Pokey’s Preview: Spring Quilt Market 2012 (…& Monday’s Book Winner!)

I just returned from Kansas City, MO–national headquarters for Hallmark, AMC Theatres, and of course… home to the planet’s most mouthwatering BBQ! I went as part of a team to help finalize plans for Spring International Quilt Market, and let me tell you…this is one cool town to be hosting Spring Market! 

For all of us industry peeps attending Spring Quilt Market in just a little more than six weeks, everything you need or would want to do outside of the show (like sleep, make a grocery run, listen to live music, grab a coffee or a bite to eat, see a movie, buy some clothes, go antiquing, or go bowling) is within a two- to three-block radius of the Convention Center. It’s also a beautiful city, and for those who have attended past Spring Markets, it reminds me of a mix between Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis.

Let the pictures do the talking…

This waterfall installation is part of The Plaza, which is right in front of the Convention Center. (You can see the top of the convention hall in the back.) The Plaza is very relaxing and a great place to grab some fresh air for five minutes between business meetings in the hall.

The Plaza also boasts of a tennis court and a large grassy area–perfect for yoga stretches or early morning Quilt Market bootcamp. Hey! That’s not a bad idea! Who wants to join me!?

There is also one of the nicest gourmet urban grocery stores I have come across just two blocks from the Convention Center. So if you want to stock your hotel fridge with beverages or late-night munchies, Cosentino’s is the place!

Just down the street from the Convention Center is the new Power and Light District, home to a variety of great restaurants, a Lucky Strikes bowling alley, an outdoor stage with a number of bars and lively places, and boutiques. This is where you will probably want to unwind with your quilting colleagues.

Above is another eatery in the Power and Light District. I showed this picture to my dog Louie who saw it and is very sad that we do not give out Quilt Buyer credentials to dogs. Ah well…

There is more Market information on the Quilts.com site but I wanted to share with you some visuals of the town to start drumming up excitement for this show. And be sure to leave a comment in the comments area letting us know if you are coming to the show (and if you are a quilt business, please leave the URL).

Results from Monday’s Giveaway!

Lastly, congratulations go to Laura Gamaleri! You won Lyric Kinard’s book from my Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway! Please e-mail me at pokeyb@quilts.com with your mailing address. 

Have a GREAT weekend everybody!

Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway: Want a Free Book?

I hope everyone had a fabulous and creative weekend! I had every intention of quilting outside, but alas, I pulled a neck muscle last week, so I just tried very hard to be still and take it easy. I read a lot outside on a lounge chair where it was just an absolutely gorgeous sunny and 85 degrees here in Houston. (It is going to be very hard for me to get used to this warm weather…in March!) I can’t wait to get a few more plants for my backyard, and hand stitch or paint fabric outside on the weekends.

I just have to train Clarence, my newly adopted pooch, that while I am relaxing outside, it is not ok to dig up and chew through the wires for the lighting in the garden. I got him out of there, but then he ran upstairs and flopped onto my pillows as if to say, “Yeah, yeah, Woman. I’m way too cute for you to get really mad at me…”

Time For My Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway!

While continuing to clean and set up my studio last night, I realized I own two editions of Lyric Kinard’s book, Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises. This is really a fabulous book if you want to create art quilts and hone your design skills.

All you have to do is answer the following question and I’ll randomly choose a winner this Friday.

My Giveaway Question…

One of the things I read this weekend was the latest SAQA Journal, and there was an article by Cindy Grisdela who interviewed a handful of art quilters about how they appropriate their studio time. One person she interviewed was one of my favorite art quilters, Charlotte Ziebarth of Boulder, CO, an artist who abstracts her own photographic images and incorporates them into her quilts. Charlotte said that when she wakes up and knows she is going to work in her studio that day, she doesn’t check her email right away—instead she gets a cup of coffee, and spends the first hour of her day knitting in front of her computer, which is set to a slideshow of her own photographs.

Now, I thought that was a pretty smart way to warm up and stimulate her brain for a creative session in her studio.

My Question: What creative exercise or warm-up do you do to get yourself in the creative zone for some studio play? Or do you just dive in and get to work?

Take a Peek Into My Quilt-y Office (…And Announcing This Week’s Fabric Winner!)

I’ve received a number of emails from people wondering what my new digs at Quilts, Inc., look like so I thought to blog about how I decorated my space.

I wanted to create an office that was welcoming, creative, and clean (not cluttered!), so comfy chairs were on my list of wants. I found a pair of vintage chairs quilted in blue velvet at an antique store, but I didn’t care for the color of the arms and legs, so I painted them black.

I also got an off-white desk at a hotel consignment warehouse, but since I’m so picky about color, over the holidays I painted it charcoal gray:

Green plants also keep a place cheery, so I bought plenty of them. Surprisingly, I haven’t killed any yet!

