Monday, July 30, 2012

I've been blogged...

By a Russian Blogger!

Be prepared to hit the "translate" button.

Click here.

I met Elena when I was in Moscow and she blogged about the day we spent together.

I want to go back to Russia!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brooklyn's Quilt, part two

As promised, here is the next installment of the quilting of Brooklyn's quilt.  I nearly forgot to post this; jetlag is not for sissies.

I am quilting the 16-patch block in this next video.  I am using a Handi Quilter Half-Circle template with my sweet Sweet Sixteen.

To make the continuous curve in the block, I place the template 1/4-inch away from my starting corner:

and 1/4-inch away from my ending corner.

There are lines on the template dividing it into sections, but I ignore all of the markings and position the template only based on the starting- and ending-points.


The block is finished:

I leave tomorrow for Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA.  I will be working with the Quilt Basket there.  Will I get to see any of you there?

Hopefully I will remember to post the next video when I get home from there!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quilting In Russia

Several weeks ago, Handi Quilter asked me to go to Russia with them to teach how to use the HQ 18 Avante and HQ Sweet Sixteen.  I jumped at the chance, but not because it was not a life-long dream of mine to go to Russia.  I had actually never considered going there; I have never considered making a trip to the moon, either.  Both places seemed equally out of reach for me.  I realized what an opportunity they were offering and have been eagerly anticipating this trip.

Getting to Russia is not without its challenges.  Remember this quilt?:

I made this to deal with the frustration of applying for my Russian visa.  That process made filing my income taxes look quick and easy.  I was worried that everything about going to Russia would be that difficult.

It once took me 30 hours to get to Edmonton, AB, Canada from Hartford, CT.  Last year it took me 68 hours to get from Pelham, NH to Salt Lake City, UT during Hurricane Irene.  I was having nightmares about all of the things that could go wrong during a trip to Russia, but my trip went very smoothly.  The travel time from my front door to my hotel in St. Petersburg was exactly 24 hours.

While planning my trip to Russia, I tried to do a little research online about what Russian quilters are like, what types of fabrics they use, and what types of quilt shops they have.  I can 'google' with the best of them, but I found very little information about quilters, quilts or quilt shops in Russia.  I went on my trip with absolutely no expectations.

I taught three days of classes in St. Petersburg.  I was worried about teaching through a translator, but it was much easier than I expected it to be.  Quilters in Russia are like quilters are here in the United States and we just understood each other.  It is amazing how far one can get by pointing and using hand gestures.  I certainly used my translator, but when she had to leave the room the students and I still understood each other.

I did some demonstrations and let the students fall in love with the machines.

Doesn't Oksana look happy?

She pets and hugs the Sweet Sixteen as much as I do!

Sergei (the big fellow in the black shirt) was quite a prankster.  He kept our classes lively.  Ludmilla (on the far right) is a very talented quilter and quilt teacher.  Natasha (to my left) is a very happy and enthusiastic quilter who works in the quilt shop.

I am certain that I learned as much from my students as they learned from me.

I now find it hard to believe that I have never thought of Russians as quilters.  There is such beauty and inspiration everywhere in St. Petersburg, from the extraordinary:

 to the ordinary:

Yes, I plan to copy this railing pattern in a quilt someday.

I mentioned that I looked for information about quilt shops in Russia.  One site stated "there are only fabric shops in Russia; no quilt shops." Imagine my surprise when I got to Moscow and took the escalator up from the subway to see this billboard on the wall:

It was advertising the quilt shop across the street from the Metro.  Maybe their next ad will feature Handi Quilter?

 Across the street from the Metro station and down a few flights of stairs was one of the largest and brightest quilt shops I have ever seen.  The photo only shows one small portion of the shop.

They had more sewing machines than I have ever seen displayed anywhere.  Ever.  I have photos of two of the five walls of machines:

I taught two days of classes in Moscow:

Alexander is an expert at fixing sewing machines and he was eager to try quilting on this one.  He would point at the machine and say "Avante" while holding up two thumbs.  I guess he likes it!

Moscow quilters have inspiration everywhere, as well.

The mundane:

(ribbon candy!)

and the divine:


I am home now recovering from my 23 1/2 hour journey.  I am so grateful that I got home at 10:30 last night so I could go directly to bed, sleep well, and wake up today as good as new.  OK, maybe not as good as new, but I'm still vertical.

I saw so many beautiful things while I was in Russia and am just itching to turn one of my photos into a quilt.  Maybe I will work on this one tonight?

(a stone in the sidewalk across from the Kremlin)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday in Moscow

I met a new friend this morning -- Jerry.

He wanted to learn how to quilt, too!

I met Alexander the Great.... Quilter:

After work I stopped back at my hotel room and took some daylight photos for you:

Nice, huh?

