Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sinterklaas Give Away!!!

Winners Announced!!

For all those who just had Thanksgiving and are now preparing for Christmas: the Dutch do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but we celebrate Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas is a bishop who celebrates his name day each year by giving presents to children on 5 December. He brings his helpers, Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes), who have a sack full of candy and baked cookies (pepernoten). Every child who has been good gets presents. That's every child nowadays. In the earlier days children were threatened to be taken back to Spain (where Sinterklaas supposedly comes from) or to be whipped with the "roe", which is a bunch of twigs. I am happy that time is over!!!

For adults Sinterklaas is the time of year where they kindly tease each other with their bad habits and events that happened in the last year. Each one receives from one other person a poem and a package. The poem has to be read out loud. And with the "pepernoten" and the chocolate letters that are part of this feast, Sinterklaas is an evening of fun and laughter.

And because 5 december is getting near, Sinterklaas is always very generous and he offered me some gifts for a give away to celebrate an international Quilt Sinterklaas!

Sinterklaas gave me a Quilt & Zo (a Dutch quilt magazine), the book Love to Machine Applique by Caroline Price and a quilt book mark of AQS to give away to one of you!

If you would like to win this Sinterklaas gift, tell me:

What would you like to receive from Sinterklaas? 

And that's of course besides this give away from him!
From all reactions one will win this whole package. International entries welcome! On the 5th of December at 8.00 AM Dutch time (we are hours ahead of the US, so enter in time!) Sinterklaas will announce on this website who is the happy winner.

Please enter your reaction with an account where your email is enabled, or enter by email, so I can contact you directly when you win. Only one entrance per person.

Have fun celebrating Sinterklaas and have fun quilting!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Celebrate Handquilting part three!

The Celebrate Handquilting from Caron Mosey (see her button on the left of this blog) is getting a sequel. And what a sequel! She started a blog to which we all can contribute. Isn't that neat?! And I decided to contribute to it, so now I am an official participant. I never would have thought I would be something official in the quilt world! For me quilting is about fun, and certainly not about official.;-) But I am proud I am now.
And if you want to add, feel welcome. The more the merrier!
I wrote about my needle puller and my thimbles, but also about my collection of scissors. Well, some of them.

Box of purple triangles, cut and trimmed
Box of yellow triangles, cut and trimmed
For now I am working on the yellow and purple project. It's supposed to be a quickie for the cat. As it has to be put on the couch, it wil be 8ftx10ft.

Well, after 2500 triangles to cut and 7500 corners to trim, the word quickie gets to be another word for preparing for days so the sewing is a quickie. And then somebody tells me that I have to trim the squares too after sewing the triangles together...

Who said machine quilting is so much quicker than hand quilting?! I 'll keep you informed about my progress.

Have fun quilting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In the limelight: Thea Himpers

When reporting about the campaign of Caron Mosey, Celebrate Handquilting!, Thea Himpers reacted to me and wanted to contribute to the campaign. However, she does not have a blog. I asked her to send a picture to me to put it in my blog. At least she would be visible for the world then.
When she sent me her pictures, her Celtic work inspired me. And what inspires me from a quilter goes In the limelight!

Thea patches mainly by hand, quilting is always done by hand. Her work is not definitely Celtic, but a lot of the patterns and applique refer back to this ancient design. This quilt is a Celtic Dog, an ode to her Irish Wolfhounds. The Celtic quilt pattern is very visible on the backside of the quilt.

The label says "The Celtic Dog, Ode to my Irish wolfhounds".

In a mystery quilt of the Dutch National Guild of her hand, you can find the Celtic pattern in the border. As Thea works with a contrasting color as her quilting thread, the quilting is very visible which gives the quilt another layer.
Also her Jinny Beyer quilt, Galaxy of Stars, contains a Celtic quilt pattern, which she designed especially for this quilt.

Thea has made many more quilts. What I liked to showcase here is the use of the Celtic patterns which are so beautifully geometric in a soft and warm quilt.

