Material Girls road trip to the Quiltfest of NJ (3.2.2007)

There were three of us "Material Girls who braved the rain storm (and flooding) early Friday morning and arrived at the show in Somerset just before 11am. We all started out at the same vendor location, but quickly decided to split up for more effective shopping. I do not call myself a quilter . . . I don't have the desire to make anything larger than a wall hanging . . . but I have needed to use quilting techniques on some of my projects, and I just love the crazy novelty fabrics and nifty tools they have at the shows. And of course, I love looking at the quilt displays -- they were incredible works of art, very inspiring.

My mission for the day was to find:

- fabric with westie or doggie designs, baseball or sewing themes;
- interesting threads that I cannot find locally; and
- fobs or charms suitable for zipper pulls for my Chelsea backpacks.

In the first vendor's booth I found several interesting fat quarters, so I was off to a good start. At the second booth I found a cell phone pouch (which I needed) with a westie puppy on it (which made it a must-have); the day could have ended right there and I would have been happy. (Now I think I need to use it as a model to make cell phone pouches to go with all my bags.)

I slowly made my way down the first row of vendors, sticking to my mental shopping list. I found a few more doggie and baseball fats, several spools of threads (Sulky blendable 12wt and 30wt cottons), and a pattern for mini/pocket purses. After I rounded the corner, I found an item one of the Material Girls had been looking for, so I called her on my cell phone to come and see it. Later on, she spotted some Westie pins she knew I'd want, and called me to tell me where they were. What did we do before cell phones?

After lunch, we broke up again and I resumed my search for "fobs"; I found a booth that was selling them -- pretty beads with sewing charms in silver on a lanyard type loop -- perfect for the zipper pull of my new Chelsea backpack! I couldn't decide between a sewing machine, measuring tape or pincushion charm and all three had beads that matched my bag . . . so I took all three. I'll use the 2 extras as scissor fobs or on the next bag . . . later I found some nifty silver and gold charms which I think I will use to make a few "fobs" myself. At another booth, I picked up some funky reading glasses and a few sewing machine and spool shaped button pins.

I ended up with a good supply of "loot" for my sewing stash -- everything was on my original hit list, except for the pins.

We had plenty of time to look at the quilt exhibits this year. There were some really amazing quilts on display, created by truly talented artists. Several made quite an impression -- I liked one titled "Insanity", a wall hanging of quilted paisleys embellished with buttons, beads and stitching. Another, titled "Red Dawn" was an offering to the god of Hot Flashes, as a plea to control the power surges. Then there was "Breeze" a beautiful scene of a bedroom with an open window (and a westie type dog sitting on the bed), and several ocean themed pieces with detailed beading and dimensional embellishments. There was another one (I forget the title) with a pink bicycle super-imposed on a large yellow daisy . . . I didn't realize what it was until I stood back 10 feet and could fully appreciate it. Then there were the Hoffman challenge exhibits; I really enjoyed looking at the "dolls". One of the figures was made by Stephanie (NovasBlossoms), who is one of the original "NY/NJ/PA Stitchathoners", a group of cross stitch and needleworkers I met online over 10 years ago . . . we haven't been in touch recently, but it was great to see she is still creating such unique artistic works.

While I was ogling one of the quilts, I ran into Miss Monica, The Embroidery Professor (and software instructor extraordinaire) who was at the show with her mom. I was so engrossed in the quilt I was looking at, I almost didn't even see her -- did a double-take and realized this was someone I knew! (At our last class in February, I was finally getting to begin digitizing . . . but I haven't had a chance to even look at the class material since then. Another class will probably be coming up soon . . . so this chance meeting was a good reminder to get back to that before I forget everything and so that I'll be ready for the next step . . .)

It was getting late and we were close to being out of both cash and energy so we decided to call it a day and head home. Of course, once we got to the car we had to do a show and tell of all the goodies we'd acquired . . . each of the Material Girls was pleased with her purchases, and we declared the trip a success. The rain had moved on, the sun was shining and the ride home was smooth and uneventful. And there's another show in June to look forward to . . .

Now, back to more stitching!


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