15 April, 2012

The Big Score

Hanging Baskets - 2nd place in my class AND
the President's Choice Award!

Chubby Chicks - First Place in my category

3rd Place in my category.
Bear's Paw Sampler Quilt
UVQG Block of the Month, 2010-2011

This past weekend was my quilters' guild's annual Quilt Show.  We guild members have done it once again! We have planned for, built from the floor up and hung such a stupendous display of beautiful quilts! How very fortunate am I to be associated with all of these very creative women?  Our show guests have come from all parts of Oregon and beyond to attend our show!

I have personally faired remarkably well, under the circumstances. I have learned the hard way just how to make sure that I am still standing at the end of the show.  The Number One Cardinal Rule is to Wear Comfortable Shoes!

Setting up a quilt show of this caliber is no small feat and would not have been possible without the the tireless work of our chairperson, Nancy J.  Our show has been months and months in the making and I have been involved from the beginning.

The real physical work began on the Tuesday before the show when we set up the poles and racks to hang the quilts.  We were assisted by Douglas County inmates, who, on work release, assisted us at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.  With their help, we set up the poles and prepared the hall for hanging the quilts.  A few of us had a real moment here,... wondering if one of the inmates had decided to Take-It-On-The-Lamb, when we saw this striped jail jumpsuit thrown over the stall at the entrance to the Men's restroom.  What does this look like to you?  Hmmmm...   But after doing a quick headcount, it became clear that we did not have an escapee.  Suffice it to say that it's not easy to use the loo in a jail jumpsuit, I suppose. All inmates were present and accounted for.

After preparing the hall on Tuesday, it completely came to life on Thursday, when we hung the quilts.  Again, this show would not have been possible without the work of Teri W., our resident quilt hanging expert.  Teri has taken on this job for a number of years and never fails to figure out just how to display our quilts in the best possible way.  Work starts early, with hundreds of quilts arriving at the hall at around 8:00 a.m.  Teri has everything lined out and the hanging begins.  Husbands lend their vertical assistance, no ladders necessary and long arms are appreciated. The entire show is hung in a few hours!  How amazing is that?

Our judges come in right behind the quilt hangers.  This year we contracted with three professional judges, who began their work as soon as the first rows were hung.  They come from around Oregon to assist us in the impartial judging of our quilts.

Friday morning is when we open the doors to our guests.  At this point, I have already been on my feet for two long days, and have another three full days to go,  but we love it when we open up the doors and say hello to the ladies (and a few men...) who come to view our show.

I am SO happy to say that  my feet were not been killing me, I had not been bagged at the end of the day and I have enjoyed every minute of our show.  I credit much of that to the fact that I have abided by Cardinal Rule Number One and wore sensible shoes.  I  learned that lesson the hard way, really.  My cute shoes are not especially appropriate for this kind of walking/work on the concrete floors of our exhibit hall.  I held up remarkably well, and was still smiling big after days and days on my feet hours and hours of prep work for our show.

On Saturday I was stationed at the admissions table.  I so enjoy welcoming our show guests, and saying hello to my quilting  friends and acquaintances.  Working Admissions is one of my very favorite parts of our show.  We see ladies walking through the doors with big smiles on their faces, ready for a day of fun.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Another one of my most favorite parts of our show is to just stroll down the aisles of our hanging quilts and chat with our attendees.  We all just love to talk quilts!  And talk, we do!  I spoke to one lady who had driven down from Sandy, OR., that's half a days drive for her.  She told me that she attended our show last year and that she thought that it was the best quilt show that she had seen in all of Oregon.  Wow!

I submitted three entries this year.  That was such a really big deal for me since I have only had one entry in our show previously.  I should also mention here that I have had a recent revelation regarding my wish/need to garner ribbons for my work.  Here is the back story.

We had a guest speaker at a guild meeting earlier this year.  Karla Alexander is an Oregon quilt professional who shared her work with us and spoke to us about her own personal quilting philosophy. And for those of you who do not know, there really is a quilting philosophy.  It is a very personal thing, as is the philosophy behind any form of self expression.  Anyway,...  Karla told us that she no longer "chases ribbons".  She said  that her reward for her work was the enjoyment that she gets from working with materials that she loves and the lessons that she learns from each piece that she makes.  I totally took her words to heart.

So,... I entered my three pieces and told myself that I had loved every minute that I worked on them and did not give a whit as to whether I won a ribbon or not. I did not need no stinking ribbons!... And I believed those words.  So imagine my surprise when I took ribbons for all three of my entries!  And that's not just three ribbons, but four ribbons! I took a 1st place in my category for my Chubby Chicks quilt.  I took a 2nd place in my category for my Hanging Basket quilt, as well as the President's Choice Award, (which included cool prizes!!!) and I took a 3rd place ribbon for my Bear's Paw Quilt.  Can I just say here... SCORE!!!

I had told myself no ribbons were necessary, that I had loved and learned and enjoyed making my quilts.  But, shame on me and shame on my ego, I am over the moon that professional quilting judges, as well as our Guild President, deemed my work worthy of ribbons! I am humbled... truly.