Have fun quilting!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Cutting triangle after triangle after...

We have a cat called Splinter, although he could have been called Garfield too. He eats and he sleeps. 24 hours a day. Sometimes more.
And when he sleeps, he sleeps under the lamp above the dining table. Perhaps he thinks he will tan. And when the lamp is off, he chooses our couch. Now half a year ago I couldn't bother less, as we had an old couch. Quilt on it and everything solved. Half a year ago we bought a new couch. Bigger and way more beautiful than the old one. And Splinter thought it was a better bed. But as the quilt is a one person quilt, it is way too small for the new bigger couch. And he is trained too sleep on the quilt, but hey, sometimes, when your dream is really good and you're chasing a mouse and you almost got it? You end up right next to the quilt.

So a bigger quilt is needed. 8 ft long, 10 ft wide. I said bigger!
So now I am making a machine quilt, no handwork this time. This needs to be solved quick, and a sturdy quilt is needed for those cat paws! Marti Michell template, the 3" triangle, and a quick pattern. 50 FQ's of yellow and purple fabric, washed (yep, I am a washer), dried and ironed.
Cutting FQs into strips, strips into squares and squares into triangles. 2500 triangles.

And here they are in their finished state, and Splinter is inspecting them for soft surface to sleep on. 2500 triangles. You thought I finished? Nope. 7500 corners to trim. Triangle by triangle. A Go cutter anywhere?

Have fun quilting!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Finding Treasures

Last Saturday I was in Utrecht, one of the larger cities in the Netherlands. For American reference: 312.000 citizens. It's a city with a long history dating from 50 AD. Finding a house there from the 1500's is as easy as finding a fastfood restaurant in New York, and in the middle of the city a building can be found dating from 1276. Utrecht oozes history. As I love the antiques and especially needle craft items, that's where I did some finds that are great for a passionate quilter like me.  

First I found these buttons of mother of pearl. Those are dated prewar, about 1930. The small ones are certainly from that era, the big ones I have some doubts about the date, but as they are so beautiful, I couldn't not take them.
The shiny surface, the rainbow of colors, and everything I plan to do with them (no, not sewing them on a shirt), I just love them. I will show you what I will do with them.

In the same booth I found this hanger with two stylized insects on them. It looks like the two insects are butterflies, I think. The mother of pearl is old, the engraving is recently done and it looks just amazing. When held before a bright light, the thinner lines are visible as yellow lines in a brown background.
A girl can never have too much jewellery, can she?!

My next item is very Dutch, a so called "stopei", an egg-shaped piece of wood to put in a sock to darn the holes in the heel and toe. This piece dates from 1920-1930  and is beautifully hand made with inlayed wood. On both tops a checker pattern from different types of wood is made. Oak and mahogany are at least some of the woods used.
The egg shows the marks of use through the ages and feels just great. I can't stop touching it! Lynn Dykstra also showcases a different darning egg on her website.

And then my final treasure: a real bone thimble dating from 1870-1890. It was just shouting at me, asking me to be taken home. I could have bought hundreds of silver thimbles from more modern years. But this plain bone thimble was just what I wanted and it fitted just right! Not that I will wear it much. Showcasing it is more my style.
I was so happy with all my little treasures from so many years ago. I am always on the hunt for needlecraft antiques, I'll keep you informed. 

Have fun quilting!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quilting 2.0: ColorSchemer app

Quilting has developed in the 21st century. And so have I! That means, I am a dinosaur and proud of it. I quilt by hand, patch by hand, and do make the incidental machine quilt for a quickie. But on the other hand, I will use apps on my Iphone and software to design my quilts, to get inspiration by looking at other quilts and color palettes.

Choosing colors for a quilt is for a lot of quilters a difficult step in the quilt making process. I followed a great course, bought a color wheel, learned about tones, hues and color value, but still it can be difficult to interpret whether the colors should be darker, lighter, more values, less of one color and more of the other.
And that's where my Iphone or PC comes in.

