International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Four

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We’ve left the sights of Houston behind for another year and returned safely home.  We spent a good portion of Monday traveling home, but we did get to visit Market one last time.  After a short delay due to technical difficulties, here are the photos from Monday.

{All photos were taken at International Quilt Market; to view a larger image of the photos, click on the collage.}

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Thanks for joining us on our trip to International Quilt Market.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed traveling along with us.  Visit us at both the store and at quiltexpressions.com for new products coming soon!

International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Three

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I remember “reading” picture books to my kids when they were little.  There were no words…just pictures.  The goal was to tell the story as you saw it in the photos.  The series of photos above remind me of those picture books.

“It was early in Houston, TX.  The sun had just started to rise on a warm, muggy morning.  Karen, Della, and Katie made their way down the street to the Convention Center.  Along the way, they passed a delightful sight.  Starbucks!  After they had finished their delicious, hot cups of caffeine, the day just seemed so much brighter!”

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Day three of Quilt Market is a busy one!  We spend the day before walking down each aisle, looking at all of the products and services offered.  When Market closes for the day, we sit down, pour out the multiple bags of literature we’ve collected and decide what we want to give a second look to the next day.  Very few purchases are made on day two.

We started day three with a list of booths we wanted to visit.  We met with some of our reps, who showed us collection after collection.  Photo #2 above shows the pile of collections Karen looked through in just one booth.  Decisions are made and out come the order forms.  It’s a strange feeling because, for the most part, we aren’t buying anything that will arrive in the store in the near future.  Most of our purchases today won’t arrive at Quilt Expressions until sometime between January and June 2015.  We bought a couple of Halloween and Christmas lines…for the 2015 holiday season.

As we walked through the aisles today, I tried to focus on the textures created with fabric.  As you look through today’s photos, pay close attention to just what can be accomplished with fabric and/or quilting.

(All photos were taken at International Quilt Market; to increase the size of the photos, please click on the collage.)

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I spent the last half hour of Market today next door at the Quilt Show.  They are celebrating their 40th year, and they are doing it in style!  I’m including a few photos of the gorgeous quilts I saw in that short period of time.  Not all of the quilts can be photographed…I wish I could have shared all of them with you.

market7When you walk into the show, this is the first sight that you see…beautifully made red and white quilts from the floor to the ceiling.

market8One of my favorite uses for technology in the store is using the camera on my cell phone to take a photo of a customer’s fabric collection.  When you try to look at a group of fabric, you also see all of the other colors around you in the room.  With a photo, you can crop out all of the other bolts of fabric, finished quilts, etc., and really see how those fabrics will look together.  Another great way to use cameras in quilting is to take a photo and then change it to black and white.  It’s a fantastic way to see if you’re obtaining the contrast you’re striving for.  Just for fun, I changed the original photo to black and white.  Even devoid of color, these quilts are amazing!

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These are a few quilts from the “Reflections” display.

market13 Finally, as the doors were closing, I passed a wall covered with large photos of quilts displayed on buildings or monuments with historical significance.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today.  We hope that you are enjoying sharing our Market experience with us.  Tomorrow, we’ll spend part of the day at Market and then head to the airport.  We land just before midnight, so the final Market post might be a day late.

I almost forgot!  Our Fitbit total for the day was 35,780 steps.  There’s a whole lot of walking going on!

International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Two

Good evening!  We hope that you all had a fantastic Saturday.  A very sincere thank you to those who posted your comments either on the blog or on Facebook regarding what inspires you to quilt.  You all receive an A+!

Alrighty then, let’s get down to business!  Yesterday, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for pictures.  Hence the long, wordy post and the homework assignment.  Today?  I might have taken a photo or two.

First, a photo without a quilt, pattern or fabric collection.  Remember last year’s “Day Two” post?  You were treated to a photo of our walking shoes.  This year?  You get to see our Fitbits.

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As of 9:30 tonight, we’ve walked down 24 aisles, looked at 633 booths, saw an amazing number of quilts, patterns and fabric collections, consumed six cups of coffee…and walked 38,351 steps between the three of us.

