Friday, October 9, 2009

15th Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork

The international quilt show held yearly in the Alsace region of France was held again this year in Ste Marie-aux-Mines and surrounding villages. For the first time I was able to go! Leslie and Maria went last year, so Leslie was the perfect guide, and Mr. Bob was the perfect chauffeur, and I felt totally pampered the entire week. We left midmorning on Friday and drove down easily, arriving in time to check in, unpack, and then be driven off again for dinner. We were met at the hotel by a nice, cold glass of what they called Cremont (check my spelling, that's how I heard it but never saw it written), which is the local sparkling wine. This is a very civilized habit and one I could definitely get used to!

The show is hung very imaginatively, utilizing local churches, cathedrals, events halls, and shop spaces over 4 villages in close proximity to each other. Every shop on every street has some sort of quilt or quilt-related item displayed in the windows, so the entire local population is extremely supportive of the show and extremely patient with the yearly mass influx of humanity. The drive to and from each venue is extremely picturesque, with beautiful mature vineyards nestled into a backdrop of mountains.

The villages are mostly from the Middle Ages, and the architecture is what I would, in my amateur architectural knowledge, term "Alpine" as in what would be expected of Switzerland or Germany. The roof overhangs are deep, I suppose to keep the snow from dropping down on the doorstoops, and the windows are mostly shuttered. But the most unexpected thing was the color - more of what I have seen around the Mediterranean, Greece and Italy, the pastel stucco with the wooden beams. The regional food was also different from my previous experiences with French food in that the meals were hearty and initially everything came with sauerkaut and potatoes. We learned quickly how to order better.

The exhibits were varied and interesting this year. Of course due to copyright issues I can't publish pictures of the different exhibitions, but they are available at the website of the Europeen du Patchwork, The Dutch chintzes were interesting, of course, and well represented by a variety of quilts. Some of the other exhibitions were, in my opinion, not very complete, and the information available in English was woefully inadequate for me to understand the point of several of the exhibitions. I realize that this is partially my fault for not knowing French but the lack of background definitely limited the experience in some of the shows. The Hungarian and New Zealand exhibitions had some very fine quilts in them. And the competition, "The Colors of My Country", also had some very good and imaginative quilts. Sandra Meech had the best exhibition of all, and her work is so very well done and interesting to look at. She also has a new book, which I purchased and brought home to peruse, hoping some of the magic rubs off on me!

Of coure, no quilt show is complete without vendors, and this one was no exception. There were many quilt shops represented with fabrics from all over the world, and other necessary items such as beads, buttons, lighting, threads, and miscellaneous notions. The fun is in the browsing. And the purchasing of little things to take home, fat quarters, a new brand of thread, books, new scissors, patterns and such. I found fantastic new YLI zippers this year, and Leslie discovered some glass beads. Above is Beryl Cadman in her Gammill booth, with our "Little Amsterdam" hanging behind her this year, and below are Andreas Wolf, tempting us with some of Heide Stoll-Weber's hand-dyed sateen and Ilka Rave just looking beautiful, as usual. I would like to take her home!

Happy quilting,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seeds that were planted at EMQE

Well, Maria has finished one of her workshop projects from the European Machine Quilters' Exposition!

Her whole-cloth trapunto threadpainting is really fun and just full of new techniques. This little wholecloth has lots of movement in the outside areas and lots of detail in the center. And it was really, really fun to do!

My favorite item from the expo was a little gift from one of my favorite people, Ilke Rave. She has made these little bags from a wonderful felted material and this one is absolutely perfect for me - how did she know?

Happy quilting, Marybeth

Linda Taylor in Castletownbere

After a long day's work it was really great to go into town and find a place to sit and eat. We ate early and late, alone and with friends. But we did eat well and slept well so that we could start each day fresh and eager.

Marybeth and Maria were only able to attend the long-arm workshops but Leslie was lucky enough to do the workshops and all of the classes. Tracey Pereira, Robin Fahy, and Ilke Rave all taught day-long classes.

At the end of the second week a raffle ticket was drawn and the winner was . . . Andreas Wolf! Andreas was luck enough to take home one of Linda Taylor's in-class samplers!

Linda told us that when she first got her machine from the factory it was not stitch regulated and the motor speed was set on 70%. Now, I know this doesn't mean much to many of you, but let me tell you, I don't think I can DRIVE that fast! She was able to finish parts of these quilts in the time it would take me just to decide what to stitch there!

