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Janet Messanelli Bozzone's fabric choices for tomorrow's class.

I begin teaching here in Houston Tuesday but first I'm taking a class taught by Linda Hahn to make her "Castleton Corner" quilt. My friend Janet Messanelli Bozzone from New York selected this class for the two of us to take together. You saw my fabric picks a few days ago. Here are Janet's. Check out the charming lady bugs. It will be fun to see how much our quilts look the same and how much they look different.

Janet enjoying dinner at Ninfa's on Navigation.

This will a short blog tonight. I'm tired after a day of catching up on email and binding a small quilt that's a class sample I use in my "Demystifying Design for Foundation Piecing" class before heading to the Houston airport to pick up Janet. We enjoyed dinner at Ninfa's on Navigation, a restaurant that figures in my lecture on the International Honor Quilt, a lecture I'll give later this week. I'll tell you more about Ninfa then. She was an amazing woman. Her legacy lives on with some of her original recipes and variations on them featured on the restaurant's menu.

Another Winning Quilt

"Blue Basket" by Roberta Lagomarsini

Roberta Lagomarsino's "Blue Basket" won the top Contemporary Artistry Award, sponsored by eQuilter of Boulder, Colorado. (Go Luana Rubin!) Roberta's original design was inspired by baskets in the book Scrape the Willow Until It Sings by Deborah Valoma. A description of the quilt says: "Inspired by California and Nevada Piute Tribes' winnowing baskets, this is a deconstructed version to allow viewing of the weaving. The vibrant colors show the beauty of the rituals involved in creating the baskets, and a hand-painted background fabric suggests the seeds, leaves and other debris that falls through the basket. Quilting is in the basketweave pattern."

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"Beyond Reason" by Angela Petrocelli is Best of Show at this year's International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Wow! Wow! Wow! There's really little else to say about Angela Petrocelli's Best of Show, show-stopper entry into this year's International Quilt Festival show.

Detail of "Beyond Reason"

Each one-inch square of this amazing quilt is foundation pieced with many tiny pieces that total 226,576 for the whole quilt. Angela Petrocelli says of the quilt: "Some accomplishments are beyond reason. This quilt is the embodiment of a dream ... not of a finished product but the journey and completion of a process. I believed I could, I thought I should, I said I would, and I did."

Did I say, it's foundation paper pieced? Once again, WOW!!

BTW: I only had my phone today for photos. I'll try to get a better close up with my "real" camera to share with you.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

I wandered the floor of International Quilt Market today having interesting conversations with some of the sellers. I'll share a few of those but for the most part, the joy of Market is in the colors and textures and images. I hope you will be as inspired as I was.

Down under colors and patterns from M&S Textiles of Australia

Friend and amazing quilter and tool developer Debbie Wendt took a minute to wave a quick hello. We had just a moment to connect as her booth was busy throughout the day. Debbie's best-selling products include her Hex-a-ma-jig and Brilliant Bindings rulers, patterns, kits, and long-arm project books. Check out her website.

While on the Wendt Quilting site, take time to learn more about Debbie. She has a fascinating story. BTW: She's a great speaker and teacher. Let your guild know.

Debbie Wendt staffing her Market booth.

Kristen Balouch is founder and CEO of Little House Cottons, a new organic fabric company, an endeavor she launched with experience as a fabric designer for Birch Fabrics, also an organic company.

Kristen Balouch has combined her talents as fabric designer and author of children's books in her start-up Little House Cottons organic fabric company. She's launching with reasonable prices to encourage quilters to go organic, an especially great idea when they're quilting and sewing clothes and toys for their grandchildren. The fabric designs parallel the book illustrations. They are stunning. You'll want copies of her books too.

Ask you local quilt shop to get Kristen's fabrics. You will love the hand, which is soft and smooth and oh so touchable.

While we're talking organic, I was interested to discover Scanfil organic thread. I'm eager to try the sample 30 and 50 weight threads they gave me. The thread is made from pima cotton and is GOTS certified. I hope my sewing machine loves them.

Talking thread, I enjoyed meeting Nancy at the YLI booth. She recommended I try their Select thread, a 40 weight, 2-ply thread designed for hand stitching. Select is thinner than YLI's Hand Quilting thread but shares its characteristics of smoothness, no knotting or tangling, and ease of pulling through fabric. Nancy suggested I try it for my next binding. I'll be doing that. I love YLI's Hand Quilting thread for English Paper Piecing. Nancy said I may like the Select even better. We'll see.