So, tonight, no long, wordy posts.  No homework.  Just pictures…lots of them.  Enjoy!

(All photos were taken at International Quilt Market.  To increase the size of the photos, click on the collage.)

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Left: the Quilt Expressions’ crew. Center: Jane (our Moda rep), Della, Katie, Karen, and one of our friendly table mates. Right: Katie with her favorite book authors, Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs.

International Quilt Market 2014 – Day One

All photos were taken at International Quilt Market.

It took some pretty good planning on Karen’s part, but her plane from Michigan and our plane from Boise landed within minutes of each other in Houston Thursday evening.  We were met in front of the airport by our favorite taxi driver, Bernard.  We spent the drive to the hotel catching up on his life and being entertained by stories of his children.  He’s been the driver of choice for several years now, and we consider him the friendly face that greets us in Houston.  A bit of unpacking and a restful night followed, and then it was time for school.

School?  Yes, the first day of Market is called Schoolhouse.  After a much needed cup of coffee, we headed to the Convention Center to sit through fourteen sessions.  The topics vary from new collections, patterns and books; marketing strategies; trends; block-of-the-month programs and, yes, how to run a successful long-arm business.

With so many sessions to attend and topics to discuss, it’s hard to condense it in a quick blog post.  However, there is a reoccurring theme that comes to mind as I think back on the day:  What inspires you to quilt?

Our inspiration can come from so many places:  patterns, fabric collections, quilt shows, our local quilt store, or show and tell between friends and/or guilds.  We can receive inspiration from what we see around us, whether it’s something in nature like the colors of a sunset or something we encounter in our daily life, like the tile pattern on a motel floor.  We can also be inspired by how quilting makes us feel.  There’s something so special about working on a quilt for a loved one; we put such thought and care into choosing the perfect pattern, fabric, quilting design.  They are never far from our thoughts as we work on the quilt.

So, since we attended school today, and, in Karen’s case, taught it, I thought I’d give you a small homework assignment.  Just a question….what inspires you to quilt?

Please feel free to share your answer either here or on Facebook.

These Autumn Days

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“How beautifully leaves grow old.
How full of light and color are their last days.”
-John Burroughs

Autumn is that time of year here in Idaho when the long, hot days of summer have ended and nature starts to prepare for winter.  The sound of children playing in the neighborhood ends at seven, rather than ten.  Windows left open during the day are closed as the sun lowers in the western sky. The highs no longer hover near the century mark; we go from 60 to 80 and everywhere in between.   The nights are cool, the mornings brisk.  With afternoon comes the scent of sun-warmed leaves, and the colors…oh, the colors.

The City of Trees in autumn is a sight to behold.  It starts gradually, just a slight hint of color around the edge of the leaves.  Then, suddenly, it’s reds, yellows, oranges, and fading green everywhere.

Those that live here try to enjoy each and every moment; we know that winter will soon start to bite at autumn’s heals. But for awhile, we enjoy the most glorious color display nature has to offer.

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“Stash Stars” brings together all of the gorgeous colors of autumn.  We’ve combined an assortment of Kona solid fabrics and Atkinson Designs’ original pattern.  The kit includes the pattern, plus fabric for the top and binding.  Click here for more information on “Stash Stars.”

Dottie by Moda

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One of the perks of working at Quilt Expressions is being able to chat with the customers as you work on their order.  We love to hear about the projects they are working on, the techniques they are using and their favorite fabric collections.  To hear our customers tell it, Moda has introduced a long-lasting favorite.  Moda’s Dottie collection is full of soft, bright, and bold colors in three sizes of dots.  They are a great addition to other collections, add a fun touch as a quilt back, and look great together as a group in a Dottie quilt.

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We combined Dottie’s bright dots with Bits ‘n Pieces’ Big & Little pattern to create this fun 39″ x 47″ quilt.  The variation in the size of the dots, along with the bright colors, is quite eye-catching.  Give it as a newborn gift; babies love the dark and light contract.   The quilt also makes a fun gift to a toddler or young child…it’s perfect for cuddling on the couch on a chilly Fall evening.

