Monday, November 2, 2015

October 28 - 30, 2015

International Quilt Festival
I Went, I Saw, I Shopped
October 28 - 30, 2015

 by Ceilia Koppmann of Buenos Aires, Argentina
A quilt on display at the Festival that just made me happy
The last time I went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston was in 2013.  Since our youngest son's wedding was just a week after last year's show, I skipped going to the quilt show.  This year, I was making up for lost time. 
Due to recent flooding rains, we passed a lot 
of standing water on the way to Houston
It really wasn't until about 10 days before the show that with Ron's encouragement, I decided to go.  It has been a busy fall for us with several trips and I didn't think we could do it.  Ron said we could.  I only argued for about 30 seconds and then said I would be delighted to go.  He made reservations for us at an older, restored downtown hotel, Club Quarters.  It was well located, lovely, and the staff could not have been nicer.  I really was pleased with Ron's arrangements.
Water, water, everywhere

The best bonus to being at the Club Quarters may have been Friday morning when we got on a crowded elevator car and I turned to see who was behind me.  It was Jenny Doan, the star of Missouri Star Quilt Company videos!  For me this was much better than riding an elevator with a movie star.  Of course she has videos, but they are about quick, easy ways to make quilts.  I told her I have used many of her ideas and she said, "Thank you."  I said, "No, thank YOU!"  I guess I was as tongue tied as most people are with their movie star idols.  She has been a jewel to the quilt world, encouraging new people to try the craft. 
Wind farms and water
The weather was wonderful and each day we walked to and from the hotel to the Convention Center.  It was about 8 blocks but I had been telling Ron I needed to be walking more, so I really did!  Once I would get to the quilt show, I would spend the rest of the day walking and standing talking to sellers, so at the end of each day, I was totally exhausted and my feet were beyond sore.  We did have a ride on Thursday morning.  The hotel had a courtesy card and the young man offered to give us a ride and we accepted.  We were able to leave our car parked all the time we were there and not battle the traffic.
 It was a foggy morning on the King Ranch
If you have followed this blog from the beginning, you might recall that the last time I went to the quilt show, I had only had my Cochlear Implant for about 4 months and it gave me a few scary moments.  It was rainy that year and I kept having the Sound Processor magnet attach to other things besides my head, like the ribs on my umbrella and then inside the convention center when I leaned against a huge metal column, it grabbed on to that instead of to me.  They were funny episodes but scary also.  On that trip my friend Tiny was able to join me for for classes and shopping.   Since me decision to go was last minute, I did not take any classes this year.
Water lilies on the pond in the park in front of the convention center
Of course, I love to shop.  This is usually my buying for the year on quilt fabric and tools.  That is more true than ever now that the valley's only quilt shop has closed.  On the way to Houston we had stopped in one of my favorite quilt shops, The Cedar Chest, in El Campo.  I was able to get the thread there that I prefer to use and a few other items.  Then in Houston, I was able to find most of the things I was looking for to add to my collection.  It was a good trip.
The pond in the park and some of the downtown hotels
Besides the shopping, for me the best part was being able to carry on conversations with the vendors.  Thanks to my Cochlear Implant, I had the courage and ability to stop and initiate conversations with various vendors.  Before, I usually would just look at their products and then make my selections without trying to converse with them.  This time, especially if I found one carrying items that interested me and they were not too busy, I would stop and start up a conversation.  They were great conversations and each one of them is a treasured blessing.  Without my Cochlear Implant, I am deaf.  There would be no conversations at all.
The convention was undergoing major renovations - what a mess!

The first conversation was maybe the most interesting.  A young man and a lady who I found out was his mother, had a booth.  Just as I got to the booth, she was leaving for a break and so I began asking the son about his mom's products.  As we talked he told me that he lived in Baha California.  I asked what he did there and he told me he volunteers at an orphanage there for 6-9 months of the year and comes back to the states to make money the rest of the time to be able return to do more volunteer work.  He was working the show in Houston with his mom.  When his mom returned, she told him she had just been stopped by a group with a booth at the show that makes quilts to give away to children's homes.  They will find out how many children are in an orphanage and make quilts for them until they have enough for every child at the facility.  Then after they get the quilts to them, they move on to the next one on their list.  They wanted to make them for his group and needed to know how many quilts to make.  Quilters are generous people.
The construction caused a lot of driving and parking headaches

At another booth, I stopped to talk to a lady about some advice on how to help my granddaughters with their quilt ideas.  We had a very helpful conversation and it turned out she was sharing her booth with another lady who added a lot of good ideas for working with the girls.  Most quilters are eager to share their knowledge with others.  I only have run into two, over the years, who withheld helpful information in hopes that I would buy their books.  Both of these ladies this year, were very kind and helpful to help me work better with two of Jeff's girls.
Our hotel room met our needs very well
On Friday morning I spent a long time in two booths finding out information on long arm quilting machines and could not have asked for better representatives of their products for help.  This is something I am considering for a future purchase.  The machines are very large, so that is a big factor plus they have big price tags, but these were not top of the line as far as price, but appeared to be good quality machines.  (I am not ready to buy.)
Bed, desk, refrigerator, microwave, office chair, safe in closet,
lovely bathroom; what more could we need

At another booth where I have previously bought Plexiglas templates, I was able to have a great conversation with the owner of the company.  She is a talented pattern designer and in the past I have enjoyed her patterns and bought a few more this time.
 Park security keeping things safe
There were others and as I say, each conversation will be treasured.  Our entire time there was just perfect timing and good results.  We had not made a decision about when we were leaving.  Ron had encouraged me to stay through Saturday for more shopping and looking, but I had done all I needed to do by the end of the day Friday and Saturday was to be a very rainy day as well as the fact that it is normally the most crowded day.  We decided to put our decision off until we got up Saturday morning.
 I loved this light fixture in the lobby.

The rest of the story will be with the next blog entry.


  1. And again that sweetheart you married has proved what a good man he is! Way to go Mr. Johnston!! But now I'm filled with regret that I didn't go. Maybe next year, God willing. Can't wait to see pictures of the quilts!

    1. Yes, Ron was a jewel in helping me out. He did all the driving and all the carrying of things that I bought as he returned them to the hotel. It was a good show, but a mess with all the construction.