Quilt shop owners and fabric company reps work hard at Market. This is where many decisions are made in terms of what your local quilt shop will carry. Above, shop owners meet with folks from In the Beginning Fabrics.

A Promise: I'll share more images for International Quilt Market in the next few days.

Check Out What Bonita Accomplished

Bonita Nance really wanted to take my "Demystifying Design for Foundation Piecing" class. So much so, she recruited friends to sign up so I'd schedule a session just for them. Wifi issues meant I had to reschedule the second three hours but never fear. Bonita and friends rolled with the punches, and we finished up the class a few weeks later than originally planned.

Bonita designed and pieced an amazing block. Like so many busy women, she doubled up on assignments. After showing her block to our class, she donated to a community quilting project serving others. She's marked the block that's her original design in the photo at the right. Check it out.

Bonita, seeing this makes this quilt teacher so happy. Thanks for sharing!

What in the World Was I Thinking?

High school classmate Jim Purdy snapped this shot of me thinking about something while my class and the class a year behind mine toured our high school during our recent reunions. The building is at least twice the size it was when we were students. There are more than a half dozen gyms; we had one. There's a brand new swimming pool, the second for the school, both being constructed after we graduated.

I just may have been thinking what a difference Title IX has made for girls who want to be athletes. There just may be a quilt design in those thoughts. Time will tell.

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A Houston intersection. Photos by Dana Jones

Have you been to Houston? I love coming to Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival except for one thing: I really don't like the maze of highways and frontage roads that are layered level upon level. My GPS can't handle it, and I don't seem to remember the nuances of driving in Houston from year to year. When there are multiple roads atop one another and woven around each other, my GPS gets confused. Me too. My GPS shows I'm on an expressway when I'm on a frontage road and vice versa. Today it told me to make a slight right onto 610 south. One problem. 610 south was closed. It went silent. Like me, it was trying to get its bearings.

In the end, all was well. I found my way back to my RV park where Emma (my camper) was waiting. En route, I found a Fiesta grocery store just a mile from the park. Why Fiesta? I like to start my day with half a bottle of Mexican Coke. This morning, I polished off the last of the bottles I brought from home. When a 16-mile round trip to a Costco store proved futile in terms of finding this delicacy, I headed back to the campground. Then the Fiesta store appeared. A mirage perhaps? No, it was real, and it was well stocked with Mexican Coke. My mornings here in Houston will have that touch of caffeine I crave. Haven't tried it? If you're in my age range and remember the Coke of your youth, you must try Mexican Coke. The taste is nostalgic. The secret: Cane sugar.

Rain on the highway. Photo by Dana Jones

By the time I retreated into Emma for the night, I was exhausted. It was an unexpectedly long day getting from San Antonio to Houston. The usual half-day, 200-mile trip turned into an eight-hour trek because driving rain, low visibility and road construction created the not-so-perfect storm. We crawled at 30-40 mph much of the way.

Meanwhile Back Home, Snow Was the Precipitation of the Hour

While en route to Houston, I missed the first real snowstorm of the season at my home in Gilpin County, Colorado. I didn't get final accumulation totals but Facebook posts made it clear that the white stuff snarled traffic on all four of the canyons that lead down the mountain from my home all day Wednesday into Thursday morning.

This is not unusual for late October yet many of us in the county act shocked each year when the first storm hits. A week or two from now, we'll be back in the groove.

Snow on my deck in Gilpin County, Colorado.

Photo by Steve Sky, artist and dog/house sitter


I had snow tires put on my car before leaving home, knowing I may need them when I head home from Houston in about 10 days. In past years driving home from quilt festival, I've encountered snow on Raton Pass in northern New Mexico, overnight at Trinidad State Park in southern Colorado, and on the various canyon roads I take up from Golden, Colorado, to my home. My car dealer is usually sure I'm getting them on too early. When it snows within a few days, I feel vindicated. It is surprising how often this happens.

Sign Up Now to Make This Quick & Easy Holiday Table Runner

"Prancing Around" by Dana Jones

If you're in need of a last minute holiday gift, a hostess gift or a decoration for your home, I'm offering three classes in early December that fit the bill. These are quick and easy projects you can whip up before you know it. You can customize them to the holidays you celebrate with your fabric choices.

These four-hour classes are just $40 each or all three for $100, a savings of $20. You'll find information on the classes on my website. Just go to my home page and scroll down to find descriptions of each class and links to register. I can't think of a better way to kick off this holiday season than to be with you in any and all of these classes. I hope you'll sign up.

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