Friday, June 24, 2011

Quilting on the GO!

It all started with a rolling pin. 

Deonn with AccuQuilt CEO (Chief Energizing Officer)
Steve Nabity and THE rolling pin...
Steve Nabity, a mechanical engineer, used his wife's rolling pin and cutters as dies to cut out paper shapes.  Fast forward several years, and the rolling pin process has evolved into an amazing company with incredible momentum, AccuQuilt. Die-cut shapes for piecing and applique' are revolutionizing the quilting world. 

My part of the story began with a little online barn quilt design contest.  I had never seen a barn quilt in person, but I'd been thinking about making a quilt for my son serving with his combat engineer unit in Afghanistan, and used those ideas as inspiration; bold, vibrant colors; clean lines, simple design.  Something symbolic, something that could easily be made with an AccuCutter, and would transfer well into a full-size quilt for my son.  I pushed the button and entered AccuQuilt's contest.

Fast forward a few weeks through hundreds of emails and "likes" and votes and friends (and bribery and begging...), and then came the thrilling phone call letting me know the design won 2nd place!  Met up with the wonderful AccuQuilt team at the Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, who helped me spend my winnings on a Go! Cutter of my own.  I practically mugged the poor UPS man when he came with my package! 
Just like Christmas!!  A new Go! Cutter and Carrier

1)  Load the die with up to 6 layers of fabric

2)  Cover with a mat and wind through the rollers
3)  Perfectly cut shapes!
4)  Make a quilt!
There was to be a Barn Quilt Unveiling party, with billboards of both the 1st and 2nd place designs installed on the AccuQuilt building headquarters for the next year.  With my husband out of work, and a daughter getting ready to serve a church mission to Japan in a few weeks, I didn't think there was a way our budget would allow a trip to Nebraska.  Just when I was feeling so sad about missing the big party, my dear friend Debbie Proctor called.  The 4-H Extension Agent in our county, Debbie and I have taught/sewn/quilted together since the triplets started sewing in 4-H twelve years ago.  "Get in the car," she said.  "We've got to get you to Nebraska!"
Nebraska adventures!  Are we there yet?
Clerk said it was a typo.  Should read:  YOU ARE NOW HERE!
Road Trip! instructions: hang a right at I-80, then hang a left at Lincoln, Nebraska.  918.45 miles, 13 hours, 5 minutes.  And well worth the trip!!
Deonn and Debbie with Eleanor Burns!
As buildup to the unveiling, renowned quilter, Eleanor Burns, presented a stageshow: Quilt Blocks on American Barns, with a trunk show of quilts from her most recent book, tales, and silly songs.  I laughed until I cried - she is such a kick!  I had her sign my book. (Big fan, since she told me she designed a certain ruler "just for you .......... (for me?) ....... teachers.")
Meeting Eleanor at the 2010 Sew Expo, Puyallup, WA
They had both myself and the grand prize winner come up to tell a little about our designs. Candace Door of Sidney, NE explained that her block represented what AccuQuilt was all about; piecing and applique' shapes that make the craft more accessible.  I gave my little story about being inspired by my son in Afghanistan, and the crowd cheered.  Nearly made me cry!  Then it was time for the big Unveiling!

Candace's 17-ft block was uncovered and we all gasped as the tarp came down.  It's an impressive, beautiful design!

Photo © Daniel Galvis
My 6-ft block was mounted around the corner of the building.

Photo © Daniel Galvis

  You can see more pictures of the day's events HERE!

Deonn with Diane Harris of Quiltmaker
In addition to the unveiling ceremony, they hosted a barbecue for everyone, and tours of their facilities.  Diane Harris, from Quiltmaker magazine, invited Debbie and I along on her tour.  She has written up a fun overview of the day on Quiltmaker's Quilty Pleasures  blog.  Karen Selken, who designs the AccuQuilt projects and quilts was our tour guide. 

Karen Selken talking about her designs:
Go!  Winter Bliss, Storm at Sea
and Chitter Chatter (free downloadable pattern HERE)
We met up with fellow HVQ guild member, Kathleen Whiting, vacationing with her family.  They picked the perfect day to drive through--just in time for the unveiling and tour!  

