No matter how many quilt shows you may attend in your life, you will never find one quite like the American Quilt Society Show in Paducah. I was glad we were able to get there for this 25th Anniversary of the show. I had been there a couple of times before, but this was Katie's first experience.
For those of you that have never been, you should know that the quilt show is probably the biggest thing that ever happens in Paducah. The entire town of Paducah is one big Quilt Fest! Everywhere you look there are signs welcoming quilters and people selling quilt stuff. Besides the main show at the Convention Center, there is always a show of antique quilts at the Rotary Club, and several other little shows around town. Of course, there are vendors at every venue, and sprinkled here and there around the town. If you can't find what you are looking for in Paducah, it probably doesn't exist - it just may take a few days and a lot of walking to find it.
As you may recall, Katie and I went down to help out Karen Witt, our friend and the woman behind Reproduction Quilts. Karen was asked to teach in France, and she didn't want to give up her booth at Paducah, for fear of getting pushed back to the sub-basement again. We left early Tuesday morning, and somehow managed to get there without falling asleep. It was easy enough to find Karen's booth - when we came around the corner, we found enough stuff for 2 or 3 booths piled in the middle of the aisle (all the other vendors were nearly finished setting up), and Joe, Karen's husband, standing in the middle of it trying to figure out which pattern went with which quilt. He had managed to get one of the "neighbors" to help him hang two of the quilts, but that was about it. Thank God Katie is young and energetic. Joe and I would have probably been standing in the pile and staring at each other when the show opened at 6:00. Katie whooshed in and started telling us what to do, and somehow it all came together in time. We even had time to squeeze in dinner before preview night started!
We took turns seeing the show while we worked Tuesday night and Wednesday. I think Karen did really well. People seemed to have forgotten all about the recession. Joe showed us how the cash register worked, but I think we made a lot of mistakes. Hopefully Karen or Erin will be able to tie everything out when they get back from France - or they will know who not to ask next time they need help! The Joannes (Parks and Sauter) took over on Thursday, so maybe they screwed up enough to make us look good (I can dream, can't I?) We didn't get away from Karen's booth empty handed, though. I bought a book on the history of Chintz Applique (I am such a sucker for quilt history books), and Kate got some beautiful silk homespun that Karen is using for her wool applique. I am sure we will get some if she likes working with it as much as Karen does.
Thursday, after we showed the Joannes how not to work the booth, we went to the Museum of the American Quilt Society (MAQS) - now known as the International Quilt Museum. They are always having different exhibits in addition to certain quilts that are always there. This time the exhibits were contemporary versions of Burgoyne Surrounded, and an exhibit of Japanese quilts. Both were interesting, and they had quite a few antique Burgoyne Surrounded quilts, as well, which I loved. Kate was amazed at the main exhibit. They had all the show winners from the past 25 years. It was truly incredible to see the advances in design and workmanship over the years. The early ones looked positively amatuerish next to the recent winners. Even the famous Beatles quilt, which I had seen before, didn't look as spectacular as I remembered. It really makes you wonder what the future will yield.
Antique Burgoyne Surrounded Quilt Circa 1870 - for sale online at Stella Rubin Antique Quilts and Decorative Arts. This is a beautiful example of a blue and white Burgoyne Surrounded Quilt. I wish I had an bottomless pocketbook!
After the museum, we made a quick stop at the Rotary Show. It wouldn't seem right to miss that one. We ran into Froncie Quinn, my sister (not really) - her pattern company is Hoopla Antique Quilt Patterns, but some of you may recognize some of the fabric she has designed that we have carried in the shop. She always vends at the Rotary Show - right in the front. I keep meaning to get around to doing one of her quilts. There is one in particular that I just love. I have had the pattern since before I opened - I guess you guys understand. Someday... The antique quilts were somewhat less exciting than usual - maybe I am getting spoiled. I did have a moment of insanity at one of the antique quilt vendors and I bought a quilt. I couldn't pay for it all at once, so I am paying installments, and they will send it in a few months. Hmmm - maybe I will put a jar on the counter - "Carrie's Antique Quilt Fund" - anyone want to contribute? It is a Lemoyne Star quilt - the stars are scrappy (of course), set in double pinks, which form a secondary star pattern. I am planning to reproduce it for the shop using the diamond method I taught using Billie Lauder's method for Tumbling Blocks. Katie took some pictures so that I can get started on it before it arrives. Oh - and if you happen to run into my sweetie, you don't need to mention this to him. He has a hard time understanding why quilts are more important than groceries. Poor dear....
After the Rotary, we had to stop at Hancock's before we left town. I didn't feel that Katie would have gotten the full experience without that. That is one crazy place - but we decided that the deals weren't that spectacular. Their prices in the sale area were about the same as what we do when we have sales in our classroom. Kate did pick up something for a new project she is working on, but I will let her divulge that when she gets farther along.
So - now we are back and it is on to the next event - this week's FREE Seasonal Sampler Demo, and the Basketful of Ideas Shop Hop. Just wait until you see all the things we have in store for you!
See you in the shop!