Sunday, November 13, 2011

Classes at Houston, Part Dos, Kaffe Fassett

Back again.  So the second day of classes, Cecilia and I took the Kaffe Fassett 'Gridlock' class.  Now anyone that knows us knows how much we love Kaffe and his fabrics.  So taking a class together and with Kaffe was paradisiacal!

If you have never taken a class with Kaffe, you should know the following:

It's the best color class you will ever take, bar none.
Doubtful that you'll ever think of color the same way after a class with Kaffe.  You won't even be able to explain what's different.  They must pump something thru the air conditioning...

It's a totally new way of learning.  
Liza and Kaffe give you a brief overview of the project.  No sewing, just layout.  Then you get to work.  The best music you can think of (Beatles, Grace Slick, James Taylor, etc) is playing loud enough that you can hardly hear yourself think.  So you just give in, start singing along.  Before you know it, you are not really thinking anymore and just working intuitively.  Kaffe strongly encourages you to work quickly, and the only way you can do that is to trust your instincts!  Better to get something up on your design wall and change it later than to over think every little piece of fabric you put on your design wall.  Forget any notion about your fabric being precious.  If you end up not using something you cut, make a pillow when you get home, for God's sakes. (verbatim).  That brings me to point #3:

These classes are not for the faint of heart.  Just hang in there.
Kaffe tells it like it is.  Some nuggets from the gridlock class:

  • "If I give you a suggestion, just try it.  If you come in her and do only what YOU think is a good idea, well then you will learn a lot about... YOU."
  • "Stand back and look at your work from afar.  I've seen a lot of people who never step back.  They think their quilt looks great until they step back at the end and it looks like cat vomit."
  • That fabric next to that one looks just... wussy.  (said to me!)
In fact, there were 2 different women that just up and left in the middle of the class that day because they didn't like Kaffe's instructional method... (their loss, and more room for me!)

So you cut, put up, and stand back. Repeat. Repeat another 100 times until about 4pm when it's time for the group critique.  

Then Kaffe goes around to everyone's project and gives it a critique.  It's the juiciest part of the day.  You learn soooo much from seeing what others have done within similar parameters and what Kaffe has to say about that.

When the time came for my critique, I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen.  I hadn't talked to him about my quilt much that day. (Later I would find out that was a good thing!)  I used very little Kaffe fabric that day, as I had decided to use my stash of striped men's shirts from home. Most people used about 99% Kaffe fabric, so I wasn't sure that NOT supporting his fabric line was going to lend itself to a very favorable critique.  Well, watch for yourselves (and note the empty wall space where the 2 women ripped down their design walls- not even bothering to remove the tape! :0  )

So I left exhausted, but happy that day.  Here are some other photos from the Gridlock class:

A cuttin' and a grinnin'

Ceci and her quilt design (on right)- both gorgeous!!!!!


During Critique

Critique of my quilt- see tape to the left!!
Kaffe, don't stand still too long- your shirt would look great in my quilt!

But Kaffe and Co. let me know about a spot that had opened up in the following day's class.  So the next day, I went back for more!!

This time, the class was for the quilt "Big Bang".  An amazing take on the Texas Lonestar quilt.  Of course, the only fabric I had with me was the shirt stripes from home, so that's what I used.  

Another really demanding day.  I told Kaffe and Liza that that class kicked my butt!  Verrry challenging, especially with cutting stripes on the bias.  But, I was there to push myself, and that I did.  I've decided I need this color tuneup at LEAST once a year! 

Some photos:
The classroom at lunchtime

Hard at work, probably belting out some Beatles song!

Dame Liza Prior Lucy.  Love her.

Kaffe and Cecilia

Kaffe and I in front of my quilt.  My favorite pic of the trip:)

ps,  I need to thank Cecilia for some of these pictures that she kindly took and lent me.  Thanks Ceci!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giveaway over at Blue Moon River Quilts!


Want to win a free La Todera Pattern?

Scoot on over to Susan Brubaker Knapp's gorge blog where she it having a Sew Thankful Giveaway!

