Sunday, March 21, 2010

Running the Roads!

I love going and doing! Family, friends, meeting new friends. Teaching, quilting, going to quilt shows, or just a Sunday drive on a beautiful spring day!

Seems I've been on the road a lot these past few weeks and I think I'm behind in documenting the Kronicles of Karen...

Here's a new purse I made today on my "day off". Several weeks ago I quilted a four yard piece of fabric on my longarm in preparation for future bags...yep, this self proclaimed bag lady just can't get enough bags! And the funny thing is, my bags have bags! Remember all those little zipper bags I've made in the past as well as the ones I purchased in Mexico on my cruise? You guessed it, they are safely tucked inside my new bag holding all those little important things that I just think I have to carry around with me (grin).'s a recap of a few of the things I've been up to this month...some that I'd forgotten to post..

The first weekend in March I taught a Square in a Square technique class at Cactus Quilts in Texas City.

In this class my students (and my friends!) made a practice book demonstrating Options 1 - 9 of the SnS technique. They were really busy and really serious! Ah, but we had our share of laughter too. If it's not fun, why do it?

I thought you might also like to see how I packed my car coming home from our P&B Fabrics run prior to the Dallas Quilt Show last weekend - for the record, not all of this was mine, remember my side kick Trish? To protect us both I'll not disclose the actual split (grin). By the way, I think everyone should keep bungie cords in their trunk don't you? never know when they will come in handy!

While at the Dallas show I had some good friends stop by and say hi. Many were friends that I know only through the internet - either on Facebook or Blogger or some of the other lists I'm on. It was great to meet you in person! I wished I'd of taken more photos! Those of you who stopped by please know how much you blessed me by introducing yourself and encouraging me - especially those who shared that they were "forever friends" (as in we will spend eternity together because we share the same Savior) and who said they were praying for me. Oh how I needed your hugs and your prayers! The weekend was soooo much fun and sooooooooooo much work! Long days, short nights, only meal to speak of was dinner after the show. All good and I'd do it again in a heartbeat - but only after a few more days to nap! Again, it was such a blessing to meet you and hear that you'd been reading about my Texas quilt and other ramblings. Thank you for being so special to me!

My friend Tom Russell had a beautiful little quilt in the show and won a special recognition award. He stopped by the booth and we took time for a photo op.

Here we are with Kathy and Trish, whom we fondly call our side kicks. Enjoyed a great dinner out after the show and stayed up way too late considering it was the time change weekend. Who needs sleep when you are among quilting friends!

Another good friend, Sue Needle, came by to say hi. Sue also had some beautiful quilts in the show. If you are in the Fort Worth area and need a good longarm quilter I can highly recommend Sue!
Remember Justin? Our A-1 Tech and son of owner Stewart Plank ? Remember on our set up day he asked me to show him how I quilted my feather puff that I used in the Texas Quilt? Well, I'm hear to tell ya that Justin is a quick learner! Any chance that he had during the weekend he was on the machine perfecting his feather puff! At the end of the show he cut out a section of our practice quilt to take home. I have it on good confidence that he woke up his roommate, fellow A-1 worker Victor, at 0215 AM upon his arrival home Monday after the show to show off his feather puffs! Way to go Justin!! Stay tuned, Justin said he's going to go home and make a Missouri Quilt as inspired by the Texas Quilt.

Speaking of drive home - thank you again to those special friends who prayed me through this show, especially the drive home last Sunday night. We packed up the booth by 7 PM and hit the road after a great dinner ....didn't arrive home until 0130 Monday morning and in dense fog. Prayers are what kept me awake and on my side of the road (as well as the deer in their proper places and not in my lane!)

I'm hoping spring has sprung! These beauties were on the side of the road on one of my morning walks this weekend. Later that day the weather turned a little nasty with wind and rain and turning cold again, but I have hope. God promised that as long as the earth lasted there would be the seasons. Oh so ready for spring!!

In the meantime, a girl's got to have a little fun so I decided to finish up some UFO's. This is Lime Jubilee, a quilt I started on my birthday in 2007 and have worked on here and there ever since. This weekend I finally finished it up by adding a narrow lime green border and then using all the purple scraps from the blocks to make a braided border. Now it enters the "Quilts in Waiting" category... ah, but the joys of finishing a top!

As much as I'm enjoying working through some of my UFO's (clearing away some guilt perhaps) I can't resist starting something new! I'm taking a class with Winnie Flemming at Quakertown Quilts in Friendswood and this was part of my homework. The class is called Lone Star and we are using the strip piecing method. The final quilt will have 22 different stars. I'm a little behind in my homework for tomorrow night's class. Sigh.

