It was very exciting to take my quilts and techniques and share them with other quilters in Chicago.
On Thursday I was the first up in Open Studios so had to arrive early to set up and be ready for the crowds coming in at 10am. On my way to the building I got a sneak peek at the quilt exhibit all hung and ready for viewing. Some were winning quilts from all over the world. 

Over the next three days I taught 4 classes, shared techniques, ideas and answered many questions.  Some people were very inspired to go home and create a landscape quilt or try their hands at free motion quilting. I look forward to hearing from a few of them and seeing what they have done. At the least I hope they decided it’s ok to experiment and try a few new ideas. There are no “quilt police” who are coming to take your quilt away if it is not perfect or done a certain way. It’s ok to break away from the rules sometimes and create just for the fun of it.
I made a few new friends and learned from others. Judy Tucker had a great class on bindings and sleeves. Judy is also a Sheltie lover, how cool is that? There was so much we did not have time to discuss that I surely must meet her again sometime. I am going to try her two color binding on the next traditional quilt I make. 
If you are interested here is the link to her instructions. - http://lakehousequilts.com/

I fell in love with Robbi Joy Ecklow’s quilt hanging in the exhibit. Her free motion quilting is beyond words. I wish I had taken a detailed photo. I felt a bit intimidated when I saw she was teaching a class right after mine but I hung around and learned a lot. I know I would enjoy more time with her. Our motto is the same…relax, have fun, don’t worry about the mistakes just make them part of the design.

All the vendor booths were like candy to a child, it was hard to hold back on spending to what could fit in my suitcase. Frieda Anderson’s quilts and patterns were so colorful. Another booth had dyes to be used with shaving cream on fabric. I had to have a few of those to play with and try my hand at dying sky fabric for my landscape quilts. I also found some very pretty panels that will make quick colorful quilts that I can give as gifts. The amount of batiks and hand dyed fabrics were way too tempting but I held myself to a few special pieces. Dianne Springer’s colorful booth matched her colorful personality and I liked everything. I bought a panel and pattern for myself and her book with lots of projects for a friend to share the joy. Dianne how about a workshop in the Bahamas?
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My friend and fellow quilter Kris Smoley flew from Minnesota to Chicago to spend Friday with me! It was wonderful enjoying something we both love to do together. We examined the quilts, shopped, talked and test drove sewing machines. The day went by way too fast.

I knew before I went to Chicago I wanted a sewing machine upgrade and decided to stick with the brand I love. I bought a Elna Excellence 720 and can’t wait to spend lots of time sewing on it, making many more quilts and projects. It is like the excitement of driving a new car with power steering and a powerful engine. Look out, if you see a crazy lady flying down the road on a sewing machine it just may be me!
The Chicago International Quilt Festival was a wonderful experience. Stimulating for the brain and breaking me out of my comfort zone (that seems to be happening a lot the past few years).  Friends took me sightseeing in the city on my extra day there. I must say I was impressed with the city of Chicago, the flowers everywhere, the buildings, Navy Pier & the Bean were all cool to see but the pride in the city itself was what I felt from the people walking by. I never thought a large city would be so clean and beautiful.

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Goodbye Chicago
Until the next time


The photo was taken with me looking into the Bean with my reflection and the city.


I will put together a slide show soon.

 


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