ColorSchemer TouchToday I downloaded for my Iphone (today for free in the Europe Appstore, don't know how long that will be, US 2,99$(edit: today I was informed that the app is free in the US too!)
A much simpler product to develop color schemes is available from the same company, it's meant for working online with PC and Mac and for free, check out this website.

ColorSchemer gives you the opportunity to work with prepared color palettes of participants, but you can also create your own color palette. Let me take you through the app.

Opening the app gives you the homepage. It's a huge range of color palettes, developed by all users of the app, who uploaded their palette for others to use. All these ranges of colors may inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and check what others did create.

Now suppose you are a in a creative mood or want to get creative without spending tons and tons on fabric in all tones, hues and values. Click on the plus-sign on the top right. That's where your creativity will start!

In the plus section are 4 options: the Color Wheel, LiveSchemes, PhotoSchemer and Spectrum. I'll guide you through all of them.

The Color Wheel is based on the standard color wheel (Itten, I presume, correct me if I'm wrong, because Goethe and many others have been working on color theory too) and offers you the opportunity to select 5 hues all over the color wheel. By tapping on the middle of the color wheel you can select darker and lighter versions of the same color (tints and tones).
For the more advanced: By tapping on the three horizontal stripes you can influence the color by moving the cursor on the line for Red, Yellow and Blue. When you experiment with it, you will notice you can find your greys, blacks and whites, and play with shadows and saturation.
For those who read this last part and think it is Gobbledygook, forget all the theory and play!

Check out that you can also change the width of the block you color. A lot of dark red (see the photo in the middle) gives a whole different palette than when the palette is divided evenly (see the picture on the right).
When you got this, you got 75% of the app. If that's what you get from this log, you can create a lot! But there's more!

The next button (second from the left) is the LiveSchemes. When you made a palette in your Color Wheel, you can refine it in the second step, or start from scratch. The five circles are your colors, the lines are the representative of the spread of your colors. You can play with your palette by moving the circles on the line, or by turning the lines. The chain sign on the lower left fixes your lines. That means you can turn your lines, the spread will remain the same, but the colors change. When you see dotted lines, you can move one line instead of all of them.

The greyish dot on the lower right offers you the option to change from hues from a center of dark to medium on the outside to a center of light to medium.

The third button is about selecting colors from a photograph. Take a picture or select a picture from your film roll and select the colors you want to see. Just tap the swatch you want to have that color and click on the picture which color you want. It's as easy as that!


The last button, Spectrum, is for professionals IMHO. It's about finding the exact value of a color yourself. I love the option of the color wheel, the fine tuning of the LiveSchemes, but for me this is a bit too much for now. However, you might be delighted with the option. Just slide over the color line, tap in the cloud of values above and your selection is there!

The app does not offer options like automatic color schemes for monochromatic, analogous, triadic etc., but for a free app, I certainly do not complain, I love it! Would I pay 3 dollars for it? Yes. It would give me the opportunity to play with colors, check out combinations and even take pictures of several fabrics and combine them in this app. For the more advanced stuff, like working with specific spreads following the color theory, other, more expensive apps offer more opportunities to be assisted. This app gives you the opportunity to do it yourself. And that's a boost for your creativity!

Have fun quilting!

P.S. The ChromaOM company doesn't know who I am and do not pay me to write this. I could get lost in the middle of the jungle of Africa and they wouldn't know. I just love the app.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Houston, calling Houston: part 2, the hotel

I promised to keep you on track in our preparations for Houston. And although QuiltMarket and QuiltFestival 2011 just finished, the reservations of the room already started. So how to arrange your lodging?
First of all, be aware that there are hotels that are specifically mentioned on the website. The site for 2011 has just been removed, but I just found the hidden website ;-) (edit: the new host hotel website 2012 is online, click here!). The Host hotels are Hyatt Regency downtown Houston, Hilton Americas, Embassy Suites downtown, Doubletree, Four Seasons and Crowne Plaze.