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Delta Windows, one of our newest Quilt Expressions’ original patterns, is a fantastic way to showcase Dottie.  Columns of color cascade down from large to small, surrounded by crisp white.  This pattern also works well for showcasing one of your favorite fabrics.  Finished size:  84-1/4″ x 96-1/4.”

I love to use fabric in my decorating.  Adding fabric to embroidery hoops is a fast and simple way to add a fun pop of color to a child’s bedroom, a classroom or while decorating for a party.

If you’re hanging the hoops on the wall, trace around the smaller hoop (the one without the metal screw), adding about 1/3 of an inch.  Cut out and lay the fabric circle on top of the smaller hoop.  Place the large hoop on top of the fabric and push it down.   Check to make sure that none of the raw edge is showing.  If it is, remove the large hoop, trim the circle and try again.  Tighten the screw, and you’re finished!  If the hoops will be seen from both the front and the back, layer two pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, when tracing the circle.  Continue as above, and you’ll end up a double-sided Dottie hoop.

Links:

Fabric

Big & Little Dottie Kit  (while supplies last)

Big & Little pattern

Delta Windows pattern

Utility Apron Tutorial

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My Handy Quilt Expressions’ Utility Apron

When I started working at Quilt Expressions, I soon discovered that I didn’t have enough pockets to hold everything I needed to keep close at hand.  Note pad, pen, pins, cell phone, measuring tape…I just couldn’t get it all to fit.  After seeing multiple styles of utility aprons on Pinterest, I made one that combined all of the details I wanted and my problem was solved!  These are very versatile and make great gifts for those with any hobby.

Utility Apron Tutorial

(Please read entire pattern before beginning.)

1/2″ seam, unless otherwise noted

Supplies:

Fabric A – Apron Body and Back Lining – 3/8 yard

Cut (2) 12.5″ (height)  x 21″ (width)

Fabric B – Pocket and Pocket Lining – 1/4 yard

Cut (2) 7″ x 21″

Fabric C – Tie,  Pocket Trim, and Hanging Tab – 1/3 yard

Trim:  cut (1) 2.5″ x 21″   Tie:  Cut (2) 4″ x Width of Fabric  Hanging Tab:  Cut (1) 2″ x 5″

*Notes:  This pattern is written using fabric that is at least 42″ wide.  If your fabric is less than 42″ wide after removing the selvage, simple adjust the width of your apron body, apron body lining, pocket, pocket lining and trim to 20″ or 19″.

If you’d like a sturdier apron, apply light fusible interfacing to the apron body, apron body lining, both tie pieces, and the hanging tab.  Apply interfacing before you begin sewing.  Use the same cutting measurements as noted above. 

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Pocket Assembly: Steps One-Three

Pocket Assembly

Step One:  Lay pocket piece, pocket trim, and pocket lining on your work surface as shown above.  If your fabric is directional, make sure the fabric design on the pocket piece is top side up as you look down at it.

Step Two:  Lay pocket trim along the top edge of the pocket piece with right sides together.  Sew together.

Step Three:  Press seam open.

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Pocket Assembly: Steps Four-Six

Step Four:  Lay pocket lining along the raw long edge of the pocket trim, right sides together.  Pin and sew.

Step Five:  Press seam open again.

Step Six:  Fold your finished pocket and pocket lining in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, matching the long unfinished edges of the pocket and lining.  Press.

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Finishing the Pocket:  Edge stitch 1/8″ from the top of the pocket trim and along the top of the pocket piece.

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Attaching the Pocket: Steps One-Three

Attaching the Pocket

Step One:  Lay the finished pocket piece on top of the right side of the apron body piece.  Match the bottom raw edge of the pocket piece with the bottom raw edge of the body piece.  Pin in place.

