Today was a long day. I woke up at 4am to get myself ready and drive from San Fernando Valley to Ontario by my first activity at 8am. My first event was a tour of the winning quilts by an experienced judge, Cathy Wiggins. She took us around the show before it started to look at the winning quilts and explain what made them winners. I enjoyed this tour a whole bunch. While I’m not making quilts to win shows I am constantly trying to perfect my technique and it’s interesting to hear what the judges look for in show-winning quilts.
My next activity was a lecture about batting. I enrolled in this lecture because I do not understand what the different battings are and what they are used for. My first quilt instructor told me to use 100% cotton and that’s what I’ve always used. She probably told me why then but I’ve since forgotten it. Anyway, it was a sales pitch for the batting company but I learned about scrim, needle-punch, that cotton is natural, breathes and is warm in the cold weather and cool in the summer. Polyester is not natural but is soft and lofty. Apparently a lot of quilters use this. Wool is natural but you have to be careful with how you wash it so quilters don’t use it a lot but may do so if they want a warmer quilt. Then there is bamboo which is natural, antibacterial, really soft, and breathes like cotton. Then there are the blends. I still can’t tell about the blends but I guess it’s to get the best of both worlds. The Cotton/Poly blend gives the natural cotton with the loft and softness of the Poly. The Cotton/Bamboo blend gives the antibacterial and the cotton. I fell in love with the bamboo and ended up buying a whole roll.
Then I had a long break where I went through the entire quilt show… lingered in the areas that I missed and went through all the vendors. If you’ve never been to Road to CA, there are 3 pavilions. There’s the main exhibit hall, a smaller ballroom but still has at least 5 aisles and then a tent that contains an eating area and a lot more vendors. The put the quilt exhibits in the exhibit hall and ballroom and not the tent. There were a ton of vendors. I bought some cool stuff but I went over my budget. I’ll talk about that on Sunday when I report on my budget. But I got a fancy thimble, more glass nail files because I keep giving mine away, marking tools, etc. I didn’t buy fabric or kits! I’m very proud about that.
My last class was hand quilting with Carrie Fondi. I enjoyed this class much more than I thought I would. I was afraid that it would be a repeat of the applique class from Tuesday. So just a bit of background, I started quilting 10 years ago with traditional hand quilting. My first teacher taught me how to create templates with the plastic and hand piece all 12 of my blocks. It was a sampler and we did simple blocks, a bit of applique, a dresden, hexies, etc. Then we hand pieced the blocks together and then put the borders on (which we did by machine), basted it and hand quilted it. It took me FOREVER! You can see a pic of the finished quilt here. Anyway, I took the class because even though I hand quilted that entire quilt, I didn’t feel like I was very good at it. I wanted to improve on it and I wanted to take a class to help me practice and become confident in it again. I enjoyed hand quilting when i was doing it. I just didn’t like having to do such a large piece. I can see myself working on a small project periodically. It was great. I re-learned how to do what I already knew and learned some new stuff to make what I was doing easier. In addition, I learned how to use the tool “aunt becky”. I’ve had it for a while (since PIQF in 2013) and I had brief instructions when I bought it then but never figured out how to use it. Carrie showed us how and she looked at what I was doing. I didn’t feel comfortable using it at all. But it seems that I’ve got the technique (kind of) I just need to keep practicing it until I feel comfortable and my stitches come out evenly. All in all, it was a great class. 🙂