Remember when I wrote about how excited I was to go to the International Quilt Festival when I don’t quilt? I bet you thought I wouldn’t go. I bet you thought I would think better of jumping into the quilters’ mosh pit, that I would be afraid I’d look inept, and I would save my money for, perhaps, a Nerds on Facebook festival or something I could rock all by myself.
Wrong! I went!
It was amazing. My impression of quilters, my sisters, and my own self-worth rode a roller-coaster over the four days.
Down: I suck.
Up: I’m good at this!
Down: I’m the worst one here and I better start making shit up if I want to be allowed to stay. Where’s that Glossary of Quilting Terms?
Up: I’m really good at this. I could have my son’s bedroom turned into a sewing room in a matter of hours. But first, let me spend $2,500 in fabrics and thread.
Down: I’ve now spent more time trying to hide my mistakes than I’ve spent learning how to do it right.
Up: I’m better than the lady who claims she has made “plenty of Civil War quilts” but who avoided having to prove her quilt knowledge by eating bagels and texting through the whole class.
Down: I ate a bagel and texted in my third class.
My first impression was that quilters are serious-as-shit women who have an overabundance of talent and self-esteem, such that they will all wear a homemade quilted jacket to a place where they know 99% of the others will also be wearing homemade quilted jackets. They have their own rules on what to wear and how to show off. Peers mean nothing to these ladies. They are the most focused people but the least competitive. They don’t wear their quilted jackets to show off or try to prove that their quilted jacket is more fancy than the others’. They are just proud of their quilted jackets. And they should be. Some of those jackets were quilted to the nines. They all looked stunning in the long line to check in and pick up our tote bags. I was humbled, but proceeded on, quiltjacketless.
My second impression was that my sisters are far better at quilting than they had let on. I always knew Kathy, Reenie and Pam were good quilters. All three of them possess the perfect storm of artistic meets precise meets it doesn’t have to be perfect; I can always make another one; but it’s perfect anyway; (confident smile / hair toss).
After three classes, I was convinced that any one of them could teach half the classes in the catalog better than the professional quilters, book authors and inventors of quilt products who were running around in the white Faculty badges.
“You guys are awesome!” I told my sisters after having gotten a pretty good look at what the other quilters were doing in the classes. Their fabric choices were classier, their work was flawless, and they’re fast too. Pam made an entire bed-sized quilt top in one six-hour class. I mean, I always knew they were good. I just didn’t know how relatively good they were.
Then we went to the big quilt show, where hundreds of quilts were displayed from all over the world. Some of them were selling for thousands of dollars. One was of The Last Supper. Some weren’t so much quilts as they were a bunch of craft supplies tangled up in what looked like a well orchestrated Michael’s explosion if Yoko Ono was involved. Some were as big as a wall. One was a historic diary - three years of 19th century journal entries on fabric.
“Remember what I said about you guys being awesome?” I told my sisters after going through the quilt show. “Yeah, forget that. You aren’t that impressive after all.” They really should work on their multi-media if they want to run with big dogs.
The most fun part was showing what we had done at the end of the week. My sisters call this an Irish Mini Mart.(Something about a trip to Ireland Pam and Reenie took some years ago. Despite its name, there are no shots or Guinness involved at all.) We took turns displaying and making a presentation about our week. My mini mart was heavy on the gifts and shopping I did, but I was able to show a few things I had made and some things I learned.
I bought supplies for my first real quilting project. With their help, and my soon-to-be new sewing room, I might even get it finished.
Labels: Hey Girl, International Quilt Festival, quilt show, quilting, quilts