The first thing we did after Julie and I met Marie Bostwick for breakfast 😉 , was look at quilts. Mom and Miss Vickie met us near the beginning of the quilts and we got on with it. We had barely started looking at the quilts when I had the best quilt experience EVER. We were signing blocks and chatting with the ladies at the QOV booth when a man walked up and asked if they were the ladies who made quilts for wounded soldiers. After they said yes, he said he woke up in the hospital in Germany with a quilt wrapped around him after he was injured in Iraq. It was clear this act of kindness meant a lot to him. OMG! I almost cried. He started to leave when they called him back and kind of swarmed him. They asked him to sign a block and just generally treated him like a hero. It was so great to see him as the walking epitome of some of the charity work in which I engage as well as chatting with the ladies. Very moving.
As I said, Miss Vickie joined us. It was fun to see the quilts through her eyes. She has clear ideas about what she likes and what she doesn’t like. She is not a quiltmaker, but will be soon. 😉 She bought some fabric and some charm squares and started playing with them while we had an afternoon break with candy bars and chips. We are staying with her north of Houston in the best B&B ever.
This show was similar to Long Beach in the set up, though there were quilts that were entered to be judged and awarded prizes. This was not the case at the Long Beach show. There were a lot of special exhibits: 500 Traditional Quilts, a collection of quilts from a Dutch Cancer survivor, a Bonnie Smith exhibit, Beatles exhibit, a Modern Quilt exhibit and some others I am sure I am forgetting. My favorite exhibit was the Farm to Fabric exhibit, which was an exhibit of quilts made from the American Made Brands solid fabrics. I like the idea of the company, which is that the cotton is grown in the US and the fabric is made in the US. That alone would encourage me to buy some of the fabrics, but when I saw the quilts, I couldn’t believe the colors! They were clear and gorgeous. There was something about the colors. They were different, and kind of glowed. I tried to find some in the vendor hall, but didn’t succeed. I was really excited when I saw the quilts and wanted the fabrics RIGHT NOW. ;-)They have a “find a retailer near you” feature and I see that there are several shops near home that sell them, so I will give myself a treat and go and look.
The other exhibit that was really moving was the Inspired by Libby exhibit. This was an exhibit of quilts that are being auctioned off (website above) to add to Libby Lehman’s medical fund. They were done by famous, or well known, quilt artists. I just loved Libby Lehman’s class. I am so glad I was able to take one from her and feel really sad that she can no longer sew. I hope it is temporary and she will be able to get back to it.
The prize winners were almost all applique’ quilts. They were amazing applique’ quilts, but I really wonder if you can win an IQF prize with a pieced quilt? I was kind of sad looking at them, because I will never make a quilt like any of the prize winners. I am not sad about that; I just don’t want to spend the rest of my quiltmaking career making one quilt that my heirs can enter after I am dead. I have a lot of fabric to use.
In terms of random themes I noticed myself looking at: lines (like grass), circles and turquoise. If you are surprised at all by the turquoise, you haven’t been reading long enough. 😉 Circles have been on my mind for awhile. Part of that is the The Circle Game by Jen Kingwell quilts that have been popping up all over the web. Also, though, I have been thinking I need a challenge. <Nota bene: I might be over that, though, with the &^%$# Russian Rubix border.>
We took some time to talk to the NASA people who were there. They were talking about the program they have with local high schools to get their equipment sewn. NASA donates sewing machines, like Jukis, to high schools and trains teachers, then the teachers train the kids to make things like sleeping bags that astronauts use in space. Not only are the kids learning a skill, but they get to know that their sleeping bag is keeping an astronaut alive in space. I thought it was great.
We checked out the vendors on all the days. We went back and forth. When the visual stimulation got to be too much, we went into the vendor hall and looked around.
We also met a Twilter, Glenna. Of course, she didn’t look anything like what I imagined, but she spotted me and was very nice. We only chatted for a few minutes, but it is nice to put a name with a face.