The vendors at the Des Moines quilt show were marvelous--and numerous. I tried out new Bernina machines because mine is over 20 years old, after all, and I really should update once in a while. I wanted to get the feel of using a machine with a stitch regulator for free-motion quilting. Everyone says it’s great. But I concluded that I do just as well or better without the regulator—I don’t think I really need it. I’ve been free-motion quilting for a long time. I saw the super-top-of-the-line $12,000 machine (on special during the show for $10,000, ha ha) which has a longer arm and can embroider anything you can think up. Absolutely perfect machine quilting done by computer doesn’t appeal to me, though. So, despite the other things I purchased, this trip to Des Moines really SAVED me a lot of money, since I concluded that I don’t need a new sewing machine after all. (Are you reading this, honey?)
I decided to focus my dollars on items that I can’t find in quilt shops. I tried out and bought a “Supreme Slider” and “Quilt Halo,” above. The slider is a white Teflon sheet you place on your work surface to make free-motion work glide easily under the needle. The halo is an embroidery hoop that’s heavy, so you set it on top of your work. I have never liked using a traditional hoop, but this one moves quickly as you work, so I’ll give it a try.
I also bought two pieces of hand-dyed silk dupioni, on the left above, and some kitty cat batik blocks. That red piece of silk brought me out of the aisle and into the booth. It is too pretty to cut up (well, almost—I made some scarves today), as is the panel of fabric from the African Ashoke tribe, below, which I bought at the Yara African Fabrics booth. Go to http://www.yaraafricanfabrics.com/ to see some beautiful, authentic African fabric at reasonable prices.
And finally, I visited the Cherrywood Fabrics booth THREE times. Go to http://www.cherrywoodfabrics.com/. I HAD to go back once to get some blues and another time for light colors. These hand-dyed pieces are cotton but look like suede, and the colors are rich and saturated, below. Actually, I bought more than these three pieces, but you can see the marvelous texture in these very well. Cherrywood fabrics are sold only at quilt shows and online and are very affordable for hand-dyed fabric—$13 a yard. I was almost completely out of solid-look hand-dyed fabrics, so this is a welcome addition to my stash.
I came home from the show with dozens—hundreds—of quilt ideas. I’ve been so intent on working on my lone star quilt (working title: Ranch Wedding) that I actually had a dream about Libby’s wedding already—11 months in advance. Turns out she had much the same dream…