Now why would it be important to be in one of these hotels? I prefer the official Host hotels as they are called, because they are connected to the Convention center with a bus route. That means you will be able to walk to your hotel for those hotels very close by, and step on the bus for those hotels that take a bit longer to walk to. For Dutch girls: a 15 minute walk is considered a long walk in Houston! All these hotels are close by, within a 15 minute walking distance of the Convention center. Or take the bus!
With your bags full of quilting stuff, you wouldn't want to walk 15 minutes when it's very hot.

An other asset is that these hotels have a special rate for QuiltMarket and QuiltFestival. That might help. Outside downtown you will find better rates, for example near Galleria or in the medical area. However, that would mean that you will have to take a bus or a cab to travel to and from the exhibition. After a full day of walking all these aisles, that might be a bit much. I do not prefer to have to take a cab, I love to roll into my bed and do nothing!

Now why, oh why do I start now with hotels? Well, this year we wanted the suites with two queen beds. A queen bed is what in Holland is called a two person bed, the alternative, one king bed, is what in Holland is called a grand lits jumeaux. Well, all the suites with two queen beds are already reserved for 2012! And sleeping with two girls in one king bed, although big, is not preferred by all.

So if you are planning to go to Houston and you have preferences, be quick. Houston is big, so if you plan on the 30st of October to go to Houston for show, you will find a room, but perhaps not downtown, or against a higher rate. Hilton Americas is sold out very quickly as it is attached to the Convention center. They do even have a lottery for hotel rooms there! 
Embassy suites is new, has only suites, and is already sold out on queen bed suites, as we found out.

The two times I visited Houston, we went to Hyatt Regency, and that was fine.The other hotels I do not have any experience with. If you have, please let me know, so I can report here.

Rates of the hotels are from around 150 dollars per night without tax (that will be added) for a one or two person room, to executive rooms and suites for 4 for around 250 dollars without tax. Again, check the rates of 2011 at the website and then check what you need.
Be aware that these rates are for 2011, 2012 will probably be a bit more.

When you reserve, be aware to mention the magic word QuiltFestival or QuiltMarket. That means you profit from the specific rates arranged with the IQA. Reserve your room by email or by phone and have a credit card ready. Most hotels demand a deposit. The reservation system with the magic word is probably not working yet. An email works just fine.

Now check out the hotel website, reserve a room and start the fun!

Have fun quilting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wow, about being inspired!

The day before yesterday I wrote about Supergoof in In the limelight. In the limelight is about people who inspire others to get the best out of them. And what a reactions! My mailbox was full. Just because I wrote about what I thought was important. Having fun in quilting, that's key. Even an American lady who never heard of Supergoof mailed to ask me how to use Google translator on her site, so she could read it. Isn't that fun!

I hope I can bring you more of these kind of quilters, people who bring pizzazz to your world because of sheer beauty, enthusiasm, fun or whatever they bring to inspire us!

If you know a quilter who just brings you that, let me know. Maybe I write a log about him or her. It doesn't matter whether they are famous or not, working by hand, by machine, whether they inspire by technique or by their use of colour, it can be anyone. My email address is in my profile.

Have fun quilting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In the limelight: Supergoof

In the limelight is my chapter for all quilters who make something, do something, create something that inspires me and the people around me in the quilting world. Sometimes a world famous quilter with a unique technique, sometimes a not so famous quilter who just happens to make the quilts that are just right and inspires others by doing.

