If you read my post yesterday, I teased I would reveal today where I went and who I met on my return trip home from Ocean City. If you read my post on July 21st, you might have already guessed! Only a few hours from Maryland, nestled in the beautiful green hills and valleys of rural Pennsylvania, is the amazing Ladyfingers Sewing Studio. This charming former stagecoach-stop hotel built in 1860 is now home to over 4,000 bolts of fabric and an endless array of wonderful quilting notions, threads, books, patterns...AND the incredible Gail Kessler!
Gail is the fabulous instructor of two great Craftsy classes: Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills (which is not only a fantastic class but also FREE!!!!!), and of course, the wonderful Classic Double Wedding Ring with Gail Kessler. You may have been following along as I share my progress on this beautiful, king size quilt - it's a labour of love that has me enthralled. When I realized that I could detour only slightly from our route and potentially meet Gail in person I was beyond excited. That I have a lovely husband who was willing to drive me there, through traffic and detours, and wait patiently as I visited and shopped, made the trek that much sweeter.
When we finally arrived and I walked through the door of the shop the first thing I saw right away was the...actual...Downton Abbey Double Wedding Ring quilt! Oh my! My first impression was a) stunning, and b) huge! I couldn't believe I was seeing THE quilt from the Craftsy class. Amazing. Incredible. Wow!
And then...down the stairs came the...actual...Gail Kessler! I was quite star struck but managed to form a sentence or two and had a delightful meeting. Gail kindly looked at my first DWR block and gave me advice about my blanket stitch (should be smaller) and how to finish the outside arcs (I need to peel up the edges to allow for the seam allowance). We discussed Gail's spectacular quilts, her gorgeous 'Dimples' and other fabric lines she's designed, Craftsy, and had a lovely chat in general. Despite my excitement I still remembered to pick up two more bottles of the excellent Quilter's Choice glue and treated myself to the entire Downton Abbey fat quarter bundle because I love it and the DWR quilt only makes use of the plums and blues.
I was so fortunate to meet Gail in person and appreciated her taking the time to visit. She is wonderful, sweet, and so gracious. I was actually glad I let her know I was coming in advance since she is an avid cyclist, taking advantage of the stunning local landscape and smooth, traffic free roads. In fact, Gail hosts bicycle tours through Gear Up Tours. The rides look so interesting and accommodate all levels. I love the idea of the whole package - lodging, meals, instruction, support, and SNACKS! What a unique and fun experience that would be!
With plenty of photos and memories of my journey to Ladyfingers, I will never forget dropping in and meeting my Craftsy instructor live and in person! It was quite a thrill for me, a fan, to talk to such a famous and talented quilter...but Gail, of course, is a real person and so sweet and welcoming. I'm envious of the local crafters who get to see her all the time and take advantage of her warm and inviting shop, not to mention her incredible knowledge and talent as a teacher.
Oh, and one last thing. Gail will always be a part of my very special project. I asked her to sign a cut of fabric I will be using in the Double Wedding Ring quilt. I think it will be an extraordinary addition to the border and incredibly special and unique to have the signature of the designer incorporated within the patchwork.