As you can tell, I like color. I came to an important conclusion this weekend. The UFO's on my to do list are there for a reason. Either it was complicated and I gave up, orI ran out of time to work on it, or I was bored, or I just didn't like it. Some that I lost interest in I've discovered that I can always make the quilt smaller than I intended and then filter the remaining fabric back into my stash to be utilized another time. That's been a good way to finish up some projects.....but there are a few UFO's that I decided that I really just couldn't work on because the colors were not my revelation - why not give them away! Why not indeed! I belong to several guilds that are very prolific in making charity quilts. So first chance I get I'm moving out some fabric that just isn't my flavor knowing that I'll place it in capable hands to fellow quilters who will add their talent and use it for good. It takes all of us sometimes - one provides the fabric/supplies and others provide the labor. It's all done in the name of love and caring about someone other than ourselves. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Hum, maybe that's why it's called Spring Cleaning! My fabric is going to get a good cleaning out this week and in doing so it not only blesses me by reliving guilt over unfinished projects but hopefully it will bless someone else in working with and enjoying what I've shared. One person's discard is another's treasure!

So that my friends is what my goal is for this week. Thanks for catching up with the goings-on of this quilt rambler!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A1 Quilting Machines loves Texas

Guess where I am? Setting up the A-1 Quilting Machines booth at the Dallas Quilt Celebration!

I'll try to recap the past few days, but I'm warning you ahead of time - typos and grammar will be questionable as it's now after 11 PM and I've been going strong for several days!

So, this is the completed Texas quilt I started last week...I have almost 3500 yards of thread in this one - 1500+ in the pink border alone. It was such a joy to quilt.

The interior of Texas was quilted with the little feather puffs that I just love making. Below you can see where I quilted my butterfly logo near Galveston Bay - this represents where the Texas A-1 dealer is located on the quilt map - ME! (grin)

Of course I quilted in the A-1 logo too, it's freehand so just a little rough around the edges... but I like it .

The last item I added was the nautical star in the borders - or as we call it down here The Lone Star of Texas!

Finished the Texas A-1 Quilt on Tuesday, putting the machine stitched side of the binding on late Tuesday night. Loaded the car early Weds morning and drove north on 45 until we came to the big D - Dallas. (for the record, hand sewed the binding down Weds night in the hotel!)

Can't come to Dallas without a detour to P&B Fabrics! Trish and I had a blast picking out bolts of fabric for our next projects.

Naturally I'm drawn to the bright colors, anything purple, and feel extra blessed when I find butterflies! So much fabric, sew little time. Sigh.

We ran into some longarm friends during our warehouse shopping and made plans to meet up for dinner later that evening. Lots of laughter and fun at the Genghis Grill.

Our plans today included more warehouse shopping at Moda/United Notions. They opened at 7:30 AM, and we signed in at 7:35!!

It was a blessing to get to see Sarah, our friend from Quilts by the Bay in Galveston who has moved to Dallas to work with Moda...Her mom, Patricia, owner of QBTB is also a vendor here at the Dallas Quilt Show so we enjoyed visiting with her during set up today.

So this is our booth!

Most people have no idea how things look before a big show. I just love watching things grow as everyone is doing their thing to get their booths ready for the public.

We arrived at 10 AM and were there until they ran us off at 5 PM (then back again from 7 to 9 for preview night - I tell ya', it's a great show!)

Justin Plank, A-1 tech/machinist and son of our owner Stewart Plank, worked really hard to get the machines set up while Trish and I decorated the walls. If you've been to my home studio you'll recognize some of my quilts - left the walls bare and took one of the quilts off the couch that Pixxie likes... all to make the booth brighter and more inviting.

One thing I like about having my quilts in the booth, besides that it makes me feel at home, is that my quilts are "just quilts" - not the show quilts, but what I like to call "real quilts" -- the type that most quilters make - the ones that are used and enjoyed. Kinda shows that as a dealer I'm a quilter just like my customers - I know what they want in a quilting machine and I do my best to service their needs. More than anything I love to quilt...and to teach....and Justin is a quick learner! I demo-ed my feather puff and poof! He was quilting them himself!

It's such a joy to quilt on an A-1, can't wait to share this joy tomorrow at the quilt show!'s our booth, all ready and waiting for a fun filled weekend!!

Don't you want to come and play on one of my machines??

Hope to see you at the quilt show!