Deonn, Debbie and Kathleen with Lee Nakamoto
Heber Valley Quilters in Go! Green.
Lee said we did a good job of brand marketing...
Lee Nakamoto (Orchestrator of Consumer Intelligence) was Kathleen's tour guide!  We were very impressed that every single employee has to make a quilt!

Lee Nakamoto, (Orchestrator of Consumer Intelligence)
The party wasn't quite over yet... while we were touring the facility - Mr. Nabity had been busy drawing names to win little Go! Baby fabric cutters... and BOTH Debbie and I won!!
Go! Baby winners!!
In conjunction with the Unveiling Party, AccuQuilt put on a 3-day Go! Retreat, hosted at nearby Country Traditions quilt shop.  72 quilters from 27 states were treated to a catered breakfast, a welcome from the CT staff and AccuQuilt team, then began our classes.  We learned all about the history of the company and how to use the provided Go! cutters.  We learned to make the Drunkard's Path blocks, then got to try all of the dies for Go! and Go Baby! fabric cutters.  See some fun pictures HERE.

Drunkard's Path blocks
I have always avoided curved piecing, but with die-cut fabric, you get perfect curves, a center notch to align the pieces, and the blocks practically make themselves!  I am hooked!

Debbie and I both finished our lap-size quilt tops, then she cut out shapes for a Baby's "Touch and See" quiet book while I quilted my Drunkard's Path quilt on one of the store's longarm machines following the Unveiling party, just in time for Sew & Tell that evening.  It was amazing to see what folks have created with their AccuQuilt cutters!  More pictures HERE.

We were also treated to a real treat with desserts from All My Brownies  from across the street.  She spent about 20 minutes describing her luscious desserts, and we nearly fainted just from her mouthwatering descriptions!  72 quilters in a room full of chocolate...

But the night was far from over!  In an amazing Oprah-like moment, Steve Nabity had his crew come in with armloads of Go! Baby cutters, one for every Retreat Attendee!

See the video HERE

We're all going to name our Go! Babies "Steve"!

But wait, there's MORE!  On the last day of the retreat, we were again given special treatment:  An exclusive barn die, custom made just for us!  Leslie Main, store owner of Country Traditions, designed a pattern for a Go! Barn Banner, and gave each of us a copy, plus a kit of fabric to make it.  Then yet ANOTHER gift - a little USB with all of AccuQuilt's downloadable patterns.  Our cups were truly full!  And still a whole day to sew or shop or do whatever we wished, with mini-classes on binding, grain of fabric, EQ design, how to machine quilt, etc.  I quickly made the binding for my Drunkard's Path quilt using a Go! strip die, then stitched it to my quilt.  Debbie made another quiet book. 

We got in the car, ate a brownie, got a picture of a barn ↑ in need of a barn quilt... drove to Lincoln Nebraska to visit the International Quilt Study Museum for a few minutes, then headed West (yes, it was into the sunset...).  I finished hand-stitching my binding somewhere on the road through Wyoming.

What an experience!  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thanks to Debbie!  New places, new techniques, fun and prizes galore!  The very best prize?  New quilting friends at AccuQuilt, Country Traditions and from across the nation!

Now about that rolling pin... stay tuned for more adventures!


  1. It was an amazing adventure! Thank you for letting me be a part of it. It seems like it was an amazing dream! We've had fun this week with the Go! Baby at Wallsburg's 4-H Sewing Camp. More fun next week at the Heber 4-H Quilt Camp.

  2. What a great story. I'm so glad you got to go to Nebraska!

  3. That sounds like a great trip. Glad you were able to go and experience all of that!

  4. I was so glad to see your smiling face in the video's and pictures AccuQuilt posted on meant you had gotten to nice of your dear friend to make this incredible experience possible. I was hoping you would post about it. It is always fun to read your posts.

  5. I'm WAY behind on my blogging reading. I just read about your experience. Wow! Sounds like a euphoric quilt experience.

  6. As I vote for your quilt blocks, of course I get distracted and came upon the post about your adventure. Wow, and what an adventure it was! Thanks for sharing. You are so talented. It is such a joy to see your creations!

  7. I had never seen this although knew the story...totally in awe of you lady


So happy you stopped by for a visit! Thank you!