July 25, 2008
This was when I realized I didn't have a memory card in my digital camera (although, as I've already whined, I was lugging five fully-charged batteries). This is the Long Beach Convention Center. Across the building face (behind the name of the building) are these fabulous flags. I really wanted a good picture of these flags and took out my camera, moving, moving, moving until I had just the right angle. I turned up the camera, lifted it to arranged my shot in the monitor and read "No memory card present." I almost cried.
Directly behind me (and my next planned shot) was the Queen Mary, permanently moored right across the street. (BTW, if you're in the area, do take the Queen Mary tour. It's very interesting!)
Anyway, I left home at about 6:00 am and drove up Pacific Coast Highway for the first leg of my trip. I had downloaded "Praan" by Garry Schyman (the music for Matt Harding's "Dancing". I'm tellin' ya, if you haven't watched it yet you're missing an easy serotonin rush.) And listened to it all the way to Long Beach.
Traffic was historically light, a sure sign that the obscene gas prices are keeping people at home.
I picked up the 10 for a short distance, then the 405 south to the 710 and from there just had to follow the signs to the convention center. I arrived at about 8:00 am and got a fantastic parking space about twenty steps from the elevator at the entrance (which proved a boon when it was time to leave). The doors were open to the Center because there were lots of quilters checking in for workshops. I used the restroom, then headed back out to take the ill-fated pictures. After smacking myself around the head for such an enormous blunder, I went back in to the information booth to ask if there was anywhere to buy another memory card. I was told they did have them at the IQA booth on the festival floor. I waited for another 45 minutes in line (but was only the tenth person when the ticket booth finally opened at 9:00 am (there were at least 200 behind me when it opened). Ticket in hand I returned to the center lobby and, after another "just in case" trip to the restroom, waited in front of the escalators for the festival hall to open. I had a lovely pro-Obama conversation with two other women in line then, at 10:00, the announcement "Ladies!" came. I hugged my two new friends good-bye and headed in to the hall. I stood in line at what I thought was the IQA booth (it wasn't, it was the t-shirt-tote bag- pin booth), but they kindly told me how to get to the IQA booth. The booth couldn't be farther away (across the next exhibition hall along the back wall).
They did not have memory cards so I ended up buying the previously referred-to POS camera. Better than nothing, I suppose. I bought a throwaway camera (800 speed) and took eleven pictures. Only four are worth sharing (the light was that bad in the hall that even 800 couldn't pick things up.)
My plan was to see the vendor floor first, then see the quilt exhibit if I had 1) time and 2) energy. Never did see the exhibit except in passing looking for the IQA booth.
As I returned to the vendor hall after buying my camera I hung a right into the first vendor row and look who I found!
This is Marilyn Petersen. Marilyn and her husband, Jerry, own Cotton & Chocolate, my "local" quilt shop. Actually, it's in the next town but I always preferred it to the one here in town (I must not have been the only one 'cause the one here is no more.) Of course, I can never return to Cotton & Chocolate because I'm posting such a hideous picture of Marilyn who is really a very pretty woman and - except in my photos - looks to be easily twenty years younger than she looks here. C&C is one of those "feel good" quilt shops. Two minutes around Marilyn and you just know you can do ANYthing. In fact, when I took this picture she was multitasking and giving me permission to take the picture, entering purchases and assuring a customer just how easy the quilt she wanted to make would be because Marilyn and her troops had included everything they would need (even the little helper tools) in their kit.
At this point in my day I was determined to stick to the cash in my wallet so passed on buying anything for that entire aisle and most of the next one. My downfall came here:
I have a real talent for making women look bad, don't I?
This very nice lady is Susan Clarke and her booth was filled with the most beautiful buttons and charms I've ever seen.
Last summer my mom and I stopped at a quilt shop in the little town of Sidney, Nebraska (claim to fame, Corporate HQ of Cabella). I stood at the front counter drooling a a little old lady debated whether or not to purchase the last of an exquisite strawberry button. Finally she decided not to buy it and I did, lamenting that there wasn't a second one. This booth had LOTS of the strawberry button because Susan Clarke (and her husband) make the buttons. All discipline evaporated and I brought out my new Disney VISA for the first of several purchases of the day:
I added the quarter to give a size comparison. From L to R, top is a nest of robin's eggs, a piece of honeycomb with a bee hanging from it, a gecko; second row is a pumpkin filled with trick-or-treat candy with one piece of candy hanging from it, scissors, my famous strawberry (yes! a second one); third row is a fountain with bluebird, I LOVE QUILTING (I wish you could see the colors better on this), an autumn leaf ( I wish you could see the colors better here, too); bottom row a bird and two versions of a pine bough with cones. I can see myself using these on quilts or stitcheries or cross stitches.
I'm embarrassed to say that once that VISA card lost its virginity, it became a quilt festival whore. It's next purchase was a handful of patterns by Debora Konchinsky of Critter Pattern Works. This one took my breath away.
This picture doesn't even come close to showing how gorgeous this is. Here is a close-up of a few of the blocks. What the pictures don't capture is that Debora used metallics and variegated threads for her quilting so the birds actually glow like real hummingbirds.
This was actually a kit and these are the fabrics for the quilt.
I also picked up Arctic Critters and Small Forest Critters from the same booth (patterns only). Small Forest Critters has outstanding raccoons and opossum figures.
So how did I end up going to this festival in the first place? I went through the list of exhibitors ( dozens - maybe hundreds? - of them) and found that one of my favorite stitchery designers would be there. Bird Brain Designs had a three-booth spread full of tempting designs. I picked up a half dozen patterns (one went to my mom). These are my favorites. I love the little bird's nest in this one:
I had done this chart a few years ago
and this one seems to go with it so I got it, too:
All my stitchery fantasies came true at this show. I was able to find Crabapple Hill's Hocuspocusville and Halloween Journey as well as their Crazy Quilt Snowman (all of which are MUCH cuter in person than in pictures.) One of the booths also had Barrie Sue Faudet's (Bareroots) new "Happy Easter" wallhanging and last year's "Christmas Time is Coming" advent calendar (which I've looking for in shops for a year now with no luck.
Finally, I was blown away when I came upon this booth.
I've been collecting pictures of jazz greats and fabrics with a vague idea of doing a wallhanging or lapquilt for each of my sons someday, but nothing ever inspired me. This is Tammie Bowser and she has developed a computer program that makes the making of these mosaic quilts fairly easy (or so one of her customers said when she stopped by the booth to tell Tammie about having her school home ec class make one of these quilts.) I bought the computer program in a show deal that included a couple of books.
Those are the highlights of my purchases. I did get a few small paper-piecing patterns and three stitchery patterns from Giggleedesigns.com.
So, I've spent two weeks cleaning out my room, earning about six vertical inches of 12x12 storage space in the process and brought home a good foot worth of patterns.
What was I thinking?
Answer: I wasn't. I was caught up by the beauty and overwhelmed by the talent and the excitement of other quilters.
I just can't go next year.
Or ever again.