At the end of the week we stuffed all of our new thread and work pieces into our little bags and came on home. We will try to finish some of the things we started and start new things based on ideas we got at the workshops. Some we will post later as we decide we like them. Some will just not see the light of day. But the fun of these workshops is the ideas that grow from the little seeds planted. Sometimes they come up immediately, and sometimes they take a little while. And they all come up differently for each and every participant. Stay tuned!

Happy quilting, Marybeth

European Machine Quilters Exposition

We are home from a fabulous workshop held yearly in Castletownbere, Ireland. Beryl Cadman organizes the European Machine Quilters Exposition to further the training of Gammill owners in Europe. Castletownbere is a hamlet on the southwestern coast of Ireland and it is remote ... no telephone coverage, no interruptions. Fabulous!

This year Linda Taylor taught the longarm workshops. Linda has received many awards, the most recent one being the Quilters' Newsletter Magazine Teacher of the Year Award, which is quite justly deserved! This may look like good fun, but let me tell you, it can be hard work! And Linda really gave us a lot to do in a very short period of time!

Linda is well known for being one of the pioneers of long-arm quilting. She has been quilting on a Gammill for 16 years and she makes it look like breathing. We didn't manage to make it look so easy or elegant. But just give us a couple of weeks!

With Linda came Rick Taylor, who taught us all about machine maintenance and American country music, and Todd Fletcher, who gave Leslie a few new pointers on the Statler Stitcher. We ate well and slept like babies.

The long-arm classes were all full and the participants came from all over Europe, including Great Brittain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and even Cyprus! We were able to make some new friends and catch up with our old ones.

Maria was able to try out a lot of new techniques and, best of all, lots and lots of new threads. We have been wanting to get our hands on some of the new threads we have been reading about and now we have! Linda's line of threads for YLI are neon, no, N-E-O-N bright, glow-in-the-dark bright, wonderful deep jewel tones and even pastels that will show up on anything. We tried polyesters and rayons, anything shiny and new. We even managed to bring home a suitcase full of them to play with some more!

Happy quilting, Marybeth

Monday, May 4, 2009

Open European Quilt Championship in Veldhoven

Saturday we went to visit the Open European Quilt Championship in Veldhoven. I hoped to take many photos and show it to you, but as most of the quilts were quite high on the wall I couldn't take a good quality photos. If you would like to see the winner quilts, I would recommend you to visit their website: www.
However I would still like to show one (hope you don't mind if it is from a strange angel, but I'm short and the wall was really high). This quilt was made by Ria Notenboom and won the 2nd price in the Novice category. This was her first quilt. It is an amazing work for a first quilt. We know this quilt quite well as Ria asked us to quilt it for her.
We were happy to see that Ria won a prize with her quilt. She really deserved it. Congratulation!

Ria Notenboom: "Rorii Miyajima"

Fabric Painting Trapsuutjies

It was a long time since I wrote my last note. And the photos I'm going to share with you came from a workshop, which we attended even earlier than my last blog. I did wanted to write about it as soon as we came home, but things just happened. But finally it is here.
We met Laura from Trapsuutjies two years ago in Rijswijk at the Patchwork and Quilt Days. We loved her work/fabrics at first sight and we wanted to take a class with her, have her studio and her full attention just for ourselves. How selfish!! But it took us two years to get there as we were so busy with our company and family.
I save you from the reports of the last two years and cut it short. Finally we had a whole Saturday workshop in her studio in Belgium. We tried out a few techniques, reverse stampings, printing, scratching your design, applying paint with different tools (cards, sponges,etc), creating textures. You can find the description of all the techniques in Laura's website and also the paints:
It was a great fun. I can recommend it to you. Laura is a very nice teacher and a very good hostess. Her cake and salad were really delicious.
Since than we had a repeat "workshop" in our studio and played with the colors, fabrics, techniques. We are planning to go back to Laura again and do a screenpainting class with her soon.
Here are some photos from the one day workshop.

My daughter's works (she joined us)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Meeting" with the new Bernina 830

Yesterday we went to our Bernina dealer in Katwijk, Rooijackers Naaimachines (sewing machine shop) to attend the demonstration of the new Bernina 830 by Karen Lipton. I think the new Bernina might be the dream machine for everybody, who loves sewing, but definitely mine. It seems to incorporate the best features, what you expect from a sewing machine: very good lighting, big space for your quilts, sewing in 360 degree directions, automatic needle threader (just press a button), built-in dual feed (no more walking foot) bigger bobbin, multiply spool holders, automatic thread cutter and not to mention my favorite, the touch screen. I can't wait to try it out, but I guess I have to wait for a while. Until than I just think of the nice afternoon, the hospitality of Mr. Rooijackers with cakes and coffee and watching the 830 working.

by Maria