Step Two:  It’s time to divide the large pocket into smaller pockets.  Determine your pocket sizes based on your needs.  I like to have a small pen pocket, plus three additional pockets.  Starting from the edge of the apron, I measured in 1.5″, 6.75″, and 5″.  This creates four pockets, perfect for my needs at the store.  Mark your sewing lines with masking tape; a removable fabric pen or pencil also works well.   Sew along the lines you’ve created, backstitching at the beginning and the end each seam to set the seam.

Step Three:  Using a basting stitch and a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the three raw edges of the pocket.

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Finishing the Apron Body: Steps One, Two and Three

Finishing the Apron Body

Step One:  Lay the apron body piece with attached pocket right side up on your working surface.  Next, lay the apron lining piece with right side down on top of the apron body, matching all raw edges.  Using a 1/2″ seam, sew around both sides and the bottom, leaving the top open.

Step Two:  Clip the corners on the diagonal.

Step Three: Trim down each side at an angle as shown above.  This helps create a nice finished corner.   Turn apron body right side out, press.

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Hanging Tab: Steps One-Four

Hanging Tab

(The hanging tab is optional. It is a handy addition to half aprons.)

Step One:  Apply interfacing, if desired, to the back of the 2″ x 5″ hanging tab piece.

Step Two:  Fold tab piece in half with right sides together, creating a fold along the long edge.  Press.

Step Three:  Open fold, fold one long raw edge in to meet the fold line you just created.  Press.

Step Four:  Fold second long raw edge in to meet the fold.  Press.

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Apron Utility Tab: Steps Five-Nine

Step Five:  Refold the apron tab piece on the original fold made in step two.  It will resemble double fold bias tape.  Press.

Step Six:  Edge stitch along the long open edge.

Step Seven:  Fold as shown in the third photo above.  Pin.

Step Eight:  Press the triangle-shaped end.

Step Nine:  Edge stitch along the bottom of the triangle and along the bottom of the “legs.”  Set aside.

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Apron Tie: Creating the Rounded Ends

Apron Ties

Step One (Not Shown Above):  Remove the selvages from the (2) 4″ x width of fabric apron tie pieces.  Place them right sides together and stitch along one short end.  You should now have a piece 4″ by approximately 80″-82.”  Press seam open.

Step Two (Not Shown Above):  Fold apron tie piece in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the two long raw edges.  Press.  (Be sure to use a pressing cloth if you’ve applied interfacing).  Pin.

Step Three (Shown Above):  If you’d like to round the ends of the apron ties, create a curve along the ends.  I find a handy round objects (a container lid, in this example) and draw along the edge.  Cut along your line.

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Step Four:  You should have a seam in the middle of your apron tie where you sewed the two pieces together.  This is the center of your tie.  Measure the width of the apron body…it should be approximately 20″ wide.  Divide the apron piece width by two (10″).  Measuring from the center seam on the apron tie, place a pin 10″ to the left of the seam and another 10″ to the right of the seam.  (To be safe, I put the pin an extra 1/4″ from the center, at about 10 1/4″).  This will be the opening where we’ll eventually place the apron body.  Sew along the raw edges of the apron tie from one curved end to the first pin, and then sew from the other curved end to the second pin.  You should now have an opening approximately 20″ wide in the middle of your apron tie.  Turn both ends so the apron tie is now right side out and press.

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Attaching the Apron Tie to the Apron Body: Steps One-Three

Attaching the Apron Tie and Tab to the Apron Body

Step One:  Press one raw edge of the approximately 20″ opening in the apron tie under 1/2″.

Step Two:  Repeat with the second raw edge.  Set aside.

Step Three:  Find the center of the top of your apron piece and mark with a pin.

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Attaching the Apron Ties and Hanging Tab to the Apron Body: Steps Four-Six

Step Four:  Lay the apron tie on your work surface.  Slip the apron body up inside the approximately 20″ opening in the apron tie.  Push it up until the unfinished edge of the apron body is against the fold of the tie.  Position the hanging tab in the middle of the back of your apron as shown in the first photo above.  Be sure that’s it about an inch inside the apron tie.  Pin.

Step Five:  Carefully top stitch about 1/8″ around the entire apron tie, securing the apron body and hanging tab within the tie.

Step Six:  Enjoy!