I made a patchwork bulletin board a while ago, which I mounted onto foamcore, then framed. I like to work three months out, so I always have three calendars up. Now that I’m looking at it, I realize the International Quilt Festival/Cincinnati is only three weeks away! Yay!

Patchwork bulletin board with my calendars. Quilt by Bonnie Ouellette who knows I have a slight obsession with The Sopranos.

Mixed-media assemblages with whimsy keep me smiling:

Assemblage with found objects made by Patricia Chapman of Boulder, CO.

As does handmade art. A few years ago artist Debbi Crane made a box for me with my initial on it and gave me a bunch of mini-handmade books inside…

Box made and given to me by artist Debbi Crane.

So I thought to repurpose it to store my business cards.

Right behind me, I keep some things that have meaning to me…like the picture of my godson, art by Lesley Riley, Beryl Taylor, and Kelli Perkins, and my “That was easy!” and “Insult” buttons. (Fortunately no one has made me mad yet, so I have not had to push the insult button.)

And the one item I love to gaze at throughout the day, what makes me smile most, would be the quilt my former Interweave colleagues made for me as a going away present. It is a reminder of what an amazing crew they are, and what they will always mean to me.

And I needed something to make me laugh, too, so I got a magnetic chalkboard that I have hung right by my door so I can leave important, time-sensitive messages for all my coworkers:

And Announcing The Fabric Winner!

First things first! Congratulations to Mary Brown! You are the winner of this week’s Maudlin-Free Monday fabric giveaway! Mary, please email me at pokeyb@quilts.com with your shipping address, and I will have the fabrics sent to you next week.

Like Free Stuff? I’m giving away a fat pile of hand-dyed and screened fabric!

It’s time for my second Maudlin-Free Monday giveaway (and yes, I realize it is Tuesday, but are we really going to quibble about this when I’m giving away free fabric?)

A little bit about this second batch of fabric I am giving away…

I have a huge love for painting, dyeing, stamping, stenciling, screening, and printing fabric in my free time, and in the summer of 2010 my (then future) colleagues at Quilts, Inc., invited me to come to La Grange, Texas–the same town as the new Texas Quilt Museum–to play with them and teach them some of my favorite surface design techniques.

We dyed fabric:

We did deconstructed screen printing:

And oohed and aaahed at the results:

And oohed and ached and jumped for joy as they flapped dry in the Texas wind…

We also played with Thermofax screen printing:

Me with Ruth Polanco, Show Director

And yes, we played until the cows came home.

I have learned that a team that works and plays together, stays together!

Want to win some fabric?

All you need to do is answer the following question and I’ll choose a winner randomly this upcoming Friday.

My Question: We all love to learn new quilt techniques. In fact, in case you might have missed it, we have a quick online survey that we would LOVE for you to take to help us offer classes you want at International Quilt Festival.

But back to my question: What is the one thing you want to learn how to do right now?

For me, I want to be brave enough to try bobbin embroidery. I recently met with Ellen Anne Eddy and she made it look so easy (and fun)!  So that is next on my list. What about you?

Opinions Wanted! What Stitch, Quilt, or Surface Design Classes Do You Crave?

I love taking classes. I love walking into the classroom, getting my supplies sorted, meeting like-minded quilters, and readying my mind to experiment with something totally brand new in fabric and stitch for the day. Nine years ago I took my niece, Lindsey Murray to a weekend-long class with Susan (“Lucky”) Shie. I had just put one of our dogs down, a very old Pekinese we had adopted named “Gizmo,” who was the most ornery creatures ever to live. Ever. For instance he slept at the foot of my bed, and I slept hunched in a fetal position every night because if I extended my legs, he would bite my toes off. But alas I went to Susan’s class so sad and teary that I had lost Gizmo, so I made a little Gizmo quiltlet using Susan’s techniques. I like to consider this a more primitive, folk art-y, heartfelt piece rather than admit I can’t draw worth a you-know-what… Despite the fact this is far from a masterpiece, the class was a lot of fun, Lindsey was bitten by the quilting bug, and I learned some processes that I have since used in other works.

Several years later I took a class with Rosalie Dace of South Africa. I had admired her art quilts for a number of years, and she was a wonderful, inspiring, and very patient teacher. I loved just listening to her in her beautiful, melodic South African accent talk about her design process. I also bought a quilt from her, and to this day it’s one of my very favorites. It’s called “Beach Walk” and I am sure you can figure out why:

Take Our Online Education Survey–It’s Quick, I Promise!

What quilt classes do you dream of taking? We have posted an online survey for quilt classes and would love to know what you would love to take so we can provide those classes for you at International Quilt Festival. We are hoping for thousands and thousands of responses, so please take it, and it would be very much appreciated if you could help us spread the word about this survey (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, or posting on your blog).

