16 July, 2013

Mid Appalachian Quilting adventure

From Friday-Sunday of last week I was on the campus of lovely St. Mary’s University near Emmitsburg, MD. A quick run-down of the weekend:
Thursday night I was so excited/anxious about leaving early Friday morning, that I stopped sleeping at 3:30. Thoughts of the things I had to finish packing and wondering if I’d packed all the supplies I would need meant I didn’t have enough room in my head for sleeping. At 6:00 am, the moment I needed to shower was when I started feeling like I could get another couple of hours of rest. Alas, it was not to be.  I showered, tossed a couple of days’ worth of clothes, a pillow, and a quilt into a suitcase, and headed out.
After a sleepy drive in the rain I arrived in time to drop my things off at the classroom building (in the rain), move my car to the parking lot (in the rain), and return (in the rain) to the classroom where I set up for my first class, Funky Embellishments with Teresa Fusco. Teresa is a fun teacher. Despite living in Reading, PA for decades, she still sounds like a girl from Lawn-Guy-Land, where she now lives again. Her quilts are amazing. She embellishes the heck out of things, using a variety of materials. Some are pedestrian, like seed beads from Joann’s. She also uses deconstructed jewelry, washers and rivets from the hardware store, girdle fasteners, pins, and all sorts of threads, fabric, and rick-rack. She has a beautiful sense of color and much of her work is whimsical and alive with dangly bits.
Each of us in the class made a small wall hanging, 16” x 16” with our own fabric. I used a bright floral, a purple, and a pink fabric. I added hanging triangles, sequins, bead work, 3-D pieces.
Friday night the MAQ board had a wine and chocolate reception for us. By that time I was pretty tired, so after a glass of wine I headed back across campus with Mary O., who was teaching. She wanted to turn in early and I was desperate to take my bra off and relax. I was into my second glass of wine and the first chapters of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild when my roommates got back. We sat up until 11:30 drinking, eating snacks, and telling stories. It was nice.
Did I mention that we’d had some wine? Quite a lot of wine, as it happened. Enough wine that after a trip to the bathroom in the wee sma’ hours, instead of making a right into my single room, I made a left out the door of the suite. I took or three steps into the brightly lit hall, stopping just in time to hear the small but final *snick* of the self-locking door locking itself.
Since college, have you ever found yourself locked out of your room in the middle of the night, still a bit drunk, wearing only a t-shirt and underwear? Probably not, because you are a grown-up. If you have ever found yourself in that situation, you know the state of mind I was in. It was not good. After checking to see if I had my room key hidden away somewhere in my t-shirt and underwear (no, I didn’t) or if the door would miraculously open (again, no) I did the only thing there was to do…I knocked, knocked, knocked until one of my roommates dragged herself out to let me in. Poor Clara, she was very confused about why I was there, and I was so drunk embarrassed I just said, “Thanks!” and walked into my room and collapsed onto the bed.
Saturday I took Studio. I sat near my friend Alice. Alice got a TON of work done. It was amazing; she was a quilting machine, cutting hundreds of triangles and pressing them open. I was nowhere near as accomplished (see previous story about Too Much Wine) but I did sew borders on one lap quilt, make binding for a baby sized quilt, and put some more sparkly embellishments on my quilt from Friday.
After class and dinner that day I skipped the business meeting and went back to my classroom to iron fabric. It’s amazing how tiring all that sewing and ironing is. Thirty-five or forty minutes of pressing and trimming was enough for me and I made my way back to the dorm for a large glass of…water. A group of our BHQG buddies came back to our room and had snacks and drinks. I stuck to water since at my age one night that includes most of a bottle of wine and being stranded in the hall in my underpants is my limit for the weekend.
Sunday morning we were all up bright and early to pack our things. We have to check out of the dorms before breakfast. I showered, dressed, packed and headed out with Toni to carry out things to the parking lot. As I hauled my suitcase and quilt down the stairs I managed to take a spectacular fall down the last couple of steps. At one point, all of me was airborne! The only damage done was a bruising smack on the right knee, skinning the same, and scaring the heeber-jeebers out of myself (and Toni). I spent a few minutes sitting on the floor, rubbing the knee and making sure it was road worthy before I got up and headed out to load the car and head over to breakfast and class.
Sunday I took a class with Cheryl Lynch, from Philadelphia, PA; the class was Fun with Mexican Tiles. I learned how to do machine applique, using fusible and a blanket stitch. We designed our own quilt blocks based on some of the tiles in Cheryl’s book. By lunch time I was so tired I could barely wiggle. I blame that on:
  1. Lack of sleep Thursday night
  2. Too much wine Friday night
  3. The truly ghastly mattress on the bed
  4. The let down from the adrenalin surge I got during the Stair Incident.
  5. It’s tiring to cut and press and sew all day when you aren’t used to it, and
  6. The a/c in our classroom building was not working Sunday morning, and it was HOT.
I hung around long enough to get through all the basics of my block and then I packed up and headed back east on 70. Most of the drive I had to sing along with the radio and turn the a/c down to arctic so as not to get pulled over for Driving While Asleep.
MAQ is so fun. If you are a quilter and live in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Delaware, you should consider coming some year. Three days of classes, hanging out with other quilters, working with some good teachers, and the price is reasonable. If you aren’t up to staying in the dorm and eating in the cafeteria (which is part of the fun for me) there are nearby hotels and Gettysburg is only minutes away. The campus is pretty, and if you feel like it you can hike up to the Marian Grotto and see the statue of the Blessed Virgin. I never do this, because MAQ is held the first bit of July, and the temperature varies between Hot and Very Hot. This year Friday and Saturday were just Not Too Hot, but Sunday went all the way to Hot.
The best part for me is getting away with my quilty friends and getting re-energized about quilting.

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