Sunday, July 26, 2009

Knoxville: The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting

The Good:

The American Quilter's Society (AQS) Quilt Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee was held this past weekend. Knoxville is beautiful, affordable, and a nice place to visit. The convention center was easy to find, the parking was nearby, and the Market Square two blocks into the city had fabulous sandwiches on homemade bread. There were plenty of people at the show to help us find some excellent non-chain restaurants nearby. We went to Peerless, Chez Guevara and Aubreys during the evenings we were there.

I enjoyed myself immensely with a fellow guild member, Marie Q. and her daughter, Mickey. Marie and her daughter graciously allowed me to tag along to view our Guild Challenge quilts in the show. While the guild didn't win a ribbon, it was still an honor to be chosen. I, certainly, got a big kick out of seeing my quilt there and will remember it the rest of my life, even if this is the only time. Here are pictures of Marie and I standing next to our quilts:

The Bad:
I try very hard not to be a complainer. That said, there were just a few "bads" I thought might be worth mentioning. (1) Even white glovers weren't allowed to touch the quilts. No one at the show was allowed to see the backs of quilts or have their own straightened. Presumably the reason was that the poles were faulty and would fall down. (2) The number of guilds allowed to show their challenge quilt in the show rose from 8 to 18. This makes it easier to get in the show but harder for your guild to compete for a ribbon. (3) This show was recently moved from Nashville to Knoxville. Having not been to the Nashville show, I can't say whether this one was better or worse. I do know that for some reason AQS opted to have this show on the same weekend as the International Quilt Show in Long Beach, California. I can't help but think that our better national quilts went there instead of here. The rainbow in this "bad" is that the show did not attract a large crowd and most of the classes had openings. A local waiter even told us his wife, who is a quilter, hadn't even heard about the show until the day before it started.
The Interesting:
After viewing all the challenge quilts, Marie and I defintely agreed that in order to get a ribbon or honorable mention, the guild quilts must have a lot of quilting and a lot of embellishments. It also doesn't hurt for the guild to establish a reputation with the AQS judges by entering the challenge regularly and constantly improving quality.
Finally, I must mention a little observation in the air travel arena. Now that airlines have started charging you to check even one bag, more and more passengers are opting to bring their suitcases onto the plane. Once the plane fills up with suitcases, the airlines take the suitcases that won't fit under the seat in front or in the overhead bins and puts them in the hold with the checked bags (no charge to you). As a result of this practice, people seem to be lining up at the entrance to the plane with no regard for what zone was called so they can store their suitcases with them. Even so, those who have to have their suitcases checked, get to pick them up right outside the aircraft without having to go to the baggage claim. I can't help but think these new practices are an accident waiting to happen. I'm now rethinking my August trip to Florida with my son and his friend. $15 one-way for one bag will pay for an awful lot of laundry detergent. I'll save $90 ($45 each way) if I can get the three of us to all do the same.

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