Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quilting Around Chautauqua Institute - A Review

So this weekend, I finally took the time to go to Quilting Around Chautauqua.  This was its seventh year and I've never managed to get there since Septembers are so busy here.   Still once I saw that Jinny Beyer was going to give the lecture, I promptly bought a ticket.  To say that this is just a local show would be a gross understatement.  This is a whole weekend of all things traditional quilt.  Ladies come from all over - including Canada to partake in the festivities.  There are wonderful accomodations, classes, a 800 quilt quilt show and over 65 vendors.  So what's not to love???

Well I did LOVE Jinny's lecture.  She talked on color confidence and even though I nor my friend Kristen didn't learn a thing we both absolutely found it entertaining.  She's great at talking in public and I felt like it was very personal although the 500 seat auditorium was sold out.  Her lecture was interactive and she explained how she chooses color plus showed some her  quilts and slides.  I would highly recommend seeing her if you get the chance!

I also got to hear a quick hour talk on sewing needles by the marketing director from Schmetz.  Am I the only one that didn't get what all those numbers meant on my needle packages???  Well now I do.  In fact, I can safely say that I know  more about sewing needles now than I ever need too (grin)!  Still, I wasn't bored and she handed out these super handy ABC books that showed what all the needles were and what they were suppose to be used for and on.  VERY useful.  Oh. . . and free!!  One thing I learned though, there is no tried and hard rule on when to change a needle - the answer is always  -
"it depends. . . "!

Now those are the things I liked.  What I didn't care for was the show itself.  It was VERY spread out.  Even though the grounds are lovely, it was blocks and blocks of walking all day.  They did have shuttles running but the grounds were over run with quilters and there were long lines for those.  Lunch wasn't well thought out either.  When we went over to the cafe  - we found it was smack dab in with a bunch of vendors and had an longgggggg line.  Our food - although cheap enough was cold and we ate outside since there was no indoor seating. 

I found the different buildings hard to find even though I'm usually good with a map.   The institute, for those who don't know, is a Victorian village inside its walls.  The streets are at different angles as the village grew and can get confusing.  Its gorgeous there though!  Still I didn't like wandering around looking for things.

For all that was spread out, once you got in the buildings, the show was packed in VERY tightly.  It was wall to wall vendors and quilters.  No room to look - I felt closed in.   You couldn't slowly enjoy and browse since it was such a frenzy. The quilts themselves were mostly hung nicely since they were hung by individual guilds.

One of the main reasons we went to the show, was to see the result of the Jinny Beyer Challenge.  35 of the 50 kits were handed back in and OMG they were amazing.  The work the ladies did was just spectacular.  I can pretty much say they were the most interesting thing we saw all day.  That said, the challenge was displayed in the main hotel, off a side entrance hall.  They were on folding racks  - smooshed together - some overlapping - displayed from way high - 8 ft - to toe level.  Mine was toe level - hung crooked and another quilt over lapped.  You couldn't stand and look at all of them since people were coming in and out trying to get to all the vendors.

So, as you can tell this will probably be the first and last time I go to this show.  It was an excellent value though - only $4 to enter - Jinny's lecture was  $15.  Still I felt like the promoters were trying to make up the extra money on vendors and their own booth. I definitely will  NEVER do another challenge with that quilt shop. The way they treated the entries was disgraceful.   Finally,  when I go to a show I  look for two things - to be inspired and to have a nice lunch out (sometimes not in that order - grin).  This didn't give me either!


Jean(ie) said...

Is your challenge piece shown in the photos? If so, which one is yours?

Glen QuiltSwissy said...

Too bad you had that experience at the show. Sometimes these shows just get too big for themselvs and they don't have the sense to move to a better venue.

But you went and now you can say you did and mean it!


annette said...

Bummer days! You were so excited! Where is your piece?