Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning from the Quilt Show

I just spent an amazing week in Pennsylvania. I went with a bus full of women to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XX.  We stayed in Lancaster PA and traveled each day to quilt shops, the quilt show as well as one day touring Philadelphia. Here are some of the quilt shops we visited – I highly recommend all of them!

My favourite was Burkholder Fabrics in Denver PA. It’s huge and bright. The prices are great and the personnel very friendly and helpful. On our way to Lancaster, we stopped in a Sauder’s Fabric. There was a lot of fabric, good prices and helpful personnel.

During our shopping day, we went to Intercourse PA. It’s a quaint village in Amish / Mennonite country. There is a small but lovely quilt museum over The Old Country Store that is worth visiting. The Old Quilt Store also has gifts and fabric at the back of the shop that you’ll want to  check out. Don’t forget to stop in at the Intercourse Canning Company down the street for samples of their jams and pickled products! Thanks to these guys, I will have lovely pickled beets for the winter (‘cause who wants to stop quilting to do canning....not me!) I also bought some pickled sweet brussel sprouts – they are awesome! For my daughter, who loves all things bacon, I picked up some bacon lip gloss at the Intercourse Canning Company (to quote her “to grease up those lips”) and some candied bacon at a small vendor! I tasted the candied bacon – delicious. Enough about shopping except to say that I now have enough notions, batting and fabric for the upcoming year (or two). Notice books, patterns and courses are not on that list!

Wonderful mural in Philadelphia
The Quilt Show had some wonderful special exhibits and quilts. As well as looking at the quilts as works of art, which they are, it was also very educational. Now that I've tried my hand at free motion quilting and art quilts, I can now look at quilts in the same way that aspiring artists look at paintings in a museum – with a view to learn from them. I took about a hundred photos – to learn about composition, colour, the use of embroidery and embellishment, and of course quilting. One of the first things I did when I got home, other than start washing all that fabric, was to organise the photos in categories so that I can refer to them when I want ideas and inspiration.

I was sure that I wouldn't be doing any shopping at the quilt show since I had bought so much on the way there – right! Some of the vendors had great prices, but the best part was meeting the authors of patterns, books, rulers, etc. I know that it’s a lot of work, time and expense to have a booth at this type of show but it really was great to thank these authors and creators for their work. 

What I learned during my trip:
  • There is such a thing as too much shopping (I never in a million years thought I would say that!)
  • My girlfriends were right – to do that much shopping, you have to be really well organised and have a good idea of what you want to buy.
  • You can fit an awful lot of fabric in a large suitcase (though it will weigh a ton!)
  • Travelling with a bus full of quilters you’re not sure you know is not risky – we have so much in common, it’s easy to make friends.
  • I have no idea where most of the States are located – so I bought a cute little app that will help me learn them. After those 50 states, the rest of the world!
  • After thinking about quilting all week, I thought I would be dying to start quilting – but I seem to be exhausted and am spending my free time reading! 

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