Monday, May 12, 2014

QuiltWeek in Paducah

From April 22 through 26, I was in Paducah for the annual AQS (American Quilters Society) QuiltWeek. This was my third visit to the show, the last being eight years ago, but it was my first as an AQS staffer! I attended as a writer for American Quilter magazine. What a challenging, educational, and fun experience it was!
Outside of the Convention Center
To get to Paducah, I rode the golf cart from home to catch a shuttle van, to catch a plane to Nashville, to catch a ride with Jan Magee, editor of Quilt Life magazine. I arrived just in time to attend the Tuesday evening awards ceremony. Such a treat to sit and listen to shrieks of happiness as quilters learned that their quilts had won! After the ceremony, it was time to rush to the main exhibition hall at the convention center to preview the quilts. This is also where I got to work, introducing myself to winners and making interview appointments.

My task was to interview "Best of” and “First Place” winners - a long list of 30-plus quilters that I split with another writer, Marj Russell. Then, over three days, in person, by phone, and by email, I interviewed those quilters, hearing about their inspirations, techniques, tricks, and in some cases, their surprise that their quilt won quilts. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the friendly, yet knowledgeable “quilt speak.” Every quilter was as delightful as could be, and I felt like I’d made a new friend after each interview. Touching greatness - including the likes of Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry - among other American, Japanese, and Brazilian quilters was simply wonderful. I wish I could tell you about all of them! Well, I sorta did.

You'll find my write-ups in the July issue of American Quilter, right alongside pictures of the quilts. A few more of my pieces will appear in future AQS online newsletters, called OnPoint. I hope you’re an AQS member so you get the magazine! Or, you can usually find it at JoAnn Fabrics.

I had so many favorite quilts that I can't begin to show them all here, but this is one that made me happy. The "modern" category was new to QuiltWeek this year, and don't you think Sandi did a nice job with hand-dyed Cherrywood fabrics?

After mornings spent interviewing, by mid-afternoon and evening on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday you could find me writing quietly in my motel room. It was an intense writing period, putting together 17 pieces, but so good to write! Saturday morning I turned in the thumb drive of everything.
Me (looking tired, I think), and Michele Duffy, AQ editor
The last day of the show, Saturday, was when I got to spend time with Michele, the AQS editor-in-chief. Together we walked around the show, looked at quilts, and I did a little shopping. I found some pieces of Kaffe that I need to finish a UFO won more than two years ago (good grief!) in a blog giveaway, and bought several Marathon threads that a first-place winner used in her domestic machine-quilted quilt. 

A few other purchases: needles for my Pfaff grand quilter; a new pair of snips (as used by HandiQuilter longarmers); a Strip Stick, for pressing open seam allowances; and a 6-1/2" Bloc-Loc ruler, for squaring up half-square triangles by nesting the seam allowance in a groove on the bottom of the ruler. 

Oh! And one day I wore my “Name Dropper” selvage skirt! Wearing it was as much fun as I hoped it would be. I was asked to have my picture taken quite a few times. Well, not a picture of me, but my skirt was photographed.

Another special treat was discovering that four quilters I know from the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild - Mary, Kathy, Leigh, and Martha - stayed in the same motel (Fairfield Inn) as me! In fact, they were only two doors away! It was extra special to conclude two evenings worth of writing by knocking on their door just in time for their day’s “show and tell.” Being with them made me appreciate their quilting expertise and experiences. They know their stuff, so it was fun to talk shop.

If I haven't bored you with my tales, let me say only one more thing.

Each year, 30,000 quilters know what an great quilt show it is, so if a trip to QuiltWeek in Paducah isn't on your bucket list, it should be!

No quilt show is like it, not only for the quilts and the amazing workmanship, but for the all-round friendliness of the city. I've been to big quilt shows, and Paducah has the friendliest hometown atmosphere of them all. From the shuttle bus drivers, to the motel staff, to people you meet at the shows, and in an elevator - they're just plain nice. At $210 (includes all fees and taxes) a night for a room at the Fairfield Inn, it isn't cheap, but AQS has one show that's worth attending. By QuiltWeek 2015 a brand new LaQuinta will be another motel option. 

And you never know exactly who you might run into! 
Alex Anderson, and little 'ole me

Paducah is a quilter's mecca, and I'll see you there next year! Linda 

20 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a very good time! I look forward to your article....

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  2. Your photographs really show what a great experience this was! Look at all those neat notions- I don't think I've ever seen these in Australia! And I love the selvedge skirt with that gorgeous aqua!!

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful time was had. It's great your schedule was such that all the writing was done and behind you in time for you to have some guilt free show time. Also great that you got to hook up with quilting buddies.

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  4. Sounds very fun! I'm still a little disappointed about you know what, but that's life. Glad you had a really good experience, met up with some great people, and had fun wearing your selvage skirt! ;-)

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  5. What a wonderful experience, now go home and rest!

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  6. I love the little inside peek at Paducah. Maybe someday I get to go. I knew your selvage skirt would be a hit.

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  7. Linda, really enjoyed your travelog about Paducah. This was my second trip to Paducah. I will have to sit it out for a couple of years, I guess, but will hopefully go back sometime.

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  8. Great wrap up! I will make it there in person some day!

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  9. How fun! You look great by the way.

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  10. Congratulations Linda, what a wonderful exciting experience for you.... may see you there one day, it's on my bucket list!
    Julia ♥

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  11. Such a memorable and enriching experience! I have not yet made it to Paducah, but would love to. And I agree- quilters are the nicest people.

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  12. Would love to sit and chat about everything. I look forward to the magazine. Yay for you!

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  13. What a fun experience your Paducah visit sounds, Linda! Getting to interview all those winners must have left your head happily buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Like another commenter said, this ones on my bucket list too, and when it happens the fun will be all the sweeter for the waiting 😊

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  14. What a fun experience your Paducah visit sounds, Linda! Getting to interview all those winners must have left your head happily buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Like another commenter said, this ones on my bucket list too, and when it happens the fun will be all the sweeter for the waiting 😊

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  15. What an interesting and fun week you had in Paducah. I will see if I can get the July edition of that magazine your articles will be in. The link to "on point" didn't work for me.

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  16. Sounds like a lot of work, but what I call "fun work". I am so glad you enjoyed the experience and going to the show is definitely on my list. My quilt was accepted into the Charlotte AQS show so I am excited about that. I also entered in the Grand Rapids show, but have not heard on that one.

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  17. Great article Linda! And I am totally in love with your haircut. :) blessings, marlene

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  18. It was fun to see the photos and read about your experience, Linda. (I'm sure glad that the rotary cutter was closed, that's all I can say!)

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  19. OK, I can't believe how cute your selvage skirt is!!! I'm sure folks did keep wanting a pic of it. :)

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