Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Quilt Peddlers

The Quilt Peddlers

Quilt: "A coverlet for a bed, made of two layers of fabric with some soft substance, as wool or down, between them and stitched in patterns or tufted through all thicknesses in order to prevent the filling from shifting".   Google Dictionary

Joe and I started our quilt show season. Long, exhausting weekends, rush set ups, rush take downs, hopeful days, when we pray customers will love our sewing, embroidering and quilting machines and buy one, or more, at wonderful prices only offered during the show. We will have several of these events as the summer approaches.

This weekend show was held at the Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Oregon, about 2 hours from our home. Set up was Thursday, show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with take down after the show, packing the van and the trailer, to and from, in pouring rain. What made this weekend different, was that I had severe plantar fasciitis, two bad knees and a sciatic that decided to join the other pains. Luckily the hotel had a very warm swimming pool and a delicious hot tub that eased the discomfort.  However, I had to walk on the outer sides of my feet in order to make it through the day.

But, enough about me and back to the fun part. Quilt shows are interesting events. Fabric and notions vendors set up their booths with colorful offerings. Fabrics of all designs and colors, threads, books and kits galore. Samples and demonstrations to entice visitors to join the sewing and quilting family. How can you resist, when the samples are there to be savored and touched, and people are willing to help you figure how much fabric you will need for a specific project, what colors and what the project will look like when finished. Also participating are inventors of the latest gadgets, special rulers, wooden frames and quilt hangers.

The Quilter's Guild had an interesting and historical booth

We brought in our new and VERY large long arm quilter, 12 ft in length. We had to buy a 14 ft. trailer just to transport this beast.  Also  a 5 ft. long arm and a sit down one, all made by the Tin Lizzie company. The large quilting machine features a robot which can work on the most impressive designs and perfect stitches. You just tell it what pattern you want, where on the fabric should it go, how many times you want it repeated, or when you want it to stop, press the on button and go. An amazing machine. You can almost hear this robot think! You can also do free hand quilting, but why, when you have this mechanical brain doing the work for you! And then there is the smaller Tin Lizzie, where we demonstrated free hand quilting. Another impressive machine. And last, if space is really a problem, the sit-down quilter is a smaller machine, where you move the fabric instead of the machine. I would watch people be mesmerized by observing the robot do it's magic. Some wanted to play with the machines and have a try at quilting. They were hooked right from the start. You could tell, as they made several trips back to the booth, then bring in their friends and husbands the next day. I kept reminding these women that, at our store, we have a sign that says “Your husband just called and said that you can buy as much as you want”...
Free hand quilting with the Tin Lizzie
"The 12 ft. beast"
Customers commenting on the 12 ft. long arm quilter and watching a demo.
The robot is absolutely awesome
An interesting thing happens at these shows: men who quilt are very quiet. They walk by, look, leave, come back and then ask if they can try quilting. They are usually very good! And then they open up, and tell you that they ARE quilters ….

The Umpqua Valley Quilters Guild show is very well organized. The guild members really appreciate the vendors. They take care of your booth if you need to leave. They feed you lunch every day and keep a snack place open, just for the sellers. They come by with water, to make sure that you are well hydrated. This was their 29th Annual Quilt Show and the theme was “Kaleidoscope of Color”. Everywhere one could see color in all forms, fabrics, glass beads, boxes, signs.

There is so much talent at this show. From tiny quilts...

 to extremely large...

From the traditional

 to the very modern...

Hand quilted and quilted by machine. Made by experts and made by novices. Adult and children creations, there is a little bit of everything, even a little store from the guild where you can find some lovely treasures.

Santa made an appearance ...

 And the red, white and blue was present...

The Quilt Guild made quilts for children...

 Customers were able to put together blocks that the guild ladies would sew.

Their Featured Quilter was Jane Yurk, of Roseburg. She has been quilting over a decade and is extremely talented. She is great at paper piecing and a wonderful teacher.

The Show also featured an Honored Quilter, Doris Koozer, who begun quilting in the  4th grade. Like Jane, Doris is very talented. On the last day she wore a luscious blouse she had constructed...

I was inspired to, perhaps, attempt to make my own. Doris purchased one of our Tin Lizzie machines. I am anxious to see next year's creations on her new long arm quilter.

 Doris, with her new toy!
 One meets all kinds of nice people at these events. We all drag our feet at the end of the day, we all hurry to take down our booths at the same time. Some have trailers, motor homes, horse trailers to carry their wares. We see each other at different shows, we get to know each other. I have met young Mothers who have to make arrangements for their children, while they work the show, older couples, Internet businesses that want to show their faces, new entrepreneurs, established shops..... There is great work and sacrifice that goes into these weekends. For some, like us, it is our bread and butter, you must put your best foot forward and have a lot of hope!

It rained heavily on the Thursday, when we were packing up. It had rained for days on the coast. Everyone complained..but I secretly snickered... you know me....a rainy day is "A Maria Kind-of-Day"

When one arrives to the show place, it looks rather empty. But it only takes a few minutes for the room to change into a colorful sight. Guild members work like bees getting it all done with precise moves, like a perfect ballet. They know what to do, where to hang the quilts.  Then the judging begins. The chosen judges walk and inspect the more than 300 quilts to come to a decision as to who will win a ribbon. Much thought goes into this process which takes place before the show opens. 
Guests are given a glove, you should never touch a show quilt with bare hands. Some come all three days, others just one or two. Most make a weekend out of the show. They come in groups, alone, with spouses. Some husbands participate, others looks for chairs in which to relax and watch the world go by.

And as quickly as they quilts go up, they come down. Guild members carefully fold them and arrange them on tables to be picked up. 

The best of show was a lovely rooster...

He was very cute and the creator was so excited!

Lovely tea pots

Round quilts

Quilts perform on stage...
Elegant Egret
Funny Fishies

Kitty cats
Unbelievable designs
The Three Sisters, Oregon
A quilt made from fabric selvedges!
Years of saving selvedges...
And from this humble blogger .... Sunset Beach...

Moon Over Coos Bay, easy strip quilt ...

... and Forgiving Squares, all classes I have or  will teach at our store.

And while the Quilt Show was taking place...directly across...

...but I decided that I was too busy to participate :)

Happy quilting!



  1. Youo a great display at our show and your tribute to our show is outstanding. Thank You

  2. Thanks for this glimpse into a different kind of show! I think my favorites are tied between that rooster with the great expression of joy and that amazing selvedge edge quilt! I like that the quilter saw the unique art to be made from the "throw away" edges.

  3. Krystel..the rooster was amazing...made with trapunto, it was so well done..It caught my eye from the start. The one made with selvedges was really pretty too, colorful and quite unique. It must have taken that woman (or man) years to collect that amount of strips. I am sure she had some donations!

  4. You pieced this story together so well, I love how you organized your pieces to create another fine work of art. I also love all the beautiful colors, thank you for posting...makes me want to get into quilting again...but I don't think that season has come around again yet.