Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paducah Quilt Show or BUST!

My trip to Paducah, Kentucky for the 25th Annual American Quilt Society Show was jam-packed with inspiration from the plethora of quilts, people and products. After driving for over 2 hours from Nashville, and across the state line into Kentucky, my parking karma paid off as my itty bitty Yaris snuggled into a spot amidst dozens of buses, up close to the Expo Center.

Paducah is a mecca for quilters and quilt enthusiasts from all over the world. Last year I came away with bags of fabric, patterns, tools, pages of sketches, and inspiration for new products. And this year proved to be even better!

Equipped with my camera phone, shoulder bag, a banana, and list of events, I paid my admission, got my hand stamped, and quickly made my way to the Simplicity/Wrights booth to check out the crowd. It was so crazy, I couldn’t even get close enough to see our new machines being demonstrated! I could only see the tops of the heads of Mimi and Michele and Darlene and the other gals working the booth. No wonder, with the show attracting between 30,000 to 35,000 consumers with an addiction to quilts!

So, I headed to the quilt displays and became enthralled with the creativity and amazing art represented in every quilt flown in from all over the world. These quilt artists compete for over $127,000 in prizes for hand sewn and machine sewn quilts. Bonnie Browning, executive show director, said that 388 quilts from 47 states and 15 different countries competed in the 25th annual show this year with the Best in Show winner this year coming from Australia.

I picked up this funny quilt block to make a pillow for my mom. She has enough fabric to make a quilt for everyone in her county!

One of these days I'm gonna save my money for one of the antiques sewing machines like my great gramma used to piece quilts back in the day.

Okay, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this block of sayings, but I'll think of something.

And this block is going to become a cute flag for my mom to fly outside her little hand-quided machine quilting shop, Pearl's Quilts!

There are over 400 Vendors vying for the attention and over $20 Million dollars that will be spent by consumers at this show. And I was there to spend money as I started the hunt for the coolest products I could find.

Also on my to do list was a birthday gift for my mom. She was complaining to me recently about her dull scissors, so I was on the hunt! Well, come to find out, the AQS (American Quilt Society) had these beautiful scissors for a fund raiser, and they even came in a gold box! I will add them to a bounty of quilting goodies for her birthday and enjoy her squeals when she opens the package!

Of course, I had to have my daily coffee fix, so I found the local hang at Kirchhoff's Bakery in an old building with the bakery on one side and the deli on another. Mmmmm. I also had a little personal coconut cream pie that would bring a tear to your eye it was so good. (Almost as good as my mom’s.)

High on the top of my list was to visit the Paducah Quilt Museum. And I was enthralled with the beauty, the colors, craftsmanship, and art that I experienced in viewing the quilts. My quiet enjoyment was slightly squelched by a very obnoxious curator who went on and on about their rules of not touching the quilts. But, I will never forget how much appreciation I had for the quilt artists and how much love they incorporated in the works of art in textiles.

The cute boutiques and gift shops in Paducah, Kentucky are one of a kind. The artists are diverse and their creativity captured me. There were steel sculptures, broom makers, glass blowers, and jewelry makers, just to name a few. I peered through the window and watched a man make these amazing pecan pies that made my mouth water.

I had a 15 mile drive to get to my hotel at Harrah’s in Metropolis, Illinois and this ginormous blue bridge I had to drive over was insane! It was crazy cool and scary at the same time. The room was wonderful, the food was excellent and the bath was divine at the end of the day. I would definitely stay there again.

Friday was fabulous at the show, as I met Robyn at the coffee shop and we made our way through all 400 of the vendor’s booths. I saw my mom’s quilting idol, Kaye Wood, who has the Kaye’s Quilting Friends award-winning television program. She was busy at a booth demonstrating and signing autographs.

Some of the quilts took my breath away with the details, like this one of a kitchen scene. Absolutely unbelievable.

Robyn and I walked down to the historic district and became absorbed with one of the local antique shops.

For some reason the groups of collectibles caught my eye. Robyn, who is an amazing photographer, was in heaven.

At the end of the day I headed back to Nashville, but I had ONE more stop…..the giant, uber-famous Hancock’s of Paducah. I have never seen anything quite like it. It was a fabric feeding frenzy. Women were everywhere, with carts full of fabric. I had to pick up some Michael Miller trims that match some projects I’m working on.

Well, that’s it. My trip to was good, and I picked up some good ideas as the Research & Design Manager for the Simplicity Creative Group. Now, it’s back to work, write the reports, and look forward to next year!