Monday, July 28, 2008

International Quilt Festival/Long Beach

This photo just doesn't do it justice.

On Saturday, I hopped on a bus with a group of quiltie ladies, and headed to Long Beach to see the inaugural IQF, West Coast edition. I've never been to an International Quilt Festival, so I didn't know what to expect. This unassuming building of glass and steel held wonders too numerous to recount. I was in for a day of dazzling, which definitely surpassed all expectations.

I think one of the most exciting things was to stand at the base of the escalator and look out across the room. Can you call it a room? The exhibitor/vendor hall stretched as far as the eye could see. Across the front of the vendor area were the West Coast Wonders quilts. My quilt, Sierra Snow Melt, was right there, on the far left. I had to take a picture right then and there.

Do you see it? It's in the center of the frame. It was the "you can do this too!" quilt, offering encouragement to the quilters who were overwhelmed by the skill and artistry on display. My little quilt is simply 8 pieces of fabric, sewn together and then quilted.

I asked a friend to take a picture for me. I was appalled by how HUGE I am. I asked my husband, "Do I really look like this?" He told me, "NO. The picture is terrible." It is very unflattering, and out of proportion. I've cropped it, and will post it, but really, my arm is NOT that big!!!

It was fun to wander through the show and discover quilts by friends of mine. Also included in the West Coast Wonders exhibit was this little quilt.

"Sissy Loves Carrots"
Lynn Drennan
Lindsay, CA

Lynn is a fellow quilter who also lives in Tulare County. This little burro quilt has been having an impact as it travels around to various venues. I've seen it at the local Best of the Valley where it won something (I forget which award), and also at Road to CA, where it won Most Humorous. It makes everyone grin when they see it. :)

In the quilt room, there were so many quilts, I went into overload. I tried to look at them all. There were the Sky's The Limit quilts, the Surf's Up quilts, the flower quilts, the winners from Chicago, the SAQA quilts, the Silver Screen quilts, the this, that and the other thing quilts, and last but not least the journal quilts.

I was excited to find quilts by quilters whose blog I read. (I lurk, I don't comment). I saw three quilts by Del Thomas, and loved every one of them. I saw a quilt by Sarah Ann Smith, whose blog I discovered through Quilting Bloggers, before I read an article by her in a magazine. (Was it Quilting Arts?)

I found the journal quilts to be fascinating. The idea of working small scale, to portray an idea or to try a technique is very appealing. I have so many quilt ideas running around in my brain, it's hard to decide which one to do when. That's been one of the reasons I haven't done any bed quilts lately. I want to make so many quilts, I've scaled down to wallhangings.

And because I think, "Hey, if it turns out well, I want to be able to show it," I try to keep the quilts large enough to meet minimum show dimensions, which are usually 40" x 40". (Was that a run-on sentence or what?!!)

But these journal quilts and small scale projects held my attention for over an hour. I examined them closely, trying to figure out why I liked this one or that one. I usually don't take pictures at quilt shows, except of my own quilts. I don't like to copy other people's work. I'd rather take home the impressions and let them mingle in my mind and morph into something of my own creation.

Saturday was an exception. I took photos of two journal quilts, specifically to show on this blog. I thought you might be interested to see which quilts really caught my attention and appealed to me. I think it was the simplicity of this first one that held me spell-bound, along with the texture added by the quilting.

This second one had all kinds of thread work that I have never tried, but it was the overall effect of realism that captivated me. I could imagine being here. She's captured the woods in 8.5" x 11" of fabric. Fascinating!

And finally, yes, I did hit the vendors. I didn't need any fabric - I don't have any quilts in progress or in mind that I'm collecting for - so I didn't even stop to browse the fabric booths. The day was too short. But that doesn't mean I walked away empty-handed. No, indeedy. I did a bit of shopping. This is what I came home with: not a fabric or a kit or a pattern to be seen. Instead I've got plenty of inspiration to spur me on to quilt these remaining two quilts-for-hire then to get back to working on my own quilts. So much to do, so little time!!!

Will I go back next year? Oh yes! Most definitely!!! And for more than one day, because there was no way to see it all on a bus trip in 6 hours or less...

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