Two years ago, I was attending my first QuiltFest. I had not yet purchased a rotary cutter or a quilting ruler. I had been a member of Birmingham Quilters Guild for a few weeks and had signed up to volunteer at the quilt show. When I arrived to the school gym for my shift, I was blown away by all of the talent and creativity collected in one room. The women I met were kind, spoke with me at length and several took me under their wings. Fast forward two years and not only do I have a quilt in the show, but seven of the women I sew with in Bib & Tucker are also going to see their first entry in a quilt show hanging for all to see. This is such a big moment for our little organization.
We were able to collect almost all of the women who entered a quilt in the show. We met at DISCO and made our way down highway 280 in three cars. We took a right at 119 and four and a half miles later we were at the school. Ms. Annie brought her grandchildren – ages 4 and 5 and once we had our lime green bracelets on, we were ready to go. The ladies looked at the program and found their names. Ms. Joyce was not listed but when we got into the gym, we were able to find all nine of our entries. I took photos of the ladies with their quilts and we spent an hour or more going up and down the rows, taking in all of the talent and technique. I would pass a Bib & Tucker member from time to time and she would ask, “How’d they do this?” or say, “My mind is racing with ideas”. I spent most of my time with Ms. Annie’s grandchildren. The guild, in its infinite wisdom (of course! with such a collection of grandmothers), has created a scavenger hunt game for children that involves a laminated page with images of birds, flowers and animals taken from quilts for children to find as they walk with their parents through the show. Ms. Annie’s little ones were sort of confused at first, but when they found their first image, it was all over. They were ecstatic with each new discovery. This kept me quite occupied. I also ran into all of my old guild friends and had lots of catching up to do.
When the ladies had over-saturated themselves with quilts, they went into the vendor rooms and tried out the long-arm machines selling for $8,000 to $10,000 dollars. These are the machines I first tried two years ago and fell in love with. Our machine is a good deal more modest (without the computer attachment) but it suits as perfectly, especially for where we are in our learning process. It was a full day and I noticed more than once a look of reflection passing over each B&T member’s face. We finished at Ms. Gloria’s house with a delicious meal of sandwiches and salad and homemade caramel cake and coffee.
A journey begun in February and with the help of our Kickstarter family, we were able to make it to the finish line. On the drive home, Ms. Joyce said, “Well, I better start working on my quilt for QuiltFest 2015”.