Friday, August 8, 2014

Quilt Odyssey 2015 - Part Two

Now that you’ve read all about our adventures in arriving in Hershey, PA, I can tell you that we had a great time once we arrived!  “Part Two” of the story will focus on the Convention itself. This is a photo-heavy one - bare with me.

Another early morning for me.  David drove me the 20 minutes to Hershey Lodge and dropped me off (so he could have the car and not go insane with boredom that day).  I hit the sign in desk.  Surprise - I forgot my badge that was mailed to me a few weeks prior.  Remember how especially hair-brained I was this weekend?  The cost for this transgression?  $20.  Twenty less dollars I could spend on fabric and goodies.  Sad face.  Oh well.  I then headed down to my classroom.

I found my seat and got all setup.  The class I was taking was a quilt design called Buffalo Bubblegum, taught by Linda Hahn of Frog Hollow Designs.  The pattern included paper piecing and sewing curves - both of which I’ve been meaning to add to my quilting skills arsenal.  The whole quilt is built around the New York Beauty block, which is a standard quilting block that can be used in many different ways.  Linda promised it would be easy, didn’t require precision or perfection and we would become addicted - SOLD!  I also used the pattern as a change to purchase some fabric I've been coveting hardcord - the Grunge line by Basic Grey for Moda. I thought that line, along with a basic gray background, would make the pattern nice and modern. The Grunge line is just to DIE for - it's the best "read solid" line out there, in my opinion!

I won’t go into too much detail on the class, but I will say I enjoyed it for the most part.  I picked the technique up lickety-split and charged through a set of blocks.  You could chain piece these blocks (which I love) and let me tell you, the people who chain pieced got SO much farther than those that didn’t.  I cranked out four blocks before lunchtime.  Speaking of lunchtime - apparently you get 2 hours and the room has to be locked during that time - makes sense with all of those expensive machines in the room, but I wasn't expecting that.  This might be normal for an all-day session, but I was disappointed.  Rarely do I get a whole day to just sew and I wanted to crank through the quilt.  But, off to lunch I headed.

I ate at a restaurant in the Hershey Lodge.  It was a typical grill & bar type place.  Food was what it was, but I was hungry at that point.  I sat at the bar with a rum and coke, watching sports on the big screen (why wouldn’t they play something quilty considering nearly every person in there was from the quilting convention?).  I did sit next to the only two guys in the whole place - those poor dudes seem so confused and out of place - in a sports bar - lolz.  After lunch I headed up to the Vendor Marketplace.  At this point, I wasn’t too sad about the 2 hour lunch anymore because I would be able to fit my shopping in at lunch time and spend more time with David in the evening.  Let me tell you - I love visiting places with lots of vendors - The Big E, craft shows, antique and flea markets, etc - and this one didn’t disappoint!  Granted, again, most of the vendors had a very traditional slant to their products and wares for sale, but I found some yummy, more modern booths.  And let’s face it, many of the tools for quilting are used in both traditional and modern quilting.  Here is a look at some of the things that caught my eye:

Those animal quilts are so adorable!
Fat Quarters for as far as the eye can see!
Some tasty rainbow quilts, with a more modern feel.
Some gorgeous antique quilts!
A mermaid-green, sparkly longarm.  SWOON!
A cat quilting pattern done on a longarm machine.
I kept the purchases on the small side since this was a pricey weekend and the goodies for sale were definitely sold at a premium price.  They KNOW quilters will spend that much, so why not?  I like to be a bit more thrifty with my hobby when I can, so I just stuck with things I thought were reasonable or caught my eye.  The one thing I absolutely fell in LOVE with with this fabric with the GROUCHIEST cat on it - it reminded me so much of my fav kitty Pearlie.  I had to have it.  It’s from the “Ghastlie” line by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics - and I think the cat is named Sebastian (squee!).  I think at some point I’ll invest in the whole line, because the prints were just too perfect (and a bit dark).  Here are my goodies from the Vendor Marketplace:

From top: pretty floral fabric that I'll use for baby dresses for my Etsy store, my cat fabric, bunny fabric, 3 nautical FQs for a quilt I'm planning (shimmery gold and green, lobsters and anchors), Retayne, Purple Thang, mini-seam ripper and a "surgical" seam ripper (which sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would have owned if he quilted).
This silly guy is my favorite from the cat fabric (sorry he's sideways).  TOTALLY looks like Pearlie.
After the break, I headed back down to my classroom.  I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed in the afternoon.  Again, this might all be normal at convention classes, but since I had some high expectations, I think I was a little let down.  The class picked up where it left off and I cranked through 2 more blocks.  That was good.  However, the teacher was pretty “salesy” with her items.  Now, I can’t blame the woman, I guess.  She does this for a living and she’s got to support her family.  But I just wasn’t in the mindset to spend - and if I was, there was a whole marketplace upstairs.  So I get it, but I wasn’t interested.  The other thing that was disappointing was that people just kinda left.  Only about an hour after we returned (3pm), people were heading out.  The class was supposed to go to 5pm.  I stayed until about 4pm, but then most people were going.  It just broke the mood at that point, so I packed up.

Here are some pictures from class:

The pattern
Messy workspace
In Progress
A finished New York Beauty block
I checked my gear into the “coat” check (which was holding sewing machines almost exclusively).  I headed back into the Marketplace and bought the bunny fabric above - I wanted it before, but the line was WAY too long at that point.  I then checked out the Quilt Show - some insanely amazing work there - just incredible.  The art quilts were my favorite - the amount of time and detail that goes into them is just awesome.  I like to crank out a quilt - I can’t imagine spending a year or more on one, so I can truly respect those who can.  I didn’t take pictures since it was unclear if you could.  The antique quilts were definitely a no-no for photography, but I wasn’t sure on the rest.  

By then David had picked me up - I had texted him and asked him to pick me up an hour early since I would clearly be done sooner than planned.  We headed out and hit the zoo and dinner.  We were tired after that.  It was 8pm.  Early for us night owls, but we were spent.  We lamely decided just to head back to the hotel and enjoy some cable (since we eschewed cable about a year and a half ago).  David wanted some more time to work on his blog and I wanted to sew some more, so while it probably seemed like pathetic night, it was relaxing and enjoyable for us.  Just what we needed after the hectic pace of life as of late.  Then bed and up again early the next day!

My progress from the day - 6 full blocks finished in class and the rest back at the hotel.
Even though I was a little disappointed with the afternoon, I would attend Quilt Odyssey again.  At least I would know what to expect.  And while not cheap, it is an affordable convention given the fact that we can drive and the classes aren't TOO pricey.  Maybe again next year!

Stay tuned for the 3rd and final installment of our mini-trip!

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