Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spring surprises-
When I got home, Spring had sprung in the Ozarks. The pollen is blanketing all the cars with a thin film of yellow and I had quite the reaction to it. It took me two days to get adjusted. But, I looked out the window, and this is what I saw. My Lilac bush blooming and a finch was perched among the blooms. You can't beat that for something that screams "Spring!"

After the Show-
I am back from the quilt show in Chicago. I have been for some time, but wanted to digest the experience a bit before I wrote about it. It was So crazy around here leading up to it.
I swore to myself I'd go to Chicago to see the show if my quilt got in. I had visions of traveling up there with my husband and he'd make a quick appearance at the show to see the quilts and then I'd stay and he'd go work and pick me up later. My kids would stay with friends and my oldest would stay home, with the neighbor watching over him, to feed the pets.
It became difficult for my husband to get away that weekend here, but he was doing his darnedest to make it happen. Our neighbor, however, went into the hospital for surgery. Not only could we not leave my son alone, but we had to be there for our neighbor. So, it ended up that I did the trip by myself. I was with our neighbor through surgery and left the next day (Friday) and my husband watched the kids and brought our neighbor home on Saturday.
I know this part is going to sound silly. I've lived in the Ozarks for about 13 years. I seldom go far hayfield and when I do, my husband tends to drive. Most of my driving is local, to the schools, the grocery store, church. I rarely go 50 mph. The thought of driving 9 hours and going at least 70mph was intimidating to me. Not to mention when I got to Chicago and the rush traffic. Yes, I've driven in large cities before, but not for a LONG time. Then, there was the thought of being alone. Well, every mom dreams of some peace and quiet, but rarely get it. Here was the moment when I'd be driving and there'd be no arguments, no singing along with the radio while others protest, no one to say, "I'm hungry" or "I've got to go to the bathroom". Well, I had no idea how I'd react to that much quiet!
Much lower on my fear scale was meeting others at the show, although it was a concern. Somewhere in the mix was that excitement/fear of seeing my art hanging at the show.
The trip was fine. I mean, really fine. No problems with speed, no issues about the quiet, no real problems with finding the hotel or the convention center nor driving around that part of Chicago. Turns out, I'm a level headed driver with a good sense of direction... Still.
I had a moment meeting the other QA members when I walked in late and I felt out of place and self conscious. Then, I just threw caution to the wind and jumped into chatting with others at my table. I'm a rather shy person at heart but getting better at making conversation as I get older. It's a conscious effort, but I've decided to ask myself, "what's the worst that could happen?" They don't talk back? So, I just start with a question and go on from there.
Did I have any idea how many people would be at the show? NO! I was astounded by the number of people waiting Saturday morning to get into the show. I wandered in and started looking, just like everyone else. At times, there were places that seemed overly populated, other times, those spaces had cleared out and the viewing became easy.
I wasn't bored with any of the quilts. Every one seemed interesting in some way.
I had some surprises. Some I had seen and thought they were bland in the photos were NOT in person. Some I thought I knew how they were made, were made differently. One I didn't know how it was made turned out to be a bit of a disappointment in construction. One I wondered why they made the choice they did about finishing the edges because some were fraying and that didn't seem to be visually a good thing. I had a favorite quilt in the show.
I think I learned a lot being there.
The vending was odd for me. I was on a strict budget, so I wasn't tempted by anything I might not use. I felt like I walked miles to see the few things I wanted to see there. I found myself wishing that the booths were grouped by genres or interest so I wouldn't have to walk by so many booths I didn't care about. Wouldn't it be interesting if all the sewing machine companies were grouped together in one area? All the long arms? All the batting companies, and so on. Oh well.
I talked to other quilters every chance I got. I just visited with them about what type of quilts they make and shared some thoughts on my quilting journey. I was just reminded that there are lots of different passions out there.
After I got home, I'm keeping in mind a few things I was almost tempted to buy. I've got them in mind and if I find myself thinking, 'Oh! I wish I had...." Then I'll think about ordering it. I ended up buying things I had already been thinking about getting there. I guess you could say I'm NOT an impulse buyer!
I'm working on my next quilts now. I've set my sights towards Houston.