Supergoof, Ingrid in real life, is such a not so famous quilter. Because her blog is what she is famous from, everybody knows her as Supergoof. So I'll keep it that way. Her blog is an enormous hit in the Netherlands and growing internationally, in which she writes about her life and quilts from her old 1600's house in a small city in the Netherlands. Supergoof works by hand, has a license to work without supervision of the Quilt Police and therefore just makes whatever she likes. And that's viral! Without anybody knowing she started it, she created a hype with the so called "klosjesquilt".
Klosjesquilt and dog Bregje, photo by Supergoof

The "klosjesquilt" means in English the small spool quilt, where klosjes are the spools thread are wired on. Supergoof started it somewhere November 2008, when she and a friend where working on some scraps from Den Haan en Wagenmakers, a Dutch chintz fabric manufacturer. She reported it on her old blog (that has unfortunately been made inaccessible by a not so clever blogprovider...) and people reacted to it. And everybody liked the "klosjesquilt"! Within a few weeks the klosjeswave started! The Saturday became klosjesday and all blogowners who participated visited eachother on Saturday to show and tell about the progress on the klosjes. And not just the Netherlands. Also internationally, as far as Australia and Korea girls started on "klosjes"!

Vingerhoedjesquilt, photo by Supergoof
And that's not the only one. How about the "vingerhoedjes", the little thimbles or tumbler quilt that she started? Now in the Netherlands the "vingerhoedjes" are like a virus. Every little scrap is used to make a "vingerhoedjesquilt" like Supergoof.

You might think she just makes one patches. You couldn't be more wrong. Supergoof made a lot of applique and patchwork quilts, all by hand, all in the Supergoof way: With loads of fun and all by hand!
Look here for some of her work:
Clockwise, starting top left: Basket quilt, Pockets of Posies, Nearly Insane, Compass Rose, Home Sweet Home, Housesquilt and "Willemijns Kraamquilt", photos by Supergoof

So if you want to be inspired, just enjoy quilting by hand and read a blog (in English with Google translator) that's easy going, no Quilting Police around: visit Supergoof.

You will receive a very warm Dutch welcome!

Have fun quilting!

P.s. Supergoof gave me an o.k. for using the photos, but that's all. She doesn't know me, and I could fall from the earth tomorrow, and she wouldn't know. It's just that I like her blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Number 1000!!!

Today we went for a quick round to the supermarket. At the checkout bells were ringing, we were customer number thousand and received a large bag of groceries! Wasn't that neat!!

Have fun quilting!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Houston, my quilt shoes

When I went to IQA quiltshow Houston in 2007 I was warned, just as I will warn you in my to come Houston preparation logs: wear comfortable clothes, especially comfortable shoes. I was packing my suitcase and remembered to take a vest, to take a back pack, to wear easy trousers and I remembered fashion stops below the knees at show.

Well I could deal with that. So I looked in my closet and checked the shoe department. Ouch. I needed shoes to walk the aisles up and down, and that's 15 miles a day in my pace. In my closet were great pairs of high heels for office, more pairs great for business meetings and sandals with an open toe. No comfortable shoes. Ah well, there were two pair of Birkenstocks. One pair of open toe sandals, not too smart when 50.000 people will be wanting to pass you when you are checking out a sign in the middle of an aisle. Unless you are particularly font of blue toenails. But I do advise nail polish for that.

And there they were. A pair of clean white nursing shoes. Bought them when I thought a training as a pedicure would be the greatest thing in the world. Well yeah, I took the class two years and then my career at work was booming. So much for being a pedicure. But the boring pedicure clogs were still in the closet. And I could walk for hours on them. Thinking about wearing them gave me the strangest ideas. I thought if I would enter the George Brown convention center in these, I would immediately be referred to the Red Cross desk to offer my services for first aid.

I had 3 days to think of a plan. It took me 2 minutes. I went to the Office Store round the corner, bought permanent markers in every color I could get and just started decorating.  Everybody around me thought I went nuts. Decorating a close to new leather pair of Birkenstocks is generally not acceptable. We are Dutch, so we're a bit tightfisted...

They ended up like this, and I was happy to wear them. NO WHITE Birkenstocks!!!!
These shoes became my quiltshow shoes. They have seen Houston, they have seen Paducah. And I meet the greatest girls on show, just because of these shoes. As these shoes are getting close to the end of their technical life cycle, I plan on making a new pair. I will show a picture when they are finished!

