Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Knitter Goes to a Quilting Show....

Last Friday afternoon, I took a few hours to check out the International Quilt Festival at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. It had been a very long and somewhat stressful week at work, and to be honest, I didn't feel like I could spare those few hours...but I was SO glad I went anyway. It ended up being a much needed break from spending too much time at the computer, and I came home feeling refreshed and ready to return to work (which can be hard after you've left the house to do something fun). I ended up crossing off everything on my to-do list, even some of the things that had been eluding me all week.

The show was smaller than I was expecting, but it was probably for the best because each booth was stuffed with colorful fabrics, notions, sewing machines, and gadjets. I thought that 2pm on Friday would be slow, and it probably was,  relatively speaking. Considering that there was quite a crowd and walking the floor was an exercise in patience at times, Saturday and Sunday must have been bonkers with wall-to-wall people.

Half of the space was dedicated to exhibition quilts, which were positioned at the entrance so that you had to walk through at least a portion of them. A friend had mentioned that this was her favorite part of the show, so I made sure to check out as many quilts as I could; it was truly awe-inspiring! This piece was the first thing you saw when entering the show:

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Northwood Awakening by Ann and Steve; this piece is 25 feet wide and didn't fit in frame!
As a non-quilter, this show was worth the $10 admission for the eye candy alone, and the marketplace was surprisingly varied. Obviously, the focus was on quilting-related products, but I saw several booths that had materials for other crafts - and I even spotted some yarn! I was tempted by a quilted pillow pattern with cute alpacas on it and the plush toy sewing patterns I spotted in several booths; I had to firmly remind myself that I don't have enough sewing skills (or time!) to make them, otherwise I'm pretty sure they would have come home with me.

So what DOES a non-quilter buy at a Quilt Show?

My first purchase was a rotary cutter, which I've been meaning to get for a while because I'd heard it was an efficient way to trim fringe evenly on woven projects. This ergonomic cutter from mynotions.com was a steal at just $7!

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I also bought some handmade buttons for a top-secret project I just finished (I can't share it on here til later this summer, though!) - they are tiny ceramic birds that are handmade in South Africa, sourced through Fair Trade Federation guidelines via a company called Akonye Kena.
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My final purchase was two sets of small wool circles for a project I hope to weave soon, inspired by this booth display:
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I'm planning to weave black or gray fabric to make a pillow to sew the circles onto. I'm not sure if I will mix and match the color families, so I'll either make two smaller pillows (one with each set) or blend them together to  make a large 20" square pillow, which might be overly ambitious. Then again, I do love biting off more than I can chew when it comes to weaving!

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I'm hoping to attend more sewing-related shows in the next year; if you know of any good ones in the midwest that need to be on my calendar, let me know in the comments!

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