sections.  Each person in the group creates one section without consulting the others.  Once the sections are finished they are joined together to make the finished project.  If you look closely you can see some of the division lines.  Up close you can even see that the fabrics that join are different prints even though they are very close in color.  The subject made me smile and I appreciate the work that this group did to make the project come together.  Fun!
I wanted to walk up to this quilt and pick up one of the balls.  It looked that dimensional!  Notice how it is a simple Irish Chain that the circles were added to.  Not only did the quilter add the circles, they are larger in the center and get smaller toward the edges creating a unique optical illusion.  I found it to be an excellent use of the blue and white fabrics.  I am rarely fond of painting on quilts – traditional quilts.  Art quilts are a different category.  This is a very traditional quilt and the dimension given to the balls was done with paint – or fabric dye, but the white looked too opaque to be a dye.  The effect was stunning.
Here is a close-up of what the balls looked like.  A dark shadow was given to the bottom left side of each one.  A simple white brushstroke provided a highlight on the top right.  Art class 101, but it created an amazing effect!  Those white brush strokes really look like a reflection of light.  The dark shadows on the balls and the background finish the illusion.
I took a photo of this next one especially for my First Friday/First Saturday group that meets at the store.  We are currently working on 6 inch blocks in a wide variety of different techniques.  Foundation Paper Piecing was not everyone’s favorite technique.  You should have heard the moaning! These blocks finish at just 5 inches.  The half square triangle borders measure ½ inch and the pieced blocks are only 4 inches.  Somebody loves foundation paper piecing, because this is the entire quilt!
And this is a close up of another quilt that was done in the English Paper Piecing technique.  See, people really DO have those skills to be proud of! … I can hear the moaning now.  Those hexagons are about the size of a quarter.
That brings us to the jaw dropping quilts.  I love to look at the quilting designs that transform an average quilt top into a show stopper.  I have plenty of creative talent, but not in that area.  I can design patterns, write instructions, publish books and even design fabric and notions, but I leave the award winning quilting to the professionals.  This ribbon winner is a very nice quilt, but it’s the quilting that makes it a ribbon winner!
Don’t get me wrong, the person that made the quilt top definitely had some talent.  Check out the interesting fabrics in those tiny squares in the border.  Black and tan check is something I wouldn’t have thought of.  Make sure you check out that tiny pink piping in the wavy border – beautiful.  Still it is the quilting that makes this quilt.  I love what the quilter did to create a mirror image of the border triangles in that inner green border….. never would have thought of that.
And in honor of spring – which had better be right around the corner or I am going to lose it – here is a photo of my favorite daffodil quilt.
The weather is getting nicer here in the northeast, get out and visit your favorite quilt shop.  Get inspired to make something beautiful!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Social Media

As you can see, it's been awhile since my last post.  That has something to do with the fact that I was unable to get at least 25 of you to comment on my last post in over a year.  Yep, a whole year.  Feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle over here. zzzzzzzzz.  It also has plenty to do with the industry advisors that were busy telling us that blogs are not the way to go, Facebook is where all of our customers are hanging out.  Good business people should have a business page, an Instagram account and we shouldn't forget to Tweet at least once per day.

Add those chores to getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking 8 glasses of water, walking at least 10,000 steps a day and oh yes, I have a job too.  Something had to give.  Sleep was the first thing to go.  Then I moved my social media efforts over to Facebook.  Despite the fact that everyone wants to be friends with ME and not The Quilt Company, not that The Quilt Company can have friends.  It's a business page and those deal in "likes" and accumulate "followers" not friends.  I use our shop Facebook page to post, well... facebooky things.  Things I like what is happening in the store, fun things I get to do with famous people, etc.  I don't really use the page to sell anything, although I do let you know about SALES that we have throughout the year. 

Facebook figured out that most business pages WERE selling to the consumer and they wanted a piece of the action.  They started limiting who gets to see your post.  For example if The Quilt Company has 500 followers any post that I might write will go to about 125 of them.  UNLESS I choose to "boost" that post and pay a fee.  Really?  Pay a fee so that more people, that chose to follow my page, can see a photo of what I made at the Kaye England Retreat? 

Facebook is also not the place for detailed explanations of things (read that as long rants) which I tend to do.  There have been several times that I have wanted to "explain" something to the world in a format that is better suited to the blog.  I just let it drop.  Truthfully because I was pouting over that 25 comment thing - but I'm getting over it.

This all brings me to the fact that I'm coming back to the blog.  I can say what I want.  Show you how to do things in pictures and not have to pay for you to see it.  Seems like a good idea to me.  Now I just have to make friends with Windows 8.1.

Watch for a fresh blog face coming soon.