Thanks so much!

Fabric Winner Announced & I Need Studio Suggestions…

As promised, today, on this eve of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m giving away some of my Marcia Derse fabric from my 1st Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway.

In my very first blog post I asked you:  What makes you happy when you create? More than 100 of you responded, and I agreed with all of your sentiments.

Some highlighted responses:

“Creative time? It takes a bit of self-cajoling – but once I actually begin the ‘making’ process – whether it is cutting into the fabric, applying the paint, moving things around on the design wall…. it feels so good to be IN the creative process. I have no idea why it is so hard to make myself get there.”— Lyric Montgomery Kinard

“My happiest moments are when I stop ‘creating,’ take a couple of steps back and look at my work from a distance and think: ‘I made this!”— Laura Gamaleri

“I will say that I am happiest when I have my sewing room looking like a tornado hit with my stash surrounding me – that inspires me, and I am happiest when I am in contact with my hands wrists deep in fabric!”— Nancy Chaddick

“What I enjoy most? The fact that when I create (like a York Peppermint Patty) a blast of clean air whips through my brain and leaves it empty. Nothing wrong with that!”— Melanie Testa

Thanks a lot, Melly, now I’m hungering for a York Peppermint Patty.

1st Fabric Winner

Congratulations to Dixie McIntyre ! You are the winner! Please email your shipping address to me at pokeyb@quilts.com and I’ll get your fabrics out to you faster than you can say “I LIVE and  BREATHE quilting!”

Taking Studio Suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, I am going to put on my favorite Capercaillie CD and do what I’ve been dreading. I am going to finish unpacking my studio, but I am afraid I am going to need the luck of the Irish to get this sorted:

If you have suggestions for me, I’m listening…

Quilt-i-fying a Home & My 1st Fabric Giveaway!

I’ve been off the grid for several months as I settle into my new digs in Houston, Texas, and my new job at Quilts, Inc., as Chief Creative Officer. Meet my new colleagues!

I drove to the Lone Star state from Boston around Thanksgiving, traversing across New England, snaking my way through the Great Smoky Mountains, and dropping down the state of Mississippi until I hit I-10 West in a car containing a dog, a cat, a slew of sewing machines, jars of fabric paints, suitcases of clothes and threads, heaps of books, an embarrassing amount of fat quarters stuffed into every spare nook and cranny of my car, and a big bag of corn nuts tucked at my side–my sustenance of choice for road trips. And once I arrived in Houston (in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts…in November), I just tried to do something I don’t do very well: I put myself in park.

A quilter’s instinct is to nest, and the first order of business in Houston was, of course, to make my house a home. It’s a work in progress, and will take me a long while to finish and that’s fine because I am reveling in the process.

Last Fall at Quilt Market, after much cajoling, whining, and prodding, I convinced fabric designer Marcia Derse into selling me this adorable fabric bench upholstered in her fabrics that she had displayed in her booth for Troy Fabrics. Do you see why I wanted it for my living room?

I also bought some fabric stools from a hotel consignment warehouse, paying as little as $25 each for these guys.

With a little TLC and some graphic, bright fabrics, they now look like this:

At that same warehouse I also bought four arm chairs. They looked a little dingy in orange in comparison to my Marcia Derse piece behind them:

So I decided to make them a little more cheerful to play off of her whimsical color scheme:

There is other evidence in my house that a quilter lives here, like the screen-printed hand towels on my oven:

Or Lynn Krawczyk’s adorable fabric owls that we had featured in the latest edition of International Quilt Festival:Quilt Scene. I bought a vintage birdcage and thought this would be a cute way to showcase them at the bottom of my stairs.

In addition to warming up my home with textiles, I decided to cheer it up in other ways, so I adopted a yellow dog.

And I bought a pink bike.

I am back in business. I’m getting settled in my new home and my new job. I am readying for my first International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati next month, and learning how a handful of hardworking and dedicated people put on these wonderful quilt festivals.

Introducing…Maudlin-Free Monday!

I’m launching a way to stave off those Monday blues, quite simply by giving away free stuff. All you have to do is answer a question I pose on Monday and I’ll select a random winner on the Friday afternoon of the same week. So what’s the first batch of goods you could win? How about a few of these Marcia Derse fabrics I recently purchased?

So here’s my first Maudlin-Free Monday question (and I know today is not Monday but I’m doing a giveaway anyway!): What makes you happy when you create? Is it gazing at your inspiration board, solving a design conundrum, finishing a quilt, or looking through your fabric stash?

For me it is the very first moment I walk into my studio and my eyes simply drink in the textures and colors of everything. I think about the possibilities, and just look forward to the creative session I’ll have in there–whether it is just 30 minutes on a week night or a three-hour session on a Sunday morning.