Have fun quilting!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrate handquilting! Part two

After my log about Celebrate handquilting! and a message on a message board here in the Netherlands, Jeanne Litzouw asked me to show her quilt online, as she does not have a log. Jeanneke as she is called online has made the SBS Bridal sampler completely by hand.

On the back the quilt pattern done by hand is shown:

Have fun quilting!

My first quilting class

I told you about my first patchwork, the four pointed star with eight points in the middle. Let's say that was a bit enthusiastic. The blocks to finish that place mat were a bit easier for a beginner. As I was working full time and going to university in the evening, time was one of my least available assets. But after patchwork, I should learn quilting, wouldn't I? My MIL taught me the first steps, and I thought I would never learn to quilt!

Especially because I had an Arts & Crafts Teacher in primary school who told my parents that it would be better for me and the world that I would not hold a needle in my hand anymore I was a bit scared. My MIL advised me to take a hand quilting class from the teacher she learned it from. That would settle my nerves. The teacher, you guessed it, Ted.

So I went to my first quilting class and had to design a feather wreath, just like Ageeth shows on her blog (it's the homework of the first class and Ageeth follows this class now). After that, we had to design the lines and quilt them. In class Ted taught me her technique with the thumb quilt ring and a normal thimble and that helped a lot.

With 4 weeks between classes I was ready to go. As usual I jumped in with both feet, so in the first week after the second class, in between work and study, my quilt was designed and I started quilting. I tried my best and as I had heard that small even stitches were best, and particularly if front and back are difficult to separate, I knew what I had to focus on. I can do as I was told. Sometimes.
And although 4 weeks are a long time slot, one way or another, time was too short. I only had to do the straight lines, but I took days off from work to get it finished. But I was happy with what I did, and enjoy the homework.

After 4 weeks the next class started. I came in early and spoke with one of my class mates about the homework before class started. Ted heard me saying that I had to take days off and wanted to see my work, why taking days off would be necessary. And when she saw my work, it was clear. In my effort to make small even stitches, I created 20 stitches on an inch, upside counted!
Look at the long straight lines in the pattern, the vertical and the horizontal, especially those on the right upper side. I don't know how I did it. But I did.
Not surprisingly Ted ordered me to go bigger....;-) The quilt was finished with 12-14 stitches on an inch. It saved some days for my vacation.

Nowadays I still make tiny stitches. I don't know how to make bigger ones. I just can't, don't know how to. On the other hand, I still learn a lot and I hope to be able to finish one day a quilt that is juried in at Houston or Paducah. Keep your fingers crossed!

Have fun quilting!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Celebrate Handquilting!

As handquilters seems to be dinosaurs, close to extinction, Caron Mosey from Michigan Quilts started a project to celebrate handquilting. Every handquilting can enter a link to his or her (99% of the cases) handmade quilt on his or her blog. I promised myself when I started this blog, that only a small selection of buttons would be allowed, so for me it is a real step to put that button on my blog.

I linked her page to my log about the Broken Star, and when another piece of work will be on my site, I'll link to that. I hope you will all enter yours, so we will get a ring of handquilters, to enjoy the quiet hours of making tiny stitches and the pride when you finished your own handmade quilt. In my case, on Alice.

I am eager to see your entrances!

Have fun quilting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You can quilt that out!!!

Just for fun, turn the volume on, for machine quilters and hand quilters alike!

Have fun quilting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thumbquilting questions: how to work with Ted's Thimble

Linda and some others asked me how you work with the ThumbThimble, because it's "just a cup". The trick is to work with your lower arm, not your thumb, not even your wrist.
I keep my hand open and make a mirrored c-shape with my thumb and fingers (as I am right handed). My movement is like turning a large 4 inch volume button on a radio on and off. My thumb does not turn compared to my hand. My full hand is making a half circular motion to my elbow.