Click on image:

Good Luck!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Classes at Houston

OMG.  Blogging 2 days in a row.  That's a first for me!  But wanted to divide up the Houston theme...

So after Market came Festival.  Festival is for the general public and includes a retail fair (fun galore!)  an awesome exhibition, and classes to enjoy.

As I was saying, my bestie Cecilia from Argentina and I had been dreaming and talking since forever about meeting in Houston and taking classes together with our favorite teachers.  

It seems like whenever we visit each other, we MEAN to do creative stuff together, but never get around to it.  So this time, with a lot of finagling, we did TWO all day classes together!!!

The first was 'Confetti Landscapes' with Noriko Endo.  Noriko, as you probably guessed, is from Japan.  Take a gander at her website, and especially her video that talk about her process.

Noriko in front of one of her fabooooooooo art quilts!

Basically, you create fabric confetti from solid, batik, and hand dyed (better if the fabrics are double sided- or you will be turning over a lot of upside-down confetti with a tweezers!) Then you arrange those multiple colors of confetti on a base, layer with fine black tulle, and quilt. Repeat with a second layer containing more detail.

Look!  I am twice the size of Noriko!  Funny that there is a giant and a dinky mushroom in my quilt...
Adding more detail on second layer

Noriko coming around to give advice
Second layer ready for quilting

Getting a little giddy at this stage of the day!!

Finished quilt before binding.  Do I look tired?  That's because I am!  But in a good way!

Cecilia and Noriko clowning around.

Noriko adding her 'magic' to Cecilia's design
Ceci and her gorgeous finished quilt!!

My table-mate Susan Brubaker Knapp! How luck am I??

I doubly lucked out when I got a seat next to my pal Susan Brubaker Knapp!  Is this girl photogenic or what?   And I want that shirt she's wearing.  Anyways, Susan did a super cool quilt of her beloved Maple tree in her yard.  Not sure if you can see the quilting she's doing in the photo- a swirly bark design- but it was amazing!  Have you all seen Susan's book,
 "Point, Click, Quilt"?  It has been a huge hit.  If you haven't gotten it yet, run and get it!  I was so surprised to learn that Susan's photos that she works with in her book are with a regular ole point and shoot camera.  (and I was about to go get a new camera, silly me!)

Well, that's all for now.  Will write about class(es) with Kaffe tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Houston Market 2011 Recap

Whew!  Back and recovered (kind of!) from the Houston Quilt Market and Festival!  

Market is a ginormous wholesale market.  It's all biz to biz selling.  

My humble booth- La Todera Sewing and Craft Patterns

It's the place to be for a pattern designer- there you can canoodle with distributors, their sales forces, store owners from all over the world, fabric manufacturers, book publishers, and more!

...Meeting new people...
Sue Penn from Studio e Fabrics and her adorable daughter.

A new friend from Clover, International, Japan!

And reconnecting with friends!

Susan Allen and pal from The Quilt Asylum, surely one of the coolest quilt shops ever.
Lorene Bonewitz from Sew it Up.  Not only an awesome customer and friend, but an uber talented seamstress as well!!!

Once again, Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts and I planned to have our booths set up next to one another.  Makes it more fun, and we can help each other out!  This time tho, I got the better end of the deal.  Margaret had both her sis Marie and good friend Theresa helping her, who were also very generous about helping me out, too!  Thanks guys!!

Margaret in her super eye catching booth for her company, Eazy Peazy Quilts.

One of my favorite moments was when my friend and roomie Cecilia Koppmann showed up.  I was sure I wasn't going to see her until the evening, but she surprised me around lunchtime the second day of Market!!  It was just like in a movie or something- she genuinely surprised me and I let out a squeal like a piglet when I saw her!!
Ceci came to Houston this year because one of her gorgeous quilts was accepted into the Houston Quilt Expo this year:

Cecilia and her awesome quilt
She also came to help me out at my booth (she kept me standing with a steady supply of caffeine and sandwiches) and to take classes together in Houston after Market.  We had been talking about taking classes together since forever, and it truly was a dream come true.  More on that tomorrow!!