Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting my mojo back, part 2 (The AQS!!!)

I think that the trip the Momcat and I took to Paducah for the AQS 25th anniversary show came at the absolute best time possible for me. In addition to the re-organizational changes she helped me make right before we left (which meant I had space for all of my goodies when we returned), I think it was just really good to get out of town for a while and have a change of scenery.

We drove down to KY on Tuesday night after I left work, because when I was planning this trip I somehow didn't notice that this was a SEVEN hour drive. Way to go me. We got in very late, but got in safely and didn't hit any of the Chicago traffic we were worried about. Wednesday morning we got up reasonably early and drove into Paducah (we were staying in Mayfield), parking at the city park where the Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day exhibit was set up. There were two huge barns full of fabric and notions and patterns and lots of happy quilter people!They had just started the free show, so there was lots of happy noise and music too. Momcat and I wondered around for a little bit and just looked in awe at all of the pretty things and people there. While we were waiting for the (also) free shuttle bus to take us down to the convention center Momcat started talking some of the other quilters. We met a very nice pair of women who had been to the show for several years and filled us in on all of the very imporant details: Like don't forget to have the strawberry shortcake from the boy-scout vendors!

We arrived at the convention center and got all checked in with the registrarion desk. And then we went into the first and one of many vendor hall in the main area. Oh my goodness! I had looked at the list of vendors online, but I had no idea whatsoever that it would be so busy! We had time to wander around for an hour or so and saw so many festive things, but it was almost to the point of being overwhelming. I bought a few novelty fat quarters (continuing my odd obcession with halloween fabric and adding to the collection for the planned cat quilt) but didn't do too much damage. More on the vendors later, as we managed to go through this main hall several times.

After a lunch outside of BBQ sandwhiches we went to our first class on Machine Quilting with Sally Terry. Sally was a wonderful instructor and a very nice woman. In additino to learning about her five shapes of machine quilting and how to look at a quilting pattern and figure out how to do it, we got to try some hands on practice with the handiquilter HQ 16s in the room. I'd always wanted to try a longarm, so it was super exciting. The only bad thing is that we found out how much some of them cost. I'm proud to say that neither the Momcat nor I purchased a $7000 longarm machine.

Here's a picture of my some of the Momcat's quilting:

And here's a picture of us with Sally Terry (in the middle):

During the class we met two other women from the same town I live in, and one even works at my same company! How crazy is that??? Afterwards we headed towards downtown Paducah for some dinner before attending the AQS 25th Anniversary Show. We ended up running into the same two women again, and ate dinner with them at an excellent restaurant called Toucan, which had an excellent Greek salad. It was a beautiful evening, and it was nice to sit outside and get some fresh air. After dinner Momcat and I walked over the the Four Rivers Carson Center for the show, which was pretty cool. I think the best part was seeing the DVD they'd put together of the last 25 years, including the 25 previous best of show winner. The speaker was so-so, but very energizing. And I like seeing people get the awards for this year's show.

At the end of the first day we were exhausted. When we got on the bus to go back to the car, we got very concerned looks when we told the bus director people where our car was. Apparently both Momcat and I had missed the part where it said that the park closes at 8:00 at night and here it was almost 10!! Oops. I may have worried a bit, but Momcat remained calm. Luckily when the bus got to the park the gates were still open and the nice driver drove us right up to the car. And Fluffy (my car) was not the only one in the parking lot! Another group had done the same thing and got off the bus with us to collect their car.

We finally made it back to the hotel and collapsed into bed. But I think the most important thing is the energy and excitement I (and I think Momcat, too) felt after just this one way. We saw so many new things, and different techniques and met such nice people that we just felt inspired and wished we'd brought our machines with us to pull out in the hotel room!! Later we learned that many women did just that!

Tomorrow's episode: Stack n Whack, Quilt Museum, Hancock of Paducah's (round 1) and more vendors!

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