Sewing & Quilt Gallery: Lost Identity Quilting

These days are surreal – as if nothing would happen that I could ever have imagined. A month ago, I wasn’t aware of the immense change our lives would endure. Scientists must have known that the coronavirus would hit a lot of people, but the extent to which it occurs is almost beyond understanding.

Less than a month ago, my quilt The Value of Violet won the top prize at the AQS Daytona Show. This is also a damn big award – $ 10,000. If that’s not enough, my other quilt who was on this show also won one of the bigger prizes. Unfortunately, life at home was such that I can’t get involved in every quilt show I want to attend, even if affordability is not an issue. I was sad and musty because I just wanted to be there.

Within a week I made flight reservations to go to the Lancaster Show. I would not wait to see how my quilts developed. it really didn’t matter. I just wanted to go. Flying is easy as it is a short direct flight and then a short drive from Phili. The cost was roughly the same as the 8 to 9 hour trip, since 2 additional nights in a hotel were saved. Seriously, when I made reservations on March 1st, I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew that traveling might not be recommended. It just never occurred to me that AQS would be forced to cancel the show.

This message came 4 days ago and it was hard to swallow. It came the next day when I heard the Dallas Quilt Show was canceled. It’s a little show on the racetrack, but one where I had two quilts, both with ribbons. Abandoned quilt shows mean loss of income for people like me who earn and show their livelihood.

Not everyone who shows quilts admit that this is part of their livelihood. It took almost a decade for this to happen. Some shows don’t provide tapes and checks, while others produce nice pay days. I can’t say for sure how my quilts behave because you never know who’s judging or who sent in a fantastic quilt. On average, however, I know that my workmanship and style are rewarded at many shows. Is this an income someone can hang their hats on 10-15 years after retirement? Damn no, BUT combined with teaching opportunities and customer quilting and my books, things are fine.

The writing on the wall didn’t end with the cancellation of these two shows. The gigantic wildcard was what MQX would do? It became painfully obvious in the last days to the week. The news was about closings everywhere. My children’s schools are closed on weekends until the end of the month. When recommendations are made not to hold events with over 250 people, that says almost everything. In the end, the CDC announced yesterday that gatherings of over 50 people should be avoided.

Hearing that MQX wouldn’t happen this year is like a dagger to me. I’ve been going to this show since 2010. If you count the 3 years I spent at MQX Midwest, this would have been my 14th visit and my 9th lesson. It is as close as possible to a home show. This is the show that I incorrectly attended in 2010 (the person who recommended it to me really said “MQS”) and the show that brought out all my love and interest in doing show quilts compete. I can’t even understand if it won’t happen next year. I should be teaching there next month. I think it’s good that I did so well in Daytona because I will definitely miss this paycheck.

While I’m sitting here and my kids are confiscated at home, we all feel a bit like a drum. It’s not really like they’re on vacation because they can’t have friends. Tomorrow the schools should pass on work instructions so that they do not go back completely pedagogically with this necessary stay at home. I love having her around, but I feel crazy and lost. Everything I do, every quilt I design or make, has one goal in mind – to be the best that I can do, so hopefully it will get the judges’ attention. I get them to share with other aspiring quilters, motivate and inspire them. Yes … to teach them. Then this little bird shows up and mumbles: “Why? … what’s the point? There is no show.” Oh my goodness, there must be another show. The cancellations of MQX and AQS cannot lead to the end of these companies. They have shown fantastic shows and have been my elixir of life.

This disease is serious. I hope I don’t have to endure it with everything it steals from me. At the moment I just want the old me back. Today’s ego is depressed and sad and really lacks the way things used to be. I am sure there are others of you who feel the same way.

Be sure everyone. Heed the warnings. When this is over, I’ll be at the AQS Charleston Show in late September.

Here’s a glimpse of something coming down the pike (please take your finger off the “Copy” button, as I don’t want to share this yet).

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