On the second part of my epic quilting week, I continued my journey through Ohio, stopping to see my dear friend AnnMarie of GenXQuilters at her house for a couple of hours that passed far too quickly. Then I drove to Cincinnati where I spent the night with Kara Sanders and got to hang out with some fun ladies from their MQG. It was a busy day catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
But my ultimate destination was Nashville, TN where I was attending a workshop, Craft South, hosted by Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross. Yes. That’s right. Freaking Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross! Does it sound amazing? Because it was. It was epic.
A little group of my close friends had agreed to attend the weekend together and we came in from all over, California, Indiana, Canada and Nashville. It made the weekend so fun to share the time with Michelle, Kristie, Sam, and Kelly. And can I say I was the loser friend? I didn’t bring gifts to share because I had been swamped due to the first half of my week filming. But Kelly hosted us in her home, Sam and Kristie did the Canadians proud with their extreme generosity with personal gifts for us including hand knit cowls and personalized stamps. And Michelle made us all the fabulous bags you see below. Me? I just showed up and took all the gifts. lol
The weekend was on Needleworks, but we all joked that they could have been showing us how to clean toilets and it still would have been amazing and we would have learned things. Anna and Heather were down to earth, personable, and exactly what you would want your favorite designers to be. They were genuinely interested in conversation with each of us (there were about 25 women in attendance I believe) and joked around with all of us. I kept thinking of how surreal the whole experience was even at the time.
I’ll admit that I had an unexpectedly emotional reaction to seeing them for the first time. At this point, through market and other ventures, I have met a number of my favorite designers in person. I’ve been delighted to do so every time, and while I may have been a bit nervous at first, I never had the reaction that I did when I saw these two women. I literally burst into tears. Or just started leaking from my eyes…whatever you want to call it. lol For me, meeting them was a moment in my life that brought back so many others. At this point I had been through a VERY full week already and perhaps that emotion could be blamed on being tired, overwhelmed, and excited. But it was more than that. I later realized how their fabrics had really started me on this journey I am on and have been there with me when I needed healing. Heather’s fabrics were the inspiration for this doll quilt I made years ago now that was a therapeutic way for me to work through the emotions I had over years of infertility. Check it out if you haven’t…that’s a favorite piece of mine.
These are the only two designers I believe that I made a point of including their fabrics in my book in a way to showcase their fabrics. (Yes, I love LOTS of designers and plenty were used…I didn’t intentionally play favorites). But the quilts I made with their fabrics are some of my favorites from the book…and of course their fabrics have a great deal to do with that. And I got to give them my book and show them each the quilt that I had designed specifically with them in mind. Above is Anna and I with the Arabian Nights quilt from my book. It uses 144 different fabrics of hers. Not a single one is repeated! And below is Heather and I with the quilt. nine patch curves, that all started with a design to feature Heather’s fabrics of novelty prints that stay in my precious fabrics collection.
These lovely women were so fun to watch as they interacted together. They are great friends and it’s always nice to see friends enjoying one another’s company and sharing that with the rest of us. They were pretty hysterical at times. I think there is a rule though that what is said at Craft South stays at Craft South. 😉 Otherwise names would need to be changed to protect the innocent.
The weekend was full of eye candy everywhere! Their fabric collections and books and supplies were all around us. Everyone was working on beautiful pieces of handwork, finding their favorite type of needlework. Receiving custom drawings from both Heather and Anna to embroider at home later. Dinner at Anna’s house surrounded by her lovely family and seeing her studio! Plus entertainment by her children.
Are you starting to get a feel for it? A pictures says a 1,000 words, so that many pictures should be a well written book! lol In some ways it was deeply intimate experience for me and in others just the amazing fun that comes with getting together with fellow crafters. I share all of this with you both to chronicle the experience for myself, but also to encourage to you to take the opportunity to meet your favorite inspirational person face to face if at all possible. I am so happy I was able to do this. Yes, it cost money and wasn’t inexpensive. It’s not something I can afford to do all of the time and it means that I can’t do other things as a result. But spending a weekend surrounded by those who have inspired you in any genre is uplifting for your whole soul I think. And I hope that all of you are lucky enough to get that experience some day.