Saturday, June 17, 2017

A road trip (Part 2, the one with a quilt show and some perspective)

And now for the rest of the story. Again, long post, heavy with photos and personal thoughts.

Quilters Unlimited, a very large guild in the greater D.C. area, hosted its annual show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, which was on the way to our hotel in Alexandria. I walked into the show at 2:30--just 1-1/2 hours before it closed. Now, here is my caveat:

I appreciate ALL quilts. I do not have to like all quilts, but I do appreciate ALL of them.

I've had a couple of weeks to give some thought to what I saw. The good thing was that there were some nice quilts and good vendors, but for as many members as there are in this group (over 1,000 members according to their website), there were only about 150-200 quilts, including the "Fly Me to the Moon" exhibit that I saw at Festival in Houston last year. Maybe that's a good turnout for a local guild these days; I'm not sure--I haven't belonged to a guild in over 10 years and have not entered a quilt into a show in 17 years.

When I owned a quilt shop, I knew I was vying not just for my customers' dollars, but also for their TIME. It's the thing that keeps me from getting more done than I do.

But I digress...back to the show. I took photos of the quilts I liked. There's a sampling of these below. Given that I think time constraints seem worse now than they were when I owned a quilt shop, I guess it's amazing that anything gets done. Let's just say that I saw several quilts of the same pattern or design, or the fabrics are all from one line of fabric. There wasn't much in the way of creativity, and nothing knocked me to my knees. 
This one spoke to me; the muted tones and the improv, but yet
it still has a primitive feel to it.

This one sang to me; I love the colors and the improv
Yes, I like One Block Wonders and will make at least one, one day
(How many times can you use the word "one" in a sentence?)

Lest you think I've entirely given up on my traditional ways, this one's for you.

I don't like pink, but I LOVE pink and green together.

While not a fan of the background fabric, I like this design and think
this would make a great quilt for a bed.

Ah, Kaffe Fassett stripes, how I love you.

This one reminds me I need to get started on my La Passacaglia quilt
I have huge respect for those that take the time to make the quilt and the chutzpah to enter one into a show. I thought about entering into a show the tattoo quilt I made for my sister, but, again, TIME got in the way. It's proudly on display in her bedroom, and I think that's the best place in the world for it.

I appreciate ALL quilts. I do not have to like all quilts, but I do appreciate ALL of them.

Are we seeing a dwindling of activity in the quilting community? I know everything runs in cycles. I know there are some divisions in the community that are aesthetic based, and lately, politically based. And while I have always felt that quilting was a great way to bring people together, I am finding that it's tearing some apart. There's been some real mud-slinging going on in Facebook between a couple of quilting factions and it's left a bad taste in my mouth.

And therein lies the crux. I see some of the cray cray going on between people, whom I would normally think of as reasonable, spew horrible, venomous things at other quilters, trying to get them fired from their jobs and take away their customer base, JUST BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T VOTE FOR A CERTAIN CANDIDATE or don't share their same "values".

And is it possible that for the aforementioned reasons quilters are losing their mojo and shying away from making quilts, let alone entering shows?

And yet another reason to not join a guild. If you have to make a pledge that you are of a certain ilk, you are limiting yourself to a one-sided world.

I love sewing with my Girlfriends, and that's all the guild I need.

Rant over; let's get back to the trip: The day after the show, we stopped at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria. WONDERFUL SHOP--go there if you ever have the chance. They were busy unpacking after the show (the shop was a vendor) and prepping for the Bernina mastery class taking place that weekend, but the owner and another employee both took the time to chat with me. Fantastic fabrics and what a selection of great items for art quilt making! I picked up a few pieces of fabric and a pattern.

I've already told you about the rest of Monday and Tuesday; I attended the training session on Wednesday and Thursday. We left D.C. after work on Thursday, and headed to Kinston, North Carolina, for dinner at Vivian Howard's (A Chef's Life) restaurant, Chef and the Farmer. The food was fabulous and I highly recommend it. Get the flash fried collard greens!

On Friday, a long drive to Atlanta, but when there we got to see our son, Ross, and celebrate his birthday along with his girlfriend, Britta. We had dinner at Bare Bones Steakhouse in Buford. Oh my, if you love beef, this is the place to go! Ross and I had a bone-in ribeye, Hubster had the T-bone, and I don't even remember what Britta had, but it was perfectly cooked and delicious. Hubster had the best bananas foster I have ever tried; better than my creme brulee. 
Ross and Britta

The meringue side of the bananas foster...YUM!
On Saturday we headed home. It's an 8-hour drive from Atlanta, and I wanted to stop along the way to stretch our legs. (That's code for "I found a quilt shop!"). We stopped at Zigzag Sewing Studio in Birmingham, Alabama. Cute little shop, and I picked up some more fabric and a glue pen. Here's a photo of everything I purchased on the trip:

And then we were home. It was a wonderful trip and I would love to do it again. We have a really busy summer ahead of us. Lots of things are changing around us and I'll have some posts about it soon. I have some special sewing to do and I'll be reporting on it soon, too. In the meantime, go quilt!