My quilt ring therefore does not move in relation to my needle. The needle, the ring and the tip of my thumb are in one line and stay that way. Then the needle will never leave the cup and the stress is on my lower arm instead of my thumb. Does that help you Linda?

The idea that a tiny hole would be better is experimented on by others but does not have my preference. It means I have to keep on searching where the hole and the needle are, and it is more like a game of hide and seek to me. With the ThumbThimble the needle is always in place.

I will make a short video about this later and post it here. Maybe a good idea to make a video about a few of the options that are created to make life easier? Love to experiment. If you have a weird, great, funny, interesting thimble, let me know. I'll try and report. Anybody a camera spare?

Have fun quilting!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Houston, calling Houston: part 1, the bucks

After the message that I will be visiting Houston, I could just copy my answer from quilter to quilter from the Netherlands and from America: what would that cost and how long should I go? So why not putting it on my blog!

O.k., here is the Anymart's travel guide to Quiltfestival Houston for Dutch and American girls alike!

First, because that defines the amount of sleepover nights: How long should you go? Well, IMHO, at least 7 days. Arrival on Tuesday, leaving on Monday after show. That means you will:
1. see preview night on Wednesday
2. be able to go to Winner's Circle on Tuesday, where the Best of Show is presented
3. have a full Sunday at show, including sales of batting (take a vacuum bag with you)
4. have extra time on Wednesday to spend your money at Galleria, the upmarket mall. Take the bus for $1 at Hyatt and you're there to spend 500$ on a clutch. A girl's gotta do what girl's gotta do!

So that's settled.
Now what would that cost you?
For the flighttrip from Holland to Houston 550-700 euro (715-910$). Depends on when you book. Well in advance and shortly before the trip, you pay full price, but 3-6 months in advance the prices may drop. Don't book your flight to soon. Don't forget to get your online visa waiver, costs 15$. Otherwise no entrance to America.
American girls: Sorry, you're on your own here. Strangely enough I do not have a pricelist from each place in the US to Houston with the various prices per flight per flight company. Don't know why, just it is that way.;-)

Now your hotel. To make it easy book your hotel at one of the official host hotels that's associated with QuiltFestival and Quiltmarket, see There is a discount then, and usually you pay (including Sales tax that is not mentioned on the site) 200$ per night for 2 persons. 100$ per night per person, about 80 euro. You're staying 6 nights, so that's 600$, 480 euro.

Getting from the airport to your hotel can be done by Metro public transport, costs something like 5$ one way,75 minute drive. You could also take a Supershuttle, 30$ per person twoway ticket, 9 persons in a van. You can check it all here.

You're in Houston, you're at your hotel. And as there is for a quilter nothing else to do in Houston (besides looking at handsome builders, oil company workers and men on space conferences), you have to get into show. In July before show you can buy your ticket online. When that's on, I'll blog about it. You might decide to just get into show and pay your 40-ish dollars for that, but you might also be interested to visit a lecture, a sampler (you'll learn what that is) a class or a workshop. Even events like a quilter who plays the piano (Hello Ricky Tims, and no, he is not a cowboy on his guitar) might be on your list. 100 Dollars is a good estimate, for Dutch girls, make that 80 euro.

Food: for Dutch girls, American food is low priced (when you are not into finedining) and the portions, especially in Houston, are enormous!!!! For breakfast, go to a supermarket (ask for a refrigerator in your room at your hotel), or have a great breakfast at McDonalds for 5$. It's okay for 6 days. Really. Your husband told me you could. And during Houston calories don't count. I have been told so by the Quilt Police.

Lunch: at show count on 10-15$ a day when you eat in the convention center. Eating in the center saves net quilting time, and that's invaluable, so I am prepared to pay 8$ for a stuffed baked potato. Buy a gallon of Diet Coke with it, and you're stuffed till dinner. For who's on a diet: No eating or drinking allowed on the show floor. Stay on the show floor and walk the aisles. Lots of training, exercising for free! Or offer to carry everyone's bag. No need to go to the fitness room back in your hotel!;-)

Now for dinner, you can eat very cheap at a Mexican diner, take a 5$ wrap and for Dutch girls it's enough, and for 20$ you have a great meal or a buffet at Hilton America's. Finedining is not my piece of cake for a quiltweek in Houston.

