Thursday, 19 February 2009

When You're Richer Than You Think

I was off to bed a minute ago with my head down low ‘cause I haven’t blogged in, oh, so long! Waiting ‘til I might have something crafty to share. And then I thought, wait! I do have something several things cool to share.

The first treat is from my sister Angie, aka Angie Angie or Auntie Angie depending if it’s you or your 4yo saying her name. Nothing but exciting news coming from her part of the world. In an email, she’s informed us she’s planning a visit to Ireland in May! And in the post, goodies from her! Sweet fabric for sweet quilts.

While on the subject of sisters, most know my younger sister Karri is battling breast cancer. In December she underwent chemo and last Monday she started radiation once a day. And later that week she lectured to a room full of women for her business.

She lectured. To a room full of women. For her business. GOT ALL THAT? And her business, for those who don’t know her, is image consulting. IMAGE CONSULTING. Mind you, this was her business before she was diagnosed with cancer. It will be her business after cancer. And apparently, it is her business during cancer. Inspiration, you say? I’ll take a cup of that. And you?

Of course on this side of the pond, I’m still working on the Double Delight from Bonnie. It is a mystery project. Most quilters think the finished design is the mystery. However, the real mystery is, just-how-long-will-it-take-Sherry-to-finish? I’m loving the chocolates—many of which were given to me by Cathi...

Now to the thing that was, the thing that is, the thing that will be...Irish Quilting. People, the website is coming. Trust me. We are nearing the light. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile us drones work on. One of the greatest challenges in the world of quilting, and within that, the land of Ireland, is the scarcity of resources. In fact, this very issue helped conceive the notion of the Irish Quilting magazine. We provide resources to the Irish quilters, like Main Street provides window shopping. And with any luck, our readers, like those window shoppers, will find the door and open into a world of quilting goodies. These doors may be their local shops or they may be online shops—the important thing is they find it.

One aspect of the quilting magazine platform has always been to showcase new designs and fabric lines. In the early days we set about introducing ourselves to the various fabric companies, asking, begging to use their fabrics for sample quilts (materials not yet hit the market, but ready for promoting). Most were gladly willing. Others were darn hard to reach! And being on an island separated by vast sea doesn’t help.

First, you begin with the local distributor, which for Ireland, takes us to England.

You kindly ask that distributor for an opportunity to work together with fabric samples.

Then you pray and hope that this particular distributor, who may very well be in his job for donkey years and has no interest in stretching for the sake of new markets, new possibilities--well, you hope he sheds his stereotype.

But, he doesn’t. “We’ve never done that.” “No I don’t think that is possible.”

Then you begin paddling...toward America, the land of opportunity. The land where this fabric began. It was a journey of emails, calls and flattery—it will get you everywhere.

Finally, on a morning that was today, your postman brings you this:
Heaven in a box.

Irish Quilting is proud to be working with Moda, among other great fabric lines, to serve up fresh new delicious fabrics.

Oh, resilience and persistence, we must have been reared on it. Just ask my sister.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Unlike Sewing, Sleeping is Overrated

This weekend friends and I flocked to the friendly home of an American Quilter in Ireland for weekend of sewing. Sew in. Sew happy.

DH had childwatch that weekend. He was hoping to invoke a one-night-away-only, but luckily for me, I hitched a ride with two others heading from Wicklow to our sewing oasis in Wexford. Whoops! Guess that return time is out of my control. Sneaky, eh?

With some familiar and not-so-familiar faces, Friday night began with introductions and a spin of show and tells. Beautiful quilts unfolded. I regret I took no photos. We drank, laughed and conspired for the following day’s projects.

Bunked up like girls at camp--luxury camp-- it wasn’t long before my roomie regretted her pick. I can be a very active sleeper, particularly when I’ve been especially active. Like say, the last five years? You can ask DH. There is not a week goes by when I don’t push, pull or otherwise smother him in a sleepless manic fit. Usually it’s accompanied by insane workaholic mommy shrieks, like, “the baby!”, “where’s the baby?” or better yet, “did you call the printer?!” Clearly, my babes, human and literary, are on my mind.

I failed to mention all this extracurricular activity when roommates were being matched. And yet, in my sleep I remember everything in a nocturnal frenzy. Needless to say, on the second night I was given my own room.

Only I didn’t need my own room, cause I was gonna sew. And sew. And sew. There was plenty of sewing. Beck had her hands full with some dresiden plates, which funny enough changed colours from pink to apricot on an hourly basis.

Linda tediously reconstructed the gorgeous pattern that is the great Irish Charm Sensational Scrappy (all turn to IQ Vol I Issue I, page 33 and ohhh and ahhh).

Oh! And Cathi shared her stash. Bless her quilting soul! I came short of chocolate brown needed for my Double Delight mystery quilt until Cathi gave me generous helpings. Back home I finish my chocolate piecing, with each one more delicious than the next, I think of Cathi. And how to repay her? Ironically, I think some delicious yummy boxed chocolate would be perfect. But since I know Cathi is flying smooth on her new year’s weight challenge, I’ll keep searching for the better way to thank her.

Everyone had such fun. There were so many with different projects, you had to stop every so often and admire the other’s work. There were some lovely hand quilters and, of course, amazing hand quilting happening. Makes me wish I had more time to try it all!

And of course, it’s these get togethers where you actually find someone from your locale, someone in similar circumstances, on an out-of-town trip where you cross paths. We quickly were conspiring the next sewing retreat.

We could not have been better hosted. Though we did miss our quilting hostess, for between stocking food and clean dishes, she kept busy teaching two new quilters. We didn’t even see her as she set them up in a faraway room. Something to do with picking up bad habits...who us? Bad habits? Never!

I couldn't be more thankful for all the laughs and good food and drink. I think my sleep totalled 2 hours from Saturday to Sunday.

Which was fine for me, since I gave my single room to a deserving quilter who was smart enough to leave her sleeping antics at home.