Friday, September 9, 2011

Greater Houston Quilt Guild Show

Today I went to the Greater Houston Quilt Guild show in Stafford.  You could definitely see the difference between the quilts at the local show and the quilts at the International show.  Looking at the local quilts gave me more confidence that I could actually make a quilt.  My favorite quilts were the ones with the beautiful quilting on them.  Most of them were pieced by one person and quilted by another.  My friend Sara was there and she said many people piece their quilts and quilt them with their checkbook.  In other words they pay someone to quilt the tops for them.  After wandering the quilts and the vendors I watched four demonstrations.  The first one had you draw a cross on a square and clip a bit in the center of the cross.  The you put it on top of an equally sized square and sew around all four sides.  Then you cut on the cross to open it up. Then you put a cross on another piece the same size and sew it on top of the first unit.  You keep adding rounds and your corners always meet. 
The second demonstration was how to quilt on a domestic sewing machine.  The professional quilter showed how she sandwiches the quilt on a table with a small lip, and how she is able to fold the quilt to get it under her small machine arm.  She had tips like using toothpicks put down on the table with painters tape so that you can feel them and know where the middle of the table is.  She used binder clips to hold the backing down.  She basted with pins that had plastic covers and used a Quick Clip to close the clips.  She suggested Leah Day's web site and videos for instruction and patterns.  I had already subscribed to Leah Days videos on UTube.  She liked Harriet Hargraves' older book on machine quilting.  She uses the hints on Superior Threads website on thread types and prefers a top stitch (16) or a metallic needle because of the large eyes.  She said that these Schmetz needles are actually the same and you can buy the cheaper ones.  She said she adjusts the tension and the tension may change depending on the weather.  This was the demo that was of the most value to me.
The third demonstration was the 10 minute block.  This demo is the same as Suzanne McNeill's demos on UTube which I had already seen.  It is an easy method for making a Cathedral Window type square in a square.  I like the UTube videos which show all the variations of quilts using this block that looks like a dimensional bow tie block.  The idea of sandwiching the fabric into the seams reminded me also of Cheryl Phillips methods for making mariner's compass type blocks with little pieces sandwiched in to make some of the extra points. 
The fourth demo was about making half square and quarter square triangles.  The quilter sprayed the squares with starch "gluing" the squares together.  Then she cut along the diagonal and sewed them together.  She cut the squares a bit larger than necessary and then cut them down to size.  She also showed a method using Eleanor Burns special ruler.  She had written a book and showed quilts using Civil War reproduction fabric.  I also felt that I had heard all of her hints already either in videos I have seen or in the books I already own.  
In all the quilt show was definitely worth the $5.00 admission fee.  I didn't find anything I had to spend other funds on except for lunch which was a delicious BBQ sandwich.  It was amazing that except for Sara who I knew from the ASG wearable s group, I didn't see a single familiar face.

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