Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quilt Market Winner!

At the most recent International Quilt Market in Houston Texas, Arrow Cabinets teamed up with Mighty Bright, Elna and AccuQuilt to sponsor a give-away promotion to one lucky contestant. We handed out "passports" to all the willing participants, they then had to go to each of the sponsor's booths and get their passport punched. At the last booth the contestant handed in their passport. We had hundreds of participants but we selected only one lucky winner: Terry Schuld from Zoe's Trunk Quilt Shop in Chandler Arizona. Terry was fortunate enough to win a Elna Sewing Machine, an Accuquilt Go, a Mighty Bright Floor Lamp and an Arrow - Pixie Cutting Table (shown right). Terry was extremely excited to win

"I am still in shock to have won such a wonderful gathering of
products! I am already using them all and it’s been fun to unpack each one
and get to know it! What a treat! I’ve taken a couple of them to
meetings and groups to show and share with the quilters there so they can try
them out too. That was my first experience at Quilt Market and that alone
was so outstanding that to find out later I had won a prize was

No doubt we will be running the same kind of promotion next year at the International Quilt Market in Houston. If you get a chance to go, check out our booth!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

History in the Stitches

Recently we found out that one of our coworkers, Jo Jacobi, had a quilt published in a book titled Wisconsin Quilts: History in Stitches by Ellen Kort. Jo used an Appliqued Floral Medallion quilt created by Alice Huebner Besau in the late 1800's or early 1900's as inspiration for her quilt, Jo's Garden (left). The original quilt was a family heirloom that was passed down 8 generations and still is in possesion of the family to this day! I got a chance to bother Jo for a few questions (I kind of felt like a reporter interviewing a celebrity):

How long have you been quilting? I began quilting in the late 70's so that makes it about 40 years.

What made you decide on this pattern? I was reading the First edition of the book, Stories in the Stitches at the same time I had volunteered to make a raffle quilt for Wisconsin Quilters Inc., the statewide quilt guild. I fell in love with the original quilt because it was a very artistic piece with an unusual layout and the color combination was spectacular. I felt compelled to make my interpretation of it.

How long did it take to make this/how long did it take Mary Besau Leanna to make this do you think? I had a year to make and deliver the raffle quilt. I did most of the work in 4 months after I finishing the plan and finding the fabrics. I did the layout on graph paper to keep the proportions correct and hand drew all the floral pieces. I changed some of the elements to suit my style rather than simply copying all of them. I would imagine that it also took Mary Besau Leanna a year or more to create her quilt.

What (if any) are the main differences between your two quilts? Mary's quilt was entirely made by hand, needle turning the edges of the appliqué patches as she laid them on the top with tiny hand stitches. My quilt has the appliqués fused to the top and every edge was stitched by machine using a tiny zig zag stitch. I made each section separately and then machine stitched the pieces together. The sections of Mary's quilt were stitched together by hand because the sewing machine was not invented until after the Civil War in the 1860's. The quilting stitches which hold the layers together are done by hand on Mary's quilt and on the contemporary version the quilting was hand guided and moved under the needle of the sewing machine by a very skilled quilter, Penny Gerds on her household sewing machine.
Do you prefer to quilt designs in a historical fashion or more contemporary? I really enjoy making traditional quilts and I plan to reproduce another historical quilt that I saw pictured in a magazine. I am inspired by the fabric and the colors.
To beginning quilter's and quilter's to be (like myself), what advice would you give them to help them start this great hobby? I suggest that anyone beginning to sew or quilt should take a class and get a good reference book for help and then just start making things to see what you like to do. Also having a good sewing machine will make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

The book was written with material collected over a 15 year span by the Wisconsin Quilt History Project and published by KP Publishers, a Wisconsin company in 2008. Proceeds from the sales go to help build the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Textiles in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Copies of the book for purchase can be found at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Part, eh?

This last weekend was Halloween, the one day a year where you can dress in any outfit imaginable and still fit in. This year Hether had a little custom party at her house and it was a blast. The setting was perfect, an old three story victorian styled house on a cold dark night in Wisconsin. The outside was secured by ravens and mummies and the inside was riddled with spiders and ghosts. As you walked through the entrance you were greeted by the hosts Morticia (Hether) and Gomez. There was food and drinks, group Pictionary, Wii bowling and scary decorations. There were all sorts of customs, all very creative and well planned: Bob Marley and a Titanic non-survivor; M&M (Jo) with rowdy Sailor; 80's couple (Phil). Even the dogs were dressed up, Puglsey and Wednesday, to match our hosts. One of the coolest things was the cake. It was made by the local baker and it was a fake dead blackbird with red cake in the middle. It was very delicious as well, but it turned your mouth green from the black frosting. Our friend Bonnie sewed her own costume, she was a maid. It was very well done and congrats go out to her for being so creative. Her partner came as a blind referee, hilarious. We didn't even think about it but we should have had a contest on best costume. Which costume do you like the best? Our guests did a great job preparing the party. One of the funniest decorations was the motion sensing, rocking picture frame that cackled at you when walked by it. It scared anyone who dared to go in front of it. It looked so realistic to which made it even funnier, because you would look at it real close and then it would go off. I can't tell you how many people almost ran out of the room in fright. Too funny. Send comments of which costumes were the best and if you had any interesting costumes of your own.