If you want to see nice, go to ГУМ (pronounced: goom).  It is a super-luxurious shopping mall on the eastern side of Red Square.  Crazy!  But definitely worth seeing.  My co-worker wanted to buy a gift for his wife.  He saw a purse.  I kept saying "You can't afford it."  He didn't believe me.  $1500 US.  "But it's just a fabric bag!" he said.  Yep, it is.  It was that sort of mall.

Next we found out how to empty Red Square really really fast -- Send a sudden downpour:

Now you understand the rain spots in this photo of Red Square from the bridge over the Moscow River:

After we got thoroughly soaked, we headed back to the hotel for a ragout.  Fan-tas-tic!

Time for bed.  Спокойной ночи!

From Russia to Kansas

I was at Quilt Market in Kansas in May.  While there I filmed for Quilter's Newsletter Television.  I showed them how to use the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen with TruStitch.

Check it out.

I finally finished the binding on the red quilt in the video:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to Moscow!

I taught in a quilt shop in Moscow today.  It is one of the largest and brightest quilt shops I have ever been in -- and it is underground!

I caught my interpreter walking around the corner:

That was only one small part of the store.

I met some very talented quilters today.  We had a lot of fun together:

After work, I hung out with my new friend, Mr. Marx:

And Red Square?  Been there, done that.:

(translation:  Red Square)

My Russian is getting better (as in I know over 20 words now), but I still cannot read anything but "Restaurant" (PECTOPAH),  My translator told me what the above sign said.

All kidding aside -- is it OK to confess that I teared up when I walked into Red Square?  I have no emotional attachment to the place, but it was so beautiful and it was so incredible that I was actually there!  I am a simple gal from a humble home and never did I ever dream that going to Russia would be possible.  Florida, yes.  Paris, maybe.  Russia, no.  I am so incredibly grateful to be here.

I am staying in an amazingly gorgeous hotel.  I am in one of the smaller rooms here.  It is modest in size, but beautifully appointed.


Was I kidding?

And the bathroom:

Yeah, I just had to do that

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quick Russian update

I am in love with Russia. 

The food:

Two pies for lunch -- meat and black berry.

The people:

A translator and new friend Barbara (sounds like Vavara).  She likes pie too!

And I have discovered that the international language is not English; it is quilting:

Happy, happy students.  

I am heading out to teach day 3 in St. Petersburg.  Tonight I will catch a train to Moscow and teach there tomorrow.   Such adventures!

До свидания!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia

I taught today and had so. much. fun!!!  Teaching through an interpreter was much easier than I expected it to be.  I speak about 10 words of Russian and most students spoke about that much English.  A few students spoke more, some spoke none at all.  We understood each other fine for most things even without the interpreter.  Maybe this NY gal can really talk with her hands?

Using an interpreter, one of my students thanked me for my youTube videos. She said that she practiced and learned the patterns by watching the videos.  My heart soared!  She is apparently a subscriber to channel: debbybrownquilts if you are interested in subscribing too.

After work tonight, we took a cruise on the River Neva. The tour guide spoke in Russian so I have no idea what happened where on which date, but the buildings?.... heavenly!  I took a lot of photos until my camera lens got wet; it is raining pretty steadily here and is supposed to continue to do so.

Apparently, a few of my friends from Williamsburg followed me here:

What do you think they sell in this shop?

I am now a member of the borscht-eating public.  It was rather delicious -- who knew?!?!

It is midnight here and the sun just set.  It is time for some sleep before tomorrow's adventures!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Доброе утро!

Good morning from Russia!

I left my house at 9am Saturday and touched down in St. Petersburg, Russia at 5:30 pm Sunday.  I am really tired and have not seen much (any!) of the city yet, but I m still surrounded by new things.

After a few hours in my hotel, I have seen some very different things:

My electric adapter works for my laptop:


The electricity in my room works very differently than anything I have ever seen before.  I think all American parents want this system for their house.  There is a slot for the room key near the door.  If the room key is not in the slot, the electricity is not working -- no lights at all and no air conditioning either.  When I leave my room and take my room key with me, I automatically turn off all of the lights.

It is strange to be in a country where I can neither speak nor read the language.  Everything is very different.  My phone does not work so I am feeling a little isolated.  But, there is FaceBook:

Everything will be just fine now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Safari in Williamsburg

I just spent a few days in Williamsburg, VA or as I affectionately call it, The Surface of the Sun:

We enjoyed our safari immensely.

The Frog-Pole:

This duck that came a-knockin' at my door in the morning:

Someone must have told him that I had bread.

Maybe the duck wanted to eat the Frog-pole?

At night, we were introduced to the Virginia State Bird -- the barking tree frog.  How can something this small be so incredibly loud?

The first duck told his friends about me:

Oh, there was a bit of history in Williamsburg, VA, too:

I would love to go to Williamsburg again, but probably not in July.