Thursday, March 10, 2016

Our Quilting Road Trip Continues

Last week, we invited you to join us on our quilting road trip to Virginia. We met new quilting friends at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, visited a great antique mall, and tasted some great wine. The remainder of our trip was spent at the Academy of Appliqué at Kingsmill Resorts in Williamsburg.

Colonial Lady, by Cori Blunt
First thing on Monday morning, Kara and I (Teri) headed to the resort to check in and go to our classroom. We took a class by Cori Blunt, of Chitter Chatter Designs. We loved this colonial lady and thought she would be charming to make. She reminded me a bit of the colonial ladies in the quilt that my mother-in-law gave me. (See What a Lady!) Also, because Kara and I both love adding embroidery to our appliqué, this clearly offered opportunities for us to add some embellishing stitches. Cori was a delight; she had a personal and engaging method of teaching, circulating the room and connecting with each of us in the classroom. She taught a freezer paper method for appliqué, which was different for us, as we typically use a back-basting method. But taking classes is all about broadening our skills, so we jumped in to give it a try.

The morning was spent stitching leaves. Note the handkerchief in the foreground; more about that later.

Breakfast and lunch were included with our tuition—a perfect opportunity to meet new friends and get to know the teachers. Here, Cori is sharing some of her work with us, as well as her desire to "keep handwork alive" by sharing her passion for it.

After lunch, leaves are stitched, and we are ready to create roses.

I stitched all the leaves with Cori's freezer paper method, but I must confess that I reverted to back-basting for the rose.

Kara's roses

After class, several friends from the Baltimore Appliqué Society got together and went to dinner. The restaurant was wonderful, and we all had an enjoyable time sharing stories of our classes that day. What could be better than to be surrounded by friends who share your love of needle and thread? 

Colonial Lady,  by Cori Blunt
On Tuesday morning, we were ready to start stitching the lady. In the morning, we worked on her arms, neck and head. Cori showed us how to embroider the lips, using one strand of floss and a fine needle. She takes just a thread or two of the background fabric at first and gradually increases just by a thread or so to create her mouth. She has perfected this and makes lovely faces. Kara and I embroidered  our ladies' lips. Kara thought hers looked like they'd had a Botox shot, while my lady looked more like she'd put on her lipstick while driving and hit a bump.  

When it was time to work on the skirt, Cori helped me to redesign a little. I had an old handkerchief that belonged to my great-aunt that I wanted to use for her skirt, but the design was such that I would have to do some fussy-cutting to maximize the floral print. There wasn't enough to do the six sections as designed, so I planned to alternate with a coordinating silk fabric that I had. Cori adjusted the pattern so that it would work, making a five-sections skirt. Here, I did use her freezer paper method in conjunction with the back basting. The freezer paper templates helped me to choose the parts of the handkerchief that would work best for her skirt.


At lunch, we had further opportunities to "talk to friends we hadn't met yet," as well as hearing a couple of other teachers share and show some of their work. Barbara Blanton, the owner of the Academy of Appliqué was gracious enough to allow us to share our fairy tale quilt, since we were not going to be able to stay for the rest of the event, when the regular Show and Tell was to be held. We were so grateful for her kindness.

Barbara Blanton, owner of Academy
Barbara Burnham, teacher
Barbara Burnham's Baltimore Garden Quilt
in background

After lunch, we took a tour of several of the classrooms. Alas, we had no time to reach them all before returning to our "ladies," but here are a couple of this year's Academy classes.

Some of the stunning blocks made by Rita Verroca . . .

. . . and some of the colorful work of Nancy Chong.

Cori's basket with embroidery
These eyes . . . two methods
During the afternoon, Cori showed us how to embroider leaves with the fishbone stitch and lovely bullion-stitched roses. Kara prepared and began a bit of embroidery, but I wanted to continue with my appliqué before moving on to the embroidery. We were intrigued by the quaint faces, especially the eyes, that Cori embroiders on her Paper Ladies blocks. At the end of the class, she gave Kara and me a special demo of how she embroiders her eyes, even though this pattern had the eyes hidden by the hat. We were so impressed with her fine, detailed work—and those lovely eyes that seemed to come alive on the fabric! 

Sadly, we had to leave the Academy early, as many people were just arriving for the main conference. Before our departure on Wednesday, we stopped by to shop in Barbara Blanton's new show, Huzzah! We did some visiting and shopping, and we may have purchased a pile of beautiful reproduction fabrics that may not yet have a plan for usage. On our way out, we ran into a dear friend from Canada who had just arrived, so we got the opportunity to briefly catch up with each other. Hopefully next year, we will be able to stay longer and enjoy the full Academy.

Chatting with Mimi Dietrich while buying fabric

These lovely daffodils were an indication of the gorgeous spring weather we had during our stay. They seemed to be saying goodbye as we got in the van to return to Maryland. The road trip home included a stop at a Steak and Shake, because I had been coughing a lot and thought my poor throat should have a milk shake. And of course, there is never a time that one can avoid traffic around DC; every hour is rush hour, it seems.

All in all, it was one wonderful quilting road trip. Time to start planning the next one! Thanks for riding along with us.

Colonial lady progress report:
Kara is further along than I am, as she spent two full days stitching on it when we got home. I spent those two days sleeping off a bout of bronchitis. I did finish appliquéing the lady though. We are both looking forward to the embroidery part. Stay tuned for final photos. Isn't it nice that they can look so different because of the fabric choices, and yet all look so beautiful? Many thanks to Cori Blunt, for sharing her talents with us and provided these charming Colonial Lady patterns.

Kara's Lady

Kara's block progress thus far

My Lady

My progress thus far. I love the way the handkerchief worked. What a lovely tribute to my great-aunt!

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