Sunday, October 9, 2016

ROAD TRIP! Quilter's Edition

I just got back from a three-day, solo quilt trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I left from Springfield, Illinois on Thursday morning.  The weather was a little weird, having a hard time deciding between rain, overcast, and just plain gloomy. Fortunately, I don't mind clouds and rain, so I just put on some music and plugged in the GPS destination and drove along. There were some pretty sights along the way.  The leaves haven't quite started changing yet, but as I approached the Illinois/Missouri border, I did take time to appreciate the beautiful trees and high cliffs that are notable in that area.  It also marked the approximate halfway point of my journey.

While I drove, I had a lot of quiet time, something I don't always get at home with a rowdy husband and two energetic boys.  Along the drive, I pondered my quilting life, where my love of hand-made projects came from (my mother), the quilts I've made and plan to make in the future, and even how to make my mom's own crafty projects endure long into the future, even though she passed away a little over a year ago.  It was a great drive.

MSQC mural -- I arrived!!

Around 1:00, I made it to Hamilton, Missouri, home of Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I had nothing to do the rest of the day but shop.  (What a hardship, amiright?)  I went from store to store...to store.  (If you've never been to MSQC, there are 12 different stores featuring a specialty of one type or another: from the holiday shop for holiday specific fabric, to a backing store, to notions, to licensed fabrics...you get the idea.  They have a little bit (okay, a lot) of everything.  I highly recommend making a visit if your time and budget allow!)  I had a shopping list and was able to get just about everything on it.  And then some.  I found so many fun fabrics and was inspired to do a ton of new projects.  My budget is still cringing a bit, but I should have enough fabric to hold me over for at least a month or two.  Ha-ha. Once I was done shopping, I made my way to my hotel for the night.

The next day was my workshop with Sue Daley.  (The original reason for my trip.)  Sue Daley is an accomplished English paper piecing quilter from Australia.  If Jenny Doan's YouTube videos introduced me to the basics of quilting, Sue Daley was responsible for teaching me the how-to's of English paper piecing.  It was an absolute honor to take part in her class.  The workshop was on the basics of EPP (never hurts to have a refresher!) and a chance to do one of her EPP kits.

Sue's project using the Play With Paper starter pack #5.
She also did a trunk show of some of her projects.  I was in awe of all that one could accomplish with English paper piecing.  I think my favorite was one of her newest, the Quatro Colour Quilt.  I'd seen pictures of it before, but in person it was even more spectacular.  Sue said she considered hers a scrappy quilt.  I just know it was absolutely stunning.

Add this pattern to my quilting bucket list:
Sue Daley's Quatro Colour Quilt
Towards the end of my class, I was thrilled when Jenny Doan stopped by.  Talk about fangirling.  These amazingly talented women were part of why I'm so in love with quilting.  I had no one to teach me how to quilt in person.  Without their videos, I never would have been able to come as far as I have the last four years.

Jenny Doan and Sue Daley with the
Quatro Colour Quilt.  Totally made my day!
Following my class, I went back to my hotel and worked a little more on the project I started in class while I watched the Cubs play game one of the NLDS. (Go Cubs!)

Feeding my EPP addiction

On Saturday, I left early so I could start the long drive home.  About halfway, I stopped off at Hannibal, Missouri.  I'd heard there were a couple of small quilt shops there.  Plus, it was a beautiful day to get out and walk for a bit.

The Mark Twain riverboat on the Mississippi
Lighthouse on the hill

All in all, I had a wonderful trip.  I met two of my favorite quilters, learned of a couple new English paper piecing projects I want to try, and was inspired to attempt several more.  I'd been thinking of trying to get some of them done before Christmas, but I may have to rethink that a bit.  Honestly though, it was nice to just be able to get away from work stress and refill the well a bit.  I think it's important for people to feed the things that they love, and this weekend accomplished exactly that.  I'm just glad it's a holiday weekend--I need a couple days to recover from my wonderful, but exhausting, journey.

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