A Very Harry Week!
Harry Potter, to be more specific! Who said the sun never shines in London? I spent a week in England with my sister and brother-in-law and the sun was out every day! On Monday, March 13, we went to Rye in East Sussex near the coast. Cobbled lanes, awesome shops, small cafes, and hot chocolate! We drove up to Leavesden studios on Tuesday to enjoy "The Making of Harry Potter" studio tour at Warner Bros. This is a must for any fan of Harry Potter. We were on the set of the Great Hall at Hogwarts, in the Gryffindor common room, Snape's potion making classroom, Diagon Alley, Hagrid's hut, the Burrow, #4 Privet Drive, and on and on and on. There are exhibits of the creatures, costumes, set designs, and then, for a grand finale... a 1:24 scale model of the Hogwarts campus created by the art department. This was not on my bucket list, as I am more of a fan of the books than the films. But, a highlight in my life I will remember... always.
Tuesday evening, we went to the Koko to hear Calum Scott in concert. So happy my sister was able to score tickets before it sold out. The next day was spent at the Palace Theatre to see boths parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage. I had been excited about seeing the plays since I bought my tickets in November 2015. The audience is asked to "keep the secrets" about the play, but I will comment that I found the story a bit implausible. There were really good moments and some dreadful vocal theatrics, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. The best parts were the staging, magical effects and the actors playing the Malfoys - the adult Draco and his son, Scorpius! Of course, I'll want to see it again when it comes to Broadway.
On Thursday we headed off to Canterbury and Leeds Castle. Another bluebird day! Dinner in Canterbury at "Pork & Company." Guess what was on the menu? Uh, that would be pork! Yum. Friday - St. Patrick's Day - was the only day it clouded up a bit, so we stayed in and rested, then went to the King's Head for roast lamb. Well worth the trip! Another Yum!
Saturday was another afternoon spent in London's West End. This time was to see American actress Cherry Jones in "The Glass Menagerie" at the Duke of York's Theater. My favorite play and Cherry Jones reprising her Broadway role... Perfection. Sunday was 16 hours of traveling to get home to New Hampshire. Now... back to work getting ready for two major events during the next two weeks!
AQS QuiltWeek in Lancaster
Another first! I'll be teaching at the American Quilters Society QuiltWeek event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, next week!. I have not been to this venue before and I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time. My machine quilting workshop is full, but there are still spots available in my precision machine piecing class and my turned-edge, invisible machine applique class! I'll also be presenting a one-hour lecture on my solution to avoid seam allowance shadowing in applique. And I'll be the luncheon speaker on Saturday, presenting a slideshow of my work. Follow this link for more information on my classes: AQS QuiltWeek Lancaster. Click here for information on QuiltWeek.
Chicago IQA Quilt Festival
It's all about machine quilting at the International Quilt Association's Spring Quilt Festival in Chicago. I am honored to be teaching all three days in the HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen classroom! If you've been curious about sit-down longarm machines, this is the perfect time to "test-drive" the most affordable, dependable home quilting machine available. I've got a variety of classes being offered. Thursday will be Rhythm and Hues. This class focuses on quilting and tension issues. I'll be providing the kits which include fabric and batting sandwiches and spools of thread in a variety of fibers. You will understand how to accurately adjust your tension after this all-day class, and how to have fun with different threads. Learn to free-motion quilt without a stitch regulator in my beginner machine quilting class titled Yes, You Can Stipple! on Friday morning. And, yes, I'll be covering much more than just stippling. It's a fast-paced and fun three-hour class.
Friday afternoon will be How Sweet It Is! -- an introductory class to the Sweet Sixteen sit-down longarm quilting machine. It's all hands-on! The ratio of students-per-quilting machine in the Sweet Sixteen room is 1-to-1: one student per machine! What could be better? Finally, on Saturday, my new class on free-motion quilting motifs will give you the confidence to tackle your quilting idea issues. As far as I know there are still spots available, so register now! All of my classes are 'no experience necessary.' There is no 'wrong way' or 'wrong speed' or 'my way or the highway' in my classes. There is a lot of laughter, smiling, and encouragement. Click this link for more information on Quilt Festival Chicago 2017.
Custom Drawn Patterns
After dozens of requests for custom-made patterns, I have decided to give it a go. Many of the students in my retreat workshops have been fascinated with my unique pattern-drawing technique. I find it to be a very organic, simple process; drawing by the way the subject feels, grows or moves, and taking into consideration basic anatomy. The individual pieces of my patterns are not designated by color, rather, by structure. I begin with a photograph, enlarge it to my designated size, and then, using tracing paper, create a detailed pattern by using smooth, easy-to-applique curved lines. That is not to say that I am not able to create a pattern based on color changes (easier for fusing specific color fabrics), it's just that I prefer my 'jigsaw puzzle' approach. I enjoy searching for the perfect blending fabrics, and then finding the perfect spot in the fabric to cut out the missing piece.
I've added a new page to my website where anyone will be able to order a custom-drawn pattern from me. For $50, I will use your provided image to create the pattern. The enlarged grayscale printout, a tracing paper pattern marked with fine-point permanent marker, and shipping are included. Due to the time involved, patterns will be shipped within 3 to 4 weeks of ordering, rolled in a long corrugated box. Patterns cannot exceed 40 inches by 60 inches. All the pertinent details are on my website here: Custom Pattern Orders.
MISA Retreat Workshop
The only workshop retreat I have availability left in during 2017 is at the Madeline Island School of the Arts in October. Registration for that event is open online. MISA is a terrific venue and the classrooms are spacious with plenty of natural light, ergonomic chairs, generous tables and the guest rooms are very comfortable. And, of course, my favorite amenity is the bottomless cookie jar. Yum. It is always a treat for me to be invited back to teach on the island.
Until next time,