For a day I plan on 40$ a day, that's about 30 euro's. With some snacking, make that 240$/200 euros for 6 days.

Now here the wrapup: Including flight for Dutch girls: 1400 euro. For American girls without flight: 960$

And then the most important issue: what do you spent on the booths? Well, here, you're on your own. I have been there with a girl who is on wellfare and got the trip as a present from her kids. She was happy as a kid to have 100$ to spend without thinking about it and just couldn't decide which fat quarter to buy, because fabric was so cheap. And she bought them both. That was her kick. Another girl just didn't have enough spending 2500$.

Just be aware, a second suitcase will cost you extra, somewhere around 50$/35 euro, if I am well informed. So if you're going on a spree, take that into account.

Now start couponing, saving, ask your needed budget for Sinterklaas (American girls, I'll explain that later) and Santa Claus, or whatever you're celebrating. And don't forget your camera!!!

Have fun quilting!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Notion Alert! What is it and what do you use it for?

After the load of reactions on the needle puller (including her), I promised to tell more about the hardware on my hand and around me while quilting.
It's a Ted week this week, don't know why, just happens to be! She taught me how to quilt, so she pops up when I tell about my notions and quilt technique. And she doesn't even know anything about it. 

So here about another one of my hardware notions stuff thingies:

My thumb quilt ring, the ThumbThimble 

I am right handed, so on my right thumb is this: 

The thumb quilt ring (or Ted's ThumbThimble) is on my tip of my thumb, just above the joint, where it leans comfortably. On my middle finger is another thimble I'll will blog about later, but it is like a regular thimble. Working with both thimbles give me the opportunity to work both ways. And that's great when you work in a frame!

With my normal quilt thimble I work downwards from the right. With my ThumbThimble I work upwards from the left. That means I never have to change seats, and that's great when working on a frame. Because my thumb is stronger than my middle finger, my hand and wrist are not forced, and I can hand quilt much longer.
On Ted's website there is a guideline how to work with the ThumbThimble.

Have fun quilting!


p.s. Although Ted knows me and I know her, she doesn't now about this blog. And I don't earn a thing by blogging about it. It's just because I love to work with the thing. Period.;-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quilt artists in the limelight: Ted Storm

You might have noticed that Ted Storm is mentioned a few times on my blog. She (yep, Ted's a woman) is my teacher but also a good quilt friend. I met her in 2003 with my first hand quilting class. I made 20 stitches on an inch and she told me to make bigger stitches. ;-)

Besides being a fantastic teacher Ted is a great quilt artist. Ted was the first quilter to make the hat trick of Best of Show IQA Houston, Best of Show AQS Paducah and Master Quilter NQA, Columbus. Next to that she won several awards for traditional artistry and workmanship.

Ted works by hand, that is applique and quilting, and makes the most beautiful quilts! As she works 4 years on a quilt, it's all about quality and not quantity.
Check out her quilts, and if you want to see the big picture, go to her quilt gallery online!

Hollands Glorie (Dutch Glory), 1992
The workmanship on this quilt is beautiful, especially the trapunto in the white background. 
Tableau de fleurs, 1996
This quilt has a very fine quilted grid, and each square is square.
Nocturnal Garden, 2001
This quilt is the first quilt with shi-sha mirrors in it. Hundreds and hundreds of tiny mirrors in the border, and amazing quilt work in the center on the birds.

Spring of Desire, 2006
Spring of Desire is based on a lace hand kerchief and a fabric with gradations. Also in this quilt the mirrors can be found in the border. The diagonal grid in the background is made with the tiniest stitches.

If you want to know more about Ted and her work, go to her website and check out her work!

Be inspired and have fun quilting!