I’ve just signed up for my several classes and fun events at MQX East (Machine Quilters Expo) in Manchester, New Hampshire April 8 – 12. Since moving to Rhode Island I have been to this show every year and each year the talent showcased there grows by leaps and bounds. The quilts, machine quilted on both domestic and long arm machines, are stunning. I always come away both humbled and inspired. I have three quilts in the show, much to my amazement, but they will pale in comparison to the winners. Someday I will devote a whole year to making and quilting a quilt, for I think that is the only way you have a hope of winning, but for now I go to learn and be inspired.
The classes are fabulous. I have tended to take lots of lectures since they are a great value, but there are so many great teachers gathered in one place that it is hard to decide. I’ll be taking a class on Quilting your Vintage Quilt with Mary Kerr. Mary is a long time friend from my days in Virginia when I first joined a quilt guild (Cabin Branch Quilters) and I can’t wait to see her Quilt as Desired exhibit, which is a collection of vintage quilt tops quilted by some of the top machine quilters out there. Another class is with Cathy Wiggins on quilting art quilts – every year I look forward to Cathy’s beautiful quilt in the show. She paints incredible images on whole cloth (carousel horses, fairies, mermaids) then adds exquisite quilting, beading and embellishment. Dawn Cavanaugh’s class on Modern quilting is another I’ll take since I am a thoroughly modern girl these days. And finally a ruler class with Deloa Jones. Rulers are a valuable help to me in my long arm quilting and Deloa has developed some great ones. Last year my Portrait class with Jamie Wallen was superb, as was my class with Angela Walters. I often add another class when I get to the show because I see a quilt or hear about a teacher too good to miss. So many great teachers, so little time.
I feel very lucky this year, my friend and fellow teacher Maria Ferrreira asked if I would like to room with her for the festival. With my mother’s illness I had not been able to focus at all on the show, on getting a hotel room or signing up for classes. I had frankly been too worried about my Mom to even think about going. So now it feels like a gift not only to be going, but to be going with friends (Donna Bozeman will also be going). So this year, I have signed up for all the other fun events like the ice cream social, Cathy Wiggins fun evening event and the dinner with Mark Lipinski. Yippeeee!
And I am signing up to volunteer. All big shows like this run on volunteer energy and it is a great way to get to know everyone involved, to see the quilts close up and to help make the whole event fabulous. It is easy to be a teachers pet, or help take down quilts at the end of the day while you are waiting to collecting your own, to sell admissions or sit at the security desk. The volunteer coordinator will coordinate it all and it all runs very smoothly.
And then there are the vendors. Great thread, fabric, rulers, notions – you name it. And if you are in the market for a long arm you can try them all out. I tried out machines at quilt shows for several years before purchasing mine.
Finally, Maria and I will be stopping at the New England Quilt Museum to volunteer to help them get ready for their annual Text and Textile Extravaganza. At this great fundraising event they sell donated books, fabric, embellishments, etc. to raise funds for the museums programs. If anyone has donations for this sale you can bring them to me and I will bring them up or contact the museum directly. And if you go to MQX, plan to stop at the sale from 9 – 1 on Saturday April 12 on your way back and fill a bag for $25. A great deal to support a great quilting cause.
I hope I’ve inspired you to go to MQX to see the great quilts, better yet to sign up for a class and some of the fun events. Make some room in your budget to learn and grow as a quilter. Don’t just buy fabric and thread, buy knowledge and artistic energy. You deserve it!