road to knoxville

Yep, I made the 3 hour jaunt to Knoxville this morning for the Smoky Mountain Quilters’ 40th Anniversary Quilt Show. It was just what I needed to feed my creative soul. However, the 4 hour return journey was not!

Here are some of my take-aways:

  1. The competition quilts were really, really good (much better workmanship than the quilts at the KC show, in my opinion).
  2. Southern Stitches & Northern Needles lecture with Teddy Pruitt was entertaining and informative.
  3. Placing the charity quilt exhibit front and center as guests entered the exhibit hall was an excellent idea. Giving back to those in need is a big part of what we do. I’m so glad they shared their process for making the charity quilts. Creating a checklist and a quilt kit for each project are two things I can incorporate into my own practice. I was also inspired by the I Spy quilts based on variations of a 6-1/2″ block. Very fresh and much more visual impact than samples based on 4″ or 5″ squares appearing in the same display.
  4. The vendor area, while small, was well curated. It had all the quilty essentials covered. I smiled when I recognized some of the vendors I’d seen at recent shows in Atlanta and Kansas City. Those turquoise scissors and 3 yard bundles/Fabric Cafe books were popular here, as well.
  5. I was thrilled to see a “painted lady” (teal custom-painted Featherweight) in a booth and more than one booth selling FW accessories. I am curious, though, how one becomes a certified Featherweight technician as the purveyor of the “painted lady” had printed on her business cards?
  6. I gleaned some helpful tips regarding ruler work from a vendor demoing her custom ruler templates. I’ll certainly try setting my speed slider at 3/4 instead of 2/3 and rotate my foot pedal 180 degrees the next time I FMQ or attempt any ruler work.
  7. A cream colored 80wt Wonderfil thread might be a better bet than the Mono-poly thread I currently use for invisible machine appliqué.
  8. Pictorial quilts have officially been added to my “try it” list. This quilt blew me away. It’s raw edge appliqué using a straight stitch with the thread matching the fabric. I’ll have to learn about color placement, value, depth and all that jazz, but I can certainly handle the sewing part!
Quilt: The Lobsterman by Claudia Nicholson